Memorial Day movie attendance at 17-year low

06.02.10 8 years ago 18 Comments

It would’ve been virtually impossible to predict, but as it turns out, a weekend that opened with a fourth Shrek, a second Sex and the City, and a pastiche of tired Jerry Bruckheimer clichés didn’t exactly light people’s c*cks on fire.  In terms of attendance, it was the worst Memorial Day weekend since 1993, which of course opened with Pluto Nash Forever After.

Overall revenues for the top-50 films during the four-day holiday weekend came in at $192 million, the lowest since 2001. Factoring in today’s higher admission prices, about 24.2 million tickets were sold, the least since a 22.5 million head count in 1993.

Jake Gyllenhaal’s action tale “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” came in second with $37.8 million. Sarah Jessica Parker’s “Sex and the City 2,” which many thought would debut at No. 1, wound up in third with $36.8 million.

“When you have a Memorial Day weekend down this much, it just tells me the movies in the marketplace are just not grabbing people the way they have in past years,” said Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for Hollywood.com.  [AP]

Wow, that’s a bold statement, Paul.  Good thing we have a “box-office analyst” to clear things up for us.  Lower attendance = less interest from the marketplace?  Who knew!  I would’ve thought lower attendance = sandwich.  Mmm, sandwich. ANYWAY, the silver lining in all this is that the flaccid sequel showings so far could softify Hollywood’s formerly stiff boner for superfluous sequels.  Penis.

Studios have planted 11 sequels or franchise reboots in the fertile May-August span [mmm, say it again, slower this time. -Ed.], up from nine last summer and seven from the 2008 season. But those opened so far have underwhelmed.

“Sex and the City 2” was expected to outpace its 2008 predecessor and top the Memorial Day weekend. Instead, it lagged the original’s bow dramatically and debuted with a tarnished bronze medal, trailing even Disney’s disappointing “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.” (A would-be franchise starter, “Persia” will need outsized international contributions to reach profitability.)

“Watching the decline of ‘Sex and the City 2’ every day has really surprised us,” a top industyite said.  “There very well could be some burnout with moviegoers, who are looking for something new and fresh,” another top studio exec lamented Tuesday. [THR]

Another industry analyst was hit by a rock that I threw Wednesday morning. “That flying stones could be so sharp and hurty really surprised us,” he lamented, rubbing his forehead.

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