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Summer Box Office Revenue Is Really Bad and Social Media Isn’t Helping

Consider the Transformers franchise, which historically is impervious to critical volleys. Over the past decade, four of these films buzzed and whirred through terrible ratings, stomped into theaters and left with huge bags of cash. The sophomore film of the franchise—slapped with a 19 percent approval score—was second only to “Avatar” in the 2009 revenue ranking.

Not so this year. Saddled with its typically terrible press, “Transformers: The Last Knight,” sputtered out of the gate and managed to garner barely half as much domestic revenue as the previous film in the series. It was bested by “Dunkirk,” a Warner Bros. military drama with a time-bending twist by director Christopher Nolan—which cost less than half as much to make.

A similar storyline panned out for the unsurprisingly bad “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” “The Mummy” and a string of R-rated romps led by “Baywatch.” “Sequels are generally the industry’s safety net, and that safety net isn’t holding anymore,” Bock said. “There’s a huge rip in the way Hollywood does business.” Meanwhile, those few big budget productions that managed to win over critics, including “Wonder Woman” and the latest Spider-Man vehicle, were rewarded.

To be fair to Los Angeles producers, this would have been hard to predict. Stuporous summer audiences will typically show up in waves for any feature with a big enough marketing campaign. Tell them loudly that “Rush Hour 3” will be fun and you’ve got a box office braggart on

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