The 2017 box office looks to be down from 2016, when all is said and done. This news comes in spite of the shot in the arm that this month's Star Wars: The Last Jedi has given the box office.
All thing considered, this year has been chock-full of either critical and/or commercial success stories. Superheroes blockbusters like Logan, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Wonder Woman, and Thor: Ragnarok hit it big with both general audiences and critics. Meanwhile, auteur projects such as Edgar Wright's Baby Driver and Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk impressed both critically and financially, as did horror movies like Split, Get Out, and IT. Nevertheless, the 2017 box office has taken a dip from the box office numbers of 2016.
Variety is reporting that despite Star Wars: The Last Jedi being a huge hit, the 2017 box office will decline by "at least 2% from last year's record-setting $11.38 billion." As of December 19, the projected 2017 box office stands at $10.35 billion, which at the time of writing this article, leaves 10 days for the box office to rake in an unlikely $1 billion to come close to meeting last year's record. But even then, this year's box office still wouldn't surpass last year.
It's not all doom and gloom though, because according to Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore, the "final number for 2017 will come in between $11.1 billion and &11.2 billion," making this the third time for the industry to ever hit $11 billion. That's still a pretty enormous number, even if it dips from last year. There's still time, but not enough high-profile films are left to push it over the $1 billion mark. With this weekend's The Great Showman and Pitch Perfect 3 both projected to land in the $20-30 million arena, it's hard to imagine audiences flocking out in droves like they did for Star Wars. Not even Ridley Scott's miraculous removal of Kevin Spacey from All the Money in the World will push the box office over the top.
While the final days of the year are the heaviest movie-going days in the year for North America, it would take quite a lot to make up for kind of a measly summer. Sure, we got some lucrative properties in theaters, but it's not hard to imagine why some moviegoers decided not to venture out of their homes this summer. Big franchise installments like Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, The Mummy reboot, and Transformers: The Last Knight all disappointed critically before opening to lower than expected box office numbers. October's box office was down substantially too, after a record-breaking September fueled by IT.
Whether the box office can count this year as a success or not, many would argue that 2017 was a great year to go to the theater regardless. With streaming services now taking a shot at making blockbusters, it's become all the more important to celebrate the films that actually make it to theaters. Just a few years ago, it was hard to imagine movie theaters becoming a thing of the past. These numbers aren't the death toll of theaters as we know it, but the changing media landscape might be.