Steve Jobs, The Walk, and Black Mass were all released in the past couple months to entice Oscar voters and normal audience members alike. Unfortunately, the only viewers biting are the members of the Academy who receive free screeners. All three films flopped at the box office.

That’s not to say that people aren’t going to the movies anymore; they certainly are. It’s just that consumers would rather spend their money on big screen events—i.e. major releases like Spectre, Jurassic World, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 2, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens—than on middle budget Oscar bait movies that they’d be more comfortable watching at home, where they don’t have to bother with the $14 admission price.

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Brooks Barnes and Michael Cieply at the New York Times report:

Over all, North American ticket sales so far this year are up 5 percent compared with the same period in 2014, according to the Rentrak reporting service. But the increase does not reflect what has traditionally been considered a healthy movie marketplace — more hits than misses, with films of different sizes and aimed at different slices of the population, chugging toward profit.

Instead, the boost comes almost entirely from a handful of megamovies: “Jurassic World,” “The Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Inside Out,” “Furious 7” and those fall hits, “The Martian” and “Hotel Transylvania 2.”

Studios now fear that major budget pictures like Star Wars will overshadow their other holiday releases. Some films are even being held until spring, according to the Times, to “curtail the cannibalism.”

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Don’t despair, cinephiles! Major blockbusters aren’t the only films that are thriving in the theaters. While middle budget films are eating each other’s audiences, small budget movies with limited releases are thriving.


Contact the author at madeleine@jezebel.com.

Image via “Steve Jobs”/Universal Pictures.