Hollywood's Own Horror Show: Summer Movie Season Worst in Years

Thursday, 24 Jul 2014 01:44 PM

By John Blosser

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Hollywood studios are in a state of near-financial panic over the dismal performance of American-made films this summer.

The Hollywood Reporter paints a dire picture of a North American box-office summer season for Hollywood movies that has grossed between 15 percent and 20 percent less than last year's record $4.75 billion in summer ticket sales.

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The bad news has studio executives scratching their heads because the industry is now struggling to top the $4 billion sales level it has done easily in the last eight years, such as the 2013 record-setting year when moviegoers poured a whopping $4.75 billion into Hollywood's pockets.

July saw a drop of 19 percent in box office receipts over last year, Entertainment Weekly reports, with just 10 of Hollywood's top films earning more than $100 million this year. In the 2013 season, 19 films crossed that finish line, according to EW.

"When you look at the overall picture and the percentages, it's not pretty at this point," Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak, which rates box office turnout, told Variety. "Thank goodness we have 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' and 'Guardians of the Galaxy' coming, because we need it. Boy, do we need it."

Entertainment Weekly reports that over the long July Fourth weekend, which typically scores big, grosses were down by 45 percent. "Deliver Us From Evil" and "Earth To Echo" both underperformed, grossing less than $10 million each, and "Sex Tape," starring Cameron Diaz, was a flop, according to the Reporter.

"Transformers: Age of Extinction" failed to make the grade in the United States, despite $36.4 million in weekend sales and a $174.7 million 10-day total, because even with reliably performing star Mark Wahlberg at the helm, it still trailed its predecessor franchise film by 24 percent, EW reports.

"Spider-Man 2" pulled in $706.2 million worldwide, but still lagged behind the performance of 2012's "The Amazing Spider-Man," which racked up $757.9 million.

EW's article, "Hollywood Is Losing America, Taking Over the World," reports that today, 70 percent of movie box-office receipts come from overseas, and says, "The growth markets are abroad, not in the U.S."

For example, according to Boxofficemojo.com, the latest "Transformers" pulled in record-breaking sales of $16.5 million in Brazil and $11.9 million in Germany, as well as $8.8 million in France, $5 million in Italy, and $9.6 million in China.

With fingers crossed, Hollywood already has turned its hopes toward next year, counting on hit franchise followups like "The Avengers," "Fast & Furious," and "Jurassic World" to pull the industry out of its slump.

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