Hollywood box office experiences worst slump in six years

Published on: April 16th, 2019

US domestic revenue year to date is at its lowest level since 2013. 

As reported by the Hollywood Reporter, Millennium and Lionsgate’s Hellboy remake has opened to a poor $11.9m, further contributing to an overall downturn in combined ticket sales year to date following a strong 2018.

As of Sunday, revenue at the North American box office was an estimated $2.74b, the lowest showing since 2013 for the comparable time period, according to Comscore, an American media measurement and analytics company. That’s down 17% from the same period in 2018 — when Black Panther opened — and 18% from 2017, which saw winter and early spring hits Beauty and the Beast and Logan, among other titles.

Questions are now being asked about whether the box office can pull itself back to surpass the record $11.9b collected domestically in 2018, and an all-time best $41.7b globally.

Major exceptions to the early 2019 blues include Disney and Marvel’s Captain Marvel, which has earned nearly $387m domestically and $1.06b globally, and Universal and Jordan Peele’s edgy horror flick Us, which has grossed nearly $164m in North America and $236m worldwide.

Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore, commented: “It may be tough to imagine at this point that 2019 could ultimately post record-breaking revenues, but a slow start that has handed the industry a 17% year-to-date deficit will – in less than two weeks – begin to assemble perhaps the greatest comeback in box office history with a monumental slate that will set into motion a herculean reversal of fortune.”

Paul is referring to Disney and Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame, which is expected to set records when it hits theatres in late April. The summer and year’s end calendar is packed with other big titles, many of them from Disney, such as The Lion King, Frozen II, Toy Story 4 and Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker.

Universal has The Secret Life of Pets 2 and Fast & Furious spinoff Hobbs & Shaw, while Sony has Men in Black International, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Quentin Tarantino’s star-studded Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and the untitled Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle 2.

Warner Bros. has Legendary’s Godzilla: King of Monsters and edgy superhero pic Joker, while Paramount’s lineup includes the James Cameron-produced Terminator reboot.

So far, four of the 15 weekends this year have been down over their 2018 counterparts, including a 27% dip over the April 12th-14th weekend.

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