Is Box Office Gross Down 29% b/c Movies Are 43% Stinkier?

This past Labor Day weekend ushered in the worst weekend box office gross since the 1990’s.

Were movies 43% rottener than last year’s? Perhaps.

Three things are shaping this trend:

  1. Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes (owned by Fandango/Flixster) are now widely available
  2. Netflix has about 50 million U.S. subscribers
  3. Rotten Tomatoes’ scores for this Labor Day weekend versus last year’s are lower

The rise of NetFlix is undeniable.

Since 2007, U.S. Subscribers have skyrocketed.

But information in the form of ratings from Rotten Tomatoes is getting wider distribution, becoming the pseudo Consumer Reports of the film industry out to save you 90 minutes of time and about ten dollars.

When accounting for week of release (e.g. Wonder Woman performs differently in week 2 vs week 14), the weighted Tomatometer for the top 12 grossing movies indicates that films this Labor Day weekend are 43% worse in quality than last year’s.

It’s this, and…

“A lot of models are getting smarter. Meaning fewer people go to the movies over the Labor Day weekend and now the models are teasing that out. Consequently, new releases are being slid either before or after Labor Day” said C3 Metrics advertising attribution measurement Co-Founder Jeff Greenfield. “but when movie quality ratings are available to nearly all consumers in context of the growing NetFlix and OTT explosion, those quality ratings weigh heavier on ticket sales when quality is low.”

In the words of Flannery O’Connor:

A good man movie is hard to find.