The summer of 2014 was one of the least competitive in more than a decade, with only 12 “blockbusters” being released in the United States. More notably, this represents a full 33% drop from a year ago. In this context, is it really so surprising that total receipts plummeted year-over-year?
The reduction is explained by key – and largely unintended – omissions:
2014 was the first summer since 2006 without a Pixar film, after creative troubles drove the studio to move The Good Dinosaur from a May 2014 release date to late 2015. Over the past three years, Pixar’s films have sold an average of 28M tickets – which would have represented more than 10% of the summer box office in 2014
The accidental death of Paul Walker also led Universal to delay Fast & Furious 7 from July 2014 to April 2015. Given last summer’s entry, Fast & Furious 6, represented a franchise high in both critical and financial terms ($240M, or ~30M tickets), the delay was bound to reduce year over year revenue
Less than two months before its release, Jupiter Ascending, a $175M picture starring Channing Tatum & Mila Kunis and created by the Wachowski siblings, was pushed from its July 18th release date to February 2015. As the 11th hour postponement and revised date suggest, the film was unlikely to be a big draw at the box office – in fact Jupiter Ascending had already been pegged as the summer’s biggest bomb. The Wachowski’s last film (also a sci-fi epic), Cloud Atlas, didn’t even clear 30M domestically. However, Jupiter Ascending could still have ended up a sleeper hit – especially given the relatively uncompetitive season. We shall see.
More context from Liam Boluk here. The movies business does face many challenges, but looking at the absolute theatrical revenue decline from 2013 to 2014 and proclaiming the end of the film business without delving into the details is just intellectual laziness.
Who would've thought Guardians of the Galaxy would be one of the movie business saviors this summer? I remember seeing the trailer and thinking we'd finally passed the comic book movie adaptation peak. I still can't bring myself to see it.
All eyes turn towards Interstellar November 5. At the New York Film Festival, Paul Thomas Anderson, who has seen Interstellar, was asked about it. He said it was “fucking incredible” and recommended, “Brave the line. See it in IMAX.”
I will Paul. I will.