Check out this article from The New York Times. It talks about the overall box office picture so far in 2006 and how receipts have stayed solid this year. What it really shows, though, is how the blockbusters aren’t the ones saving the day. A number of big films with heavy promotional and marketing efforts have either flopped or at least not performed as expected. The films that have filled in the gap are smaller ones with smaller budgets that appeal to niche audiences.
The article contrasts this year to last as well. Where last year there were a number of high-profile releases in late November and December this year there aren’t. That means those same smaller movies are going to have to help the studios finish the year strong.
It’s all about targeting the right audience and having films whose cost is in line with how the film can realistically do. This year there happened to be a number of those. I hope this is a lesson Hollywood continues to show they’ve learned.