Last year Hollywood celebrated its biggest SUMMER DOMESTIC BOX at $4.8 B+! 15 flicks made over $100 M as 6 receipted over $200 M & the GLOBAL BOX “rang up” $6.5B in sales! It was a great summer for Hollywood. The momentum continued into the HOLIDAY MOVIE SEASON as multiple award winners were produced. The result being the highest rated Oscars telecast in 10 yrs. Unfortunately, what goes UP often comes DOWN, (like this SUMMER’S BOX OFFICE DOWN, DOWN, DOWN!)

With Labor Day in our sights and the SUMMER DOMESTIC BOX closing, we count $1.2 B± less than last summer. Let us repeat ONE BILLION less than ‘13. The TOP 25 summer flicks of ’14 AVGed $126.9 M at the DOM BOX. Last summer they AVGed $151.4 M. That’s a diff of $24.5 M per movie. (When we multiply that by 25 we get an astounding diff of minus $612.5 M!) What went wrong this summer? The TOP 25 was fairly comparable to ’13. The SUMMER BOX of ’14 actually had more flicks cross the $200 M mark (7 in ’14, vs. 6 in ’13) however, in ‘13 4 films revenued more than $250 M; 2 did above $350 M & 1 made $400 M+. In ’14 there was ONLY 1 (Guardians) film over $250 M. Still, that’s NOT where we think the summer of ’14 went wrong. It happened at the bottom of the TOP 25 list. Every film on the 2013 list made at least $60 M at the DOM BOX. As of now, 7 flims from this summer haven’t seen $60 M(Ironman & Superman shined last summer & had a great supporting TOP 25 while Godzilla & Spidey have been “hanging around” this summer with very, very, very little support).

There is talk of the FRGN BOX being the “summer savior”. With that said, the 2014 SUMMER FRGN BOX was also poor (by comparison to last summer). Once again, the VERY TOP of the TOP 25 dominated ’13 with 4 films receipting $500 M+ at the FRGN BOX (2013 reported ONLY 2 films over $500M.)  But once more, when we slip from the TOP MOVIES it’s a fast downhill slide. ’13’s TOP 25 films AVGed $210.3 M at the FRGN BOX while in ’14 the TOP 25 AVGed $193.7 M (giving us a diff of $16.6 M. When multiplied by 25 we get a minus $415 M.) Last summer’s TOP 25 FRGN BOX was $1.03 B more than this summer’s TOP 25. Indeed the BIGGIES were NOT “big enuf” DOME$TICALLY or in the OVER$EA$ market. Hollywood needs HELP! Beijingwood, Bollywood, Nollywood, anybody?

Why the DROP in this SUMMER’S BOX OFFICE? Increasingly, there are so many alternative entertainment forms; that silly World Cup landed mid-SUMMER MOVIE SEASON; there are all those new big, flat, curved TV screens & streaming services more than willing to accommodate. And, COMEDIES did better than expected. WHAT? (Subtraction by Addition?) If DOMESTIC COMEDIE$ “do well” (That means other movies did NOT do as well) THE FRGN BOX OFFICE WILL SUFFER B/C AMERICAN COMEDIES DO NOT TRANSLATE WELL INTO WORD$ OR (MORE IMPORTANTLY) INTO FRGN BOX OFFICE BUCK$. If the conventional summer weekend movie market wants to do well movie makers had better start looking at more than just refreshing “a brand”. They had better do a much better marketing job as well. Finally, theater owners had better make darn sure the experience is FIRST CLASS!


There was only 1 movie that boxed $1B globally this summer. It was Michael Bay’s Transformers 4. It became China’s ALL TIME #1 with a box of $301M beating former champ Avatar $204M in 2009 (#3 is Lost in Thailand, 2013 with a box of $197M). The Chinese market is the world’s 2nd biggest movie market (at $3.6B vs N America at $10.9B) The kicker is that over the last 3 yrs the N. America’s movie market has grown by 6.9% while China’s flicktorium has seen an 80% growth rate. (See Theater Statistics MPAA) ANYQUESTIONS? While Mr. Bay has been criticized for making too many concessions (filming in China, employing Chinese stars, product placements, etc) wouldn’t you? This SUCCESS during a summer down market domestically, may well have paved the “updraft” way to the movie market in China and to the industry’s future. GO EAST YOUNG MAN, GO EAST! Rosetta Stone anyone?

About bernacmd

For over 24 years, University of Detroit Mercy Marketing Professor Michael Bernacchi, Ph.D., J.D, has produced "uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE", a newsletter discussing current "marketing and advertising¹s bends, trends & ends." A well-know fixture in Detroit and national media, UDM's marketing guru has made several appearances on CNN's "Talk Back Live," the Voice of America worldwide radio network (VOA), ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and on the pages of Sports Illustrated, Time, TV Guide, the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, to name a few. At University of Detroit Mercy, he has taught courses in Marketing Management, Consumer Behavior, Marketing Communications, Research and Corporate Social Responsibility and Sports and Entertainment Marketing. Michael Bernacchi can be reached at 313-993-1116 or Please appropriately attribute the following for their work on uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE: Yen Ju Lee Robert Rouse Vidhyasagar Natarajan Eric Baumgardner & Ian Young
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