Movies Are Dying: September’s Box Office Will Be Lowest Total In Past 25 Years

Nobody is going to the movies.

With just $275 million grossed in North America, September’s box office is set to be to be the first not to break the $350 million figure since 1997. (This doesn’t count 2020, which only brought in $86 million because of the government-mandated lockdowns.)

To make things worse, this is the first September since 2001, when America dealt with the 9-11 terror attacks, that not one single movie has made over $20 million in its opening weekend.

It’s a troubling sign for movies amid the country’s current economic situation.

Theaters are still recovering from the financial losses of the pandemic. Cineworld’s Regal Cinemas has filed Chapter 11 and is currently in bankruptcy proceedings. AMC Theaters is barely doing any better as they struggle to pay off their $5 billion in debt.

The low figures also hint that Americans may be watching how they spend their money due to rising inflation.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 19: Harry Styles attends the “Don’t Worry Darling” photo call at AMC Lincoln Square Theater on September 19, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

BOX OFFICE FUTURE LOOKS BLEAK

Can you name one movie that came out in September?

Off the top of my head, the only one I can think of is that Harry Styles one that brought up all the drama when he allegedly spit on actor Chris Pine.

That film is called “Don’t Worry Darling.” Well, it’s definitely time to worry if you are in Hollywood.

The October box office doesn’t appear to bring any significant relief. The biggest movies are expected to be Warner Bros / DC’s “Black Adam,” as well as another Halloween horror movie in “Halloween Ends.” Several analysts expect this October’s ticket sales to be down 20-30% compared to last year.

November may fare a bit better when Disney / Marvel’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is released. The Avatar sequel, “Avatar: The Way of Water” also comes out at the end of the year. Although I personally believe the Avatar craze died out a long time ago and it’s not going to do well in theaters.

Director James Cameron arrives at the premiere of “Avatar,” at the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles, California on December 16, 2009. AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

WILL AUDIENCES RETURN?

The coming months are going to be vitally important for the future of theaters. They are all facing significant financial hurdles. When one includes the rise of competitive streaming services such as Netflix, HBO Max, Amazon Prime and Apple TV+, the demand to go to theaters just isn’t there.

It will be interesting to see if the movie studios make a change in the type of movies they are making.

The top eight grossing movies in 2022 are all sequels or storyline-adjacent as in The Batman starring Robert Pattinson.

Historically, the movies that have done the best in the box office have been comic-book ones.

However, there’s only so many stories and sequels that Warner Bros. / DC, Marvel, or Disney can make.

Movie theaters may need their own superhero to get out of this mess.

Written by Mike Gunzelman

Mike “Gunz” Gunzelman has been involved in the sports and media industry for over a decade. He’s also a risk taker - the first time he ever had sushi was from a Duane Reade in Penn Station in NYC.

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  1. We go to the theater every Sunday night. Although it’s great not having people all around you, it’s a very sad experience. Studios need to reinstall the window where you can’t stream a film for at least 90 days. That might help get people back.

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