Sunday, January 25, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

A summer without swagger for Hollywood

By
From page A7 | July 10, 2014 |

NEW YORK — Hollywood’s summer at the box office isn’t just missing nearly 20 percent of last summer’s revenue. It’s lacking swagger.

Summer is the season for mega-budget, chest-thumping, globe-trotting monstrosities – films so big they lure droves of Americans with heavily promoted promises of shock and awe. But this season’s blockbuster output has been curiously low on the summer’s stock in trade: bigness.

Two months into the summer, there haven’t been any $300 million grossers at the North American box office. The only movie to surpass $100 million in its weekend debut was “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” and it did so by such a small smidge that some box-office watchers claimed it was artificially inflated. The Fourth of July, the customary launching pad for some of Hollywood’s flashiest fireworks, was the worst July 4th weekend in at least a decade.

“The first half of the year was extremely strong, as was last year,” says Dan Fellman, domestic distribution head for Warner Bros. “Then all of a sudden, it turned the other way.”

Since kicking off in early May, the summer box office has totaled $2.25 billion, a 19.3 percent downturn from last summer. Propelled by hit sequels like “Iron Man 3″ and “Despicable Me 2,” last year was a record summer at the box office, despite a series of high-profile bombs such as “The Lone Ranger,” ”White House Down” and “After Earth.”

But when you bet big, you can also win big. While Hollywood’s summer has featured no shortage of major blockbusters, it has in some ways been more content to hit a double than swing for the fences. This summer’s box office has been dragged down not so much by flops than by a slate of more modestly ambitious movies.

The only major new July 4 release was the Melissa McCarthy comedy “Tammy,” made for just $20 million. (It debuted with a lackluster $21.6 million.) One of the season’s biggest sensations, “The Fault in Our Stars,” was a niche-based hit that appealed to the ardent fans of John Green’s young adult book. A whopping 82 percent of its $48 million opening weekend was female. The ensemble comedy sequel “Think Like a Man Too” topped a weekend in June with $29.2 million despite little crossover appeal.

These movies will likely all be quite profitable for their respective studios due to their cost-conscious budgets. But they aren’t superhero-sized hits.

Many of the blockbusters have seen revenue quickly tumble after the first weekend or two. Paramount’s “Transformers” – the biggest movie of the summer – nosedived 63 percent in its second weekend. “X-Men: Days of Future Past” opened big with $90.8 million but slid 64 percent the following week. “Godzilla” bowed with $93.2 million only to drop 67 percent.

Large declines aren’t uncommon in the blockbuster business, where so much of the marketing push is for opening weekend. But such steep fall-offs contribute to anxiety over the ability of movies to capture and hold the attention of moviegoers in an age of so many other entertainment options. (Cable television and digital media are the villains to this mindset, although the World Cup is also a box-office stealing boogie man this summer.)

DreamWorks’ “How to Train Your Dragon 2″ was set up to be the big animated option of the summer following the popularity of the Oscar-nominated original. But it has seen an oddly muted reception, thus far totaling $141.7 million domestically, well below the $368 million domestic haul of “Despicable Me 2.” DreamWorks Animation head Jeffrey Katzenberg has been cynical about the movie industry of late, calling it “not a growth business.”

Instead, the studios have been banking on their biggest growth coming from overseas markets. Michael Bay’s “Transformers” for Paramount emphasized China more than North America. It launched its global assault from there and it was rewarded by becoming China’s all-time top box-office film, with $223 million in just two weeks.

Overseas, star power and spectacle often go further than in North America. Angelina Jolie and Disney’s “Maleficent” has brought in $416 million internationally, while Tom Cruise and “Edge of Tomorrow” has nearly tripled its domestic total ($91.4 million) abroad ($248.6 million).

“We’re in a global business today and if we lose a little ground in the domestic marketplace, we can pick it up internationally,” says Fellman.

But overseas business is little use for North American theaters. Fellman notes it’s the exhibitors “that are really suffering this summer.”

Yet because of a strong spring led by “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “The Lego Movie” (the year’s top two domestic releases at this point), the total 2014 box office is down only 3.9 percent from last year.

“We have ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ on the way and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,'” says Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office tracker Rentrak. “Luckily there are what I think will be solid performers on the way. The summer’s not over.”

But, really, most of the optimism now has shifted to 2015, when Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” may become the highest grossing movie of all time. There’s a general sentiment that the summer of 2014 is simply an in-between summer.

“Ultimately,” says Dergarabedian, “it does come down to the product.”

