From over-the-top productions to the memeifcation of a film, these movies welcome back the summer blockbuster.
This summer has been great for the box office. Movie theaters owe a debt of gratitude to Tom Cruise, who refused to let Paramount Pictures release his magnum opus on streaming services at the height of the pandemic, for the promising return of major blockbuster events.
Everyone and their mothers know how impressive Top Gun: Maverick’s performance at the box office is. Generating around $663 million in the U.S. and over $1.3 billion worldwide placed the movie in seventh for the highest domestic grossing film of all time.
This would have been rare before COVID-19 and almost unimaginable after theaters reopened their doors after the pandemic.
Top Gun: Maverick wasn't the only summer movie to do well.
According to Variety, Marvel’s Thor: Love and Thunder and Jurassic World Dominion did well as tentpoles for their respected franchises during their opening weekends. The summer was also kind to mainstream movies not affiliated with pre-existing franchises.
Minions: Rise of Gru, the fifth film in the Despicable Me movie franchise, defied the odds at the box office, thanks to TikTok. Bringing in $334 million domestic and a massive $759 million globally, the Minions inspired a viral TikTok trend that encouraged teenagers to attend their local multiplex dressed in suits.
Known as the #GentleMinions, the trend became a sensation amongst Zoomers who grew up with the franchise and had the funds to attend the movie with their friends. While Zoomers and internet culture can often troll the movie industry (like into re-releasing Morbius), this trend shows how genuine and goofy kids can be when they are truly interested in an IP.
Director Baz Luhrmann's extravagant musical biopic Elvis also did well. Staring Austin Bulter and Tom Hanks, the film showcases Bulter's ability to capture the essence of the King of Rock n’ Roll with Lurhumann’s quick edits and flashy designs capturing Elvis’ magic. Literary adaptations of The Black Phone and Where the Crawdads Sing kept audiences coming to the theaters in between major blockbuster releases.
According to Comscore, theaters have generated $3.027 billion so far, putting ticket sales 17.5% behind 2019 and up 134.6% from 2021. While we have not fully returned to a pre-pandemic world, the rising number of attendances in theaters is a great sign for what’s to come.
Will theaters be able to recover from COVID-19? I am confident that the answer is yes. There could be a spike in indie films debuting in theaters to come as indie action film Fall gets ready to make its theatrical release. This could be huge for indie filmmakers who have come to believe that streaming services are the only viable option for their projects.
Although streaming is and never will be dead, theaters are slowly making a comeback and are welcoming more films to fill their screens.
While there are a few weeks left on the calendar, we can see that 2022 has been a good year for movies.
What was your standout movie of the summer? Let us know in the comments!