With movie attendance dropping to a 24-year low, there was no good news for the film business in 2017. For two decades, the movie business has not been a growth business. This year might be remembered as the year the film business finally began to contract.
Hollywood will try and hide behind the fact that this is the third year in a row that ticket sales have grossed $11 billion in North America, but that is all glitter. To begin with, ticket prices had to increase by nearly 4 percent in just one year to reach that number.
Moreover, 20 years ago the average production cost of a movie was $29 million. In 2002, that jumped to $59 million. Today, marketing alone — this does not even include production — can hit $200 million. On top of that you have the home video business barely making a dent. For example, in 2017, home video sales only added $76 million to the bottom line of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
In a country with nearly 130 million households, only around 5 million wanted to own a new Star Wars movie, and Rogue One was one of 2017’s biggest home video sellers.
Even 2017’s biggest hit, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, does not so look so hot if you look close enough. As of Tuesday, Last Jedi was pacing $270 million behind The Force Awakens, a number that will only get worse in the coming days. By Friday, Last Jedi will almost certainly be pacing behind Jurassic World. What was a phenomenon is now just another blockbuster.
Overseas, Last Jedi straight-up bombed in China, the second biggest market after North America, and thus far has only grossed $1.27 billion worldwide. The Force Awakens topped $2 billion worldwide.
Hollywood’s chickens might finally be coming home to roost in a way that even the biggest and most time-honored brands can no longer overcome. Decades of snobbish behavior, the unrelenting demeaning of Christians and Middle America, unbelievably nasty political divisiveness, and now an industry-wide sex scandal that has exposed all of them as either predators or hypocritical enablers.
Burn, Hollywood, burn.