The Summer Blockbuster Rebounds as Pandemic Regulations Weaken

The past year has seen the rise of streaming services with at-home screening options, and the fall of theatrical film releases. With COVID-19 regulations beginning to wither, analysts are heavily observing box office numbers with the hopes that more moviegoers will gradually return to the theater. 

Many films expected to release during 2020 and early 2021 were moved due to production regulation changes during the pandemic. This caused major production studios to lose out on a substantial amount of money and release date options. Several theater chains fully shut down, limiting the number of definite spaces open for film releases. 

After an entire year of limited theatrical releases, the movie-going business has seen a recent increase in ticket sales as COVID-19 restrictions begin to lift in most states. This has warranted huge studio executives to push for in-person film releases rather than the dual streaming and theatrical model most companies have utilized this past year.

Paramount Studios released “A Quiet Place 2” in theaters only, testing box office returns on a huge high-budget film. This gamble saw a great return with an opening weekend report of 48 million dollars, exceeding any pandemic film before it. The success of “A Quiet Place 2” has put studios like Warner Bros. in a very difficult place since they agreed to an entire year of theatrical and streaming releases for their major film slate. 

This summer has seen movies from major studios like “Cruella,” “F9,” “Black Widow,” and the aforementioned “A Quiet Place 2.” Movies of this magnitude are a great way to measure how the theater business is recovering from pandemic losses. Each weekend the highest box office numbers have been steadily growing with “Black Widow”, which recently had an 80 million dollar opening. These numbers assure studios that theaters are still a profitable business and that more money is to be made as the summer progresses. 

With such high numbers painting the industry, many officials hope normal billion-dollar pictures will soon return. However, several analysts are contradicting this optimism with negative predictions within box office correction numbers due to outlying release schedules. Robert Fishman, an analyst at Wall Street research firm MoffetNathanson anticipates a major decline in the overall box office success of 2022. Primarily due to the ongoing change in release schedules that have upended many films’ premiere dates, pitting them against traditional release windows.

A considerable deficit the theater industry must cope with is the rise of streaming services during the pandemic lockdown. After movie theaters were completely eradicated as release forums, many studios transferred their films to streaming platforms to capitalize off of at-home screening experiences. This has made services like Netflix, Disney +, and HBO Max dominant contenders when it comes to a film’s distribution tactics. One can only hope that there may be enough room for both streaming and theaters to coexist as major conglomerates succeed from the distribution of studio films.

By Dorian Rosenburg

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