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Hollywood had high hopes for 2012, after the year got off to a fantastic start. The industry was under the belief that this year would be much better than last year. However, final numbers from this past summer might have dampened those hopes. Despite huge record-setting numbers from the Dark Knight Rises and Marvel’s The Avengers, overall box office numbers were down.
On Friday, Box Office.com released its summary of the summer, which it defines as the first weekend in May to Labor Day weekend. During that period in 2011, films grossed a total of $4,405,854,535 at the box office. For that same period in 2012, movies made $4,277,100,000. That’s a decrease of $128 million or a 2.9 percent drop.
Jeff Bock of Exhibitor Relations told USA Today that the decrease in revenue isn’t what Hollywood should really be concerned about. Rather, it’s the shrinking audience. A decade ago, 629 million tickets were sold in the summer, but Exhibitor Relations predicts that just 529 million tickets were sold this summer. So the film industry’s overall increase in revenue isn’t because more people are going to the movies, but because ticket prices continue to skyrocket.
“That's 100 million fewer tickets,” Brock noted. “That's a really troubling number for the industry if you look at it that way, which reflects how the movie business is really doing.”
There were also only 11 films this summer that broke the $100 million ceiling, while 18 did that last summer.
This biggest successes this summer were comic book films, beginning with The Avengers, which made $617.8 million. The film is now the third-highest grossing film in history. The Dark Knight Rises followed with $424.6 million and The Amazing Spider-Man made $258.6 million. Pixar’s Brave ($230.3 million) and Seth MacFarlane’s comedy Ted ($215.1 million) rounded out the Top 5.
In addition to Ted’s surprising success, Steven Soderbergh’s tale of male strippers, Magic Mike was one of the season’s biggest surprises. It finished its run with $113.2 million.
This summer’s biggest bombs include Battleship (just $65.2 million), Rock of Ages ($38.5 million) and That’s My Boy ($36.9 million).
This Labor Day weekend is set up to be one of the worst on record, with The Possession being predicted to need just $14 million to $15 million to come out on top.
“We are definitely ending on a whimper instead of a bang,” Hollywood.com’s Paul Dergarabedian told USA Today about this summer overall. “In the social media era, moviegoers aren't swayed nearly as much by marketing. They're swayed by talk on the Internet, the new water cooler.”
Despite the bad summer, Hollywood still has its strong first quarter to be thankful for. Box Office.com does note that full box office revenue for 2012 is up 3.6 percent over 2011.