CinemaCon 2024: Movie industry urged to look beyond blockbusters | Movies

CinemaCon 2024: Movie industry urged to look beyond blockbusters | Movies

For a gathering of people whose bank accounts typically live or die with the next sequel or installment of a record-breaking franchise, CinemaCon on Tuesday stood up for the little guy.

Or, at least, the medium-sized guy.

“It is not enough to rely solely on blockbusters,” said Michael O’Leary, president and CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners. “We must have a strong and vibrant market for movies with smaller or medium-sized budgets.”

Tuesday is the first full day of CinemaCon, the trade group’s annual convention at Caesars Palace.

It’s a supersized combo of a convention, trade show and pep rally where, for part of a week, studios forget all about streaming, and the magic of seeing movies in theaters is celebrated the way only they and Nicole Kidman can.

It’s also where movie theater owners and executives from more than 80 countries gather to meet with distribution leaders, see the latest in theater technology and watch as Hollywood heavyweights introduce footage of their upcoming films.

Citing recent success stories such as “The Holdovers,” “American Fiction” and “Godzilla Minus Zero,” O’Leary said during his state of the industry address, “If these movies are not supported by all of us, there will be fewer of them.”

His remarks in the Colosseum were preceded by a montage of scenes from 2023’s biggest movies, many of which missed the mark at the box office. A number of usually reliable franchises, including “Fast and Furious,” “Mission: Impossible” and “Indiana Jones,” underperformed at the box office. Superhero tentpoles “Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania,” “The Marvels,” “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” and “The Flash,” the latter of which held its first public screening with great fanfare at last year’s CinemaCon, ranged from flops to outright bombs.

O’Leary also spoke about the need for more bright spots like “Barbenheimer.” The seemingly once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon saw the disparate “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” — both of which debuted footage at CinemaCon before opening on the same day — combine for $2.4 billion at the worldwide box office.

Tuesday’s executive session included remarks from Charles Rivkin, the chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association. “In an average year,” Rivkin said, “online piracy costs your theaters more than a billion dollars in box office.”

Warner Bros. has the first studio presentation this afternoon, where it’s widely expected to debut footage from “Joker: Folie a Deux.” Lionsgate and Universal/Focus will follow on Wednesday, with Paramount and Disney rounding out Thursday. Sony Pictures is skipping the gathering, but its anime subsidiary, Crunchyroll, presented. Angel Studios, the Utah-based distributor whose “Sound of Freedom” was a sleeper hit last summer, also is on the schedule.

CinemaCon is taking place amid an already challenging year for moviegoing.

In March, a poll by HarrisX found that just 34 percent of American adults prefer to watch movies in theaters.

The 2023 strikes by Hollywood writers and actors shuttered filmmaking for six months, delaying movies including the latest “Mission: Impossible” and “Avatar” sequels from this year until next. “Captain America: Brave New World” and “Thunderbolts” were pushed to next year, as well, as part of a major Marvel Studios reshuffling.

Based on data from Box Office Mojo, despite having 21 more releases, the total domestic box office for the first three months of 2024 was down 6.7 percent, or $114.8 million, from the first quarter of 2023.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Contact Christopher Lawrence at or 702-380-4567. Follow @life_onthecouch on X.

Source link

Entertainment News