Cinematic Comeback: The Movie Theater Reboot Continues

By: Kaydee Ambas · June 02, 2023 · Reading Time: 3 minutes

Back to the Theater

Movie theaters had a particularly rough run during the pandemic. After all, sitting next to a hundred strangers in a dark room slobbering over popcorn is pretty much the textbook opposite of “social distancing.”

While many other industries have already reached or exceeded pre-pandemic levels of demand and traffic, theaters have faced a protracted recovery. The extensive production costs of filmmaking hasn’t helped — ticket sales remained underwhelming as of last year, likely due to pandemic-related production delays.

But early signs show 2023 could be the year movie theaters bounce back, with the industry already off to a hot start. The real test will be over the coming months, as summer blockbusters skip the streaming platforms and hit the big screen.

Grab Your Popcorn

This summer is studded with big budget blockbuster releases. Disney (DIS) already started the year strong with the release of its live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, which brought in $117.5 million and clocked in the fifth largest Memorial Day weekend opening of all time.

Looking ahead, moviegoers can expect movies from notable franchises like Paramount’s (PARA) Mission Impossible and Transformers, Warner Bros’ (WBD) DC Universe, and Disney’s Indiana Jones.

Notably, the July 21 weekend will feature one of the first bonafide box office battles seen in years, with the competing releases of Mattel’s (MAT) Barbie film and Christopher Nolan’s latest, Oppenheimer.

Movie Theaters: The Sequel

After a long road of recovery, 2023 might finally be the year movie theaters are officially back in business. Theaters have sold more than $3.1 billion in domestic ticket sales so far, outpacing 2020 and 2021 combined.

Granted, in 2018 and 2019, theaters had passed the $4 billion milestone by the beginning of the summer months, leaving a long way to go for cinemas to surpass pre-pandemic levels in 2023.

So, if you believe heartbreak feels good in a place like movie theaters, the best way to ensure they stick around is to support your local theater this summer. With a release schedule like the one on the horizon, you’re sure to find something worth seeing.

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