‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ hopes to shock a resurgent theater industry

Now, in the middle of 2022, reports of theater deaths seem greatly exaggerated. Audiences have returned to the cinema for hits like “Top Gun: Maverick”, The Batman” and “Minions: The Rise of Gru” and there is hope in Hollywood that these movies will be the rule, not the exception for the rest of the year. .
Theaters should be struck by lightning again this weekend as “Thor: Love and Thunder,” Marvel’s latest film, hits movie theaters. Starring Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman as the god(s) of thunder, it is expected to have a $150 million debut in North America. The film made $29 million on Thursday night.

“Theatres have seen a renaissance of sorts this year with traditional blockbusters — sequels, superheroes, and slasher pictures — leading the box office brigade,” Jeff Bock, senior analyst at entertainment research firm Exhibitor Relations, told CNN Business.

But despite the optimism, the industry is still not quite back. Streaming remains a powerful alternative, inflation is depressing disposable income and the second half of 2022 will see a lack of potential blockbusters.

where we are

The domestic box office has made nearly $4 billion so far this year, according to Comscore SCOR† That total is up 243% from the same time last year, but 33% lower than the pre-pandemic levels of 2019.

This year’s box office numbers present a sort of “Choose your own adventure”. A 33% decline can be considered disappointing, but considering the past two years it can also be considered a success.

A good example of this dichotomy is ‘Top Gun: Maverick’.

The biggest movie of the year to date, with Tom Cruise reprising one of his most iconic roles from the 1986 classic, has grossed $575 million in North America — or about 15% of this year’s entire domestic box office.

"Minions: The Rise of Gruz"  breaks box office records

That’s excellent news for the industry, but should one film represent so much from the domestic box office? Bock called “Maverick” a “box office anomaly that happens maybe once every ten years.”

There have been other hits, of course, big money makers from franchises like Marvel’s “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” and Universal’s “Jurassic World: Dominion,” as well as unexpected upstarts like A24’s trippy “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” which has domestically featured. made nearly $70 million despite being a smaller, low-budget film.

So while the 2022 box office has bounced back, it still has a long way to go before it returns to normal. But can it get there?

Where are we going

“As we move forward, the box office outlook is starting to focus minimally on pandemic concerns and mostly back on schedule strength,” Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Boxoffice.com, told CNN Business.

He noted that summer movies like “Thor,” Jordan Peele’s next horror film “Nope,” and the Brad Pitt-led “Bullet Train” all have the potential to “maintain healthy momentum.” However, Robbins admitted that not “a lot of built-in audience content is scheduled to open from August to mid-October.”

Original movies have struggled to find large audiences in recent years. If movies like the rom-com “Bros”, the mysterious “Don’t Worry Darling” starring Florence Pugh and Harry Styles and others can find an audience, it could be a bridge into the holiday season.

If theaters can maintain foot traffic until the holidays, 2022 will close the year with sequels to two of the highest-grossing films of all time.

"Thor: Love and Thunder"  does the spark that ignited 'Ragnarok'
The highly anticipated “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is slated for November. The latest is December’s “Avatar: The Way of Water,” director James Cameron’s first film since the original “Avatar” in 2009, grossing a total of $2.8 billion worldwide.
Can “Wakanda Forever” match the box office of the original without Chadwick Boseman, who played the title character and tragically passed away in 2020? And will “Avatar” still find an audience 13 years later? The answers are unclear, but bet at your own risk against Marvel Studios and Cameron – the director of many blockbusters such as “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” and “Titanic”.

Bock, the analyst at Exhibitor Relations, believes blockbusters will continue to “escape the box”, and that this year “will generally be considered a huge success, given the titles still on the release calendar.”

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