By Max Godnick
Hollywood is having its best summer at the box office in years, flipping the script after nearly being pushed to the brink in 2017.
Last year was the lowest-grossing summer since 2006, sparking a slew of headlines mourning the demise of the movie theater. The year was marked by some notable bombs including "Baywatch," "The Mummy," and the latest "Pirates of the Caribbean" installment.
But it's the success of this year's "Incredibles 2," "Avengers: Infinity War," and "Deadpool 2" that make all that hand-wringing for naught.
"Everybody was tolling the death knell for the cinema experience," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior analyst at ComScore, in an interview with Cheddar on Friday. "It shows you what a difference a year makes."
According to ComScore's reporting through July 11th, this year's summer box office is up nearly 13% over 2017. While it's unlikely that Hollywood will surpass its record-breaking summer of 2013, when "Iron Man 3" led the season to a $4.75 billion take, Dergarabedian says it's likely to be the strongest of the last few years. That's largely to the credit of the string of commercially and critically successful superhero movie premieres.
And it might stay that way for years to come.
"There's no sign of superhero fatigue at all," Dergarabedian said.
Caped and costumed vigilantes aren't the only ones helping Hollywood dig itself out of last summer's hole. Documentaries are emerging as one of the season's most surprising saviors.
"Documentaries are killing it right now," Dergarabedian said, pointing to the $25 million in ticket sales generated by the unscripted movies "RBG" and "Won't You Be My Neighbor," which the analyst described as "no small thing."
The season has also seen studios break boundaries of inclusion and diversity. "Black Panther" set the tone in February, becoming the ninth-highest-grossing movie and the most successful one from a black director and with a black lead. Now, "Ant-Man and The Wasp" is the first Marvel movie to use a female character's name in the title. Brie Larson will star as "Captain Marvel" next year, and Cate Shortland will become the studio's first solo female director when she helms the standalone "Black Widow" movie.
"I think we're going to look back and say this was a turning point where there is no limit on who could lead a superhero movie," Dergarabedian said.
For the full segment, click here.