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Solano GOP welcomes address from King niece

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A1, 6 Comments | Gallery

 
Nursing students take next step in higher education

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1 | Gallery

Friend seeks justice for 1982 Vacaville homicide victim

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1, 12 Comments | Gallery

 
 
Wine, chocolate pairing comes to downtown Benicia

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Local gas prices dip below $2 a gallon

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Biggest Little Car Show returns for 31st year

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Solano Safety Net Summit set in Fairfield downtown

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3

 
Be heart smart all year long

By Gerald Bourne, MD | From Page: C4

Kindergarten Readiness Roundup enlightens parents

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Weather for Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

Crews respond to residential fire

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
CHP seeks witnesses to I-80 crash

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A5, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
City seeks input on downtown plan

By Brian Miller and Karl Dumas | From Page: B7, 2 Comments

Fairfield police log: Jan. 23, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Suisun City police log: Jan. 23, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Privatized housing tenants to feel BAH pinch

By Tom Philpott | From Page: B10

 
Suisun City police log: Jan. 22, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Airman with Fairfield tie completes training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B10

 
.

US / World

Abe ‘speechless’ after video claims IS hostage dead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
It’s a hoot hanging out with owls at this Tokyo cafe

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2 | Gallery

Abortion opponents express renewed hope at SF rally

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
School: Sea otter conceived in wild is 1st born in captivity

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Man searching by plane finds body of missing son off Mexico

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Kia recalling nearly 87,000 Fortes because of fire risk

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Elon Musk’s SpaceX drops lawsuit against Air Force

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
California’s public-worker payroll increased post-recession

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Avian flu confirmed in commercial turkey flock in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Boy, 13, arrested in fatal stabbing near Los Angeles school

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Company seeks rights to names of iconic Grand Canyon lodges

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

GOP presses state bills limiting gay rights before ruling

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
1st attempt to lift fuselage of crashed AirAsia plane fails

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Tens of thousands protest after president resigns in Yemen

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Thousands march against socialist president in Venezuela

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Expert says King Tut mask can be restored after epoxy used

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Obama to cut short India trip to pay call on Saudi Arabia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Rockets kill 30 in Ukrainian city as rebels launch offensive

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
.

Opinion

 
Plea for return of stolen statue

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Not all police are bad

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 10 Comments

Editorial Cartoon: Jan. 25, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sound off for Jan. 25, 2015

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
.

Living

Today in History: Jan. 25, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Jan. 25, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

The gift of a new beginning

By Dalia Adams | From Page: C3, 1 Comment

 
Mennonite group to build houses in tornado-damaged town

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

Yearbooks bring Jewish, Catholic groups together

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Horoscope Jan. 25, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

My dad can’t get over the bad first impression of my boyfriend

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

 
.

Entertainment

Mariel Hemingway working on memoir and young adult novel

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
Jonathan Franzen to appear at BookExpo America

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

25 years of trying to get it right

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
Sharapova, Bouchard into quarterfinals at Australian Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

2 Williams sisters, 2 Madisons into 4th round at Aussie Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Hall of Famer Ernie Banks mourned in sports world and beyond

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Thompson’s record 3rd quarter leads Warriors past Kings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Belichick on deflated balls: ‘We try to do everything right’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1, 5 Comments | Gallery

Carroll, Belichick excelled after failing the first time

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Luck-led Team Carter vs. Romo-lead Team Irvin in Pro Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

AP Explains: The Pro Bowl, unlike any other All-Star game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Abdullah leads North to 34-13 win over South in Senior Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

As Brady, Gronk know, pre-Super Bowl injury talk always big

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
AP Interview: Selig says MLB could expand internationally

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Could Super Bowl be Lynch’s finale in Seattle?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Sherman, Seahawks take the trash-talk lead over Patriots

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki’s surgically repaired hip on mend

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Buckeyes celebrate their title at Ohio Stadium

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Jimenez, Mediate share lead in Champions Tour opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Grace wins Qatar Masters by 1 stroke

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Matt Kuchar stumbles in, gives away Humana Challenge lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
For streaking Atlanta Hawks, it’s all about the balance

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Upstart wins $400,000 Holy Bull at Gulfstream

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Mischief Clem wins California Cup Derby in photo finish

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

World Cup of Hockey tournament set for 2016

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Hometown report: Bowling

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B3

Ashley Wagner wins 3rd US title with record-setting scores

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Weber’s 108.5-mph blast gives him hardest shot at NHL skills

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Sports on TV for Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B5

 
This date in sports history for Jan. 25, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Business

Anheuser-Busch to buy craft beer company

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Booking a trip to the ER on your smartphone? It’s a breeze

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Higher standard deduction, other breaks for older taxpayers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Tiny Cokes: Less guilt means more money for makers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Recalls this week: cleaners, fitness machines

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
First Look: Apple’s HomeKit could help smarten up your home

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

.

Obituaries

Sheila Margery (Smith) Luxenberg

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics