Studios are crossing their fingers for summer movies

The summer film season is upon us again.

And this year the season, which runs from the first weekend in May to Labor Day, is the most important for the film industry, he said Paul DergarabedianSenior Media Analyst comScore Inc. at Sherman Oaks.

That’s because it will signal what the future holds for each subsequent summer film season, he said.

“June is looking like a really big month to me,” added Dergarabedian. “This could be the biggest story of the summer once we get into June and have a few more big openings under our belt.”

This year, the summer cinema season started on May 6th with Marvel’s “Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which grossed $187 million in domestic box office receipts in its opening weekend. Marvel is owned by Burbank-based The Walt Disney Co.

“In fact, ‘Dr. Strange deserves more from his Opening weekend than deserved all summer in 2020,” said Dergarabedian. “And this was mostly drive-ins generating that $176.4 million.”

Next up on the release schedule is Top Gun: Maverick, coming out over Memorial Day weekend.

“I saw ‘Top Gun’ at CinemaCon,” said Dergarabedian. “It’s the perfect Memorial Weekend movie.”

Paramount Picturesthe distributor of the title wanted to release the film almost three years ago, in July 2019. It was then delayed due to post-production issues and delayed again due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Paramount could have released the film on a streaming service, Dergarabedian said, adding, “But it wouldn’t have done him justice.”

In June, Jurassic World Dominion is the latest dinosaur franchise, distributed by Universal images, in Universal City; the Pixar prequel Lightyear, about the adventures of the edgy astronaut from the Toy Story franchise; and “Elvis” by the director Baz Luhrman. Dergarabedian called it a key film for the summer season.

“Because of the visual style and era where Elvis is in the spotlight, these are his younger days, and Baz Luhrmann working his magic, it will appeal to both adult and younger audiences,” he said.

In July comes the second Marvel film “Thor: Love and Thunder” along with Warner Bros. Pictures‘ “DC League of Super Pets”, followed by Brad Pitt and Sandra Bullock in comedy thriller Bullet Train in August.

“This series of films not only shows that summer is back, but also shows that it’s back because the studios have faith in the market,” Dergarabedian said. “If you can’t get people into the theater with this cast, I don’t know what else will work.”

The X factor in all of this is inflation.

“It just means that the appeal of these films, the marketing, has to be strong enough that people are like, ‘Well, it costs $6 a gallon to fill up my car, it costs me more to do everything but I do gotta see ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ so I’m going to put my hard-earned dollars into this,'” Dergarabedian said.

With the exception of 2017, 2020 and 2021, every year since 2007 has seen Summer Box Office totals over $4 billion. On average, about 40 percent of the total domestic box office – defined as cinemas in the US and Canada – comes from the 18 weeks of the summer season.

With the return of a traditional summer film program, how big will the box office be? asked Dergarabedian.

“Is $4 billion even on the horizon? We don’t know yet,” he said. “That would be a big challenge considering where we were last year ($1.7 billion). But if we get anywhere close to double what we did last year, if we get over $3 billion, that would be a great summer for this marketplace.”

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