Box Office Plummets as Audiences Reject Low-Quality Films

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The domestic box office is down 24 percent compared to last year and 42 percent compared to 2019, the last pre-pandemic year.

“We are concerned,” one studio insider told the Hollywood Reporter. “People are not in the moviegoing habit.”

Yeah, they’re not in the moviegoing habit because movies are lacking in quality.

Hollywood and its supportive media refuse to acknowledge this. Instead of examining why this year’s releases underperformed, they blame last year’s strike:

Toward the end of the SAG-AFTRA talks, studio chiefs were criticized for saying their 2024 release schedules were at risk each day the four-month strike continued. Now, the impact of those warnings is becoming evident. Without the usual lineup of major films, including a Marvel superhero movie to start the first weekend of May, the early summer box office is struggling after a difficult winter and spring. Domestic box office revenue year-to-date is $2.68 billion, down 24 percent from the same period last year and 42 percent behind 2019, the last normal year pre-pandemic, according to Comscore. Every week this year has shown a decrease from 2023; the smallest gap was 11 percent when Dune: Part Two and Godzilla v. Kong: The New Empire premiered.

Now the question is whether theatrical releases can “survive the post-pandemic world and the rise of streaming:”

Box office analysts agree that the industry is fragile but remain hopeful that moviegoing will improve in the coming weeks when films like Inside Out 2, Despicable Me 4 and Deadpool & Wolverine are released, followed by Beetlejuice Beetlejuice in early September. However, a steady volume of releases is not expected until 2025. Many films are also debuting below expectations (attention will be on Bad Boys: Ride or Die this weekend to see if it can reach $48 million to $50 million at launch). “We are concerned,” says one studio insider. “Ignoring this would be foolish. People are not in the moviegoing habit and are focused on streaming, which is a significant issue. But there hasn’t been a major catalyst.”

Except…

There is no shortage of superhero movies in 2024. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom released just before 2024 began. Its predecessor achieved $335 million domestically and $1.15 billion globally. The sequel performed about one-third as well.

That’s two superhero movies released in 2024 already. The issue isn’t the lack of superhero movies; it’s that those superhero movies were subpar.

In just six months, we’ve seen a Godzilla-Kong movie, a Dune sequel, a Kung Fu Panda sequel, a Ghostbusters sequel, a Planet of the Apes sequel, a Garfield remake, and a Mad Max spin-off. That’s seven top-tier intellectual property titles plus two superhero movies. So, it’s clear that the problem isn’t a lack of content, wide releases, or popular titles. The issue is…

Movies are lacking in quality, and average moviegoers have stopped attending cinemas because after years of being bombarded with uninspiring and preachy content, they have sensibly abandoned the habit.

Deadpool and Wolverine is about to 1) dominate the box office and 2) disprove every excuse.

This is called fulfilling audience expectations.

This formula isn’t complicated, Hollywood.

John Nolte
John Nolte
Senior Writer.

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