Can Movie Theaters Move Past the Blockbuster-or-Bust Era?

CinemaCon 2022: Film industry is confident that audiences interested in smaller films will return

Amid the defiant optimism for the future of movie theaters that defines the annual CinemaCon convention, there’s always talk about a big challenge facing the industry in the year ahead. Before the pandemic, it was streaming. Last year, it was COVID-19. This year, it’s about selling tickets for films that aren’t franchise blockbusters.

The $6.3 billion grossed in North America since the start of 2021 — well short of the $11 billion-plus earned annually prior to the pandemic — has largely been driven by Marvel films like “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” and “Venom: Let There Be Carnage,” along with other franchise films like “No Time to Die,” “F9,” and “The Batman.”

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Jeremy Fuster

Box Office Reporter • jeremy.fuster@thewrap.com • Twitter: @jeremyfuster