After the summer box office season started with sizzle, the end of Q2 2023 has had a few disappointments, including Indiana Jones, Elemental, Transformers, and The Flash. The disappointments led to a quarterly box office total of $2.7B, which is well below a stretch target of $3.0B (the figure for Q2 2019). Is the miss the result of weaker films or a weakening consumer? All four disappointments had weaker critical ratings; for example, Elemental only won a 75% on the Rotten Tomato’s Tomatometer, the highest of the four. At this time, we judge the shortfall to be slate related. Q3 2023 holds Mission Impossible (98%), Oppenheimer, Barbie, and Gran Turismo. Q3 2022 was a very weak quarter for releases, which led to Regal Cinema’s parent company Cineworld to declare bankruptcy. (Two weeks ago, a bankruptcy court judge gave a green light to a reorganization plan for Regal/Cineworld, the last big hurdle for the company to emerge from bankruptcy next month.) For Q3 2023, it is best to compare to the pre-pandemic level of $2.7B versus the 1-year year-over-year change. Given that Q2 2023 did $2.7B with strong upside showings from The Super Mario Bros Movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Spiderman, it will take big numbers from the quarter’s releases to hit $2.7M, call it a “mission impossible.” But then again, Tom Cruise is a reliable mission accomplisher.