Hollywood finally had a decent weekend [reg. req.]: Thanks to Fantastic Four, receipts were higher this summer than for the same 2004 weekend for the first time in 19 weeks. But nobody's celebrating; the difference was tiny, and the money issue is masking a big attendance shortfall. Admissions are down 10.4 percent compared to last year, and even movies with good reviews (Murderball, Dark Water) aren't drawing.
The mystery Hollywood is pondering is whether these numbers reflect a succession of mostly uninteresting movies, which is fixable, or whether they reflect a shift in leisure-time use driven by new technology. Compounding the mystery is the case of the Shrek 2 DVD [more reg.]. Shrek 2 is reportedly the most profitable animated film ever made, and its producer, DreamWorks, expected DVD sales to match that achievement. While the DVD sold well, it didn't sell nearly as well as DreamWorks expected, one of a number of factors that have depressed the company's stock.
"The [DVD] market is fast approaching maturity," a trade publisher tells the LAT. "People who've bought DVD players have got a pretty big library and maybe they're being more selective."
Maybe they are. Or maybe they're distracted by video-game sex.