Though the box office will see a mild dip by comparison to last year's record numbers, the overall number of ticket sales are hitting the lowest bar in more than 20 years.
The overall number of ticket sales is looking at a 4% drop year to year, producing the lowest number of sales since 1995. According to a report from the LA Times, 2017 will see about 1.26 billion tickets sold.
Films like Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, and Pitch Perfect 3 are currently helping propel the final weeks of the year. In fact, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is cruising toward $400 million domestically. As of December 19, however, projections had the 2017 box office landing at about $11.1 billion (about 2% less than 2016's total). The overall box office number is close to 2015's $11.14 billion, which was the second-biggest year for the box office on record. 2017 will mark the third time the overall domestic box office has claimed more than $11 billion.
Much of the slip is being credited to franchises being revisted only to under perform upon release. Such titles as Alien: Covenant, Transformers: The Last Knight, The Mummy and Justice League were expected to have larger box office draws.
“You cannot pull a fast one on the audience,” said Greg Foster, chief executive of Imax Entertainment. “The tools that are available for consumers to decide how and where to spend entertainment dollars are so vast. Consumers know what works and what doesn't long before the product becomes available.”
Furthermore, advancing quality and availability of streaming services such as Netflix (which released several feature films, including What Happened To Monday and Bright), Hulu (which debuted exclusives such The Runaway's), and Amazong (which housed The Tick, among other titles) became preferred viewing methods for many.
2018 looks to steer the box office ship back in movie theater owners direction with some major releases on the horizon. Marvel Studios will debut three films, including the highly anticipated Avengers: Infinity War. Lucasfilm will release a standalone Han Solo film in the Star Wars universe. DC Films will get in on the run late in the year with Aquaman.