The cinema —the movie theater— has become a conflictive space for the films themselves. Only the great studio stories, franchises seem to reach a profitability threshold that allows them to approach what used to go through the box office assumed for a film to be profitable or not.
The rise of consumption via platform forced by the pandemic has changed the cinema windows in such a way that they will surely never happen again before, affecting, as we comment here, especially medium-budget films.
The result, at least for now, is a market in theaters that is still bearish, with films like Thor: Love and Thunderwhich also denote that the public has become accustomed to certain current tricks.
A box office that does not recover
Despite grossing nearly $760 million, the Norse god’s third film fell from its first to its second week by more than 60% at the box office. A descent that can be interpreted as the most staunch fans going to the cinema the first daysbut that, later, the public knows that there would not be much left for its premiere on Disney Plus, something that has happened.
All this also translates into the fact that despite successes that seem to recall pre-pandemic times such as Top Gun: Maverickthe overall box office, remains mid-September dates down 40% from what it was in 2019.
Despite all the pessimism about streaming behind Netflix’s latest results, something that has been transferred to its actions, it is undeniable that its situation continues to be a winner. People are spending more time streaming stories than before the pandemic. According to Nielsen, streaming now accounts for about 32% of total television viewing globally. This represents an increase of about 26% a year ago.
It definitely doesn’t look like we’re back to normal yet. Or perhaps, it is that we are facing a new normality where not only the viewers are aware of the new set of windows, but also with a separation in the opinions between critics and viewers that has never been so separate.
With an increasingly detached criticism of the fans
Two films from this year serve to illustrate this. Uncharted maybe it wasn’t a great movie, but viewers They ran to see it at the cinema and the critics destroyed it.
With Jurassic World Dominion similar happened. Lucas Shaw, Analyst Bloomberg, recently compiled the score difference of the last few years in the highest-grossing films. The result: on average the difference is 5 points, but this year it had gone to 20.
What happened? Audiences have given the top 10 films an average score more than 19 points higher than critics, by far the biggest difference this century.
There was only one year in which the year’s top-grossing films were liked by critics more than by audiences: it was in 2005, when critics gave more than half of the films released in 2005 higher scores, led by King Kong, War of the Worlds Y Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It is striking how different the 10 best films of the year are then compared to now. There is only one comic book movie (batmanbegins) and two sequels (Harry Potter Y starwars).
Ten years later there is another rare year. In 2015 critics thought all blockbusters were good. The new deliveries of starwars Y Mission: Impossible received good reviews, as did The Martian. The only film that got a critics score below 60 is Minions. It was also the only film to earn an audience score below 60.
The franchising of the film successes of recent years and that these have been the first to dare to set foot in theaters, having in their hands more facilities to attract the public, seems the most obvious cause of this dissonance. Also, that apparent dichotomy that still seems to exist and will surely continue to exist between streaming and the big screen. We continue to live in very turbulent times for cinema. Time will tell what remains of all this and what does not.