Barbenheimer Can’t Solve Hollywood’s Existential Crisis – The Average Joe
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    Barbenheimer Can’t Solve Hollywood’s Existential Crisis


    July 24, 2023

    Studios and movie theaters are trying their best not to… The summer movie season is alive after Barbie and Oppenheimer scored the highest weekend box office sales since 2019’s Avengers: Endgame.

    • Barbie sold $155M, achieving the year’s best opening — double its $75M projections.
    • Oppenheimer grossed $80.5M — vastly exceeding its $50M estimates.

    But the “Barbification of the world” won’t last long — per Carol Osborne of the University of South Florida’s Muma College of Business (Reuters). A Morningstar analyst expects Barbie to boost Mattel’s (NASDAQ:MAT) sales by $100M+ — which is only a drop in the bucket compared to its $5.4B in total sales.

    For Will Ferrell Mattel’s CEO, Barbie won’t be a long-term solution — and it might not be able to solve Hollywood’s existential crisis…

    Barbie’s gains won’t mend Hollywood’s pains

    Hollywood desperately needed a victory after a string of flops, but the celebrations might not last long. Box office sales this year are still down from 2022 — and 28% below 2019 levels. And the industry’s conflicts are only worsening.

    For the first time since 1960, both actors and writers are on strike — centered around earnings, AI rights and employment terms. And neither side is willing to back down, with industry sources saying (Vanity Fair):

    • “The endgame is to allow things to drag on until union members start losing their apartments and losing their houses.”
    • The industry was banking on a strong second half of the year, but one industry veteran says, “I think we’re in for a long strike.”

    Making matters worse: Unionized actors can’t engage in promotional activities like premiers, interviews or award shows during the strike. Unions have also warned influencers that they’d be banned from joining the union if they work with studios (i.e., promote films) during this time.

    While Barbenheimer benefited from months of promotion, other high-profile movies arriving later this year could lack the firepower. Having already spent millions on film production, a reduction in promotional activities could severely hurt the bottom lines of studios and theaters.

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