Hollywood is suffering one of the worst domestic March downturns in its recent history, according to the latest comScore box office figures.
By Sunday, the month’s total box office intake was approximately $722.5 million, a 27 percent fall compared to the same period last year, with releases such as Pacific Rim Uprising and Tomb Raider failing to bring in audiences relative to their large budgets.
The month’s figures have also been significantly boosted by carryover revenue from February’s Black Panther, which has generated in $200 million this month alone and since become the highest grossing superhero film in history.
Nevertheless, the revenue makes grim viewing for the industry compared with 2017, wherein the same period the industry grossed $997.3 million and $1.2 billion through the entire month, driven by successes such as Beauty and the Beast, Logan, and The Boss Baby, the Hollywood Reporter notes.
The last hope for box office bounce back lies with director Steven Spielberg’s $175 million science fiction film Ready Player One, which opens Thursday.
“A reliance on one title — namely Black Panther — to do the heavy lifting while a host of newcomers over the past few weeks have faltered to one degree or another has resulted in a deficit situation that will take some time to reverse,” box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian of comScore told The Hollywood Reporter.
“What should have been March madness in the wake of a massive performance by Black Panther turned to box office sadness,” he continued. “March has been a disappointing month that wasn’t bolstered by a solid lineup of films that could compare to last year’s stellar first-quarter slate.”
The downturn follows the overall decline in theater attendance throughout 2017, with overall moviegoing reaching a 22-year low.