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Why This Year’s Box Office Proves that Family Audiences Are the Core of the Entertainment Industry

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Why This Year’s Box Office Proves that Family Audiences are the Core of the Entertainment Industry

By Movieguide® Contributor

While last year’s box office fared better than expected, it suffered from a large lack of family movies, a genre that has proven to be a bright spot in a lackluster year for the theater industry.

With the help of WONKA, 2023’s box office skated in just above a total gross of $9 billion. Heading into 2024, experts predicted the industry would be lucky to come in above $8 billion by the end of the year. Now, halfway through the year, these predictions have been proven right as the industry sits at just $3.1 billion heading into the summer months, down 23% from this time last year.

However, despite the dismal start, family-friendly movies have given the industry something to cling to, with the promise of a stronger second half to the year riding on their popularity. Last weekend, INSIDE OUT 2 had the strongest debut of the year, bringing in $154 million. Less than a week later, it now sits at the No. 2 spot, quickly approaching DUNE: PART TWO’s throne. It will, however, have another contender hot on its tail when DISPICABLE ME 4 releases on July 3rd.

The success of these movies follows a longstanding trend at the box office, where family-friendly, uplifting movies significantly outperform their competition. Movieguide®’s 2023 Report to the Entertainment Industry found that no movies with extreme sexual content or extreme drug or alcohol abuse landed within the top 25 spots last year. Furthermore, Christian, uplifting and family-friendly movies significantly outperformed their competition.

While the movies that receive the most marketing before their release often include intense violence or sexual content, these movies almost always underperform. CHALLENGERS, for example, which was released at the end of April, had begun to be advertised last fall, looking to draw audiences in through the sexualization of its main star – Zendaya. However, after a poor, $15 million opening weekend, it ended its run in theaters with only a $49 million gross. Compare that to the children’s movie MIGRATION, which was released last Christmas with very little fanfare. Despite being overshadowed by WONKA, it still managed to build off the $54 million it had garnered by New Year’s Eve to tack on an extra $71 million in the early months of 2024, bringing its total gross to $127 million.

With both movies competing at roughly the same time, during a lower-audience season, the outcome is impossible to ignore. With that in mind, theaters still have much to look forward to for the rest of 2024 as the release of numerous tentpole, family-friendly movies offer hope for a strong second half.

Some of these upcoming titles include DISPICABLE ME 4, HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON, THE WILD ROBOT, MOANA 2, and SONIC 3.

While Hollywood continues to ignore the power of family-friendly movies, the results will continue to speak for themselves as these movies continue to outperform their competition and hold up the struggling industry.

Movieguide® previously reported:

While Hollywood often celebrates and promotes immorality, redemptive and moral worldviews dominated 2023’s top 25 movies. 

Last year, 80% of the top 25 movies at the domestic box office had strong or very strong biblical or moral content, Movieguide®’s Report to the Entertainment Industry found. 

Movies like THE SUPER MARIO BROS. MOVIESPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSEGUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3THE LITTLE MERMAIDANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA and SOUND OF FREEDOM dominated the top 10. 

INDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINYMISSON: IMPOSSIBLE — DEAD RECKONING PART ONETRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE BEASTSCREED IIIELEMENTALFAST XWONKATEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: MUTANT MAYHEMTHE FLASHTROLLS BAND TOGETHER and M3GAN all had either a strong or very strong Christian, redemptive, biblical or morally uplifting worldview. 

Alternatively, only 20% of the top 25 movies had strong or very strong non-Christian, anti-Christian, false or immoral worldview elements. Only one had a dominant humanist/atheist worldview.


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