Money Minute: July 4th a Dud for Hollywood Box Office


If you went to see a movie this weekend, it might have felt a little lonely.

The July Fourth weekend was a dud for Hollywood. According to industry-tracker Rentrak, box office receipts were down 44 percent from a year ago. Part of the problem is timing. The No. 1 flick, "Transformers: Age of Extinction," was released a week before the holiday weekend and it made the bulk of its money in that first week. Some other films had their debuts on the Wednesday before Independence Day so their sales weren't counted in the weekend tally. Overall, the summer season has been a chilly one for Tinseltown. Sales are down almost 20 percent from last summer. That could be because there are so many TV series premiering this summer that are getting all the eyeballs.

AMC Entertainment's (AMC) strategy in attracting moviegoers is to offer quality over quantity. The company is investing millions of dollars in fully reclining seats that will take up more space in their theaters but give movie-lovers more incentive to leave the comfort of their couches. But you won't be able to kick back in markets like New York and Los Angeles that already attract a lot of cinephiles. The seats will only be available in less active markets. And you'll have about a year to enjoy the seats before ticket prices rise to cover the costs.

Things are heating up on the small screen. Movie mogul, Harvey Weinstein known for producing independent films that go on to win Oscars like "Shakespeare in Love" "The King's Speech" and "The Artist" has done so well with his TV endeavors -- he produces "Project Runway" and others -- that he now reportedly is looking to spin off his TV division into a separate company that might even go public. The Weinstein Co. is reportedly looking to team up with a digital outlet like Netflix (NFLX), (AMZN), Google (GOOG) or Yahoo (YHOO) to create original content. It's exciting times for fans of edgy and arty episodic fare.

Here on Wall Street last week it was a shortened trading week because of July 4thbut there was much to celebrate. A strong jobs report pushed the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) past the 17,000 mark for the first time. The Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) was up 2.4 percent on the week while the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) gained 1.4 percent.

The stock market has been on a tear for 5 years now, which is making many question when the bull run is going to lose steam. The next big market driver is expected to be second quarter earnings and analysts are feeling pretty optimistic about the outcome. Those polled by Reuters expect earnings to grow by 6.2 percent in the period, that's better than the 5.6 percent in the first quarter, and then by double digits in the third and fourth quarters. We'll get a sense of where things are headed pretty soon. Earnings season starts Tuesday when Alcoa (AA) releases its results.

-Produced by Karina Huber.

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I used to own part of Paramount Studios and Carolco (Terminator).
Here are some insider secrets: It's usually pretty clear which films are good and which are duds.
For example, you would never release a hot film in January. The hot films are saved for the "window" of Memorial Day to Labor Day and two weeks during the Christmas Holidays.
If you go to the movies in February, for example, you'll probably see a film that was one step from going directly to DVD.

July 07 2014 at 1:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

were they expecting a lot of perople on 4th of July weekend? That sound dumb.

July 07 2014 at 11:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Wilhelm Sack

Not much incentive to go to the movies, poor quality films, have not seen good entertainment for some time , saw "Tommy" yesterday, what a waste of time and money , was not even funny, just want go back for a while

July 07 2014 at 10:35 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

The films available are garbage, that's why the receipts are down!

July 07 2014 at 10:23 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

ashamed n embarrassed to be an American today ,fly your American flag upside down for the death of America till this muslim clown is removed from our white house in handcuffs in 2014 along with his record unemployment n his record foreclosures for the last 5 plus years now n deport all illegal immigrants he let "BREAK" into america. !!!!!

July 07 2014 at 9:37 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

LOL...Hollywood is so bogged down in spreading the liberal-socialist message, it has NO time for quality flicks. Besides the intelligencia of today's movie-goers is mired in the world of make-believe and cartoon and so they are not required to think while watching the "big" screen.

July 07 2014 at 8:45 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply