Why This Summer's Box Office Sucked

Inception, Toy Story among the few standouts
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 6, 2010 11:40 AM CDT

(Newser) – As summer officially winds to a close, the sad state of the summer box office becomes official: From the first weekend of May through Labor Day, about 552 million headed to multiplexes. That's the lowest figure since 1997, reports the New York Times in a look at the lessons that can be gleaned from 2010. For one, the industry is worried that it’s overplayed the 3D card—Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore didn't exactly set sales records, and the jacked up ticket prices for the 3D experience could be partly to blame.

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That may have studios considering which films to release in 3D more carefully. Another misstep may have been emphasizing the release date too much: Though Prince of Persia raked in $330 million worldwide, it was considered a dud because its plastered-everywhere May 28 opening date didn't translate into a mega-opening night. In general, a lot of much-hyped films failed, like Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Sex and the City 2. “You can hype up a movie like crazy,” says one analyst, “but consumers are smart and can smell a con job." Indeed, the brainy Inception was the season's breakout hit, and critical darling Toy Story 3 (click here to see the fawning reviews) was the top earner overall. (Read more box office stories.)

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