Cinemark CEO Sees "Flat" 2017 Box Offfice Despite Summer Slump

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Mark Zoradi forsees a feel-good ending at the U.S. box office at the end of 2017 after a "challenging" summer.

Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi on Wednesday said the 2017 Hollywood box office can be saved.

"I think the box office for 2017, if I had to guess, will be somewhat flat, against a record-year in 2016, and potentially slightly done," Zoradi told the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference. He argued the major studios shuffling their movie release dates, rather than anything "systematic," is what's to blame for the summer box-office slump.

"Moving one movie one week, or moving a movie two weeks, will give a completely different view to what's discussed, is thought about and what everyone is worried about," he argued. Zoradi told investors to take a longer view of the movie exhibition market.

"Let's look at this business, instead of quarter by quarter, let's try and expand the horizon and look at it on an annualized basis," he insisted. Zoradi conceded overall box office stumbled during the most recent third quarter, compared with performance during the same period in 2016.

"The third quarter has been a challenging quarter, especially in July and August. There's a lack of blockbusters, there was no Suicide Squad, like in August 2016, and some of the content didn't have that broad consumer appeal," he told investors.

Even with It, the scary clown movie from Warner Bros. and Kingsman: The Golden Circle from 20th Century Fox, analysts are projecting final third-quarter numbers to be significantly down at the domestic box office, year over year.

But Zoradi pointed to the volume of movies from the major studios rebounding, as he looked ahead to the third quarter of 2018. "It was a one year anomaly. It happened during the third quarter. There was a significant product decline," he argued.

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