I absolutely love working here at Cinema Blend, but I will fully admit that the job is hard during this portion of the calendar. Why? Because my job is to talk about movies, and it’s hard to do that when nobody out there is interested in talking about movies. If you’ve been paying attention to recent box office numbers than you might have noticed that people have basically stopped going to their local theater.
This summer has been huge for the movie industry, with titans like The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises raking in hundreds of millions of dollars, but the last few weeks have been dismal. This past weekend, the top film was not only one that was in its second week of release, but one that couldn’t even make more than $10 million. All told, the total gross for the top 12 movies at the box office was a pathetic $51.9 million (remember that earlier this summer a title was able to make $207 million in its first weekend by itself) and it was the slowest weekend since September 2008. The last weeks of August weren’t much better, with Hollywood making only an $82.8 million gross from August 24-26, and only $109.4 million from August 31-September 3.
This box office totals for this past weekend were a full 20% lower than the same weekend in 2011, when Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion was at least able to pull in a respectable $22 million at the box office. But what exactly is it that’s keeping you away from the theaters this year?
Stressed getting the kids to school?
This is obviously the biggest change going on this time of the year and it has been known to have an impact on box office numbers. You could still relax as a family unit during the Labor Day weekend, but once school starts everything goes on lockdown and trips to the cinema are replaced with studying until bedtime. While this obviously affects kids, it also keeps parents at home as they have to make sure the kids are actually doing the work. Obviously not everyone has children, but it obviously has an effect.
Need a break from movies after a busy 2012?
The box office may be slow now, but the truth is that Hollywood has been having a terrific year so far. As mentioned, both The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises blew up huge during the summer months, but you can’t forget the record breaking numbers of The Hunger Games from this past March or the smaller, surprising hits like Safe House, The Lorax, Think Like A Man, Ted, and Madagascar 3. American audiences have been going to the movies in droves so far in 2012, so perhaps they just need a tiny break before the start of Oscar season.