Much like the phases of the sun and the moon, the box office has its highs and lows. While 2015 has been a hell of a year for record breaking and studio profits, it looks like the downturn isn't too far off – as the market is preparing for a drop in 2016.
Variety reported that Morgan Stanley predicts 2015 as being the first year to top 2013's windfall of about $11 billion at the box office, especially with The Hunger Games: Mockingay Part 2 and Star Wars: The Force Awakens waiting in the wings. However, that same report also warned that the box office for 2016 could fall as much as 5% - which would put it in the same company as 2014's dismal 5.2% drop. So why is the market looking like it's about to fall faster than Gwen Stacy down a ski slope?
Quite simply, the market doesn't look to be bringing as many grade A titles as 2015 did. After a quick scan of 2016's current list of up and coming titles, we'd have to agree with the folks at Morgan Stanley, as there's very few titles we're truly amped over. Surely Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice and Captain America: Civil War are big ticket titles that'll bring the thunder, and the new Ghostbusters reboot is going to at least draw enough of a crowd to spark an all out flame war on the internet. But besides those titles, what does the future look like for Hollywood's cash cow?
On the more positive side of the spectrum, the Harry Potter prequel / spinoff, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them is going to hit theaters during the traditional Potter friendly sweet spot of late November. Also, Finding Dory, The Secret Life of Pets and Ice Age: Collision Course are all present and accounted for when it comes to entertaining the kiddies – and you can bet each of those will be presented in the obligatory 3D format. And, of course, X-Men: Apocalypse is upon us, bringing the Bryan Singer incarnation of the series to its close. Yet for as many possible blockbusters that are on the slate for 2016, there are still a fair share of possible flops that could sink the box office momentum next year will strive to attain.
For instance, after a slightly problematic start to production, London Has Fallen was moved from its original release date in this month to next March. This doesn't exactly fare well for a sequel that was questionable to begin with, with the move already casting a dark cloud over the film's box office profile. But even that film's problems look like minor hiccups when compared to the slights that David Yates' Tarzan has been suffering, if recent reports are correct. With a possibly problematic production in the offing, Warner Bros. just might find a flop greater than Pan.
Ultimately, the fate of the 2016 box office is going to come down to the audiences and their fickle tastes. While we've tried to predict possible hits and misses for next year's market, it's with a huge shaker of salt at our sides. You never really know what the next big hit or flop will be, as films like War Room and Tomorrowland both proved, respectively. For now, all we can really do is look to see how strong of a close 2015 brings, and look forward to those films that 2016 has in store for us all.