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Hollywood trembles after the Barbenheimer mirage: summer box office failures and alarming studio strike

Hollywood trembles after the Barbenheimer mirage: summer box office failures and alarming studio strike
Hollywood trembles after the Barbenheimer mirage: summer box office failures and alarming studio strike



There is a feeling of deep crisis in Hollywood. The disastrous box office result of Memorial Day Weekend – the long weekend that traditionally marks the start of the summer season in the United States – has only worsened the feeling that the traditional economic model could be exhausted. The emergence of platforms streamingadded to the historic strike of actors and screenwriters, the scourge of inflation, the hangover of the pandemic and the difficulty of the studios to find titles that attract the public to the cinemas have triggered the alarm in the Mecca of cinema.

It's not surprising. The figures are worrying. With almost half of the year having passed, the 2.893 million euros received nationally predict a result much lower than the 8.290 million with which 2023 closed. In May alone, the drop was 29% compared to the previous year; and in April, 52.2%. The total revenue of the four days of the long weekend at the end of May did not exceed 119 million, which is 37% lower than in 2023 and the worst result since the summer of 1995during its debut Casper. It has already rained.

It is true that the actors' and writers' strike – the first combined strike of the two unions in 50 years – has affected the number of new releases and the strength of proposals in 2024, and forced the postponement of major releases from brands like Marvel and DC until next year. But experts believe that the crisis goes further. “We’re not giving people enough reasons to go back to the cinema, and that’s a problem”assures EL MUNDO Kevin Klowdendirector of the economic analysis center Milken Institute. “Studios are increasingly afraid to bet on certain films, like those mid-budget ones that have been the most successful at the box office. The disconnect with audiences is obvious.”

Klowden argues that Hollywood 'doesn't really know how to make money at the moment'confused after the landing of the streaming. “Before, they had several sources of income, starting with cinemas and continuing with the sale of cable television rights or the sale of DVDs or Blue Rays, but now all that is disappearing with new technologies,” explains -he. “Netflix, Amazon or Apple don’t care about box office results, and they are the ones who make the films we go to see in the cinema.”

“Netflix, Amazon or Apple don’t care about box office results, and they are the ones who make the films that we used to see in theaters”

Kevin Klowden, director of the Milken Institute

For now, only titles like Inside Out 2 -released last weekend-,Kung Fu Panda 4, Godzilla and Kong: The New Kingdom or the second part of Dune managed to save the furniture in 2024. The rest have been films with mediocre box office performances or notorious fiascos, like Madame Web, the superhero movie starring Dakota Johnson that grossed $100 million despite costing almost the same. EITHER Angrythe last part of the saga Mad Max with Argentina's Anya Taylor-Joy as the main attraction. In this case, the blow was impressive: 128 million received on a budget of 173.

The boom years seem light years away, when Disney easily dominated the box office and its titles crossed the 1,000 million mark in revenue in a few days. In 2019 alone, the last year before the pandemic broke the pattern, nine films managed to reach that billion, with Avengers: Endgame threaten the throne of Avatar as the highest-grossing film in history. Currently, no film is even close to reaching this goal in 2024. The 714 million Dune It's the most desirable thing of the year.

Zach Snyderblockbuster director like 300, Justice League o Batman v Superman, he doesn't see it as being dark. He maintains that the good times will return. “I don't think it's anything to worry about. We're in a bit of a slump, but there are some great titles coming out and I think people are waiting for something to come along that interests them to come back to the movies “, he explains. in EL MUNDO. “It's actually up to us to do something great to bring people back to the cinema because the experience is worth it, the collective feeling of being in the cinema. Everyone knows it. It's there. It you just need to know how to use it.”

It's up to us to do something great to bring people back to the cinema because the experience is worth it. You just have to know how to use it

Zach Snyder, cinema director

Christopher Seanactor and protagonist of the Netflix animated film Ultraman on the rise, admits that just nine years ago, he was sleeping in his truck because he couldn't afford to pay his rent in Hollywood. Today, life is good for him at work, but he knows that many colleagues are struggling more than ever to find a job in the industry. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment in the sector has not reached such a low level in 30 yearswith major studios announcing layoffs like Disney, Warner Brothers o Paramount Worldwide. Pixar was the last to take the scissors a few weeks ago, with a 14% reduction in its workforce due to low production volume. A feeling of panic reigns among those who have not managed to find a sustainable pace of work after the strike.

“It's a very different world with the streaming and after the strike”, analyzes Sean. “Everyone is more comfortable at home and it remains to be seen whether the digital age will end up destroying the cinema experience in theaters. I hope not, because The cultural and nostalgic component it brings is incomparable.. There will always be cinema and stories to tell. “The question of cinemas is not so clear.”

“Everyone is more comfortable at home and it remains to be seen whether the digital age will ultimately destroy the cinema experience in theaters”

Christopher Sean, actor

Klowden believes the box office will recover in the second half. “I already spent the last year with barbie Yes Oppenheimer“, he recalls. “I suppose Hollywood will find a way to make money again, but for now it finds itself at a crossroads.” The feminist allegory of the blonde doll has grossed $636 million in the United States and another $1.3 billion worldwide, according to figures, earning it recognition as the highest-grossing film at the Golden Globes. to more than $830 million worldwide It remains to be seen whether this was a sign of recovery or a simple mirage.




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