So where are all the movies? There is still a lot of production and release, but a lot of it is going straight to streaming or being put on hold as the industry experiences many of the same problems as the rest of the economy.
In short, Hollywood has a supply chain problem.
Slowdown in Tinseltown
“Some lingering issues with supply chain and production pipeline backups have affected various movies,” Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Boxoffice.com, told CNN Business. “It’s important to remember that studios in many cases set their release strategies from six months to a year or more.”
While summer movies have been a “stunning success” in theaters, the industry is “still chasing audience sentiment and expectations for new content on the big screen,” Robbins added.
Think back to two years ago, when studios were delaying movies almost every day as the coronavirus pandemic gripped Hollywood. The reverberations of those decisions are still felt today.
There’s also another reason theaters might be missing their usual amount of movies: streaming.
As media companies increasingly focus on streaming, studios now supply both theaters and broadcasters. Some movies that seem like a good fit for theaters, like 20th Century Studios’ Prey, another installment in the Predator franchise, are headed to streaming only and not the big screen. In fact, a lot of 20th Century Studio and Searchlight Pictures movies just end up on Hulu now.
“It’s no secret that studios are looking to diversify their distribution strategies, and broadcasters are looking to expand content offerings and compete among subscribers,” Robbins said.
A live streaming strategy makes sense for most movies. And “a big-budget movie going straight to streaming might have a low box office ceiling to begin with,” Robbins added. Otherwise, “there would be little point in cutting off that profitable revenue stream.”
While there won’t be many blockbusters in theaters for the next few weeks, there will still be some must-see movies.
There are smaller films such as the A24 horror Bodies Bodies Bodies on August 5, the twisty Don’t Worry Darling with Florence Pugh and Harry Styles on September 23, and the romantic comedy Brothers. on September 30, the next and possibly final film in the Halloween franchise, Halloween Ends, on October 14.
Any of those movies can surprise and find an audience.
Even previous blockbusters will hit theaters, with ET: The Extra Terrestrial in August and Jaws in September.
So there are some silver linings for theaters for the next few months. But that doesn’t change the fact that Wakanda Forever, Hollywood’s next big hope, seems forever away.