Last year (2014) was a very tough year for the box office with only one film (Transformers: Age of Extinction) reaching the $1 billion mark or higher, but going into December of 2015, this year we have seen four films surpass the coveted $1 billion mark (Jurassic World – nearly $1.7 billion, Furious 7 - $1.5 billion, Avengers: Age of Ultron - $1.4 billion, and Minions – nearly $1.2 billion). With Spectre possibly on the chase of the $1 billion mark and Star Wars: The Force Awakens still yet to be released, 2015 has still got a few records to break, and it looks like, with Star Wars set to smash box office records in itself, that 2015 is likely to be the best box office year yet. But why did these four films and possibly Star Wars as well, smash $1 billion? Here are a few possible reasons:
1) Fans have been waiting for long periods to see these movies
Two of these films, Jurassic World (#1 of 2015, #3 of all time) and the upcoming Star Wars VII, have been long anticipated by fans and critics, as both of these franchises last released a film 10 or more years ago (Star Wars III in 2005, and Jurassic Park III in 2001). Fans knew that the last film/s in their respective franchises were not as successful in the reviews, but the longer the fans wait, the more excited they become when the films draw near to their release date. But personally, I was hardly ever a person who got hyped for a movie, even if I have to wait for 10, 15 years to see a sequel.
2) Fans love the franchise/s
This is the most obvious reason. Fans love the film franchise as a whole. People love Fast & Furious, people love Jurassic Park, people love The Avengers and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, likewise for the Despicable Me franchise. And when you love a movie, or a franchise, you’d want to bring your mates or family to watch the movie with you. More people, longer screening periods, more money, box office success, sequels, major franchise. It happened with Transformers (even though the movies were crap), it happened with the Dark Knight trilogy, and it is bound to happen with the DC Extended Universe with fans raving about Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad. And when you love a franchise, all you want is more and more and more. But the problem with making more and more sequels, as many people would know, is that some franchises (well actually, most) slowly go downhill in the reviews, and in some cases, the box office, as the movies get worse, less people will watch the movie. But I think people watch the Transformers franchise for either two reasons – 1: Kids watch the cartoons at home, or 2: They know the movie is going to be absolutely terrible, like every other one apart from maybe the first one (BTW, the first one wasn’t good by any means, it was simply ok).
3) Tragedies during filming
As you guys would be well aware, there have been many tragedies throughout filming of TV shows and movies, or outside of filming (in cases like Brandon Lee in filming of The Crow), but the main reason why Furious 7 was watched by many people was because that was the final film appearance of Paul Walker, whom had appeared in the franchise since its original film release in 2001, and this also led to questions on whether the franchise would continue, which it ultimately will, with sequels, prequels and spin-offs set to be released in future years, allowing for new actors to appear in the franchise, possibly take over the mantle from Vin Diesel and lead the next generation of actors in this franchise, though I doubt that will happen anytime soon, as there are already plans for two more sequels after the release of the 2017 Fast & Furious 8 film. But in reality, there are still question marks regarding why Diesel is doing another one as Furious 7’s ending was a good way to close the franchise for good, and allow Diesel and other actors (Tyrese, Ludacris, The Rock, etc) to move onto other franchises.
4) Younger generations are watching more movies
Why are the seats half empty in the cinema? If you ask that question, the answer to that is people don’t want to pay money to watch movies that they love, and are now putting movies online and even leaking them before release, and people are watching and downloading them for free, allowing them to get away with doing this stuff illegally. But in spite of all that, more and more people in the 18-39 age demographic are watching movies in cinemas, partly because of the world’s growing population, but also because in some places, movies are cheap to watch, and they watch marathons a day or two before the movie is actually released and they get to watch the actual movie itself, before other people around the world.
Those are just some of the reasons as to why 2015 has quite possibly been the best box office year yet. What are your thoughts on the box office this year? And what are your hopes for next year? Does it look promising? Or will it go backwards?