Summer 2017 Box Office Slump Predicted: Will Horror Films Once Again Save the Day?

by Nick Banks

Many news outlets are reporting the potential for a decline in ticket sales at the summer box office due to sequel fatigue, competition from streaming services, and an overall lower quality of blockbuster this summer.  While the tales of streaming killing the box office are a bit over-rated (and over-reported), the first major  flop of the summer season, Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur movie (which could only draw $15 million dollars in its opening weekend, carrying a $175 million dollar budget price tag), has some studios “quaking in their boots”.  Will it be up to horror films to once again save the summer?

The Hollywood Reporter noted that “…many Hollywood studio executives, after penciling in estimates for both their own and their rivals’ titles, are forecasting a domestic dip from last year’s $4.5 billion summer box-office season. One studio number cruncher puts the decline as high as 10 percent. Two others agree that, absent surprises, 2017 won’t match 2016. If their pessimism is correct, this summer is shaping up to be the worst since 2014, when ticket sales plunged to $4.1 billion, a drop of more than 14 percent year-over-year and the sharpest downturn in three decades.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, “…some executives are worried that the industry is once again relying too heavily on sequels from aging franchises, and that audiences are growing weary at a time when they have more entertainment options at home. People might be excited for the return of their favorite interplanetary outlaws from Guardians, but how many want another Pirates of the Caribbean movie? How about a fifth Transformers?”

This was also the case last summer when films such as Star Trek Beyond, X-Men: Apocalypse, Independence Day Two, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles : Out of the Shadows, Alice: Through the Looking Glass, and Ghost Busters under-performed to a large degree, yet the summer box office was buoyed by a slew of horror films such as The Conjuring Two, Lights Out, and Don’t Breathe.  Without these low-budgeted horror hits, the summer box office of 2016 would have suffered a much steeper decline.

As reported by HNN’s John Evans in January of this year, in the article “Horror Movies are Secretly Saving Hollywood’s Major Film Studios“,  he stated that “It’s obvious that these horror films are making up for the piles of cash that the studios are losing on their big budget failures. They’re cheap to make, they develop massive fan followings, and they often attract talented actors and actresses who are making their way up the food chain (it’s not uncommon for a major new face in Hollywood to have starred in a horror film just before making it big).”

If King Arthur is only the first of a number of big budget failures this summer, horror films such as It Comes at Night, 47 Meters Down, Wish Upon, and Annabelle: Creation may be just the medicine that studios (and weary movie-goers) are searching for.  Most major media news outlets tend to downplay or even disregard the impact that horror films have on a studio’s bottom line, but here at Horror News Network, in the words of Jesse “The Body” Ventura, “We tell it like it is!”.

Stay tuned to Horror News Network for full coverage of this summer’s horror films and check out our summer 2017 preview here.



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