Can the film make a box office comeback in 2022?


Absolutely no one expects Universal The 355 ($ 350,000 in Thursday previews) to burst to some extent this weekend. Simon Kinberg’s poorly rated and buzz-free ensemble actor, starring Jessica Chastain, Fan Bingbing, Penelope Cruz, Lupita Nyong’o and Diane Kruger, is earning lousy reviews and is frankly the kind of actor “women can too. kick ass’ which is now almost its own subgenre in the streaming world. Why go to the theater to see The 355 when you can catch up with Karen Gillan Milkshake with powder, by Chastain Ava, Mary elizabeth winstead Kate, Kate Beckinsale’s Shaking (with Maggie Q. in theaters but now on VOD The protected) at home? Nonetheless, it is the first example of a specific type of film that will attempt a return in 2022. It is an original, franchise-free, star-focused, high-profile theatrical release. In other words, it’s just a movie.

We learned in 2021 that tentpole’s preordained blockbusters, think Godzilla vs. Kong, A Quiet Place part II, F9, No time to die and Marvel films, remained safe values. The fact that Hollywood is hoping for a comparative return to normalcy (if not quite the more than $ 11 billion from the highs of the last few pre-Covid years) is due to the constant supply of predestined mega-movies (think Jurassic World: Dominion, Mission: Impossible 7, Avatar 2 and the various Marvel / DC movies) starting in March with The batman. Spider-Man: No Path Home ($ 635 million nationally and roughly $ 1.42 billion globally) shows that pre-pandemic gross revenue is still possible, which bodes well for action / fantasy franchises that were already threatening to monopolize industry. But has two years of home consumption, plus studios folding or shattering the theatrical window for short-term streaming gains, make the studio programmer obsolete?

As regular readers know, the commercial peril to the top-tier flagship vehicle and the fit new to you didn’t start with Covid. Whereby audiences have already seen event films and other relatively commercial offerings in theaters, be they star vehicles, high-profile originals or never-before-seen adaptations, who “see a movie just for the sake of it. see a movie ”have made a demographic transition, almost overnight in late 2015 / early 2016 to streaming. We have seen a wave of previously commercial 2016 releases (Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, 13 Hours, Le Boss, etc.) disappointing or downright bombastic as audiences showed up in droves to superhero movies (Deadpool, Batman vs. Superman, Captain America: Civil War, etc.) and talking animal toons (Zootopia, Find Dory, Secret life of pets, etc.). The door-to-door offerings included “premium” TV shows and streaming originals, often star and adult-focused rates, which offered production values ​​and relative quality almost comparable to much of what Hollywood did. could provide in theaters.

Combine that with affordable home theater facilities, allowing more homes to purchase that 55 inch HDTV and sound bar, and a shorter “theaters to VOD” window. Nonetheless, the domestic box office reached $ 11 billion in 2015 (in part thanks to the outperformance of Jurassic World and Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and maintained that benchmark until Covid forced theaters to close in 2020. Even allowing for inflation, total ticket sales declined, but not disastrously. However, more money was being spent on a smaller and smaller number of annual theatrical releases, with more of these tickets being “premium” options (IMAX, 3-D, Dolby, D-Box, etc.). ). In 2011, the top six domestic revenues accounted for 16.9% of the annual box office. The top six films in 2019 accounted for 28.5% of a total of $ 11.4 billion. Last year, assuming No way home $ 750 million was 38% of the $ 4.5 billion total.

This “1/4 to 1/3 of the total box office spent on the top six movies” statistic represents almost any dark trend I’m complaining about. This is why the original films and the featured vehicles struggle. This is why the public would apparently want to watch more Harry potter instead of discovering the “next Harry potter. “That’s why audiences claim to want and stand for diversity, but only show up when it’s a movie they already want to see. The raw power of the stars used to enable high profile originals like Magic mike (Channing Tatum is a stripper), Coupling (Will Smith as a non-toxic pick-up artist) and Air Force One (Harrison Ford as President Kick Ass) to thrive alongside more explicit franchise / IP games. The hook “that person you love in an interesting-looking movie” moved on to streaming, where likely theatrical puffs like Red Notice and Spencer Confidential can become record Netflix originals.

Last year it was about proving the vitality of the franchise’s successful tent pole predestined in this new normal. Right or wrong, this year will be, especially once Omicron infections have subsided, essentially the last chance to prove the “film ”’s theatrical viability. Halle Berry and Patrick Wilson will save the world from the moon in Roland Emmerich Falling moon in February. Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum Go Cosplay Novelist the stone in The lost city in March. Brad Pitt and a cast of stars will try to make High-speed train a star + concept success in July. Olivia Wilde’s Don’t worry darling with Florence Pugh and Chris Pine, will try to be next Missing girl in September. The old-fashioned antics of Damien Chazelle Babylon will end 2022 by trying to prove La La Land was no accident. We have two roma from Jennifer Lopez (Marry me in February and Hunting rifle wedding in June).

There are plenty more, including the new Michael Bay remake Ambulance, the original action comedy Jason Statham / Aubrey Plaza by Guy Ritchie Operation Fortune, the metacomic The unbearable weight of massive talents (Nicolas Cage’s first star vehicle since Left behind late 2014), biopics for Elvis Priestley, the Bee Gees and Whitney Houston, the semi-autobiographical film by Steven Spielberg The Fabelman, two Blumhouse originals (Scott Dickenson’s The black phone and Jordan Peele’s infallible smash no) and Kevin Hart / Woody Harrelson “an ordinary guy gets mistaken for a murderer” Toronto man. Some of these movies will be good, and not all of them would have been commercially foolproof, even back in the pre-release days. Some of them will end up being glorified loss leaders for their eventual debut as a Tier A streaming item. These are mostly old-school, star + concept movies, however, that aren’t meant to be. start a franchise and do not rely on existing intellectual property.

Hope Sony’s pay TV window deal with Netflix is ​​a commercial safety net to make the next one Baby Driver. We can see a situation where Alley of nightmares Where Last night in Soho only exist in theaters to compete for prizes and use the prestige of a theatrical existence as a pre-release promotion, a notion Netflix seems to already understand. Nonetheless, I hope that this diverse and voluminous list of (mostly breakout) “just a great movie” offerings can be successful enough to convince studios to continue making them for theaters. It’s easy to watch Warner Bros. ‘ IP focused slate or Marvel / Disney animation lineup and mourning. When Warner Bros. spend three years giving King Richard, the way home and The kitchen to empty auditoriums and Disney watches Tomorrowland, a wrinkle in time and Queen of Katwe (and most Fox 2018-2021 offerings) bomb, well, studios are not charities.

If we don’t show up for In the heights, then the next one In the heights won’t exist or will be a cheaper streaming original. Yes, a global pandemic is complicating the situation. Additionally, some studios (arguably Disney) have been too happy to tell audiences to wait home for non-event movies, especially since Wall Street seems to prioritize streaming revenue over streaming revenue. to other sources, regardless of the actual gross currency earned. Movie theaters can survive on just a constant supply of stereotypical tent poles, because A) higher ticket prices for IMAX-worthy tent poles mean more money and B) popcorn bought for Spider-Man: No Path Home costs the same as that purchased during Alley of nightmares. But you have to show the studios that there is still commercial vitality in the film without a franchise. Otherwise, as I have said for many years, we get the film industry we deserve.


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