Poor Weekend Box Office May Be Sign Of Trend

The Butler

While Hollywood is certainly seeing its successes at the box office this summer, more often than not, movies are failing to satisfy.  Other than the Comic movies and proven entities like Star Trek, many others are simply not making it.  Is the prediction of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas several months ago coming to fruition.  Let’s look at the weekend box office.  The Butler, which will in all likelihood be an Oscar nominee, was number one with an estimated North American three-day total of $25 million dollars.  Number two was Jennifer Anniston’s We’re the Millers with a second week take of almost $18 million dollars.  Both movies met or exceeded expectations.  Kick Ass 2, which was expected to challenge for the number one spot disappointed with a dismal opening weekend $13.6 million dollars.  Jobs, the Steve Jobs Bio took in less that $7 million dollars and Paranoia almost didn’t get out of the gate with an embarrassing $4 million dollars, failing to break in to the top ten.  What’s clearly taking place in the movie industry is the power of social media, people are able to easily discover whether a movie is worthwhile.  There have always been critics but never has the blogging world and social sites such as Facebook and Twitter had the influence it now holds.  Hollywood is going to have to deliver or, movie fans will simply stay home.  Movie’s, even more so than magazines require disposal income no longer as readily available to the average American.  The total cost of the movie experience, has increased faster than the cost of living.  Throw in to the mix the great recession of 2008 and Hollywood is facing the greatest challenges in its history.  Perhaps it’s the fact that Hollywood has run out of new ideas or perhaps its become only about the money.  But no longer can Hollywood rest on its laurels.  Stars salaries, not unlike athlete’s salaries threaten the medium.  Corporate America allowed the billion dollar stadium to be built and the ridiculous salaries because they expected to make a profit. If Hollywood continues to produce big budget films that fail, they will lose the financial resources necessary to continue.  When I was young, movies were inexpensive, you could see two movies in a weekend without spending your entire allowance.  That isn’t the case today.  Movies have gone from being a reasonable form of entertainment to an investment.  No family wants to spend upwards of one hundred dollars only to be disappointed by a bad movie.  Some families simply can’t afford it.  Furthermore, movies so quickly transition from theaters to pay-per-view, that more families are opting to wait the weeks or month to watch it on their flat screen with a one dollar bag of microwave popcorn.  So Hollywood better take note.  Not unlike the magazine industry, Hollywood is not untouchable.  It too faces the challenges of the modern world and could find itself in financial distress or collapse if it doesn’t get its act together.  The handwriting is on the wall and numbers don’t lie.

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