Movie math: summer box office suffers

Nic Baggetto, Editor-in-chief

The movie industry is damaged. It’s pretty simple, really. People just don’t go to the movies anymore. This summer, the total North American box office didn’t even reach $4 billion, a record low for Hollywood.

Even films such as “Transformers: The Last Knight,” a sequel to the highest grossing movie of 2015, couldn’t break the billion dollar mark. The most recent Spider-Man movie couldn’t compete with the ones being made 10 years ago. And “The Emoji Movie?” We don’t talk about that…

So the question that Hollywood insiders have begun to ask is, “Why didn’t people go to the movies this summer?”

The difficulty these insiders have come across is that there isn’t one clear answer. There are several. Perhaps the oversaturation of superhero films and franchise fatigue have lead to less people going to the movies.

More likely, it is a combination of this and the rise of online review services dampening the hype around a movie. Rotten Tomatoes has a heavy influence on word of mouth surrounding a movie.

The early predictions for “Wonder Woman” saw the film earning only $65 million opening weekend, below par for most superhero movies. Yet, once critics began to actually view the film and Rotten Tomatoes released its score of 92%, the estimates were altered to about $100 million, which is closer  to the actual figure of $103.1 million.

One of the films “Wonder Woman” competed with, “The Mummy” was projected to do about as well as most Tom Cruise action movie ventures, but fell short due to its whopping 16% Rotten Tomato rating and overall panning. Word of mouth surrounding the movie was so strongly negative that The Hollywood Reporter published an article called, “‘Wonder Woman’ to bury ‘The Mummy,’” that read more like an autopsy of the film than an analysis.

Numbers don’t lie. There is often a correlation between quality of a film and the amount of money it earns.

The films that did break box offices records did so seemingly out of nowhere and surprised Hollywood insiders. Stephen King’s, “IT” now holds the record for the highest opening weekend box office ever for the month of September. Perhaps the mixture of nostalgia and a crave for horror buoyed the numbers.

The summer may be over, but the taste of stale popcorn has lingered on the tastebuds of dissatisfied moviegoers. This will be a lesson for Hollywood executives.