Audiences have been begging for fewer uninspired movie sequels, and they are going to get it in 2018

‘Mary Poppins Returns.’ Disney
  • There will be fewer movie sequels coming out in theatres in 2018, something audiences have been asking for.
  • But one analyst says it will end up being a flat year at the box office.

If there was one thing Hollywood took from 2017, which had the worst movie attendance in 25 years, it’s that audiences were through with the constant sequels. So 2018 will have fewer.

But will it lead to better box-office results?

Along with low attendance, last year saw the movie business suffer a drop in domestic box office, as the year-end figure just got past $US11 billion (almost 3% lower than 2016). Much of the blame goes to uninspired sequels that no one went to see. This will, at least in part, lead to studios releasing a higher number of untested titles in 2018. But it might not be the remedy movie theatres are hoping for.

Wall Street is forecasting a flat year at the box office for 2018.

“The studios are relying less on sequels, which adds to forecasting volatility,” Leo Kulp, an analyst for RBC Capital Markets, wrote in a Wednesday note. “While this could be good if the new content re-engages audiences, it could be a negative if they miss.”

Black Panther Marvel Disney final
Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’ opens in February. Marvel/Disney

Where Kulp sees the biggest growth for the year is in the second quarter of 2018 where – you guessed it – the slate is heavy with sequels: “Avengers: Infinity War” (May 4), “Deadpool 2” (June 1), “Incredibles 2” (June 15), and “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” (June 22).

And 2018 will also mark the first time a “Star Wars” movie has been released outside of December since 2005’s “Revenge of the Sith.” “Solo: A Star Wars Movie” opens May 25, which is also a reason Kulp is bullish on the second quarter.

That big second quarter will, however, lessen the end-of-year kick the box office has gotten in previous years thanks to “The Force Awakens,” “Rogue One,” and “The Last Jedi.”

Kulp is forecasting that the fourth quarter will have a 5% decline from last year, as it will be fuelled by mostly newbies “Venom” (October 5), “Aquaman” (December 21), and “Mary Poppins Returns” (December 25).

Sequels will never go away, but if audiences will come out to see non-sequels this year, you can expect studios to get more confident in greenlighting them.

The first major test will come with the release of the anticipated Marvel release “Black Panther,” which opens February 16.