Phoenix Theatres is known for betting big on major tentpole movies around Christmas, aiming for a blockbuster that will keep theaters packed for months. However, this year there’s no standout film to cap off the year and generate $1 billion globally.
Cory Jacobson, the owner of Phoenix Theatres, admits that there’s no movie that stands out as a big draw this holiday season. Even “Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom,” the anticipated sequel to the 2018 megahit “Aquaman,” is a risky bet. There’s concern about superhero fatigue and the ability of the DC Comics franchise to recapture the magic of the original.
Despite the lack of a blockbuster, theater owners like Phoenix Theatres are diversifying their lineup with a variety of films, including “Wonka,” “Migration,” “The Iron Claw,” and “The Color Purple.” However, without a runaway success, it’s unlikely to make up for the absence of a billion-dollar tentpole.
This disappointing conclusion to the movie theater business in 2022 is a blow to the industry, especially given that box office revenues are lower than 2019. While production is picking up, the release calendar remains uncertain due to pandemic-related delays.
Without a four-quadrant title, theaters may struggle until “Dune: Part Two” is released in March. This is a stark contrast to previous years, where blockbuster movies like “Avatar” and “Spider-Man” continued to draw audiences into the following year.
Although “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” could surprise everyone, there’s a larger concern in Hollywood about the collapse of major franchises. The oversaturation of sequels, spinoffs, and reboots has diminished the special appeal of these movies.
Overall, the absence of a guaranteed smash hit this holiday season leaves Hollywood and theater owners in a state of uncertainty as they face the changing landscape of movie-goers’ preferences.