Hollywood Is Worried Nobody Will Come to the Movies Again

By: Anneken Tappe · January 04, 2024 · Reading Time: 2 minutes

Tests, Allies, and Enemies

Movie theaters including major chains like AMC (AMC) struggled with getting people to come in even before the pandemic, which added insult to injury and dealt an unprecedented shock to any “in-person” activity.

Even as the box office finally rebounded last year, theaters and production companies find themselves facing a new foe: IP fatigue.

IP Fatigue

In 2023, the box office posted $9 billion in sales. This marked the highest level since the pandemic, although still some $2 billion short of 2019 levels.

Much of that success was driven by intellectual property (IP) that was new to the big screen, including Warner Bros’ (WBD) and Mattel’s (MAT) Barbie, and Universal’s (CMCSA) The Super Mario Bros. Movie and Oppenheimer, none of which were attached to existing film franchises.

On the flip side, former hit factories like DC Studios and Marvel Studios (DIS) learned the hard way that audiences won’t sit through a sequel just because it has a recognizable name, evinced by the flops of films like Shazam! Fury of the Gods and The Marvels.

Coming Soon To A Theater Near You

Awkwardly for Hollywood, the 2024 release schedule is already filled with familiar franchises: Alien, A Quiet Place, Ghostbusters, Planet of the Apes, Transformers, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Saw. Whether movie goers will show up for it remains to be seen.

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