The good news for Hollywood: summer movie revenues are up worldwide as studios rebounded from a dismally slow start to the year.
The bad news: Domestically, revenues rose only a fraction compared to the previous year’s, while movie attendance dropped for the fourth-straight year.
Taken together, the summers of 2010 and 2011 combined for the smallest domestic audiences since the summers of 1997-98.
One so-so summer can be an aberration, when the movies simply failed to grab fans. Two so-so summers in a row are a sign of the tough task studios face to keep butts in theatre seats at a time when audiences have more entertainment options than ever.
“One down summer you could lay at the doorstep of a lack of quality films, audience indifference, whatever. But more than one or two years becomes a trend,” said Hollywood.com analyst Paul Dergarabedian.