July 11th was reportedly a very special day for the movie business. The release of The Fantastic Four broke the much publicized longest box office slump in more than 2 decades.
This perceived slump met with worry all over cable, network, online and print news. Were people spending more time on their computers? Were people getting cheap illegal copies of the film on DVD? Are people just waiting to view the films on DVD in the privacy of their home with their home theater system instead? Are the DVDs coming out too soon after the film is released? Are ticket prices too high? Are the movies just not good enough to entice theater patronage?
Of course those are good questions but I actually believe the "woe is me" attitude of Hollywood prior to July 11th was actually a marketing ploy to get people to go. Sure, theaters this year might have sold less tickets each week for 19 straight weeks compared to last year. 2004 had blockbuster films like: Spiderman 2, Shrek 2, Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban and The Incredibles. Yes, we will and have had our hits this year but the big anomaly to add to these hits is the staying power Passion Of The Christ had at the box office. The film was released on Feb. 18th of 2004 and would have attendance resurgence during Easter and other religious holidays. Many churches actually organized gatherings to attend the film to help keep the film on top. 2004 was a record year.
Becoming Chicken Little just because you aren't matching or surpassing a record year is like picketing government offices because your tax return this year isn't as big as the largest one you've ever received (which happened to be last year and this year your ex gets to claim baby Jesus.) How about just comparing things to 2003? If we are above that, I think we can agree we aren't heading into the dark ages of cinema quite yet.