Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

Hollywood’s summer movies. Hot or Not?

August 22, 2008

heath-ledger.jpgAs Hollywood’s summer movie season draws to a close — only two weekends to go — box office watchers are expecting slightly more than $4 billion in total revenue largely because of superhero blockbusters “The Dark Knight,” “Iron Man” and “Hancock”
A final number around last year’s record $4.18 billion would approximate last summer’s record box office, but it’s important to note that while revenues are up, attendance — the number of people actually going to movies — is down about 3 percent from last summer. What accounted for the difference? Higher average ticket prices.

The decline in attendance leads us to think that maybe, despite the success of “Dark Knight,” “Iron Man,” and even “Sex and the City,” maybe audiences weren’t too thrilled with Hollywood’s summer. Can anyone say “Speed Racer”?

Or, how about Indy’s fourth movie? Was it worth it for director Steven Spielberg and actor Harrison Ford to team up again for “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”? 

Maybe the moviegoing experience just wasn’t worth the price of admission, which is $10 or more depending on the theater and location. Or, maybe the Olympics were just too much late night competition for late-summer movies such as “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor,” slowing momentum from June and July.

In any case, we’re curious as to what moviegoers thought about Hollywood’s summer movies. Let us know.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis)



The lower attendance definitely has to do with the rising ticket prices. Here in northern New Jersey, a ticket is $11.50. The Olympics have taken a toll on the box office for its two week run, but the main reason is the soaring ticket prices.

The quality of summer films this year, in my opinion, destroys the summer films of last year. The Dark Knight and Iron Man easily wipes out last year’s Transformers and Spider-Man 3. And then for comedies, this year boasts Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Pineapple Express, and Tropic Thunder to last year’s Knocked Up and Superbad. So the comedy quality didn’t dip one bit. Quality isn’t the problem. The prices are to blame.


We cannot forget factors like technology and the economy. From DVD and online options to better home entertainment systems like plasma TVs and surround sound, consumers have more reasons to stay home than to drive to a Cineplex and worry about gas, parking prices,$12.00 admission tickets and a $5.00 bag of small popcorn.

Posted by Martha | Report as abusive

Please! The lower attendance is because of movie gowers decrease in faith for hollywood’s productions. For over 7 years low quality movies have been plentiful in the marketplace and more and more people were tired of being duped for their ticket fee. This summer’s The Dark Knight, Hancock, Wanted, and others were a welcome break but we still had poor quality movies such as Pineapple express, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Iron Man, Indy 4, etc. I hope the studios get back to the American razzle dazzle and drop this movie snob material.

Posted by jon | Report as abusive

The movies this summer, barring a few noteworthy exceptions, have seemed to be more about ‘grabbing the money’ than ‘telling the story’. If Hollywood would get back on track and realize that its audience has grown weary of spending more and more money to see less and less content, they may start to reverse the trend of people staying at home because of the dreaded ‘there’s nothing playing that I want to see.’

Posted by mojodamm | Report as abusive

It’s all in the cost of going to the theater. Me and my wife went out and saw Batman The Dark Night. 2 tickets 1 soda 1 popcorn $34. That is insane! Everyone knows that this movie will be on DVD and Blu-Ray for the holiday season. Blu-Ray rental at blockbuster $5. Snacks and Drinks outside of what I normally have stocked up at home another $10? Watch it on my Samsung 55″ TV. Best part I can sit in my big comfy leather recliner, and if we need a break, there is the pause button.

Posted by Todd | Report as abusive

tickers here are at £7 ($12) – £9 ($16) popcord costing £5 … do the math .. go to Asda or tesco adn buy a blu ray disc for ~£9.97, go home watch it in HD on your 42″ plasma, with your suround sound pupmped up … no need for a baby sitter either … the cinema is just loosing it’s appeal these days

Posted by Tim R | Report as abusive

What about Wall-E? That new family classic was well worth the price of admission, as was the Dark Knight and other summer flicks. I don’t feel that the quality of offerings has gone down, but decreased attendance makes sense with the exorbitant prices, which weren’t limited to cinema admission. There were instances where I decided to forego a trip to the movies because i didn’t want to burn the gas to get there!

Posted by Zoe | Report as abusive

The reason being for the no-shows is that gas prices r too high to contend with the actual payment of the movies. Checks and balances are important.

Posted by CONNIE | Report as abusive

Let’s see… Two tickets, large popcorn, two drinks, (and maybe even parking in LA). So let’s call it $35 to stand in a ticket line, sit in a crowded theater, and watch a movie while the kid next to you yacks on her cell phone. Or wait a few months and watch it PPV in high def on your big screen home theater system with full surround for $6, including the popcorn and soda. Not a hard choice.

