As the summer box-office begins to power down, the critical panning received by many films points to a disillusionment in blockbuster cinema.
We'll be getting into it from a critical standpoint in a later podcast, but before that, we decided to do a bit of analysis and compare the current box-office figures to ten years ago.
We pulled the figures from BoxOfficeMojo and compared Summer 2016 (specifically April to July) to Summer 2006. What was most surprising was the fact that more films than ever are being released, but the figures are more or less stagnant - save for one or two outliers.
April 2016 saw a total of 76 films with a combined global box-office of $686 million. Comparing that to April 2006, a total of 59 films were in cinemas with a take of $522 million. That makes for a shortfall of $164 million with seventeen less films released. In order to balance out, each of those seventeen films in 2006 would have had to make at least $9.6 million.
May 2016 saw sixteen more films released compared to ten years ago, but a difference in the box-office takings of just $23 million. May 2016 made $924,800,000 compared to 2006's $901,700,000. In both cases, the highest-earning film was a comic-book movie; 2016's Captain America: Civil War versus X-Men III: The Last Stand.
The individual difference between the two films in box-office terms, however, is staggering. Captain America: Civil War made close to $1.152 billion in its 15 weeks on release and opened wide with 4,226 theatres. X-Men III: The Last Stand made $459,359,000 in a run lasting 18 weeks in 3,714 theatres.
In box-office earnings, June 2016 and 2006 were almost identical. This June saw a total box-office earning of $1.166 billion compared to $1.159 in 2006. In both cases, the films were animated films; Finding Dory versus Cars. Again, when we look at the data more closely, the differences are revealed.
Finding Dory made a total of $916 million during its run whilst Cars made $462 million, although Finding Dory opened in 317 more theatres than Cars. Again, like April and May, more films were released this year compared to ten years ago. June 2016 saw a total of 60 films released whilst June 2006 had 53 films.
July represented the biggest change in box-office terms. Last month saw a total of $1.385 billion raised in the global box-office compared to $936 million ten years ago. That's a difference of just under $450 million in the space of ten years. However, 2016 had a total of 61 films released compared to 2006 and its 43 films.
In each and every month, one film took a larger percentage of the box-office than it did ten years ago in the US box-office. For example, April's highest-grossing film in 2016 was The Jungle Book and accounted for 52.9% of the box-office. April 2006, it was Scary Movie 4, which made just $90.4 million and accounted for only 17.4% of the box-office in the US.
The only month where this didn't happen was in July. The Secret Life of Pets accounted for 25.1% of the US box-office whilst Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest made up 45.2% of the box-office in 2006. Yet, in all cases, more films were released this year compared to ten years ago.
It's hard to know exactly what the figures represent. As analysts look back over the 2016 Summer Box-Office, one thing is clear - releasing more films doesn't really seem to be having an effect on the numbers.