Quarterly movie review: A look back at the past 3 months of 2012

By Jeffrey Peterson

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Oct. 4 2012 4:37 p.m. MDT

With moviegoers exhausted after the glut of blockbusters released during the previous few months, September is always a down month for studios. This year, though, proved to be the worst in quite some time. Not a single September release earned even close to $50 million, and the month’s cumulative box office dropped a massive 55 percent from last year — a year when three films, “The Lion King 3D,” “Contagion” and “Moneyball,” each earned more than $75 million.

With a total of 57 movies released, which combined for nearly $274 million, this September marked the lowest month at the box office since 2001 (not accounting for changes in ticket prices). Even worse, September also set the record for the fewest movie tickets sold in that month since 1988.

Even the 3-D re-release of Pixar’s “Finding Nemo,” which Disney had hoped could repeat the “Lion King 3D” release's $94 million box office from the same weekend one year ago, only brought in around $36 million.

Following the poor theater attendance in the early weeks, September managed a bittersweet ending thanks to Sony’s “Hotel Transylvania.” The first feature film from “Samurai Jack” creator Genndy Tartakovksy set a record for the highest September release ever with a $43 million opening weekend. That’s also the biggest weekend for Sony Pictures Animation, beating last year’s “The Smurfs” ($35 million).

With a number of high-profile films coming up in the next few months, it’s still too early to completely write off 2012 as a bigger disaster than 2011. But if the month of September proves anything, it’s that now might be a good time for studios to rethink their moviemaking strategies.

Note: Box office information for this article was taken from the site boxofficemojo.com

A native of Utah Valley and a devoted cinephile, Jeff is currently studying humanities and history at Brigham Young University.

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