Number of Factors Conspiring To Weaken Summer Box Office Numbers

Hollywood sign.  Los Angeles.  Sunny day.According to multiple media reports, the North American box office is in very real danger of posting its lowest Labor Day weekend numbers since the summer of 2001.

In 2016, the Labor Day long weekend produced a $128.6 million tally at the box office, which was 9% up from the year before.

This year, things are trending in the wrong direction, as last weekend produced just $69 million in box office revenues in North America. With no major releases this weekend, there isn't much that is seen luring people into the movie theatre.


There are a number of reasons behind this major slump in box office revenues. Some of the issues have been long festering, while others are temporary. Let's take a look:

1) Lack of a major release. "The Hitman's Bodyguard" has been sitting at the top of the box office for the past three weeks. In short, there is nothing that is pulling people into the theatre this weekend.

2) Growing entertainment options. Why take the family out to the theatre when you can watch Netflix at home from the comfort of your own couch? There is so much great TV to watch right now on services such as Netflix that many people are simply avoiding the theatre altogether.

3) Prices. This ties in with #2 - for many families, the cost of going to the theatre is just too high. If you take a family of four to the theatre, you are likely looking at a bill of over $100, especially if you end up buying snacks. On the other hand, stay at home and watch a Disney movie on your flatscreen TV and you have a much calmer and cheaper night.

4) Retreads and a general lack of creativity in movies. About a decade ago, Hollywood really started ramping up their release of "retreads" and "reimaginings". Instead of looking for original new movies, decisions were made to greenlight remakes of "Ghostbusters" and others like it. The reason that Hollywood did this was simple - people already connected with these movies and it was an easy way for movie studios to guarantee a fairly large number in the opening weekend of release. The problem? People are getting sick of the constant wave of remakes and are now turning to truly original content on services such as Netflix. Outside of superhero remakes, Hollywood is finding that people are running out of patience for retreads.


People are starting to become much more discerning when it comes to the movie that they go to see in theatres, and this is largely due to the multitude of entertainment options that the average person is able to enjoy nowadays.

Can the movie industry reverse course and bring people back to the theatres when there isn't a major superhero or Star Wars release?

Filed under: General Knowledge

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