5 Things to Watch at CinemaCon as Movie Theaters Hit a Crossroads

Sony will take a “Spider-Man” victory lap, Warner Bros. Discovery will make its debut, and fingers are crossed for “Avatar 2”

Cinemacon 2022 may include first looks and new details about 'Avatar 2," "Black Adam," and "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. (20th Century, Warner Bros., Disney)

Just eight months after the National Association of Theatre Owners last held its annual CinemaCon trade show, exhibitors and studios are gathering again in Las Vegas in a market that has vastly changed yet is still mixed with optimism and uncertainty.

As COVID-19 infections have declined in the U.S., customer confidence in moviegoing has risen and some films like “Spider-Man: No Way Home” have succeeded without any asterisks for pandemic-dampened box office performance.

But with more competition than ever from streaming services and the film production pipeline still being rebuilt after pandemic shutdowns, the next year will see theaters make a push to reach pre-pandemic revenues despite 2022 ticket sales that still amount to roughly half of what was seen in 2017-19.