8 votes

Summer box office meltdown: Why the movie business is running scared

5 comments

  1. [5]
    rkcr
    Link
    tl;dr - bad movies lead to bad ticket sales and there have been a lot of bad movies this summer.

    tl;dr - bad movies lead to bad ticket sales and there have been a lot of bad movies this summer.

    3 votes
    1. [4]
      dubteedub
      Link Parent
      I think this paragraph was pretty interesting and explained it is a bit more than that. It is not just that the movies are bad, as there have been plenty of bad movies in the past that still do...

      I think this paragraph was pretty interesting and explained it is a bit more than that.

      This summer, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” “Dark Phoenix” and “Men in Black: International” all suffered series lows in large part because they weren’t very good. Being part of a well-known franchise wasn’t enough to save these turkeys, particularly when there are buzzy television shows such as “Game of Thrones,” “Big Little Lies,” and “Stranger Things” beckoning viewers to stay home. Indeed, analysts suggest that ever-growing options for entertainment have made audiences more discerning when it comes to shelling out for a movie ticket.

      It is not just that the movies are bad, as there have been plenty of bad movies in the past that still do very well at the box office. It is that there is more entertainment options overall, so consumers are becoming more savvy with their money and time.

      In addition, indie movies that are doing very well critically are also declining in sales.

      The indie market has also slid steeply, with some indie players reporting that ticket sales in the specialty space are down more than 30% through the first six months of the year. Movies like the Mindy Kaling comedy “Late Night” or “Wild Rose” may have been hits at film festivals, but they failed to convert that buzz into butts in seats when they opened to the general public. That could turn around with the debut this week of “Midsommar,” a twisty horror pic that should do for the image of Swedish villages what the “Wicker Man” did for the reputation of Scottish islands.

      So it seems to be more than just bad movies bad.

      5 votes
      1. NaraVara
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Just anecdotally prices have gone up a lot over the past few years, and not just for the movie tickets. They rebuilt the neighborhoods where the indie theaters are in my city and I feel like...

        Just anecdotally prices have gone up a lot over the past few years, and not just for the movie tickets. They rebuilt the neighborhoods where the indie theaters are in my city and I feel like they've managed to squeeze more out of the margins for each little thing. The individual price increases are smallish, but all together a movie date ends up costing me $30 to $40 more than it used to just 2 years ago.

        The new theaters are fancier with smaller rooms, comfier seats, and more luxe everything. The restaurants and bars that surround them are also way better. But it costs! The movie tickers are $3 to $5 more. We end up at a fancy cocktail bar instead of our normal dives and the nearby restaurants have been replaced by glitzier, fancier places.

        Casual movie date nights were a go-to for my wife and I, but the changes have all added up to where it isn't really a "cheap" date anymore. And the change happened quickly, over the past couple of years. I'm sure this is happening across the country.

        5 votes
      2. JXM
        Link Parent
        A lot of the smaller movies show up on streaming services within six months of coming out in theaters. So whenever my friends and I discuss going to the movies, it inevitably ends with, "Well,...

        A lot of the smaller movies show up on streaming services within six months of coming out in theaters. So whenever my friends and I discuss going to the movies, it inevitably ends with, "Well, it'll just be on Netflix in 6 months. Let's just watch it then."

        Going to the movies is very expensive. Why pay $12 per movie when for that same price I can get all the movies I want on Netflix?

        And if other people are having the same conversations and not going to the movies, then it lessens the social pressure to go to the movies. If I know that no one is going to be talking about Booksmart at work on Monday, there's less of a reason for me to go see it right now.

        1 vote
      3. Douglas
        Link Parent
        I'm fortunate enough to have a lovely historical theater in my neighborhood that's community-run and nonprofit, so the ticket and concession prices are unbelievably low. Coupled with that they...

        I'm fortunate enough to have a lovely historical theater in my neighborhood that's community-run and nonprofit, so the ticket and concession prices are unbelievably low. Coupled with that they screen anything from a select run of first-run movies (like right now it's Midsommar) to B-movie re-runs, a live organist for silent features, and some indie films now and again.

        If they weren't there, I'd probably never see an indie movie in theaters, because Regal's prices have just become so ridiculous I can't help but pause and ask "this ticket price could also BUY the movie when it comes out. Does this movie look so good that it's worth owning? Does seeing it early and on a bigger screen contribute anything to its experience (e.g. seeing Godzilla on a big screen feels like it might be worth it)? No? Then let's wait for it to come out on rental."

        Other than that, yes-- the part of the article you'd mentioned is at the root of that question: I have a lot of quality television and movie options to select from at home. Does this movie look better than those options?

        My bar being raised is also why I don't buy as many video games. Once you play some wonderful titles, it's hard to step back for anything less.

        1 vote