Posted by Stephen | Report as abusive

I think the movies used to be 2 hours of life vacation and now many times, I want my movie back 1/2 thru the movie. My wife and I like to just loose 2 hours, no thinking just sit and relax. Not now, the summer it is a job to just sit there. I feel robbed of time, the money is not that important. My time is worth more that the ticket.

Posted by ANDREW from TEXAS | Report as abusive

I love the “my wife and I like to just lose 2 hours, no thinking just sit and relax” comment by Andrew from Texas. Now there’s a true W supporter for you. Ummm, “My time losing two hours not thinking is robbed by the movies these days”. I mean, two hours wasted thinking when I could be downing beers and tipping cows! Aahahahhaha! What an All-American idiot.


Itz too expensive and not as comfortable as chilling at home……plus the movies are too long…
i do love going to the movies for that event community vibe…..and i watched the dark knight on DLP it was really amazing…….speaking of amazing go see tropic thunder! itz brilliant!!
for a cool and edgy short film check out this flick called Catfish Blues check out the link and leave a comment!



I haven’t left the theatre feeling “Wow-ed” in a very long time. This year Batman was the first movie I saw twice in a theatre since I was a kid watching the original Star Wars films. If I were a movie critic I would rate movies “Worth the theatre price”, “Rental”, and “Wait for it to come on TV”. Sadly almost everything I’ve seen this year in the theatre isn’t worth it to rent the video. I would like to add that propaganda movies are making me feel negitively towards the industry. Maybe someone needs to make a movie based on “The boy who cried wolf”. You also have to look at the economy because it is pretty sad when going to the movies is a sign of upper economic stature. What ever happened to the cheap nights?

Posted by Dave | Report as abusive

Ticket prices costing as much as they do provide very little incentive to go to the theatres. Whereas in the past, a movie buff like myself may have been more willing to try different films, at ten bucks a pop, I’m going to be much more selective in what I choose to see. And forget repeat viewings. When Episode III came out, I saw it five times in theaters. I could never do that with Iron Man, Indy IV, or The Dark Knight. I have Reward Cards for both AMC and Regal, and that’s the only way I can afford to buy popcorn and soda, which I don’t really partake in anymore. I’ve found a good meal or even a snack before a movie is just as effective. If prices keep soaring, movies of The Dark Knight’s caliber will have to become the status quo, not the exception. Plus, with these new HDTV & surround sound entertainment centers, the studios – both major & indie – are about to become direct-to-DVD factories. They’ll have to in order to survive.


From my Point of View Summer Movies are Hot but some of them are really erotic and cross all the limits……. But mostly are really remarkable Like “The Dark Night”.

and the lower attendence of the movies growers due to the high rates of everthing if I’m not wrong

Okay Bye Dudes and Allah Hafiz ..

Posted by Obaid | Report as abusive

I would say that the drop in attendance had everything to do with higher ticket prices. I personally do not have time to go during the week to see a movie at half-off, so I would have to pay $10 for any movie I would like to see. Although there plenty of movies I wanted to see this year, I only went to see 4- Iron Man, Wall-E, and the Dark Knight twice.

Posted by Ashleigh | Report as abusive

Dark Knight Movie of the year, rest average or below. End of Story…….

Posted by mohibul | Report as abusive

Well you think $10 is bad in the UK the price is more like £7.50 which is around $14/15 still you can’t beat going to see a film especially if you can use one ticket to get into to screens area and stick around all day watching films for free.

Posted by Tom | Report as abusive

Big summer movies are definitely worth seeing in the theater if they’re great (Batman, Wall-E) but not so much so for the average flick. Ten plus a ticket, ten bucks for popcorn and a drink??? And they wonder why so many, including myself, are downloading.

Posted by Will | Report as abusive

i love this movie

Posted by megan | Report as abusive

I thoroughly enjoyed the first “Batman Returns” episode, and it appeared we would get more of the same with all the pomp proceeding “Dark Knight”. I liked Heath Ledger, too, from his previous films – “The Patriot” in particular.

But they killed the heroine! Not just killed her – they BLEW HER AWAY! Not the way it should be done – no, thank you. Who’s writing crap like that? Not the kind of “entertainment” I enjoy watching. ‘Even went to an IMAX theater to see it – ‘same one I saw “Superman Returns” in – great flick. But no, I don’t need to see the ugly “reality” of our world put into entertainment like that. If you want to see that, just keep watching the 6 o’clock news on TV.


