• Cinemas had a promising first half of 2022.
  • But with a shortage of franchise tentpoles in the coming months, the industry will be put to the test.
  • Theaters will mostly rely on original films and re-releases until the end of October.

By most reports, the movie business has bounced back after being devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. box office hit a healthy $4.2 billion over the weekend, according to Comscore — still down from this time in 2019, but significantly up from last year, when film releases were sluggish in the first half. Releases like Top Gun: Maverick and most recently Thor: Love and Thunder have had blockbuster openings. Others like “Minions”,
The Lost City and Elvis have signaled a steady return of audiences from all walks of life.

But momentum could falter in the coming months, even as theater industry executives have expressed optimism.

“Blockbusters are and used to be extremely important,” Mooky Greidinger, CEO of cinema chain Cineworld, told Insider in April. “But this is not a blockbuster business. It’s a business with 200 films coming out each year, and each of them has its target audience.”

That’s not so much the case this year. According to Comscore, there were 33% fewer movies in theaters through May compared to the same time in 2019.

Franchise tentpoles, particularly superheroes, have kept the business afloat. That’s been the case for a while, but they’ve been even more important this year as studios are bringing fewer films to theaters due to pandemic-related production delays and greater emphasis



Some tentpoles planned for this year, like the DC movies The Flash and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, have been pushed back to next year.

Theaters won’t see a live-action superhero movie, or any other kind of big-budget tentpole, until DC’s Black Adam in late October — and the success of that depends less on the character than on Dwayne Johnson’s star power. The next surefire blockbuster could be Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in November, as the first Black Panther grossed $700 million in the US.

Until Black Adam, the theatrical release calendar will depend primarily on original films, such as thriller Don’t Worry Darling and Billy Eichner’s romantic comedy Bros. There are also new releases like an expanded version of Spider-Man: No Way Home in early September and the original Avatar – the greatest movie of all time – coming later this month ahead of its long-awaited sequel, The Way of Water in cinemas in December.

The coming months will tell if audiences for original films move significantly in the face of a lack of bigger products in theaters.

Horror movies might lag a little as the genre is one of the most reliable at the box office. Director Jordan Peele’s ‘Nope’, which will be released later this month, is showing promise as his first two films ‘Get Out’ and ‘Us’ both grossed over $175 million on low budgets.

Here’s a rundown of some of the films hitting theaters over the next few months that will support the cinema industry:

  • “No” – July 22nd
  • “League of Super Beasts” – July 29th
  • “Bullet Train” – August 5th
  • Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero – August 19th
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home – The More Fun Stuff Version – September 2nd
  • “The Lady King” – September 16th
  • Avatar (re-release) – September 23
  • “Don’t worry darling” – September 23rd
  • “Halloween Ends” – October 14th

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