2016 summer box office falls 22% on past record-breaking year

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With no blockbusters to rival Jurassic World, failing sequels blamed for poor start to summer season in North America

2016 summer box office falls 22% on past record-breaking year
Down but not out: not all sequels have bombed in North America this year. Photograph: YouTube

Blockbuster season has got off to a shaky start with US profits down 14% between 1 May and 14 June compared to the same period last year, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The downturn was predicted by industry analysts in late 2015, after hits like Jurassic World, Fast & Furious 7 and Minions helped drive a summer season that lead to the year being a record-breaker at the global box office.

Twelve months ago, Jurassic World was on its way to a $524.9m global take in its opening weekend, the highest on record until Star Wars: The Force Awakens posted a bigger tally in December. In comparison the global box office this weekend, lead by the video game adaptation Warcraft, is down 44%.

2016 summer box office falls 22% on past record-breaking year
Off target … The Huntsman: Winter’s War was a disappointing performer. Photograph: Universal Pictures

The summer season was kicked off this year by the release of Captain America: Civil War on 6 May. Bringing 2016’s tally forward a week increases the difference between this year and last to a 22% loss.

“No matter how you slice or dice the calendar, there is no question that the summer of 2016 thus far has been a bit of a bummer, with the underperformers outnumbering the overperformers, and a general malaise that has struck the early part of this most important movie-going season,” comScore box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian told the Hollywood Reporter.

He went on to blame failing sequels for the slump, a theory that was put forward by commentators from the main trade papers last week. Big budget seconds that failed to make the same impact as the original include Alice Through the Looking Glass and The Huntsman: Winter’s War. But, more recently The Conjuring 2 and Now You See Me 2 posted opening weekend takes equal to their source material, suggesting the industry’s bout of “sequelitus” was not as severe as some had feared.

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