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Falling Box Office

Falling Box Office

There has been a lot of talk in the film industry media about the drop in box office grosses since last year. For three months, ’05 grosses are down in comparison to ’04. Is Hollywood worried? If they are, its not a fear they seem ready to admit just yet. How the box office fares this Memorial Day weekend might give some indication. But recently in Cannes, mega-producer Joel Silver told me that this summer’s releases will save Hollywood…

In a New York Times article Friday, Laura Holson wrote that the box office is suffering because of a change in movie-watching habits among the core teenage demgraphic:

…many Americans are changing how they watch movies – especially young people, the most avid moviegoers. For 13 weekends in a row, box-office receipts have been down compared with a year ago, despite the blockbuster opening of the final “Star Wars” movie. And movie executives are unsure whether the trend will end over the important Memorial Day weekend that officially begins the summer season.

Chatting with me two weeks ago at the luxurious Hotel du Cap near Cannes, Hollywood producer Joel Silver (“The Matrix”, “Lethal Weapon”, “Die Hard”) said that things will be just fine. “What changed last year was ‘Passion of The Christ’, that movie (caused) such an incredible influx of cash into the marketplace.” He added, “Once the ‘Star Wars’ movie opens, and ‘Batman’ and ‘Charlie and The Chocolate Factory’ and ‘Fantastic Four’ and some of these big movies start opening I think the box office will be just what it needs to be.”

But what if the kids just aren’t interested in the movies that Hollywood is making? Or what if those movie just plain suck.

“I think we have to keep making the best movies we can,” Silver said, “The good movies, they want to see — our job is to make movies that we think they’ll want to see.”

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