Are the box-office blues over?
Hollywood is buzzing with hopes that Thanksgiving weekend might break the 2009 domestic box-office record of $258.6 million over the five-day period.
Thanksgiving may be a groggy, food-filled memory, but movie makers are trying to keep the holiday spirit rolling forward as the U.S. film industry advances into the important last weeks of the year. Much like the retail sector, Hollywood relies on its six-week-long holiday season for a large portion of its revenue -- reportedly about 20% of annual box office receipts.
But like the rest of the nation, the film industry been going through some hard times. Last year was a disappointment for Hollywood. According to the Los Angeles Times, ticket sales in 2011 fell to $1.28 billion, their lowest level in 16 years. The rising costs of ticket sales along with competition from new entertainment technologies like video games and other social media options have been cutting into Hollywood's bottom line, and are keeping a lot of the traditional movie-going audience home.
But there are hopes that several big blockbuster films, including "Skyfall," "Lincoln," the Twilight Saga's "Breaking Dawn Part 2" and the upcoming "The Hobbit" movie will turn things around.
In fact, according to Deadline Hollywood, there is a buzz going around Los Angeles that this Thanksgiving holiday weekend might break the 2009 domestic box office record of $258.6 million for the five-day period.
At the same time, some in the industry are surprised at the lack of family-oriented holiday films this season. And in a break with tradition, "Rise of the Guardians" is the only high-profile animated film coming out over Thanksgiving.
"It feels like somebody is leaving a lot of money on the table this holiday season," Drew McWeeny, a film editor at HitFix, told Reuters. "There are no warm, fuzzy family films. Normally things like that are staked out so carefully. I'm not sure what happened this year."
Nevertheless, Hollywood seems to believe that a steady diet of action and fantasy is what movie-goers are looking for this holiday season.
"We all have a lot riding on these films, and you want people to be buying tickets," Fox 2000 Pictures president Elizabeth Gabler told the Los Angeles Times. Her studio produced "Life of Pi", another highly-anticipated film being released over Thanksgiving. Sales for that film are reportedly doing well, and "Life of Pi" could make more than $28 million over the five-day holiday period.
"The more exciting movies you can offer people will get them to the theater," Gabler said. "When there's a lot of energy there, that fosters excitement about the moviegoing experience."
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