Are movie theatres making a comeback in the “post” pandemic world?

Gurshabad Kang/@gurshabadkang

Many people have been missing out on the experience of going to the movies due to the COVID-19 pandemic while theatres were closed globally for months.

The pandemic had a massive impact on the entertainment industry as a whole, while home streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and more saw a huge jump as people were forced to stay at home. 

According to Forbes, theatrical revenue dropped from $42.3 billion in 2019 to $12 billion in 2020. 

Last year, theatrical entertainment accounted for only 15% of the total global entertainment revenue, compared to 43% in 2019. Meanwhile, home entertainment services collectively racked in $61.8 billion in 2020.

Streaming services such as Netflix have proven to be tough competition for Hollywood, but it does seem like the movie industry is coming back in 2022 with a bang.

Movie lovers have been patiently waiting as most big releases were pushed during the pandemic. But now, many countries have been embracing the “post” pandemic return to somewhat normal, which includes movie theatres reopening. 

Many of the recently released trailers coming out look very promising and have created a fair amount of buzz online as people make plans to head back to the theatres. 

However, it does seem like Hollywood is coming back with a tried and true strategy: sequels or remakes. 

Most of the movies coming out in the next year are sequels, predominantly the next instalments of various franchises. This is a smart move for the industry because sequels are known to perform well and the industry needs the money to be able to bounce back faster.

The “Sequel Paradox” has been examined over the years and holds true: Sequels don’t necessarily perform better at the box office than the original/parent film, but they have consistently performed better than other average movies. 

Hollywood is trying to ensure that its return to the big screen leaves a mark and gets their audience back from the home streaming services.

Movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) are some of the biggest and most anticipated ones to come out in the near future. On September 3rd 2021, the MCU released “Shang-Chi & the Legend of the Ten Rings” which went on to gross over $401.6 million thus far. 

Marvel also released “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” on October 1st of this year, and it has grossed $185.6 million in 10 days.

“The Eternals” is set to release on November 5th, 2021 with an ensemble cast, and it is the 26th movie in the MCU. 

This movie is highly anticipated because it opens a new thread in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It stars Gemma Chan, Don Lee, Kumail Nanjiani, Kit Harrington, Salma Hayek, and Angelina Jolie.

The James Bond franchise is also set to release the last movie with Daniel Craig starring as the notorious spy, James Bond. “James Bond: No Time to Die” came out on October 8th, 2021 in North America. 

This is the 25th movie in the James Bond series, and fifth and last for Daniel Craig. It stars Rami Malik as the antagonist against Daniel Craig.

The next installment in the Spider-Man franchise, Spider-Man: No Way Home stars Tom Holland as the current Spiderman, is also coming out on December 17, 2021.

Viewers can expect many sequels and franchise reboots coming their way in 2022:

  • The Batman starring Robert Pattinson
  • New Scream movie starring Courtney Cox and David Arquette
  • Hocus Pocus 2 starring Kathy Najimy, Sarah Jessica Parker and Bette Midler
  • Thor: Love and Thunder starring  Melissa McCarthy, Chris Pratt and Karen Gillan
  • Jurassic World: Dominion starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Daniella Pineda
  • Knives Out 2 starring Daniel Craig, Ethan Hawke, Leslie Odom Jr. and Kathryn Hahn
  • Mission Impossible 7 starring Tom Cruise and Rebecca Ferguson 
  • Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore starring Mads Mikkelsen, Jude Law, Ezra Miller and Katherine Waterston
  • A new Doctor Strange sequel starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Rachel McAdams
  • Avatar 2 starring Kate Winslet, Sigourney Weaver and Zoe Saldana
  • John Wick Chapter 4 starring Keanu Reeves
  • Black Panther 2 starring Michaela Coel, Angela Bassett and Martin Freeman
  • Aquaman 2 starring Jason Mamoa, Nicole Kidman and Patrick Wilson
  • The Marvels starring Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson and Teyonah Parris
  • Transformers: Rise of the Beasts starring Ron Perlman
  • The Flash starring ben Affleck, Michael Keaton and Ezra Miller
  • Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride (live action)

There are some non-sequel movies coming out as well including the highly anticipated Dune,  Death on the Nile, Morbius, and Moonfall.

All of these big releases are enticing audiences to return back to the theatres, but streaming services are not stepping back. 

Many distributors have made exclusive deals with streaming services in order to release movies that had to be shelved due to the pandemic. For example, the next installment in the Matrix series is set to release on December 22, 2021 on HBO Max.

Netflix and Amazon don’t seem to be utilizing the sequel paradox, possibly because they have not financially suffered as much as the film industry has, giving them some wiggle room to try new projects. They are not dependent on movies because they can rely on TV shows and series to attract audiences.  

They have been attempting to solidify themselves as entertainment houses outside of Hollywood with in-house projects with big names that have performed well. It looks like they’re continuing this trend into 2022 and beyond.

All this competition is good news for the audience regardless of whether you’re a binge-from-the-comfort-of-your-own-home type or a theatre-popcorn-loving movie buff. 

It cannot be denied that no matter what, both camps will have plenty of entertainment to look forward to.


About the author: Gurshabad’s educational background in Biology and Psychology is inspired by her lifelong pursuit to seek and decipher the human connection. She loves McDonald’s fries, long walks on the beach, and telling people how to correctly pronounce her name. She regularly forces her friends to sit in her car & record a podcast aptly named Sitting In The Car. You can find her but more importantly her dog, @gurshabadkang on all platforms.

5X Press is a forum for opinions, conversations, & experiences, powered by South Asian youth. The views expressed here are not representative of those of 5X Festival.

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