2017 has certainly had its fair share of great movies, a good chunk of which saw their release over the summer. Despite some quality movies hitting theaters in recent months, the summer box office simply couldn't be saved this year. As a result, the 2017 summer box office has hit an 11-year low, making it the worst summer since 2006. Yes, it is that bad.
According to Entertainment Weekly, this summer brought in a grand total of $3.8 billion at the domestic box office. That is a steep 14 percent decline when compared to last summer. That makes it the worst summer since 2006, but that is unadjusted for inflation. If one were to adjust the numbers from 2006, things would look even worse than they already do. And they are not looking great.
So who's to blame for this terrible summer? Nobody can point a finger in any single direction, but a lot of movies dramatically underperformed this year. Movies like Transformers: The Last Knight, a usually reliable franchise, absolutely tanked domestically. The movie has made just $130 million, which may sound like a lot, but is very low for something that was expected to be one of the biggest hits this year. Other massive tentpoles like Alien: Covenant ($74 million) and The Mummy ($80 million) also arrived to disappointing results. Even critically-acclaimed movies like War for the Planet of the Apes, a movie that has some legitimate Oscar buzz, only brought in $144 million domestically and has disappointed overseas as well.
Even Labor Day weekend, which can typically be a bright spot at the box office during the end of the summer, was truly dreadful this year. There wasn't a single wide release brought to theaters over the holiday weekend, which is the first time that has happened in 25 years. As such, the numbers for the weekend were abysmal, with the entire box office for the weekend only managing to bring in $99.5 million. The Labor Day weekend box office hasn't hit a mark that low since 1998.
There has also been a huge change in recent years in terms of the way that many people watch movies. Netflix gave rise to the streaming service and with Hulu, Amazon and HBO in the mix, among others, it is easier and easier for consumers to stay home and watch a movie on the couch as opposed to spending their money at a theater. Not to mention that many of the movies that came out this summer, such as The Mummy and Transformers: The Last Knight, were blasted by critics and wound up with miserable scores on Rotten Tomatoes, which has proved itself as an increasingly powerful tool in moviegoer's decision making.
Despite the misery, there were bright spots. Most notably, Wonder Woman has absolutely crushed it this year, bringing in $409.4 million at the box office domestically. Other movies like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ($389.6 million), Spider-Man: Homecoming ($325 million) and Despicable Me 3 ($258 million), managed to do big business as well, but that wasn't enough to save the season. On the bright side, fall is looking up.
IT is coming out this weekend and looks to break the September opening weekend record with $60 million or more. There are also a ton of awards season contenders coming out over the next handful of months, which could bolster the box office. But really, it is tentpoles like Thor: Ragnarok, Justice League and last but most certainly not least, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, that can help right the ship before 2017 closes out. Let's just hope studios can find away to avoid another, similar disaster next summer.