Global box office sales down for first half of 2019

Published on: July 8th, 2019

Franchise fatigue blamed for falling sales, as slew of sequels fail to live up to expectations. 

As reported by The Guardian, global box office ticket sales are down in the first half of 2019. Analysts suggest film fans have grown tired of the number of franchise releases over the period: Men in Black: International; Godzilla: King of the Monsters; How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World; and The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part were all released in the first half and failed to live up to expectations.

The slump has been most keenly felt in the US box office, the world’s largest movie market, with ticket revenues dropping by 9.4% to $5.6b in the first six months of the year. The UK box office has fared better than the US, but revenues were still 6% lower than last year at £613.5m, according to Comscore.

“It’s worth remembering that 2018 had a very strong start, with films released late the previous year, such as The Greatest Showman and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, still doing good business,” said Phil Clapp, the chief executive of the UK Cinema Association. “This year hasn’t had that same boost and it is fair to say that the box office take in the first quarter in particular wasn’t as strong as we would have liked.”

However, Phil says that there have been positive signs of a recovery in theatres with the launch of Avengers: Endgame – the second highest-grossing film of all-time behind James Cameron’s Avatar – at the end of April fuelling the most successful May for UK cinemas in 50 years. More than 16m film fans flocked to cinemas during the month.

US analysts are forecasting a box office bounce-back to about 2% lower than 2018, thanks to a strong slate of films coming later this year. In the UK, optimists are hoping the box office take may even end up surpassing 2018’s £1.28b.

“With a strong second half to the year – The Lion King, Joker, Frozen 2, Downton Abbey, Jumanji: The Next Level, Hobbs & Shaw, It Chapter Two, Cats and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – there’s every chance we will match if not overtake the record-breaking numbers of 2018,” Phil added.

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