Summer Box Office Posts Gain

By Robert Marich
Sept. 2, 2008 – Both the New York Times and Los Angeles Times weigh in with stories showing box office up slightly for the peak summer period, which is judged – correctly – as a success. Most other businesses are down and so flat-ish box office should be considered good, especially considering the explosion in movie/TV show-laden new media.
Domestic box office in the summer time frame – the first week of May to the end of Labor Day weekend – amounts to about $4.2 billion, up slightly from last summer’s $4.18 billion, according to Media by the Numbers. That 33% slice of the calendar accounts for 40% of cinema dollars.  Factoring in inflation, the summer of 2002 still holds the industry record with $4.63 billion.
Admissions – tickets sold—are down about 3.5% this summer, which means ticket inflation accounts for the gain. That’s fine because that’s how cinema will grow for the foreseeable future.
The biggest hit was Warner Bros. The Dark Knight, as the Batman sequel surpassed expectations. The biggest flops were Warner’s Speed Racer and Paramount’s Love Guru comedy with Mike Myers. The most surprising performance came at 20th Century Fox, which is usually a box office leader but which had a quiet summer.
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