Tags: hollywood | slump | 2020 | box office | movie

Hollywood Fears 2020 Slump, With No 'Endgame' or 'Frozen' Coming

Hollywood Fears 2020 Slump, With No 'Endgame' or 'Frozen' Coming
(Dreamstime/Miriam Doerr)

Wednesday, 08 January 2020 11:44 AM

Movie ticket sales are expected to fall again in 2020 without the full force of the Avengers to save them.

After a year marked by Walt Disney Co. hits, including the biggest animated release ever in “Frozen II,” a Star Wars trilogy finale and an Avengers flick that ranks as the best-selling film of all time, 2020 will feel like a hangover, according to box-office analysts. While the year will certainly have some blockbusters, including a live-action version of “Mulan” and the Marvel installment “Black Widow,” the slate doesn’t include the large volume of highly anticipated franchise features that marked 2019.

“This was a crazy year for Disney,” said Jeff Bock, an analyst at Exhibitor Relations. “It was like watching Halley’s Comet zoom by: something we might not see for another 75 years.”

Star Wars and the Avengers both reached conclusions of sorts in their story lines that were built up over years. In total, Disney released seven of 2019’s nine films expected to finish their runs with a worldwide gross of more than $1 billion, the best year ever for a studio.

Along with other mega-hits, like “Joker” from AT&T Inc.’s Warner Bros. and “Spider-Man: Far From Home” from Sony Corp., Disney’s bonanza helped the domestic box office generate revenue of about $11.4 billion in 2019. Even so, that was a decline from the record $11.9 billion in 2018, according to Comscore Inc.

While this year studios will still release superhero and nostalgia-centered films, the two movie categories that consistently generate releases with more than $1 billion in ticket sales, they won’t resolve long sagas the way “Avengers: Endgame” and “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” did.

“It looks like ‘Black Widow’ will be a success, but it’s about sheer quantity,” said Shawn Robbins, an analyst at Box Office Pro. The Avengers and Star Wars flicks “were two big event movies the studio had been building up for close to a decade; those are big cultural events for not just fans, but average moviegoers.”

The market for smaller-budget, original adult dramas is unclear. Though some were hits in 2019, like Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.’s “Knives Out,” streaming has put studios under pressure to focus on their big-budget fare, according to Amine Bensaid, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.

Web-based giants Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. are gaining attention and major award nominations for films including “The Irishman” while mostly skipping the theaters. That makes it harder for studios to compete for eyes when a large volume of original content is available at home.

All but one of the 10 most anticipated movies in 2020 are superhero flicks, sequels or animated family fare, according to a survey by Fandango. The top three movies are DC and Marvel installments, while the fourth is the “Mulan” remake and the fifth is the James Bond film “No Time to Die.”

But with fewer long-awaited tentpole films, original fare may have more room to break out, according to Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst at Comscore. For example, the Christopher Nolan-directed “Tenet” is scheduled to be released in July, with many of the key details about the plot shrouded in mystery.

“The conventional wisdom last year was that given the number of franchises and sequels, we’d have a record year,” Dergarabedian said. “We need to give 2020 a chance to get started. There could be films in the mix that are fresh and original that could come out of nowhere and over-perform.”

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Movie ticket sales are expected to fall again in 2020 without the full force of the Avengers to save them.
hollywood, slump, 2020, box office, movie
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2020-44-08
Wednesday, 08 January 2020 11:44 AM
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