Wednesday, June 06, 2018
Deadline: PwC report says box office is stable but warns that failures will be more conspicuous, without touching on just how many movies are getting made
The number of releases in U.S. cinemas is continuing to increase. The major studios have pared their film slates (with the number wide releases declining 27% from 2006 to 2016), but the tech giants are filling in the gaps, with Netflix and Amazon investing heavily in production.
“In 2016, 736 films were released in US cinemas – more than double the number in 2000,” PwC notes.
PwC predicts that box office revenue will continue to rely on a small number of big-budget studio “tentpole” and franchise movies, with the most successful accounting for a huge portion of overall receipts. It only takes one or two of these blockbusters to (say, Star Wars: The Last Jedi or, more recently, Black Panther) to keep revenue stable. [emphasis added]
“A slow summer and an autumn box office slump during 2017 had a marginal effect on overall profits once the end-of-year surge from The Last Jedi was factored in,” PwC notes.
The market is becoming increasingly polarized, the firm notes, and admissions are falling.
“While there are more films grossing more than $1 billion worldwide (including four in 2017 alone), the failures are becoming more noticeable too,” PwC observes. Call it the Solo effect.
Global marketing costs for big event movies remain sizable — despite the savings of targeting advertising though social media platforms. PcW reports that budgets are estimated to be at least $150 million, and often double that. Even though studios are embracing non-traditional channels, with the second trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens attracting more than 30 million views, that hasn’t cut overall marketing costs.
“In a digital, multichannel environment, the audience is fragmented and harder (and more expensive) to reach,” PwC notes.
The possibility that the market is simply saturated didn't come up in the article at all. What if first world nations are full of people who are just making too many movies and things are getting to the point where supply has exceeded demand?
There's been some talk about how there's an education bubble in the last decade, there may also be a feature film bubble, too. I think I saw an interview with Kirsten Dunst, no less, who said she'd transitioned to small screen work and that while there were more rigorous filming schedules she liked that the work was also more stable. I think it was in The Guardian a few years back.