Hollywood pins hopes on Interstellar as it seeks out new life in movie industry

There is much riding on Christopher Nolan’s latest space travel blockbuster after a poor year for the American film industry.

It is not just the fate of humankind at risk in the latest release from the director
Christopher Nolan; it is also the fate of the box office.

Hollywood executives are hoping that Interstellar, which features an all-star cast led by Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, will come to the rescue of what has been a terrible year for the industry on both sides of the Atlantic.

In Britain the total box office haul between the beginning of May and the end of August, the period when major studios tend to release their biggest earning films, was £398m, compared with £434m in 2013. In the US the situation was even worse: the $4.05bn (£2.56bn) total representing a 14% drop from 2013. Adjusted for ticket-price inflation, the US performance was the worst since 1997.

The World Cup, which occupied four weeks from mid-June to mid-July, may have played a significant part in keeping audiences away from the multiplexes, but it has nevertheless produced a crisis of confidence among the studios, with Warner Bros, Sony and DreamWorks among those that have been shedding jobs and cutting costs throughout the year.

Interstellar is being hailed as the film that could yet turn things around and reassure Hollywood that its model of tentpole blockbusters that prop up the rest of the business, still works. The much-hyped space-travel film was produced with a budget of $165m, and was released on Wednesday in the US and on Friday in Britain.

Andrew Pulver – The Guardian, Saturday 8 November 2014