Game Over? The Future of the Summer Blockbuster

If you haven’t been getting the Harvard Medical School recommended amount of 7.5 to 8.5 hours of sleep a night, consider going to the movies. This summer’s blockbusters will be sure to send you snoozing.

This cinema season has witnessed flop after flop, with big-promise titles like Ben-Hur and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows failing to draw crowds to the box office. It’s also been a summer of disappointments, from the lackluster Suicide Squad to the unimaginative storyline of X-Men: Apocalypse.

Is this “the beginning of the end,” as Josh Herr of the Fiscal Times claims, or is it “not all doom and gloom,” CNBC’s Michelle Fox says?

Herr writes that movie-goers are bored of the comic book franchise game and disinterested in going to the theater itself when more interesting material like Netflix’s Stranger Things can be streamed from home.

Fox, however, sees this summer’s underwhelming show a sign of changing — not failing — strategies. Ticket sale revenue is actually five percent higher than it was in the summer of 2015, and studios are increasingly focusing on “multiverse” pictures such as Star Trek that can produce multiple films over a series of years, instead of one giant blockbuster.

“Right now a movie doesn’t have to be a film that’s a hit by itself,” said BoxOffice.com Managing Editor Daniel Loria to CNBC. “It has to be a hit for the next three or four years, sustaining a narrative universe of three titles. That’s the risk we’re taking right now.”

Additionally, summer itself is not necessarily the only release target anymore.

“It’s not a seasonal business anymore,” Loria said. “We’re talking about a year-round release schedule, when big movies can come out in February, like ‘Deadpool,’ or in March like ‘Batman v Superman.'”

No matter your feelings on this summer’s cinemascape, there are some upcoming releases to look forward to this fall and winter, including the Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them on November 18 and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16.

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