“There’s been a renaissance of sorts in theaters this year, with traditional blockbusters like sequels, superheroes and slashers leading the box office,” Jeff Bock, senior analyst at market research firm Exhibitor Relations, told CNN Business.
However, despite the optimism, the industry is not yet fully back. Streaming remains a powerful alternative, inflation is shrinking disposable income, and the second half of 2022 will be short of potential blockbusters.
Where are we
This year’s box office represents a “Choose Your Own Adventure” of sorts. The 33% drop can be seen as disappointing, but it can also be seen as a success given the past two years.
The biggest film of the year, with Tom Cruise reprising one of his most iconic roles from the 1986 classic, grossed $575 million in North America — or roughly 15% of that year’s total box office in the country.
That’s great news for the film industry, but should one movie do that much at the box office? Bock called Maverick “a once-in-a-decade box office anomaly”.
So while the box office has rebounded in 2022, it still has a long way to go before it returns to normal. But can he get there?
Where are we going
“As we move forward, the box office outlook is starting to focus minimally on pandemic issues and mostly back on chart strength,” Boxoffice.com chief analyst Sean Robbins told CNN Business.
He noted that summer films like Thor, Jordan Peele’s next horror movie No, and Brad Pitt’s Fast Passenger Movie have the potential to “keep a healthy momentum going.” However, Robbins acknowledged that “there’s not a lot of built-in audience content that’s slated to open from August to mid-October.”
In recent years, original films have struggled to find significant audiences. If movies like the romantic comedy Bros, the mysterious Don’t Worry Darling starring Florence Pugh and Harry Styles, and others can find an audience, it could close the gap before the holiday season.
If theaters can maintain attendance until the holidays, 2022 will end with the release of sequels to the two highest-grossing films of all time.
Bock, an analyst at Exhibitor Relations, believes that blockbusters will continue to “break through at the box office” and that this year “is likely to be considered a big hit overall, given the number of films left on the release calendar.”