Hollywood's Bullshit Summer in Film


No, I'm not referring to the trilogy of terrible third-installments (Shrek 3, Spider-man 3, and Pirates of the Caribbean 3).

The LA Times has been pushing the notion that "Hollywood [is] squarely on pace for a record summer at the box office."

This is misleading in virtually every way–it contradicts the very same LA Times story, which also notes:

By the end of Hollywood's extended summer season, which by tradition runs from early May through Labor Day, industry box-office revenue is likely to reach $4.1 billion, according to research firm Media by Numbers.

Even so, ticket price inflation is one of the big reasons the summer box office will exceed $4 billion for the first time.

Attendance is the strongest in three years but running behind the 2002-2004 period.

This summer will end up with about 600 million tickets sold, Media by Numbers projects, well shy of the record 650 million from summer 2002. That year the original "Spider-Man" and "Star Wars: Episode II" led the way.

That's some record. And, as Bill Wyman of the excellent new blog Hitsville, writes:

In other words, it's not a record, just … hype. But this would be a much less interesting lede:

"It's been a decent summer for Hollywood, but attendance is still down a hefty 7 or 8 percent from the highs earlier this decade."

p.s. There's no "record 650 million from summer 2002," by the way. Movie admissions today are a third or a fourth what they were in the 1940s, when the population was half what it is today. The 650M figure may be the highest since the late 1960s and early 1970s, when movie-going in America reached its nadir.

More on that here.

Nine years ago (count 'em), reason deflated the box office champeen Titanic's "record-setting" numbers. Check it out.

Where have the moviegoers gone? Home, mostly, where we can consume more and more video, film, music, and other forms of creative expression on our schedules, not some mogul's.