Reports now, according to Exhibitor Relations: if things continue as they have, this will be the lowest box office in a quarter century. While there have been bright spots (“Dunkirk”) and surprises (“Baby Driver”) the failures have outweighed everything.
Start with a total write off on “King Arthur” and go from there. Then go to “The Dark Tower.”
One terrible new failure: “Nut Job 2,” they say, is the biggest loser ever in wide release (4000+) studio movie. It made just over $8 million this weekend.
Four years ago, at a USC symposium, famed and very successful directors George Lucas and Steven Spielberg warned the film industry that reliance on blockbusters– tent pole movies that failed would cause an implosion. At first no one took them seriously. But now maybe we’re seeing what they meant.
Spielberg said at the time: “That’s the big danger, and there’s eventually going to be an implosion — or a big meltdown. There’s going to be an implosion where three or four or maybe even a half-dozen mega budget movies are going to go crashing into the ground, and that’s going to change the paradigm.”
Other huge flops this year include “Life” — the sci fi movie no one saw, “Monster Trucks,” which was a monster disaster. “Ghost in the Shell” with Scarlett Johansson also came and went quickly. Plus Will Ferrell’s “The House” was a total write off, and Sony’s “Rough Night” was an embarrassment.
I’m not counting the $100 million plus lost on “The Promise,” because it was a vanity production.
This year also brought Tom Hanks’s biggest flop in decades, “The Circle.” And of course there were the two misbegotten TV remakes– “Baywatch” and “CHiPs.”
Even blockbusters that seemed like hits weren’t — “Pirates of the Caribbean 5” was a bloated mess. And “Transformers 5” was so bad that critics wondered why it was made. “The Mummy” also reeked of failure and desperation.
Studios keep counting on international sales to bail them out. And it works a lot of the time. But continuing to send bad product from the US will eventually take its toll.