Posted by The Joker is... | Report as abusive

If Batman is agreed as being perhaps the best of the summer, that says it all. Batman was 30 mins cool, 2 1/2 hours of stinker… for 11 bucks! I guess I’m done with the theater, I’ll stick to the DVD and keep my finger on the eject button.

Posted by johnD | Report as abusive

I wonder if I am the only person who didn’t think The Dark Knight was brilliant. I thought Heath Ledger did an amazing job as the joker, but the movie was all over the place, and Harvey two-face should have been introduced in the end, and made the villain for another film. The high prices and a new baby have kept me out of the theatre this summer…but after a fall of movies that were all depressing subject matter, it was good to see the summer fun movies come out. Wish I’d been able to go see more of them. Everyone is always talking about how great it is to be able to “sit in my own leather chair” and use the pause button…but nothing beats the experience of going to the theatre. That is how the movies are made to be seen and heard, and I’ll keep going when I can even if tickets get up to the UK prices that one comment mentioned.

Posted by nancy | Report as abusive

This was an odd summer for movies. I consider myself an avid movie goer, and believe that the experience of the theater can not be closely matched by watching at home. Even with a 47″ plasma, a pause button, 5.2 surround, and whatever snacks I want, the theater is still better. Lets be clear though, certain movies don’t need the big screen experience (most comedies, dramas, etc.) Really I go to the theater for eye candy and sound.

The reason for the low attendance is a combination of two things: Cost (of a ticket/food/gas), and Quality of the films.

I like to go to many movies. To give an example, in the summer of 2005, I saw a new release every week, opening weekend, for 14 weeks in a row. That’s 14 new movies in one summer. Then, I paid about $6 for a ticket. This summer, I saw: Iron Man (2x), Wall-E (2x), The Dark Knight (2x), Wanted, Indy 4, Hellboy II, and Get Smart. That’s 10 movies, at an average price of $12.50 (accounting for different theaters and seeing Dark Knight twice in IMAX). Most of those were worth seeing, even if they weren’t that good (Indy 4, Get Smart). The great ones I saw twice (simply because there was so much to see, and you always catch more the second time around, especially with Dark Knight and Wall-E).

To summarize: 6*14=84, 10*12.5=125. I saw less, but paid much more. There were about 6 or 7 others I wanted to see, but they weren’t at the top of my list, or not great quality, so they didn’t get viewed. Maybe on DVD then.

And just to be clear, the Dark Knight is the best film of the year (so far as I’ve seen), without question. And those who don’t think so didn’t understand it. The plot was easy to follow yet very deep. There was enough reality to make it hit close to home but still feel like it won’t happen to me. The characters were deep and incredibly well acted. Just the right amount of humor, countered by the best portrayal of chaos I’ve ever seen. But if you didn’t like it, my description won’t convince you otherwise. I just suggest you try and see movies with no expectations what-so-ever and you’ll find yourself pleasantly surprised more often than not.

Posted by Dash | Report as abusive

Cost of taking my family of five to see a movie: $60
Add in snacks, popcorn, and cola: $80+
Cost of buying a dvd and watching it on my home theater (snacks, soda, and the ability to pause included: $25

You wanna charge $12 a seat? You want a movie experience to cost $20 per person? It better come with dinner and a glass of beer or wine.

This doesn’t even take into account the price of gas. Hollywood’s actually had some good movies come out this year. The fact that the entire season has been carried by about 4 of them is, IMO, pretty good. In a typical summer I usually don’t see more than 2 interesting flicks. Hollywood has good years and bad, but with movies like Batman and Iron Man ruling the box office, it’s pretty clear what we want. If any shortcoming on the part of Hollywood can be argued, it’s that they’re not giving us enough of what we want. The big issue however remains the same. If we can’t afford to put the gas in our cars to get there, how can you expect us to pay $100 for an evening of entertainment?

Posted by J | Report as abusive

*P.S. My home theater is a 10 foot screen and a projector with surround sound. Cost: $2,000 (which roughly equals 20 trips to the theater. We watched that many movies in the first month of owning this system)

Posted by J | Report as abusive

Dark knight = bland. Heath Ledger was the only redeeming thing in the movie, I say thing because now he’s a corpse.
Tropic Thunder and Pineapple Express were the only watchable movies this summer, and I thoroughly enjoyed them both.
Wall-e was a bunch of little baby garbage.
Iron man was alright, not worth the hype.
Everyone that’s complaining about paying too much for movies should really stop before they make fools out of themselves. How about researching the full plot, get some spoilers, get a freaking clue what the movie’s actually about before seeing it and then whining that it wasn’t “up to your expectations.”
If you think movies “aren’t good anymore” then by all means PLEASE write a new John Wayne flick(or some other old fart movie) or shut your ignorant whining old mouth.

