far from the shallow now
February 25, 2019

The Academy has plenty of reason to celebrate after Sunday's Oscars, which not only received positive reviews but improved its ratings for the first time in five years.

An average of 29.6 million people watched this year's Academy Awards, reports Deadline. This is an increase of more than 3 million viewers compared to last year's show, which was seen by 26.5 million people and was the lowest-rated ever.

Of course, this just makes the 2019 Oscars the second-lowest rated ever, falling bellow 2017's audience of 32.9 million people. Still, just the fact that the ratings didn't sink further, let alone that they went up, is an undeniable victory.

The 2018 Oscars' ratings were so disastrous that the Academy assembled afterward to discuss ways to boost viewership, per Variety. This was why a series of shake-ups were announced leading up to Sunday's show, including the addition of a "popular film" award and the plan to not give out every Oscar live. The Academy also announced it would cut the telecast down to three hours.

All of the Academy's proposed changes were ultimately abandoned after facing backlash. But funnily enough, the ratings improved anyway. The fact that so many high-grossing films like Black Panther and Bohemian Rhapsody were nominated for Best Picture was likely the main reason for the improvement, though it's possible all the controversies may have driven interest.

Perhaps the positive response to this show will force the Academy to wonder if it should forgo a host again, and possibly encourage producers to continue trying to reduce the show's length, seeing as the shortest Oscars in seven years was also the highest rated. And with the ratings going up after blockbuster films had a larger presence, the popular film award, which is still on the table, may be more likely than ever. Brendan Morrow

December 10, 2018

The domestic box office fell to a three-year low in 2017, but with the help of superheroes, dinosaurs, and Lady Gaga, this year is set to shatter records.

ComScore estimates that the domestic box office will reach $11 billion by Tuesday or Wednesday of this week, which means it will have taken either 345 or 346 days to do so, Deadline reports. That would be the quickest the U.S. box office has ever reached $11 billion, with the previous record being 361 days in 2016, a year when the final yearly total ended up being $11.3 billion. That year, only $10.3 billion had been grossed by this point in December.

That's great news for Hollywood after the total domestic box office just barely reached $11 billion last year and saw a 6.2 percent decline in tickets sold over 2016, per Box Office Mojo. But 2018 delivered two new entries into the all-time top five highest grossing films domestically: Black Panther, which grossed $700 million, and Avengers: Infinity War, which grossed $678 million. Three films this year made more than $600 million domestically (Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Incredibles 2), whereas in 2017, only Star Wars: The Last Jedi was able to cross that threshold, and no movie did so in 2016 at all.

The $11 billion total will be reached long before the massively profitable Christmas season, and this year, Star Wars' absence from cinemas has left room for five major blockbusters: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Mortal Engines, Aquaman, Bumblebee, and Mary Poppins Returns. The box office is currently on pace to finish somewhere around $11.7 billion or $11.8 billion, which would already be the best year ever, but Deadline writes that depending on how this upcoming holiday brawl shakes out, it's entirely possible 2018 could reach $12 billion for the first time in history. Brendan Morrow

October 29, 2018

Box office revenue is way up this month compared to years past, and it's all because of alien symbiotes, Lady Gaga, and the return of Michael Myers.

With Halloween taking in an additional $32 million this weekend, October 2018 is now the highest-grossing October ever, with the total revenue across all film releases being $786 million, per The Hollywood Reporter. With still a few days left in the month, this outpaces October 2014, which previously held the record with a total gross of $758 million. This year's performance was a massive improvement on last October, when the total box office revenue was just $557 million; many of the highest-grossing films of that month actually came out in September.

This October's biggest release was Venom, Sony's Spider-Man universe film that hit multiplexes during what is typically a superhero film lull. It took in another $10.8 million this weekend, putting it well on its way to a domestic total of over $200 million. A Star Is Born also continues to belt its way to victory, landing at #2 for the fourth weekend in a row. Though the Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga musical drama only debuted with $42 million at the start of the month, its legs have been quite impressive, and with the total gross now approaching $150 million, it's not far behind Venom.

Halloween also helped October 2018 shatter records, with the slasher sequel reaching a to-date gross of $126 million. It's now the second-highest grossing film of the franchise behind only John Carpenter's original, which took in $183 million domestically adjusted for inflation, according to The New York Times. Brendan Morrow

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