As long as I can remember summer movie season has been blockbuster movies season – packed theaters, and record-breaking box office numbers. However, the summer of 2023 has proved to be a turning point, as movie theaters across the globe experienced a decline in attendance and revenue. The summer of 2023 has witnessed a significant shift in moviegoing trends, leaving industry insiders pondering the reasons behind lower box office receipts. DC Studios alone has put out 3 dudds this year with another one (Aquaman) due to stink up the theaters soon. What is going on with the movies? Nobody’s going! Why?

The Summer Exodus

With the arrival of the first pandemic-free summer in three years (sorry China), people yearned for a change of scenery from the living room. The pent-up desire to travel, explore, and experience life beyond the confines of their homes took precedence over spending hours lockedup in movie theaters. I am definitely one of these people. I have gone on a trip nearly every month since the end of the lockdown, and when I did go to the movies it was usually in another country. After enduring long periods of isolation, individuals craved real-world interactions and we sought to immerse ourselves in new environments. As a result, the traditional appeal of the summer movie season waned, with audiences opting for outdoor activities, vacations, and social gatherings.

The Power of Streaming Platforms

The rise of streaming platforms during the pandemic has further reshaped the film industry landscape. As audiences embrace the convenience and flexibility of streaming services, studios should consider leveraging these platforms to reach a wider audience and enhance their revenue streams. Simultaneous theatrical and streaming releases or strategic partnerships with established streaming platforms can capitalize on the changing viewing habits of audiences, ensuring a broader reach and a more profitable distribution model.

The Craving for Shared Experiences

The great family movie trips (30 deep in 5 different cars, 3 different movies and your cool uncle would take you and your older cousins to the rated R movie) in this digital age, where social media amplifies our desire for memorable moments caries the allure of gathering with a large group in a theater remains unmatched. The collective excitement, laughter, and gasps of a crowd can elevate the movie-watching experience, making it more immersive and enjoyable. It can even make crappy movies enjoyable, with quips from the crowd trying to get their monies worth.

In a world increasingly connected through digital platforms, the desire for shared experiences has not waned. The communal aspect of moviegoing, where strangers come together to laugh, cry, and be captivated by a story, continues to hold a special place in our hearts. The energy that permeates a theater when 200+ people cheer on the main antagonist or shed tears during a heart-wrenching scene cannot be replicated in the confines of our homes. The shared experience of watching a film with an audience amplifies emotions, enhances laughter, and creates lasting memories that reverberate long after the credits roll.

The Re imagined Summer Movie Season

While the summer movie season may no longer reign supreme(Post-Covid YOLO), it does not mean its demise. Instead, it presents an opportunity for re-imagining its purpose and finding a new niche within the ever-evolving cinematic landscape. Studios and filmmakers can leverage the quieter summer months to explore more intimate and thought-provoking storytelling, appealing to discerning audiences who seek depth and substance. By shifting focus, the summer season can become a platform for independent and art-house films that shine in their own right, fostering a diverse cinematic landscape throughout the year.

The Changing Seasons of Cinema

As the summer season loses its grip on moviegoers’ attention, the spotlight shifts towards other times of the year. Winter and the wet spring emerge as new front-runners for blockbuster releases. During these months, the weather keeps us looking for indoor entertainment options, and the holiday season fosters a sense of togetherness and shared experiences.

Winter, with its cozy atmosphere and longer nights, offers a natural setting for the release of blockbusters. The cold weather provides the perfect backdrop for captivating stories that transport audiences to distant realms or explore thrilling narratives. As viewers seek refuge from the elements, cinemas become warm havens of cinematic magic. As the dynamics of movie consumption change, film studios and distributors may need to rethink their release strategies. Winter is traditionally viewed as less lucrative for blockbuster releases, presents new opportunities in the post-pandemic landscape. With people spending more time indoors during these months, the demand for quality entertainment is likely to increase.

The wet spring presents an opportunity for studios to unleash their cinematic spectacles. With April showers and May drizzles dampening outdoor plans, audiences turn to the silver screen for entertainment, seeking respite from the gloomy weather. With people spending more time indoors during these months, the demand for quality entertainment is likely to increase. By embracing these shifts and adapting release strategies accordingly, the film industry can continue to captivate audiences and create magical moments that transcend the confines of our screens. These seasons present advantages such as decreased competition from other blockbuster releases, longer theatrical runs, and the ability to generate buzz and word-of-mouth during a time when movie going may be more conducive to capturing audience attention.

Originality Lite: 3 or Less

So maybe it wasn’t so much the lack to want to watch movies this year, but the lack of wanting to watch the SAME movie this year. Long running multi sequel Franchises (Fast10, Scream6, Indiana Jones5), and established movie IP Re-imaginings( Little Mermaid,Haunted Mansion) got massacred in the theaters this year. But it seems to be a certain type of movie. Original ‘Lite’. I use this phrase to describe movies that used either Original IP(Oppenheimer), an IP’s,first time imagining in the medium (Barbie, Super Mario Bros). Or if it was a sequel, no more than the 3rd installment (Spiderman,GotG), thus the Lite in the originality. Maybe the people wanted a little more originality. Who would have thought?

Maybe my “the sky is falling” moment is a little hyperbole, however I do firmly believe that the movie going behavior of the masses has changed forever. Successful movies this year let us know that the cinema experience is not dead, however it may need some retooling . A ’soft reboot’ as it were.

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