Dinosaurs and Superheroes Return to Rebuild Summer Movie Box Office

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Tom Cruise is about to walk the red carpet at walking stickstickets for the next Marvel movie are selling out fast, and a new dinosaur adventure is a big part of the summer movie schedule.

It gives theater operators hope that their business is finally heading back to normal as they meet Hollywood studios this week in Las Vegas at the annual CinemaCon convention.

“Clearly we have reason to be optimistic,” Cineworld chief executive Mooky Greidinger (CINE.L) said in an interview, highlighting titles such as Jurassic World: Dominion and Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.

Cineworld, AMC Entertainment (AMC.N) and other theater operators have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic and are still working to bring business back to levels of a few years ago.

The handful of big-budget sequels will have to do the heavy lifting this summer, as Hollywood releases fewer movies than a typical summer, the biggest movie season.

Taika Waititi and Chris Hemsworth on the set of Thor: Love and Thunder. (Photo: Chris Hemsworth/Instagram)

“It’s more of a rebuilding summer,” said Jeff Bock, senior media analyst at Exhibitor Relations Co. “It’s all about sequels and superheroes and dinosaurs.”

Bock expects studios to release 40% fewer movies than they did in the pre-pandemic summer of 2019, when 48 movies lit up screens from May to early Labor Day. september. This same period this year will feature 29 wide releases.

The decline is largely due to filming hiatuses during the pandemic. Additionally, some genres, such as romantic comedies, are now more likely to head straight to streaming.

During the pandemic, skeptics wondered if theaters would ever recover. Many believed that the public had become so addicted to streaming movies at home that they would avoid cinemas.

spider man new again Tom Holland, Andrew Garfield and Toby Maguire in an image from Spider-Man: No Way Home. (Picture: Sony Pictures)

The success of last December Spider-Man: No Coming Home, which sold nearly $1.9 billion worth of tickets, eased those concerns. This year, The Batman and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 also exceeded expectations.

“Our customers are showing that they miss the cinema and want to live the experience on the big screen,” Greidinger said.

Other upcoming summer titles include the Pixar animated film Lightyear, Marvel’s Thor: Love and Thunder, and Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverickwhich will make its sensational debut at the Cannes Film Festival next month.

Greidinger and other operators say they’ve put the COVID challenges behind them as cases decline and vaccines and treatments become widely available.

But previous attempts to revive the box office have been cut short by new waves of COVID. The start of 2022 was impacted by the Omicron variant, and domestic box office receipts are down 37% this year compared to 2019, according to Comscore data.

American consumers are also struggling with high inflation.

jurassic world domination Jurassic World Dominion releases June 10.

B. Riley analyst Eric Wold estimates that box office receipts in the United States and Canada, the world’s largest movie market, will end the year at around 80% of 2019 levels.

A survey by ticket seller Fandango found that 83% of moviegoers plan to see three or more films on the big screen this summer. Advance ticket sales for the new Doctor Strange movie are the highest yet in 2022, Fandango said.

“I just think there’s pent-up demand,” said Rich Daughtridge, president and CEO of Warehouse Cinemas in Frederick, Maryland. “People want to get out of their homes.

Daughtridge is bullish on the summer slate.

In addition to blockbusters, he sees potential for mid-budget films such as an Elvis biopic, Brad Pitt’s action flick Bullet Train and horror flick Nope. The May-July deals offer a mix of original films and big-budget sequels in a variety of genres, he said.

“That, in my opinion, is the recipe for a great box office,” he said.

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