Thursday, December 08, 2022

Movies love a comeback story. This summer, it’s his turn.

In the movies this summer, Tom Cruise is back in the cockpit behind those iconic aviators. Doc Grant, Sattler and Ian Malcolm are returning for another round with the dinosaurs. Natalie Portman is picking up Thor’s hammer. And Jordan Peele is ready to scare us with the unknown. re.

Hollywood is bringing in some of its biggest and most reliable players for the 2022 summer movie season, which begins unofficially this weekend with the help of Marvel and Disney’s “Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness” . “And that goes on till the end of August. These are uncertain times for the film business as studios and exhibitors are still recovering from losses during the pandemic and adopting new ways of doing business.with a brief release windowCompetition from streaming and the need to feed your own services, And everyone is wondering if film will ever return to pre-pandemic levels,

But though the pandemic continues, there is optimism in the air.

“We are still waiting for the old audience to come back. But it really looks like we have turned a corner,” said Universal Pictures head of domestic distribution Jim Orr. “You get the impression that Audiences want to be out, they want to be in theatres. I think it’s going to be an extraordinary summer.”

Last week, studio executives and movie stars bickered with theater owners and exhibitors at a convention in Las Vegas, proudly promoting films they promised would bring audiences back to theaters week after week.

Paramount Pictures has particularly high hopes for ‘Top Gun: Maverick’, releasing May 27 after two years Epidemic postponed. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer says he didn’t discount for a moment his desire to release “Top Gun: Maverick”—a complete one created with extensive aerial photography, practical effects, and six cameras inside a fighter-jet cockpit. Throttle action film – especially in theaters.

“It’s the kind of film that embraces the experience of going to the theatre. It takes you far. It transports you. We always say: We’re in the transportation business. We get you from place to place.” And that’s what ‘Top Gun’ does,” Bruckheimer said. “Some films are in high demand and hopefully we are one of them.”

The film industry has already received several notable hits over the past six months, including “Spider-Man: No Way Home”.“The third highest-grossing film of all time,” The Batman,” ” the Lost City ” and, however short, “everything everywhere all at once.” It is expected that the pace will increase in the coming months.

Before the pandemic, the summer movie season could generate more than $4 billion in ticket sales, or about 40% of the year’s earnings, according to comScore. but in 2020, with theaters closed for most of the season and pushing most releases, that total fell to $176 million. Last summer presented a marked improvement with $1.7 billion, but things were hardly back to normal – many either chose a delayed release or employed hybrid strategies.,

Now everyone is focusing on theatrics, although the slates are slimmer. Ticketing service Fandango recently surveyed more than 6,000 ticket-buyers and 83% said they planned to see three or more movies on the big screen this summer. And, not insignificantly, Netflix also reported its first subscriber loss last month. Two million more are expected to be lost in 10 years and this quarter.

“Finally, it’s movie time, with blockbuster after blockbuster after blockbuster,” said Adam Aron, chairman and CEO of AMC Theaters, the nation’s largest theater chain. He touted franchises like “Doctor Strange 2”. “Top Gun 2,” “Jurassic World: Dominion,” (June 10) and “Thor: Love and Thunder” (July 8), “new film concepts” such as Jordan Peele’s “Nope” (July 22) and “Elvis” (June 24) and family-friendly offerings from “Lightearer” (June 17) to “Minions: The Rise of Gru” (July 1).

“It’s a bold statement, but this summer could potentially equal 2019, which will be crucial for the film industry,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at comScore.

Analysts estimate “Doctor Strange 2” could gross $170 million this weekend, more than double the first film. Marvel and Disney then follow along with the new Thor, who travels with Hemsworth’s character to the Guardians of the Galaxy after “Endgame” and wonders “Now what?”

Director Taika Waititi said, “Thor is just trying to figure out his purpose, trying to figure out who he is and why he is a hero or whether he should be a hero or not.” “I guess you could call it a mid-life crisis.”

Film brings back Portman’s Jane Foster, which becomes The Mighty Thor, Waititi’s Korg and Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie, and adds Russell Crowe as Zeus and Christian Bale as Gor the God Butcher. Waititi has said that this is his most cynical film till date.

