Hollywood movie studios closed out the summer with a dismal Labor Day weekend — the first in a generation without a big, new movie opening in wide release.
The credits have rolled on Hollywood’s worst summer in a decade, closing out with a dismal Labor Day weekend that was the first in a generation without a big, new movie opening in wide release.
The summer’s $3.8 billion in box-office sales were down almost 15 percent from a year earlier and the first time the season’s tally has dipped below the $4 billion mark since 2006, according to Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at researcher comScore.
The last time Hollywood studios didn’t have a big Labor Day release was 1992, and the absence of a new film this weekend put a capstone on what went wrong during the usually prosperous summer season. Studios spread their big-budget pictures across the calendar this year, and much of what they did offer from May to September — new installments of continuing serials — disappointed fans.
“Some comedies didn’t perform as expected and there were some great movies that didn’t resonate here, although they did better internationally,” Dergarabedian said Sunday. “All it takes are one or two movies to harm the bottom line in a profound way.”
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The domestic box office is down 5.8 percent year to date compared with a year earlier, according to comScore.
The dismal summer results are a sign that film studios are making big bets on a few expensive franchise films and audiences are rejecting other genres like comedies.
“Film performance is condensing into fewer, bigger hits, which we expect to result in diminished profits and higher profit volatility,” said Doug Creutz, a media analyst at Cowen & Co.
Just five movies — including Warner Bros.’ “Wonder Woman,” and Walt Disney Co.’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” — drew more than $250 million at the domestic box office this summer. Nine of the summer’s top 12 movies were action and animation films, Creutz said.
Several comedies, like “Baywatch,” “bombed hard,” he said. “The degree to which audiences rejected other genres this summer still surprised us.”
“The Hitman’s Bodyguard” from Lions Gate Entertainment led the box office for a third time last weekend, generating $13.3 million through Monday, according to comScore. It was forecast to generate $7.1…