Why Are Box Office Numbers Dwindling?
Published on December 4, 2019
There’s nothing better than heading to the local theater for a good film. 2019 saw the release of several big films, including Avengers: Endgame. Unfortunately, there’s a major problem movie studios are noticing. People don’t seem to enjoy going to the theaters in the fall.
Let’s Fall Into Place
Compared to 2018, this fall hasn’t been profitable for studios. In fact, the overall box office numbers are almost half that of the numbers from last year. This fall’s movie lineup featured a slew of familiar names. Doctor Sleep, which is the sequel to The Shining, failed to make an impact with $62 million earned. Against a $55 million budget, this film will result in a major loss for Warner Bros. Pictures. One major problem with this film’s performance is its release date. Many believed it would’ve done better if it was released earlier in October instead of Halloween.
Another sequel missing its mark is Terminator: Dark Fate. The true sequel to Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Dark Fate only earned $249 million worldwide. In order to break even, the film needs to make $480 million at the box office. Unfortunately, plans for a potential sequel have been shut down by Skydance Media.
Reboots Upon Reboots
One of the biggest movie stories of November involves the low performance of Charlie’s Angels. In its opening weekend, the movie only did $8 million in North America. So far, the film has earned $43 million against a $55 million budget. One major factor involving its performance is its promotion. Outside of a movie trailer, not many people heard anything about it. The film’s soundtrack, which features the hit song “Don’t Call Me Angel,” fared better than the movie. The soundtrack debuted at number 38 on the Billboard Top 200 chart. As expected, plans for a sequel have been nuked.
Another reason for the film’s poor performance is a recent pandemic of remakes and reboots. Some film pundits have argued that audiences are simply tired of them, and blame film studios for not coming up with original ideas and new properties. 2019 featured a slew of big-budget, tentpole films failing to make an impact, including Hellboy and Dumbo. The trend doesn’t always hold consistent, though; Pet Sematary and Aladdin earned big bucks at the box office. This means that the era of reboots and remakes is unlikely to come to a close anytime soon. To wit, 2019 will end with remakes of Black Christmas, Little Women, and Cats. Out of the three, Cats has the chance of earning big despite a negative initial reaction to its trailer.
Some Hits Thrown In
While box office numbers have been low, the fall has delivered some big films. Released in October, Joker dominated theaters with over $1 billion earned worldwide. Against a $62.5 million budget, this is the most profitable comic book film ever. Initially, the movie was projected to earn $60 million on its opening weekend. The film shattered expectations with a $96 million opening in North America.
Another film gaining speed is Ford v Ferrari, which was directed by James Mangold. The film, which stars Matt Damon and Christian Bale, was a surprise hit with $103 million earned. Ford v Ferrari is projected to be in the Oscar hunt next year. As expected, Frozen 2 didn’t disappoint Disney with an opening weekend of $358 million worldwide. It’s slated to become just as successful as its predecessor, which earned over $1 billion.
2019 will conclude with two expected heavy hitters. On December 13, Jumanji: The Next Level will drop in theaters. This follows 2017’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, which earned $962 million. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which is the final chapter of the Skywalker Saga, will arrive on December 20. This film is slated to reach $1 billion worldwide. With these two films, the box office will likely rebound from a feeble fall offering.