The summer of 2017 apparently turned out to be the worst year-over-year period for U.S. box office revenues, which fell 14.6% to $3.83 billion since the same time in 2014.
When adjusted for inflation, the figure marked the first time that revenues dropped below $4 billion since 2006. A fewer number of moviegoers primarily caused the decline, as there are were only around 430 million ticket sales recorded between May 5 and Labor Day.
The decline in moviegoers is so far the worst it has been in the last 25 years. Prior to the decline in revenues, theatre seating at domestic cinemas have been cashing in quite well heading into the summer of this year, even well ahead of the same time in 2016.
The drop in revenues during the season affected year-to-date gross figures, as revenues fell 5.6% to more than $7.75 billion between Jan. 1 and Sept. 10 compared to the same period in 2016. Luckily for the movie industry, the international box office grew almost 4% year to date. Ticket sales in China mainly caused this increase.
It is easy to pinpoint the rise of piracy or higher ticket prices as some of the causes for weaker summer box office revenues, yet film executives believe movie review websites like Rotten Tomatoes serve as the sole reason.
Film director Brett Ratner said that the website’s influence among moviegoers has become more prominent. People are more likely to avoid seeing a certain movie if it receives a low score on the website, as opposed to encouraging them to see it if it has a high rating.
Despite the seemingly poor performance of Hollywood films in the U.S, the industry expects the fall and winter seasons to offset the downturn during the summer of 2017.