Summer Season Ticket Sales Underwhelm Hollywood – So Far

Memorial Day weekend is known for a few things, among them: the color white, BBQ, watermelon, sunshine, and high movie ticket sales. However, this past Memorial Day holiday weekend left many disappointed, with sales not only 14% down from last year’s holiday, but also recording the lowest Memorial Day revenue since 2001.

Despite many exciting new movies being recently released, including PRINCE OF PERSIA, ROBIN HOOD, IRON MAN 2, and SHREK FOREVER AFTER, the weekend was an overall downer with every movie underperforming. In addition, inflated prices of 3-D tickets actually helped sales; overall attendance was only 24.2 million, the lowest since 1993.

Despite the current economic downturn, the holiday ticket decline is still a surprise. The first quarter of this year’s sales was up 9% over last year’s, and the summer season still have a possibility to turn around with June expecting to release MARMADUKE, THE KARATE KID, THE A-TEAM, TOY STORY 3, and TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE.

The good news is that relatively family-friendly movies like HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, ALICE IN WONDERLAND and SHREK FOREVER AFTER are leading the box office.

In a hopeful tone regarding the summer season, Disney’s Chuck Viane chided, “I get that it was a little slow this past weekend,” while expressing the belief that, once children get out of school in early June, better days will follow.

“We’re looking two weeks down the road when we launch TOY STORY 3,” he added, “and it’s got all seven days of the week to play. That’s the arena that’s going to balance out the rest of the summer.”

Are these hopeful words anything more than hopeful words and lofty dreams of an economic goldmine in ticket sales that could still happen this summer? Only time will tell.

– Source: The Wrap, 06/01/10.

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