The summer of 2014 marks the worst year for the North American box office in nearly two decades. These record low movie sales leave many analysts wondering why over the course of a short year movie ticket sales dropped approximately 15%. The reason behind this gross decline in the North American box office is simple: Americans are sick of the same old.
A quick recap of movies that were released during the summer of 2014 yields very familiar results: another Transformers movie, another Marvel movie, another Spider-man movie. The trend in movies released during the summer of 2014 is painfully obvious. Major movie production companies are sticking to the same tactic of using sequels to do the job of original films. According to the New York Times, “eight sequels took a nose-dive in North America. Ticket sales for Paramount’s “Transformers: Age of Extinction” totaled $243.9 million, a 35 percent decline from results for “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” three years ago. (“Age of Extinction” was nonetheless the summer’s second-biggest film.) “Planes: Fire & Rescue” dropped 38 percent, and “Think Like a Man Too” came in 31 percent lower. Sony’s “Amazing Spider-Man 2” was down 25 percent.” The derisory ticket sales yielded by the summer of 2014 will either act as a wake up call for major film producers, or lead to the rise of smaller production companies. The film industry is now faced with the decision to either adapt or accept mediocre and rapidly declining ticket sales.
Analysts argue that for the box office to return to record breaking sales, major changes must be made. Hollywood must find a new niche that will satisfy audiences, therefore stimulating ticket sales. In the past few years, Hollywood profited off of the novelty of 3D movies and more recently IMAX, neither of which have proved effective in preventing the downslide of ticket sales. Since 2008, 3D ticket sales have been steadily declining, reaching an all-time low in 2014. It’s time for Hollywood to leave the sinking ship of sequels and 3D and search for something new.
The challenges the film industry face will eliminate the majority of small production companies, leaving only larger more established producers such as Pixar. This decline in diversity among producers could lead to an inevitable and potentially irreversible toll on American cinema. Although Hollywood has not yet lost its creative edge, the big name producers have to change their strategy to revert this financial decline and prevent a future decline in diversity and creativity.