Summer of sequels falls short - even for ‘Avengers: Endgame’

Sam Ashurst
Venezuelan filmgoers watch the first screening in Venezuela of Marvel Studios' "Avengers: Endgame" at a cinema in Caracas on early April 26, 2019. - The "Avengers: Endgame" movie was screened early morning in Caracas to work around blackout and safety issues. (Photo by Federico PARRA / AFP) (Photo credit FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images)

On paper, it looked like the biggest movie summer of all time. In reality, Hollywood analysts are calling 2019’s summer of sequels a crushing disappointment.

Even Avengers: Endgame, which had been predicted to topple Avatar from the top of the box office chart for the first time in ten years, fell short of expectations. It’s had to settle for second place on the all-time chart.

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But there’s a bunch of other movies from this summer that would probably give anything to have that level of failure. Dark Phoenix, The Secret Life of Pets 2, Godzilla: King Of The Monsters all under-performed significantly, and won’t be troubling the top half of the film chart any time soon.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 28: Zach Shields, Charles Dance, Millie Bobby Brown, O'Shea Jackson Jr. and Director Michael Dougherty attend GODZILLA II King of the Monsters at Cineworld Leicester Square on May 28, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images for Warner Bros)

So what went wrong? “Audiences are savvy enough to wait for the home market, especially with so many great streaming choices this summer,” said Jeff Bock, an analyst with Exhibitor Relations Co. “That’s something Hollywood will be contending against for years to come.”

Sequels and reboots aren’t doing enough to tempt audiences off their sofas, Bock said. “Many of them aren’t upping the ante or raising the stakes significantly enough,” he said.

“Sequels can obviously be successful -- there wouldn’t be 20 of them this summer if Hollywood thought otherwise,” Bock said. “However, the ones that have opened below expectations were ill-conceived and/or flimsy films. In other words: lazy sequels.”

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Still, there is hope for Hollywood. Toy Story 4 (which is getting hugely positive early reactions), The Lion King, Hobbs & Shaw, and Spider-Man: Far From Home are all incoming, so hopefully we’ll still be in for a record-breaking 2019.

“You’ve got at least four titles through the remainder of the summer period which should do very well,’’ Bock said.

Fingers crossed. Toy Story 4 is in cinemas on 21 June.