“It’s a great, really fun, weird little group of heroes, a new team for Thor with Korg, Valkyrie and The Mighty Thor,” Waititi said. “And, in my humble opinion, we probably have the best villain that Marvel’s Christian Bale ever had.”

But superhero movies alone don’t make for a healthy or particularly compelling cinematic landscape. Cinemas must have options to survive.

“Our business can’t just grow into tentpoles and branded IP. We really need to continue to serve that broadly as a slate,” Orr said. “We have something for every audience. The audience is craving it and the exhibitors are craving for it.”

Universal is proud of its diverse summer slate that includes period charmers of a definitive dinosaur tent, family animation, thrillers and horror, comedies like “Easter Sunday” (August 5) and focus features like “Downton Abbey: A New Era” (May) Are included. 20) and “Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris” (15 July).

Powerhouse producer and Blumhouse head Jason Blum expects Scott Derrickson’s supernatural horror “The Black Phone,” which stars Ethan Hawke as a rare villain, to be a “not the superhero movie of the summer” special when it hits theaters. Is. on 24 June.

More than just franchises are coming to theaters. There are literary adaptations such as “Where the Crowdads Sing” with Daisy Edgar-Jones, non-stop action rides such as “Bullet Train” (July 29) with Brad Pitt and Sandra Bullock, about the life and music of Baz Luhrmann drama Elvis Presley, a joke about a little seashell (“Marcel the shell with shoes on,” June 24), romantic comedy such as “Shotgun Wedding” (June 29) in which Jennifer Lopez’s wedding party is taken hostage There is, Regency-era fun “Mr. Malcolm’s List” (July 1) and creepy hair-raisers like “Watcher” (June 3), “Bodies, Bodies, Bodies” and “Resurrection” (both August 5).

“Annihilation” writer-director Alex Garland also has a new thriller, “Main,” coming to theaters May 20. Jesse Buckley plays a woman who retreats to the English countryside for some peace after a personal tragedy, only to be faced with more horrors. The men of this quaint town, all of whom are played by Rory Kinnear.

As someone who creates challenging, original films for the big screen, Garland is a little concerned about the film industry and the seismic changes taking place beneath the surface that are “partly cultural and partly economic”.

“Every time an interesting movie comes out and does poorly, I kind of worry about it,” Garland said. “If grossing films are only for young audiences, then there is some cultural change. There is some variation regarding the types of films that are financed, why they are financed. ,

“It almost sounds old-fashioned or really boring, but I think there’s a value in cinema,” he said. “A movie like ‘Main’ works differently in a cinema. Not being able to stop it until it’s finished means it has a qualitatively different effect.”

Meanwhile, streaming companies are still going strong. Netflix has a 35+ movie summer slate, including spy thriller “The Gray Man” (July 22), directed by the Russo brothers and starring Ryan Gosling and “Spiderhead” (June 17) with Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth . There is a documentary about Jennifer Lopez (“Halftime,” June 14), an Adam Sandler basketball joint (“Hustle,” June 8) and a Kevin Hart/Mark Wahlberg friend in the picture (“Me Time,” August 26).

Some of the most interesting titles from this year’s Sundance Film Festival are also being released by streamers, including “Good luck to you, Leo Grande” (Hulu), “Cha Cha Real Smooth” (Apple TV+), “Emergency” (Apple TV+) Amazon, ) and “Am I OK?” (HBO Max).

“Streaming has a place in the world, but it’s not the only thing in the world,” said Blum, who is convinced there’s still an appetite to go to theaters. “There were people saying that the movies were over. I had never thought of that, but I was concerned about how much demand was left. But it seems that part of our world is not going to disappear anytime soon is.”

For Bruckheimer, the equation is probably even simpler.

“It all depends on the movies. It’s always about the movies. If there’s stuff out there that people want to see, they’re going to show up,” Bruckheimer said. “I always use the analogy: You have a kitchen in your apartment or house, but you like to go out to eat. You want a different meal.”


Associated Press Film writer Jake Coyle contributed from New York.

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