Hollywood’s summer movie season is off to a rough start
Imagine my despair…
From NY Post: Tinseltown’s hopes for a $5 billion summer are already fizzling, with a couple of flicks crashing out of the gate.
Warner Bros.’ “King Arthur” and Fox’s “Alien: Covenant” both disappointed this month, and movie analysts are warning this summer’s box office won’t be as hot as last year, when Disney’s “Finding Dory” was the biggest hit.
When it comes to striking cinema gold, no one needs it more than Viacom’s Paramount Pictures and Sony’s Columbia Pictures. Paramount, which just tapped a new chief executive and got a fresh injection of cash from its China financing deal, needs to find its mojo, and quickly. The studio lost $136 million in 2016 and has paid out steep restructuring and severance charges.
Paramount is behind the upcoming “Baywatch” movie and is releasing a new “Transformers” feature. “If ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ flops, Paramount is in big, big trouble,” said Jeff Bock at Exhibitor Relations, which tallies ticket sales. “They need a billion-dollar hit.”
Sony, meanwhile, is set to roll out “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” in partnership with Disney’s Marvel. “They’re planning multiple spinoffs” for Spider-Man, according to Bock. “But you need the flagship firing on all cylinders.” Sony also is releasing “The Emoji Movie” in July, for which expectations are already set low.
The inclusion of the Iron Man character will help juice interest in “Spider-Man,” but “it’s the third reboot in 15 years,” Bock notes.
Last year’s summer box office was $4.4 billion. Anything under that number is going to have Tinseltown in a tizzy, according to the analyst.
A survey conducted by online movie ticketing service Fandango suggests that Warner’s “Wonder Woman,” out on June 2, is the most anticipated movie of the summer, followed by “Spider-Man.”
A strong first quarter at the box office and promising. However the summer sorts out, executives on the lots can always plead their newbie status.
Viacom’s Bob Bakish, who took over as acting CEO in October last year, hired new Paramount boss Jim Gianopulos in March. Twentieth Century Fox has a new chief in Stacey Snider. Sony Pictures Entertainment this month named as its new CEO Tony Vinciquerra, who starts in June. Meanwhile, Warner Bros. parent Time Warner is in the midst of being acquired by AT&T. Only Disney and Universal have left their top executives in place this year.
“I don’t think anyone will judge [Paramount’s] Jim Gianopulos based on this summer,” observes Cowen & Co. entertainment analyst Doug Creutz. “Warner really needs to do well. They had one issue with ‘King Arthur,’ and they have ‘Dunkirk’ coming out, it’s a prestige picture.”
Warner is launching the most original movies versus sequels, and will likely be the biggest spender on marketing this summer.