Studios talk about box office slump

Yahoo.com talks about the box office slump and how its not really as bad as the media is making it out to be.

Here is the article:

Talk of movie slump dominates Hollywood’s summer

By Bob Tourtellotte
Thu Aug 11, 3:23 PM ET

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A bumpy ride at the summer box office and signs that booming DVD sales may be slowing have Hollywood studios looking for new ways to win fans as the movie industry faces increased competition.

But studio executives say the key to recapturing audiences is to make better films — an age-old answer in Hollywood — and industry watchers are divided over whether film and DVD markets truly are weakening.

“If you believe all the press reports, we are in the middle of Armageddon with box office erosion,” said Peter Chernin, president of News Corp., parent of the Twentieth Century Fox film studio. “I believe that is a definite overreaction.”

Movie studios and theater owners have had a rough summer, which is a problem since the season makes up nearly 40 percent of annual movie ticket sales.

By September’s Labor Day holiday in the United States, the box office is expected to be down 7 to 12 percent after films such like “The Island” and “Stealth” failed to connect with audiences.

Tracking service Exhibitor Relations sees ticket sales at around $3.7 billion for the season, about 7 percent below 2004’s $3.96 billion, marking the worst summer since 2001.

Admissions, or the number of people attending movies, are seen down 9 percent at 578 million for the worst year since 1999.

But Exhibitor Relations President Paul Dergarabedian admitted his figures were optimistic. By contrast, Boxofficemojo President Brandon Gray figures summer box office will be off 12 percent.

Others are quick to point out that a strong line-up of fall movies could still rescue the year. “I think fall is going to be exceptional this year, financially,” said David Poland at the Web site, Movie City News, citing upcoming films like November’s ” Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.”

MAKE BETTER MOVIES

Industry watchers cite many reasons for weaker ticket sales — competition from video games, the narrowing of time between a film playing in theaters and on DVD, and Internet piracy — but the one factor that seems to outweigh all the others is that some of this summer’s films lack a fresh appeal.

“We can all try to blame the closing window of DVD and all that, but you see the movies that are really distinctive still going out and doing really well,” said Mark Gill, president of Warner Independent Pictures, which released surprise summer hit nature documentary “March of the Penguins.”

Films like “Batman Begins” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” were often mentioned as two films that won fans with fresh takes on tried-and-true Hollywood formulas.

Roger Birnbaum, co-founder of Spyglass Entertainment which had modest spring success, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” said some summer releases were “a little tired.”

Birnbaum said Spyglass, which is behind fall films “Memoirs of a Geisha” and “The Legend of Zorro,” will not change the way it develops or makes movies just because of one bumpy summer.

In recent years, difficult times at box offices would be offset by the booming DVD market where studios would recoup their investment and profit from films. But there are signs that DVD growth may be slowing, too.

Earlier this week, Bob Iger, the incoming chief executive of The Walt Disney Co, said industrywide DVD sales were about the same this summer as last. But because the number of homes owning DVD players had risen, the average number of sales per home had fallen, he said.

“One thing is clear, consumer choice is increasing, making quality … content more important than ever,” he said.

I had a feeling the media was making the slump out to worse than it actually is. I mean it isn’t a great summer for films but its not terrible. And the same thing has happened before where the studios have made a lot of their money back from the fall.

Hopefully things look up from the lackluster sales this summer.

–Socram

PS I’m sure its mostly my fault since I haven’t been seeing too many movies recently.

25 thoughts on “Studios talk about box office slump

  1. Pfft, that’s what I don’t like about the movie and music industries…they gouge you, then sue their best customers, then complain they’re not making any money when they’re really fudging their own numbers.

    Now that people can make films and albums for very little money, and conjure all of the hype online, they executives have become somewhat of a dinosaur and will fight to the death to keep their unneeded jobs.

    Too bad it’s not about the art anymore.

  2. Its all about the money and the more money they can get, and now that its become a back yard job (anyone can shoot a movie in their back yard) and make money its no longer a big deal. In fact some of the most money making movies in the last couple of years have been made for pennies. Blair Witch Project and Napoleon Dynamite are both examples of this.

  3. Exactly. Studios no longer are the only ones with cameras capable of making a movie. A big budget is no longer needed, the tools have gone down in price. And with the internet, we’ve got a medium for advertising the movie and even distributing it. These days, people generally have an acceptable setup in their house for watching movies, even if it isn’t surround sound (though some people do have that too).

    I mean, if the studios only made good movies, they could at least have one advantage: quality. But a lot of crap comes out of Hollywood, so I don’t think they’d even have that advantage.

    Not saying the studios are going to die, but they’ve got to change if they want to survive. Kind of like the music industry. The more they dig their heels in, the more it’s going to hurt on the way down.

  4. I think if anything this summer will show hollywood something. People are not going to go to the theater for just anything. They want quality, they want their money’s worth and if they aren’t going to get it they aren’t going to go to the theater and spend ten bucks on the ticket and twenty bucks on the shitty popcorn.

    Quality doesn’t always come from a studio anymore, which is why a lot of people only go to the studio for the distribution and go to outside sources to gett the funding (which is what I’m going to try and do for my film that I’m working on–and don’t worry instead of you waiting till you can download it, I promise I’ll give you a free ticket to go see it).

    I think the movie landscape will change we’ll actually see some quality films next year (summer and beyond) and make sure that the studio execs make better decisions.

    Booya!

  5. I hope they focus on quality, that’s their biggest advantage.

    Marcos, I’d only pirate your movie so more people could see it. But hey, a free ticket would be cool too. 🙂

    Hey, I found Ethan Ross, too…was cleaning up last night, moving boxes and whatnot. I think I might go looking for some popcorn tonight.

  6. cool, you do that and then get back to me and tell me if you liked it. Be harsh if you have too, I don’t care. I take all sorts of critism. No hard feelings you know. What makes it better doesn’t hurt me.

  7. I hated it. It was crap.

    Just kidding. 🙂

    Alright, I forgot to see it tonight. Damn. I’m putting the DVD next to the computer so I don’t forget.

    Watching this tomorrow, I swear. Like, with popcorn and stuff.

  8. that’s cool. no problem, no rush really. Just letting you know I’m re-writing it also. Do you want to have a small part in it?

  9. Will be nice to see both versions. Now that you’ve moved on a bit, would be cool to see what you can do with your previous work.

    As for the part…can I get back to you on that? I might be camera shy, jeez I don’t know.

  10. don’t loose sleep or anything, I’m not making it for a bit. Maybe you can be a patron in a resturant or something like that.

  11. Alright. That might be okay then.

    What am I saying, if I am able to do it, it would be an honor. Can I have my own MySpace fan club too? 😀

  12. Hmmmmm…..let’s wait until I’m famous, walking down the red carpet at the premiere with my top hat and cane. 🙂

  13. HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA

    ohh man, I don’t know why but I’m in such a silly mood right now and I almost laughed out loud…I had to stop myself or I would have woken up melissa

  14. Hahaha, that’s fine. This whole thing is making me laugh out loud too, so glad I don’t have a roommate at the moment.

  15. hehehehe

    well just keep doing what your doing, my spies have been taking pictures of you all summer…just you wait!

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