No one really cares about your opinion.
To the blog writer: I hope you’re not getting paid to write this blog. Your company could pay someone $5 to make a little poll. Question: “Movies worth it this summer” Answers: “Yes” or “No”

Posted by James | Report as abusive

Hey James – “If you think movies “aren’t good anymore” then by all means PLEASE write a new John Wayne flick(or some other old fart movie) or shut your ignorant whining old mouth.”

Are you still in highschool? The question is about what moviegoers thought about Hollywood’s summer movies. Most of us are saying that the movies are not up to par. The article goes on about the drop in attendance and again we are responding that the movies are not up to par.

Posted by Dave | Report as abusive

Increasing prices are definitely to blame for attendance decrease. And let’s be honest, aside from 3 or 4 memorable films, everything else that came out this summer was average or less. I saw The Dark Knight in IMAX, which was by far the best movie this summer. Other films that come to mind which were good are Iron Man and Wall-E. These 3 were actually worth buying the ticket for. At the other end of the spectrum is Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Brainless Story, The Mummy: Rise of the Yawning Bore. Honestly, I felt like calling Spielberg personally and demanding my money and braincells back. The problem is that since these were sequels, certain quality was implied and expected. Indy 4 was an assault on reason. If you saw indy 4, and think that the entire fridge scene was not the most ridiculous insult to your intelligence, you need to go see a doctor and be put on brain-creating medication. Mummy 3 was an assault on my patience. It was so boring, uneven, and unfunny, that I actually feel stupid for having sat through all of it.

So quality of films has not increased this year, which is also a contributor to attendance problems. Studios seem to think that if you throw CGI into the mix, you have a good movie. Wrong. I sometimes miss the body suits (a la Star Wars IV), which were a lot more entertaining than the latest computer projected image usually is nowadays.

Posted by RG | Report as abusive

The reasons why people aren’t going to the cinema is because of: prices, sequels, remakes & the internet.

Price’s have gone up sky high and I won’t see a film in the cinema unless I have heard good things.

Sequels have gotten stupid. Indy 4? Rocky? The reason Hollywood do this is because they’re scared to make a loss by taking on a new film when they know they can make money from sequels.

Remakes are killing the industry. Taking good films and then making them. How long before they make a Hollywood version of Oldboy?

People are downloading illegally now more than ever because people aren’t willing to pay see a film which could be potentially pants and get ripped off whilst paying for that priviledge.

It’s all a vicious circle which is only going to get worse and by the minute Hollywood are loosing respect.

Worst film this year: The Love Guru.
Best film this year: The Dark Knight.

Posted by Matt | Report as abusive

In response to Tom’s email re “Well you think $10 is bad, in the UK the price is more like £7.50 which is around $14/15…….” How about £11 in Central London, down the West End – and that was last year – and that was for a Matinee, 4 pm!! AND they allot you a specific-numbered seat. When I was ushered into the Cinema (Marble Arch), there was 1 other person in there, but the usherette insisted I sit in the allotted seat given to me – which was directly behind the 1 other person in that cinema!! I said to her “What!!!!” and rolled up laughing! Yes, you have it made America, in many, many ways and you just don’t know it! I love the Cinema, 100% more than sitting at home in front of the TV, which I can do any time.

Posted by Val Holmes | Report as abusive

I am on a college-student budget, and a few years ago would have made ten or twenty trips to the theatre at $5.50 or $6.00 a pop. Now I feel lucky to have two or three worth seeing, and even then I can’t justify the cost if the movie isn’t eye-poppingly awesome. Dark Knight and Hellboy II (beautifully artistic and underrated IMHO) were proper theatre picks, a few other older ones in the cheap weekday-night theatre down the street ($1.50 a show), but I can’t see spending that much when watching on a nice screen at home is usually as good, and more comfortable to boot.

Ditto to most of the above.

Posted by Da6d | Report as abusive

We are lacking more movies to think and feel-good movies, such as “Mamma Mia”, “Elegy” and “VickyCristinaBarcelona”. Instead the blockbusters are based on comics (dont’ you ever get tired of them). Another good movie was “21″ and “Indie 4″ was full of glaring geographical mistakes, such as setting the plot in Peruvian jungle but shot in Hawaii and having Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa speak in quechua, the language of Peruvian indians. Give me a break!!!

Posted by richard, hollywood, Fl. | Report as abusive

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