This past weekend aside*, the box office has been more up than down when compared to the sluggish 2011.
Is that good news for President Obama?
Let’s find out, meaning let’s present some facts, and then offer a conclusion that may or may not be sound, but totally sounds like it could be.
In every presidential election year since 1984 in which an incumbent was seeking a second term, a la Obama, the incumbent won when movie-going was on the rise.
But hold that reelection party: The incumbent lost, too.
In other words, Presidents Reagan, Clinton and George W. Bush benefited from strong, Hollywood economies in 1984, 1996 and 2004, respectively, but President George H.W. Bush didn’t in 1992.
Even more troubling for Team Obama: Like George H.W. Bush, the sitting President is coming up from reelection on the heels of a two-year, box-office downturn.
The bottom line: The Hollywood box-office is a good presidential-year indicator, except when it’s not, kinda like the other presidential-year indicators.
*Despite 21 Jump Street‘s impressive $35 million start, the overall box office was indeed down versus last year. While the same March weekend in 2011 didn’t have a single movie as big as Jump Street, it had a half-dozen movies in the eight-digits, compared to only three this past time out.