Nolte: Box Office Crumbles for Second Quarter In a Row

Clouds are shown over the iconic Hollywood sign Thursday Feb. 27, 2014 in Los Angeles. Southern California got an overnight soaking Thursday as residents prepared for a second, more powerful storm that could bring heavier rain and prompted fears of mudslides in communities along fire-scarred foothills. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
AP Photo/Nick Ut

Even the Avengers failed to save the domestic box office, which dove nearly four percent in the second quarter of 2019 when compared to last year.

After a disastrous first quarter collapse of 16 percent, the second quarter’s 3.8 percent decline might come as a relief, but it was not supposed to be this way.

What’s more, only to one studio, Disney, is responsible for all five of the top five blockbusters of the second quarter: Avengers: Endgame $853 million), Captain Marvel ($427 million), Toy Story 4 ($354 million), Spider-Man: Far From Home ($294 million), and Aladdin ($334 million).

After that, the closest competition is the horror film Us, which grossed $175 million, or more than a $100 million less than the lowest grossing Disney title listed above, which is Spider-Man: Far From Home, which is still in theatres making good money.

To put things in an even starker perspective, thus far, this year Disney has grossed $2.48 billion at the domestic box office. Its closest competition is Warner Bros. at $894 million.

In worse news, fewer people are going to the movies — 2.5 percent fewer in the second quarter, which is better than 15 percent attendance drop during quarter one.

Overall, combining both quarters, the domestic box office is down 9.1 percent compared to last year, down one percent compared to 2017, down two percent compared to 2017, and less than a half percent ahead of 2015.

Yep, things are bad.

Even the sycophant trades are finally conceding that 2019 is unlikely to be the record year we had been told was a sure thing.

“It’s unlikely that 2019 will match last year’s record for North American box office grosses,” writes Variety.

Gee, ya think?

There is still half a year left, a year that will see the release of at least six guaranteed blockbusters, including this weekend’s Lion King, along with the upcoming It: Chapter 2, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Frozen 2, Jumanji: The Next Level, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The only problem is that four of those six titles hail from — you guessed it — Disney.

Possible blockbusters include Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, Terminator: Dark Fate, Joker, and Ad Astra.  

A lot also rides on a number of these titles.

If Terminator flops, that franchise is probably dead forever. This is the FOURTH attempt to reboot this series after three previous failures. They brought James Cameron back (as an adviser/producer), the brought Linda Hamilton back, who never should have been missing. If this doesn’t work, nothing’s gunna work.

Hobbs & Shaw will test whether the Fast & Furious franchise can expand beyond the mother ship. Reportedly, Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel hate each other, so they gave Johnson his own spin-off.

After Solo tanked and Last Jedi under-performed, the Rise of Skywalker will be closely watched. Kathleen Kennedy, the leader behind these reboots, has so alienated the fan base with her obnoxious politics, Skywalker could easily disappoint. It won’t flop. There’s no chance of that. But what should be an Avengers type of event, the final chapter of the 40 year Skywalker saga… Well, let’s just say there are a lot of angry fan boys out there ready to send a message by staying home.

Either way, what happens to Star Wars afterward with the Skywalker saga over, with no more Han, Luke, or Leia to lean on? Can a franchise driven by social justice politics as opposed to a sense of wonder and adventure survive?

Solo bombing at the box office is the most significant event to hit the movie business in decades. The surest thing in the history of sure things is no longer a sure thing.

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.

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