February 26, 2024

It’s strange to think about now, but three years ago we entered a time when it looked like movie theaters might die completely. The pandemic closed the theaters for a month, and when they returned, the opening was slow, not many films were played. It looked like this might be the new normal as moviegoers prefer the comfort and ease of watching at home. Turns out that wasn’t entirely true. We were waiting for some reason to come back.

The return began in December 2021, then Spider-Man: No Way Home was released The film went ahead Dropping $804.8 million in the United States alone. That wasn’t just great post-pandemic, it was amazing any time. The film’s take quadrupled the total of any other film that year and was the third-highest opening of all time. The movie theaters were back, and the following spring was even more certain Top Gun: Maverick. the original Top Gun 1986 is a classic, but no one could have predicted it Tom Cruise it would be a sequence of leds $718.7 million gross in the state, making it the fifth-highest-grossing film of all time. The fact that this wasn’t a kids movie or based on a superhero made it that much more impressive. It came at the end of the year James Cameron‘s Avatar: The Way of Water. Many wondered if the audience still cared about the world of Avatar. Turns out we did, like its income was 665.5 millionMaking it the ninth largest sweepstakes in United States history.

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Thanks to inflation, current record-breaking movies are bigger than they really are

On the surface, this sounds like terrible news. A few years ago movie theaters were on the brink of collapse, and now three of the world’s top nine movies have been released since the world shut down. It’s not as big as it looks, though. For one thing, inflation makes today’s releases look bigger than movies in the not-so-recent past. For example, Spider-Man: No Way Home It could make $805 million, which while that’s great and the third-highest take ever, adjusted for inflation, the film goes from number three to twenty three. Only two other films released in the last decade make it into the top 20, and that is from 2015. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens in the eleventh period, and in 2019 Avengers: Endgame in sixteenth place.

This brings us to another problem outside of inflation. The The total for the 2022 US box office was $7.5 billion, which is 34% less than the pre-Covid 2019 period. How can it be true that some of the biggest movies of all time are coming out, but theaters are also making less money? It’s because of what we’re feeding and what we’re consuming. The 10 best movies of 2022 they were based on existing intellectual property. Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Jurassic World, Minions, Batman, Thorand Sonic the Hedgehog all have released sequels.

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Movie releases have changed dramatically over the decade. There used to be one or two big movies coming out every weekend, fighting for supremacy. We would go see the last one Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willisor Jim Carrey flick, drawing these huge names and trying to see what they did next. That doesn’t happen anymore. Who is in the film is not the biggest reason for a film’s success. It has to build on something we already know to be successful now. If it’s not a legacy sequel, or based on a superhero or a video game, audiences won’t go as far as they used to.

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We no longer watch movies based on who is in the theater

Jamie Lee Curtis in 'Knives Out'.
Image via Lionsgate

we love Tom Holland, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evansand Scarlett Johansson, but if it’s not a comic book movie, or in Holland’s case, a Pixar or video game based movie, do we show up to theaters by the millions because we want to see their latest offering? Usually not. Part of this can be attributed to our dependence on streaming services. There is so much content now, so much more than there has ever been, that there just isn’t room for it in theaters. Instead, it ends up on Netflix, and we watch the movie on our phones. We’re looking at you Netflix! Action movies with Hemsworth, Charlize Theronand Dwayne Johnson they end up serving them rather than in the halls. Knives Out it was a big theatrical release, with a really good star Daniel Craigbut its sequel, Glass Onion: Knives Out Mystery, was barely in theaters, and got its views on Netflix. No actor can feel great in that format.

That doesn’t mean we don’t have movie stars. Brad Pitt still attracts audiences. Bullet Train he showed that. Leonard DiCaprio he still commands our attention, mainly because his roles are so rare, but when he appears, it’s because of something that’s not like everything else. It will be related to him Martin Scorsese or Quentin Tarantino for a great event that will always capture our attention. Tom Cruise proved that he is still a force to be reckoned with, just not alone Top Gun but mission impossible franchise as well. He lives up to his name and also the fact that his roles are based on existing properties, making him doubly effective as a movie star.

The days of the superstar actor are coming to an end

Arnold Schwarzenegger as the T-800 wearing sunglasses in 'Terminator 2: Judgment Day'
Image via Tri-Star Pictures

It’s extremely rare, though. The era of the superstar actor is waning. Harrison Ford is coming back for another Indiana Jones, but he’s 80 years old and streaming a lot now. Jim Carrey doesn’t do much comedy anymore. No one really is. Bruce Willis has unfortunately had to retire, but even before he did, he wasn’t making straight to video movies that were mocked. Generations fade and change. That happens. They were like before them Jimmy Stewart, Marlin Brandoand Paul Newman. As they aged and retired and passed on, they were replaced by a new era of superstar actors.

Who represents Ford, Schwarzenegger, Willis, Carrey and so many others? Who becomes next Tom Hanks or Julia Roberts? It doesn’t seem like a lot of people. Tom Holland is great, but when you look at it, you see Spider-Man. Chris Hemsworth looks like a million bucks, but you see Thor. When you look at Harrison Ford, you don’t just see Indiana Jones or Han Solo. You see the guy who sold the theaters Blade Runner, Air Force One, the fugitive, and so many more. The same goes for the others mentioned. Schwarzenegger is more than Terminator. Bruce Willis is more than John McClane.

We are creating endless franchises now instead of movie stars. You can see this with The Oscars, where it sets a record for the lowest viewership every year. The days of big star tuxedos and gowns grabbing our attention are pretty full. The triumphant days of the film that most people actually saw and remembered are over. We are in the era of IPs, most of which are inflated ticket costs. As the years go by, more attendance will set records, and we will go to the theater less and less. The cinema experience may be back, but only for a select few.

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