The U.S. box office seems to be finally bouncing back this summer after a dismal 2017. Although summer will officially be over on Labor Day, the U.S. box office so far has put up an impressive show this season, with a spate of franchise films already having sent cash registers ringing. This for sure will bring a smile on the faces of film studios that have been facing stiff competition from streaming giants.

The U.S. box office witnessed one of its worst times in decades in 2017 and analysts had started penning obituaries. However, a series of big hits from the stable of some of the most prominent film studios seem to have finally brought stardom for the box office.

U.S. Box Office Bounces Back in Summer

After a dismal 2017, the U.S. box office seems to be bouncing back this year, with revenues growing 12.8% over this time last year. This definitely seems to be a great comeback by the theatres after the box office suffered one of the worst summers last year. And once again, franchise films seem to have come to the rescue of the theatres.

Last year lacked big-ticket releases, particularly with no Star Wars films from The Walt Disney Company DIS. This significantly affected the box office, with many analysts predicting that the situation would worsen in 2018.

Things worsened further when the U.S. box office last summer declined 14.6% year over year. For the 15 weeks since the last weekend of April, the U.S. box office is up 18.2% from 2017. Interestingly, higher ticket price has been significantly giving a boost to U.S. box office sales. Moreover, summer ticket sales have increased 11% this year. 

Disney Leads the Race, Others Follow                                                  

Disney once again is leading the race with Avengers: Infinity Wars having already grossed $678 million followed by Incredibles 2 that has crossed $597 million so far. Time Warner, Inc.’s TWX Warner Bros. too has tasted success with the surprise hit Crazy Rich Asians, already grossing $76 million in its second weekend. The studio’s other film Ocean’s 8 on the other hand has crossed $138 million domestically.

Universal Pictures, owned by Comcast Corporation CMCSA, too seems to be enjoying a great summer with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom grossing more than $413 million already at the domestic box office. Sony Pictures Entertainment, a division of Sony Corporation of America’s SNE, Hotel Transylvania 3, which opened on Jul 13, so far has grossed more than $158 million. However, Twenty-First Century Fox FOXA didn’t have a great summer with only Deadpool scoring high.

Sequels Help Domestic Box Office

Franchise films have been driving the box office for quite some time and this summer hasn’t been any different. At the same time, it also proves that the appeal for theatrical movie-viewing experience hasn’t faded at a time when streaming giants like Netflix, Inc. NFLX and, Inc. AMZN are giving film studios tough competition. Amazon has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Interestingly, this summer has been quite different from the last. The top 10 releases in summer 2017 saw original stories like Warner Bros’ Dunkirk and Universal’s Girl Trip. However, this year’s show has been dominated by sequels. All the top 11 titles this summer have been sequels, while the best performing film with original character is Paramount Pictures’, a subsidiary of Viacom, Inc. VIAB, Book Club, which is in the 12th place.  

Understandably, an increasing number of studios are banking on franchise power with Disney once again expected to steal the show. The studio’s Incredibles 2 has already surpassed the 2016 hit Finding Dory to become the highest grossing animated film ever at the domestic box office.

The success of franchise films was seen last year too, with Star Wars: The Last Jedi emerging as the highest grossing film. And all major film studios are expected to keep relying on the franchise power to scoop up maximum revenues.

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