The box office performance of 2022 is a real-life example of a Hollywood underdog story. According to data provided by Comscore, even though there is approximately thirty percent less film content accessible in theatres compared to 2019, year-to-date ticket sales are approximately thirty percent lower.
In the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak, moviegoers have begun returning to theatres in record numbers, and they are shelling out more money than ever for admission and popcorn.
Nevertheless, the lack of consistent theatrical releases will be a major burden on the industry over the closing months of the year, which are extremely important. As things stand, there are just four movies that have the potential to be box office hits that will be released in theatres before December is over:
- Warner Bros.′ “Black Adam” – Oct. 21
- Disney and Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” – Nov. 11
- Disney Animation’s “Strange World” – Nov. 23
- Disney’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” – Dec. 16
In 2019, the latter four months of the year were filled with roughly two dozen blockbuster-style films that were scheduled to be released, including “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” Shawn Robbins, the chief media analyst at BoxOffice.com, stated that “we’re seeing right now that as we get into the fall that we kind of hit another pause.”
“And a lot of that is really falling on the lingering pandemic issues,” he added. “We’re seeing right now that as we get into the fall that we kind of hit another pause.” These problems include production shutdowns that caused film shooting to be delayed, as well as pressure on visual effects studios to finish projects on shortened timelines.
People are eager to get back to the movies. Fans have returned thanks to box office successes, including “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” “Jurassic World: Dominion,” and “Thor: Love and Thunder.”
Still, with fewer films in general on the schedule, studios and theatre owners have fewer chances to attract audiences to the theater. “The question today, as far as I’m concerned, is how soon we can resume seeing films like ‘Elvis’ and ‘The Black Phone,'” said one critic. Robbins noted that several more minor film releases, like “Lyle, Lyle Crocodile,” “Amsterdam,” and “Don’t Worry Darling,” had a chance to break out and generate stronger-than-expected ticket sales.
On October 14th, “Halloween Kills,” a film by Universal, will premiere in theatres and on Peacock. Over the course of the rest of the fall and the winter vacations, it’s hoped, he said. “But at this moment, 2023 is probably the earliest that we’ll see a return to even monthly fluctuations.” This is why many studios rely on library content, or previously released films, to bring people back to the theatre.
While the original “Avatar” is scheduled for a relaunch at the end of September, Disney has already rereleased the Star Wars prequel “Rogue One” in theatres. The enhanced edition of “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is now being released by both Sony and Marvel.
Rereleases are common, especially around significant anniversaries for well-known and beloved films. However, according to Comscore’s numbers, 90% of such screenings are planned by Fathom Events rather than the studios. Through their partnership in Fathom, AMC, Regal, and Cinemark bring back classic films for limited runs in theatres.
Fathom will be presenting special anniversary screenings of a number of films, including those celebrating 40, 10, and 60 years since their original release: “Star Trek: Wrath of Khan,” “Pitch Perfect,” and “Poltergeist,” respectively. Along with “The Mummy” (1932), “The Bride of Frankenstein” (1935), “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” (1954), and “The Phantom of the Opera” (1943), the studio will release a slate of Halloween movies in October.
The event will also mark the 30th anniversary of “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” and the 25th anniversary of “Scream 2.” Before the debut of “Bros,” a romantic comedy from Universal and director Judd Apatow, on September 30, Fathom will have released three of his previous films.
On September 19, the comedies “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” “Trainwreck,” and “Knocked Up” will be re-released with new introductions recorded by Nicholas Stoller, Billy Eichner, and Luke MacFarlane.Action movies have performed well at the box office in 2022, but a change of pace with romantic comedies like these could draw back audiences who haven’t been as enthusiastic about going to the movies recently.
According to Ray Nutt, CEO of Fathom, these re-releases give theatres the opportunity to show “Bros” with new extras, all while promoting the film to the general public. Disney, in a similar vein, is banking on the rerelease of “Avatar” at the end of September to draw in audiences and generate buzz for “The Way of Water.” According to Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore, “the box office is currently at over $5.3 billion year to date, substantially higher than the prior two years at this point but down naturally from 2019 and 2018.”
With “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” in November and “Avatar: The Way of Water” in December, among others, “the industry will likely wrap up with a predicted 2022 domestic box office of roughly $7.5 billion,” he said. With projections for 2020 at just $2.3 billion and 2021 at an unexpected $4.6 billion, that is an outstanding result for the industry. According to Dergarabedian and Robbins, the slate of films in 2023 is far more robust in terms of both the number of movies and the variety of subject matter.
The domestic box office is expected to recover more strongly as more films are released more often. Warner Bros. Discovery shifted “Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” initially set for release on December 21, 2022, to March 17, 2023, last month. It will now be released on Christmas Day in 2023 instead of “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.” Dergarabedian predicted that the first three months of 2019 would be successful because of the number of blockbuster movies set to be released.
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