A Grim Future For The Box Office

By: Zach Bedair

The days of excitement about going to the movies might be over.

After a summer of flops featuring: “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,” “Transformers: The Last Knight” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” the domestic box office has reportedly suffered its worst attended summer movie season in 25 years.

According to Box Office Mojo, at least 70 percent of those three movies’ profits came from foreign audiences. That means roughly 30 percent of the money earned came from the U.S.

The American audience does not seem interested in the same old song and dance from Hollywood anymore.

Meagan Young, a former regular at her local theater, said she stopped paying money for her time at the movies because there are not a lot of good movies to see.

“I’m pretty tired of seeing the same type of movie being made with different dialogue,” Young said. “I get that it’s very hard to have an original idea, but I want to leave the theater and feel changed.”

Unfortunately, there has been no change for Young.

AMC Theatres Chief Executive Adam Aron said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, his company’s most recent quarter is simply a bust.

“Bust” or not, there is a deeper trend involved with the low turnout.

As a self-proclaimed “avid moviegoer,” Leslie Molina, said the movies in the theaters are always either remakes or sequels nowadays.

“To me, this shows a decrease in creativity from the studios,” Molina said. “Aside from the rare gems that come out around Oscars season, I frequently walk out of the theater dissatisfied.”

Data from a Bloomberg article reports that shares of theater stocks have gone down, wiping out $1.3 billion from the value of the top four cinema operators in North America.

According to Bloomberg Intelligence, the box office is unlikely to make up for the previous hit despite two superhero movies and a “Star Wars” sequel on the docket for the upcoming 2017 holiday season.

Robert Peaslee, associate professor & department chair of journalism and electronic media for Texas Tech University, said Hollywood has to reckon with the poverty in their storytelling.

“I’m sure [Hollywood] will come up with a bunch of reasons why we didn’t come out to the box office that doesn’t force them to rethink this mentality about sequels and saving us,” Peaslee said. “I think there is a law of diminishing returns, and the flashiest, coolest, explosion is only going to make people gasp ‘x’ number of times before it’s like ‘oh I’ve seen that.’”

Peaslee said part of the reason audiences are not buying tickets is because of the rise of “streaming, mobile and multi-platform,” over the top, “a la carte,” digital options.

There is an explosion of serialized content and an ever-shrinking gulf of what TV was formally known as.

With the technological advancement of being one click away, instant streaming platforms are more affordable than going to the movies.

“Now you get stuff produced that is nominally television with all the production value of a blockbuster film,” Peaslee said, “But it as the advantage of being able to tell a much more robust story over a long period of time. It’s a much more satisfying narrative experience.”

While the reason for the decline at the box office may not be linked to one specific thing, the consensus is about change.

About JOUR 4350

JOUR 4350 is the multiplatform news delivery class, which is the capstone class for journalism majors within the College of Media & Communication.

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