A new feature piece for THR indicates that Hollywood is bracing for the summer domestic box-office season to fall as much as 10% from last year’s $4.5 billion haul.
Several sources for the trade agree that, barring surprises, 2017 won’t match 2016 and could be the worst Summer since the $4.1 billion haul in 2014 which was down by 14% – the sharpest downturn in three decades.
Disney and Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” got off to a great start last week, but Guy Ritchie’s $175 million budgeted “King Arthur: The Legend of the Sword” is already looking ready to flop this coming weekend with tracking figures in the $25 million range for its opening.
Worldwide grosses are expected to be fine, despite a downturn last year, but with shrinking domestic theatrical revenue and a less favourable exchange rate – concerns are arising over franchise fatigue and the ageing strategy of releasing of 1-2 big-budget blockbusters practically every weekend across May through July:
One analyst says if the downturn of sequels last summer repeats again, studios will be forced to make sweeping changes – especially as shows like “Stranger Things” and “Game of Thrones” stole the social media thunder out from under almost all movies last year.
Certainly making films for the broadest possible audience is becoming even tougher, with Disney and Universal’s Illumination being the notable exceptions. That makes “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and “Despicable Me 3” the Summer’s biggest guaranteed juggernauts.
But beyond those, the calendar is filled with big question marks over new entries in the “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Transformers,” “Spider-Man,” “Alien” and “Apes” franchises, anticipated originals like “Dunkirk” and “Baby Driver” or franchise launchers like “The Dark Tower”.