No matter how you cut it, no month has seen such a falloff year-to-year since January 2011, when the market dropped 29 percent. That was due entirely to the 2010 release of the mammoth Avatar. Yet, news like this isn't exactly a surprise, considering that few films last month peaked our interest, as we lamented in our July Preview post. Apparently, audiences felt the same, staying away in droves almost as soon as the July 4th weekend began.
Transformers: Age of Extinction was released, experiencing a massive $100m opening in June but quickly falling off after that. Hollywood made a serious mistake in not scheduling other films around it, which left audiences with little new watch once the negative buzz surrounded the picture became bigger than anticipation in seeing it. Given such a situation, it wasn't hard to understand why such a disappointment like Tammy thrived initially as well, eventually raking in a decent haul of $80m. That's down from her 2013 comedies, but enough to justify Hollywood's confidence in her. Under any other month, the film probably would have disappeared soon after release.
Other films - like Deliver Us From Evil and Earth to Echo - couldn't find audiences, and they quickly disappeared to the back burner. As the last week of the month arrived, business was down a whopping 42 percent year-to-year. Such an uphill battle started back in June proved to be too much to handle.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was July's winner, taking in $180.6 million in just three weeks. It outperformed Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and made the follow-up one of the biggest hits of the Summer. Lucy also performed quite well, taking in $61.3m with just two weeks under its belt. While it could make $100m by the end of its run, it's likely to have a rough time of it as opinion of the Sci-Fi release hasn't exactly been good. Finally, The Purge: Anarchy grossed $57.4m through the smae period, guarnanteeing it will make more than its predecessor ($64.5m).
But this market needs not to rely on one or two successes, but must instead balance its take so the entire market is healthy. That philosophy wasn't employed in July, and Hollywood paid dearly for it. As Age of Extinction took in $100m lower than its predecessor, and Planes: Fire & Rescue also took in far less than the original, with just $41.2 million in sales - as a matter of comparison, Planes earned $90.3m during its run. While we really liked Hercules, it took in just $41.6 million in its opening week, ensuring that it will probably miss the $100m mark.
Sex Tape ($30.4m) and the aforementioned Earth to Echo ($36.5m) and Deliver Us From Evil ($30.3m) and you can see why July was such a bloodbath.
While Guardians of the Galaxy is doing amazingly - estimates are placing it as the highest August release ever as we go to post - there is very little else which seems to be generating the needed buzz to keep people coming back once they've see the film. In fact, they've mostly stayed away all Summer, with numbers suggesting a drop of 19 percent year-over-year. Even with Guardians's massive debut, estimates suggest that Summer 2014 will be the lowest since 2006, and year-to-date numbers down seven percent.
Discuss this story with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125. Read more...