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The 2019 Box Office Is Down Half a Billion Dollars: It’s Not All Bad News

The 2019 Box Office Is Down Half a Billion Dollars: It’s Not All Bad News

Twelve days into its domestic opening, “Captain Marvel” has earned over $270 million in North America — but that’s not enough to end recent worries about the plunging box office. Revenue is still off by more than 20 percent, suggesting an unusual confluence of factors have created a sudden pronounced lack of interest in moviegoing. Here’s four of them.

Fewer wide-release films

Through last weekend, 2019 has seen 21 films open on more than 1,500 screens. This time last year, that number was 27. Even if those were lesser-grossing titles, figure six fewer films contributed at least $150 million to the shortfall. That doesn’t mean individual films made less this year; indeed, the absence of competition may have meant higher grosses for them. However, this looks like the new normal as studios conserve their firepower to produce fewer, more-expensive titles.

Christmas was weak

To put it kindly, January is a month for more secondary titles.

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