First the news splashed about the media media (that’s media that covers the media industry) that Mission: Impossible II was a disappointment, falling short of its financial estimates. Now, Bloomberg is reporting that the studios are looking to this summer’s slate of films to “stay ahead of last year’s summer box-office slump.”

Probably the most anticipated is this Friday’s opening of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. Disney and Warner Bros. have gone all out to push this sequel to 2003’s bit hit. That movie took in $46.6 million its first three days in U.S. and Canadian theaters and it is anticipated that Dead Man’s Chest will bring in $97.4 million its first three days.

“Pirates of the Caribbean is poised to have a gigantic opening weekend,” Gitesh Pandya, chief executive officer of BoxOfficeGuru.com told Bloomberg, “probably one of the biggest ever for the second half of summer.”

In addition to typical fast-food promos, both Disneyland in California and Disneyworld in Florida revamped their Pirates of the Caribbean rides to include characters from the movie. The ride opened in California on June 26 and the ride in Florida will open on Friday.

According to Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations Co., audiences who are drawn to the movie theater by one film tend to keep coming back. Exhibitor Relations found that summer ticket sales fell to $3.62 billion from $3.96 billion in 2004, but believe that this year’s increase is because of better films.

“A year ago there were some mega-hits, but perhaps not enough fresh new-looking pictures,” Jeff Blake, vice chairman of Sony Pictures, told Bloomberg.

Another challenge the industry faces is the rise of video games. “Young males are playing video games and it’s hard to get them out to the theaters,” Rick Sands, chief operating officer of Los Angeles-based Metro- Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., told Bloomberg.

I don’t know about you, but I stopped going to the movie several years ago when the ticket for a matinee started climbing above $5. Now that I have a decent home entertainment system and the DVDs come out so quickly, I just can’t justify taking the time and money, not to mention the aggravation of other theatre goers making noise, to go to the theatre. It is my belief that Hollywood need to depend less on theatre ticket sales to judge the success of a film. I don’t think I’m the only one that has forsaken the “theatre experience” because of financial reasons.

SOURCE:‘Pirates,’ Smaller Films May Save Hollywood From Summer Letdown