Summer is now officially over, and for Hollywood the results were not good. No, the industry didn't suffer a repeat of the string of debacles that hit last year, when one mega-budget picture after another—White House Down, The Lone Ranger, Pacific Rim, Turbo, R.I.P.D.—unceremoniously tanked. In fact, the news was actually worse.
Last year at least the hits made up for the misses. This year the North American summer box office was down 15 per cent overall. Movies like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and the latest Transformers installment drew crowds to the multiplex, but smaller crowds than in the past. And there are signs the core audience is losing interest: According to the MPAA, the number of frequent moviegoers (once a month or more) last year fell in every age demographic between 12 and 49, with the biggest drop coming among 18-to-25-year-olds. It's not hard to figure out why: As producer Lynda Obst put it recently, “How many times can you see the same cities destroyed? How many ways are there to destroy them?”