From the NY Post
Hollywood is churning out big-ticket movies with about as much staying power as a box of stale popcorn.
Films are flaming out faster this year — suffering massive drops of more than 50 percent in their second week — after posting big openings.
“Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” saw one of the biggest drops, plunging 69 percent in its second week. “The Allegiant,” the latest in the “Divergent” franchise, dropped 67 percent, and “Suicide Squad” fell 65 percent, according to comScore.
It used to be that a drop of 50 percent was considered disappointing. Compare that with this year — when the decline has routinely been 60 percent to 70 percent.
Tinseltown might chalk it up to the law of big numbers: The bigger the box office, the harder it is to sustain beyond the opening weekend.
But even after taking that into consideration, the number of big flameouts in 2016 is higher than previous years.
Last year, just a couple of blockbusters, notably “Furious 7,” saw a drop of more than 60 percent. This year, there have been half a dozen.
Certainly, social-media word of mouth and review-aggregator sites like Rotten Tomatoes make it harder for films — no matter how big the marketing budget — to overcome poor reviews.
Films from some particular genres are also less likely to endure in their second week regardless of the opening.
“Horror films and youth films fade fast,” said Robert Marich, author of “Marketing to Moviegoers.”
“Those audiences are plugged in and they make up their minds early and they show up the first weekend,” he added.
Movies such as “Titanic” receive wave after wave of audiences after they open well, and moviegoers of all ages flock to theaters to see them. That’s not the case with comic book fare.
“Comic book movies will rarely have layered audiences,” Marich said.
No doubt Hollywood’s reliance on sequels, prequels and spinoffs is leading to some burnout. Moviegoers may be faced with too many options.
“We think the issue is less that audiences are tired of sequels, and more that there are now so many sequels that they are cannibalizing each other,” said Cowen and Co. analyst Doug Creutz, who notes that this summer saw the highest number of wide releases in 16 years.
Some believe the problem is simply a function of bad movies.
“The drop-off is usually a function of quality,” said Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter. “Movies like ‘Suicide Squad’ had a ton of promotion ahead of release, driving a big opening weekend, but they received generally mediocre reviews and box office dropped off.
“I don’t think it’s more sinister than that,” he added.
Whatever the root cause, the troubling trend raises questions about the “long tail” value of movie franchises, especially among distributors who pay big bucks for pay-TV rights with the expectation that the film will have some legs.
One senior pay-TV insider said maybe studios and theater owners should be giving some thought to changing marketing tactics for their second week out.
“When revenue is down, everyone’s license fees are down, too,” the insider said. “That affects not only domestic but foreign sales, too. Not a small issue.”