Video: A hot summer for Hollywood's box office

By Jerry Cobb Reporter
CNBC
updated 9/5/2006 4:22:02 PM ET 2006-09-05T20:22:02

What to do in all that rain? Go to the movies, of course. This summer Disney ruled the waves, while Warner Brothers took a bath.

Only a year ago the roles were reversed. With Warner Brothers king of the summer box office, thanks to Batman Begins and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Disney launching bombs like Dark Water and Valiant.

“This summer looks especially good because last summer we had a fairly disappointing summer," said Walt Disney Studios Chairman Dick Cook.

Welcome to Hollywood, where fortunes can change as quickly as the season. Just ask Tom Cruise. Last summer’s hero after War of the Worlds, this summer Paramount’s pariah after MI3.

“Mission Impossible should have made more money but was a disappointment at the box office," said Gitesh Pandya of BoxOfficeGuru.com. "And it proves that he has to pick the right project and be a little more sane when it comes to his promotions.”

Thanks to the variety of films this summer, the box office will come in well ahead of last summer’s dismal results. But, behind the scenes, a wave of job cuts at Disney, Paramount and Warner Brothers, as all the studios grapple with slowing DVD sales and spiraling costs.

“It’s a tough business and you want to run it like a business, but at the same time you want creativity to flourish. So, you’ve got the ying and the yang of all this that I think we’re all fighting with”, said Cook.

The studios may have dodged the summer slump, but they may soon have a hellish holiday season. With no Harry Potter, no Lord of the Rings, no Chronicles of Narnia to maintain the positive momentum at the box office.

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