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Playing catch-up after a challenging start to the year, the summer box office

Playing catch-up after a challenging start to the year, the summer box office
Playing catch-up after a challenging start to the year, the summer box office
Written by Newils
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On May 16, 2024, in New York City, people pass by an AMC theater on 42nd Street in Times Square.

According to Comscore data, the summer box office contributions of the blockbusters “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” totaled around one billion dollars in the United States. To fill the Barbenheimer-shaped void, however, studios are staking a lot of money on a wide array of family-oriented animated movies and mid-range sequels and prequels, such as “Inside Out 2,” “Bad Boys: Ride or Die,” and “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.”

In addition to production setbacks brought on by the prolonged Writers Guild and SAG-AFTRA strikes, which continue to have a lasting impact on studios, the season that usually attracts the largest movie theater attendance is off to a rough start, which could negatively impact 2024’s annual box office receipts.

According to Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at ComScore, “summer is the most important moviegoing season of the year, accounting on average for nearly 40% of the total domestic annual revenue.” As the summer, therefore, goes, so does the year.

According to film Office Theory creator and analyst Shawn Robbins, “this summer looks like it’ll be down 20% to 25% in box office grosses between May and August from last year, barring some major overperformances.”

People walk past an AMC movie theater on 42nd Street in Times Square on May 16, 2024, in New York City.

The elusive opening weekend of $100 million

Based on Comscore data, the weekend between Memorial Day and Labor Day Monday is expected to generate up to $4 billion in domestic revenue until 2020. The first post-pandemic $4 billion summer occurred in 2023.

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Driven by the triumph of “Sound of Freedom,” “Oppenheimer,” and the historic $155 million opening weekend of “Barbie,” summer 2023 brought in $4.09 billion, a 19.2% increase over the previous year’s total.

Warner Bros., a division of Warner Bros. Discovery, the parent company of CNN, distributed “Barbie.”

Only intellectual property-driven action movies, such as superhero and Star Wars films, and animated family movies, like “The Incredibles 2” and “Finding Dory,” have opened weekends over $100 million or more. This year, not a single film has achieved that feat.

“This summer will have to make up ground in June and July sans a Marvel movie to provide a $100 million-plus opening weekend to get the momentum going,” Dergarabedian stated, noting that the season has thus far been a “late bloomer.”

The summer box office could be made or broken by Disney offerings.

The Walt Disney Studios-distributed films “Deadpool & Wolverine” and “Inside Out 2” are two that experts believe may surpass the $100 million mark this summer.

“Inside Out 2” will be the studio’s first wide release of 2024 under its flagship “Disney” banner. Daniel Loria, editorial director at Box Office Pro, which compiles sales and showtimes data from thousands of movie theaters across the United States, claims that this is an unusual development for both the company and the film industry. (The First Omen, a film from 20th Century Entertainment, which is owned by Disney, debuted in April.)

“There has never been a year when a studio as important to this business misses the entire first half of the year,” Loria said, adding that a lot of the reason for this has to do with schedule changes and production delays brought on by months of back and forth between studios, the Writers Guild of America, and SAG-AFTRA, the actors’ union.

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“We tend to overstate the impact of Hollywood’s 2023 labor strikes on box office receipts, but given the volume of releases from major studios that have debuted in theaters in the first half of the year, it’s difficult to ignore it.

Playing catch-up after a challenging start to the year, the summer box officePlaying catch-up after a challenging start to the year, the summer box office

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