TOP GUN: MAVERICK continued to drive the box office in its second week in theatres, with no new films opening that played in over 2,000 locations. A pattern has emerged for studios to give major new releases more than a single week to play themselves out, before introducing significant new titles.
According to Comscore, the 2022 release schedule includes only 91 wide releases – movies that play at a minimum of 2000 North American locations. This compares with an average of 120 wide releases in 2019, the last full year before the pandemic.
While surefire hits including JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION, LIGHTYEAR, and THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER are scheduled for June and July, it appears that the big earning titles will taper off at summer’s end and into the early fall. This could present trouble for exhibitors, who may have to do with original adult-oriented titles such as Jordan Peele’s NOPE and the Brad Pitt action film BULLET TRAIN.
Streaming appears to be the primary culprit for this decline in numbers, with studios hesitant to step up to the investment required to achieve success with a theatrical release, especially when they are unsure about a movie’s potential appeal to a broad audience.
Exhibitors are hopeful that streamers will step in to fill the gap, by releasing their premium features to theatres prior to their online availability. A significant example later this year will be Netflix’s KNIVES OUT 2, which is reported to be eyeing a 45-day exclusive run in theatres.
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