(NBC News) Labor Day signals the traditional end of summer, and the end of the lucrative summer movie season when Hollywood makes most of its money with big-budget blockbusters.
The receipts are in, and this year was a bust.
2014 was a down year for movies, the lowest in more than two decades.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” helped propel August to historic ticket sales, but it wasn’t enough to save the summer.
Of course, for every shooting star there is a box office black hole, and one summer stinker that did not live up to expectations was “Edge of Tomorrow” starring Tom Cruise.
“It was actually a really good movie,but the audiences just didn’t turn up,” says Entertainment Weekly Senior Editor Thom Geier. “Maybe it’s that awful title which sounds like an old soap opera, ‘The Edge of Tomorrow'”.
One summer surprise was the low-budget sweetheart film “The Fault in Our Stars”.
“We expect the kind of action films to dominate in the summer months, but this was a much quieter teenage romance and it really connected with audiences,” Geier notes.
That audience connection stood out in a season of sequels.
“I think we can cross our fingers and hope that the message the studios take from this summer is that we don’t just want to see sequels and retreads and things with Roman numerals at the ends of the titles,” Geier says.