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The summer after Barbenheimer and the strikes, Hollywood charts a new course

The summer after Barbenheimer and the strikes, Hollywood charts a new course

 


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This image released by Disney shows Daisy Ridley as Trudy Ederle in a scene from “The Maid and the Sea.”Vladisav Lepoev/Associated Press

Barbenheimer is a tough act to follow. But as Hollywood enters a new summer movie season, armed with fewer superheroes and a landscape significantly altered by strikes, it's worth remembering William Goldman's classic quote about what works: Nobody knows anything .

Four decades later, that may still be true. Yet one thing Hollywood has learned from releasing films during the pandemic and strikes is how to pivot quickly.

The summer of 2023 brought a new enthusiasm for cinema, with the fortuitous counter-programming of Barbie and Oppenheimer, and surprise hits like Sound of Freedom, which helped the season's box office rake in $4 billion for the first time since 2019. But before the industry could do it. After a victory lap, another crisis loomed with the two Hollywood strikes, which shut down most productions for months.

FILMS FIND A WAY AFTER THE STRIKE

As a result, theaters lost big summer titles like Mission: Impossible 8, Captain America: Brave New World and Thunderbolts until 2025. But they gained a gem in Jeff Nichols' The Bikeriders (June 21), on a 1960s Midwest motorcycle club, as studios. moved the films to the summer chessboard. Deadpool & Wolverine, once scheduled to kick off the summer movie season on May 3 like many Marvel films before it, now sits happily on July 26, patiently waiting to dominate the summer charts.

I love being there in the middle of summer,” said director Shawn Levy. It's a juicy moment.

The launch weekend instead belongs to an original film about a different kind of superhero. The Fall Guy, starring Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt, is part romantic comedy, part action comedy, and part love letter to the stuntmen who make movies spectacular. It's a real crowd-pleaser that could revive a season that feels, in some ways, like a throwback, with full-throttle shows (Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, Twisters), comedies (Babes) , IMAX marvels (The Blue Angels) and even a Kevin Costner western.

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer has seen the ups and downs of summer movies over the decades, with blockbusters like Top Gun: Maverick and the Pirates of the Caribbean films.

This season he has three very different offerings on the schedule, two are fourth installments of the popular franchises Beverly Hills Cop (July 3, Netflix) and Bad Boys (June 7, theaters) and one was planned for streaming but so good tested that it obtains a theatrical release (The Young Woman and the Sea, May 31).

People just want to be entertained, Bruckheimer said. It's really about making the good films that they want to see.

THE $4 BILLION GOAL

A Hollywood summer lasts 123 days, from the first Friday in May to Labor Day Monday in September. Before the pandemic, $4 billion represented a normal summer return and theaters could count on between 37 and 42 films to open on more than 2,000 screens. The outlier was 2017, with just 35 films released on more than 2,000 screens and grossing $3.8 billion. That makes last summer's $4 billion haul with 32 large-scale launches (45% of the $9 billion domestic haul) even more impressive.

This summer is also expected to feature 32 wide releases and more than 40 films released in more than 500 theaters. Notably, only one, Deadpool & Wolverine, is a Marvel film (Sonys Kraven the Hunter was moved to a December release date Friday night) and are the only superhero films on the schedule until the Joker sequel to autumn.

People are going to see movies, not the box office, and this is shaping up to be a really strong summer from a movie-goer perspective, said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at comScore.

A REVEAL FOR THE ORIGINALS

The Bikeriders were the ones planning an awards season rollout, with a boost from stellar reviews from the Telluride Film Festival hailing rotating stars for Austin Butler and Jodie Comer. But as the release date approached, it became clear that the strikes weren't going to resolve in time for a press tour.

It was a bit like walking on frozen glass for three months, Nichols said. I was touring for press and trying to create that energy on my own. Let me tell you, this is not the same as Austin Butler.

Later in June, after a splashy debut at Cannes, Kevin Costner will begin rolling out his two-part western epic Horizon: An American Saga, set during the Civil War. And as always, there are plenty of breakouts at Sundance all summer long, from Jane Shoenbruns I Saw the TV Glow and Didi to Thelma and Good One.

PRICE FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY

Family movies often go into hyperdrive in the summer, capitalizing on long days away from school. This year has plenty, like The Garfield Movie and Despicable Me 4, re-releases of Studio Ghibli classics, and streaming options (Thelma the Unicorn). But perhaps no one has more anticipation behind it than Inside Out 2 (June 14, in theaters), which meets Riley as she enters her teen years as a new set of emotions crash into each other on Joys party, including anxiety, envy, boredom and embarrassment.

This age gives us everything we need and everything we love in a Pixar film, said director Kelsey Mann. It's full of drama, it has potential for a lot of heart, and I could also make it really funny.

John Krasinski also delves into the inner world of children with his ambitious live-action hybrid IF (May 17, in theaters) about left-behind imaginary friends and two humans (Ryan Reynolds and Cailey Fleming) who can still see them.

The allure of horror

Audiences looking for the adrenaline rush of horrors and thrillers are spoiled for choice, including MaXXXine, the conclusion to Ti West's (X and Pearl) Accidental Mia Goth trilogy which debuts around July 4.

The aspiring goth actress traveled to Hollywood where a killer stalked Hollywood starlets during the 1980s home video boom.

We recreated the seedy side of Hollywood in a hopefully charming way, West said. It’s definitely a pretty crazy night at the movies. A great rock and fun film.

On June 28, audiences will also be able to delve into the beginnings of A Quiet Place with a prequel set on day one starring Luptia Nyongo and Stranger Things Joseph Quinn. Director Michael Sarnoski said he wanted to explore the scope and promise of a Quiet Place film in New York. Later, Fede Ivarez brought his sense of horror to Alien: Romulus (August 16), which takes place between the first two.

M. Night Shyamalan is also back with a thriller set at a pop concert (Trap, August 9) and his daughter, Ishana Night Shyamalan, makes her directorial debut with the frightening Irish film The Watchers (7 June) with Dakota. Fanning.

It's very suspenseful and unexpected, Ishana said. And it's really designed for the experience of being in a theater.

THE STARS ARE STREAMING

Much to the dismay of theater owners, big summer movies have also existed on the big screen for years. And the streamers have film and show stars with festival favorite Hit Man, Anne Hathaway romance The Idea of ​​You, Jerry Seinfeld's star-studded pop-tart flick Unfrosted and an action comedy from Mark Wahlberg/Halle Berry The Union.

They also have franchises: Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F (July 3) was a film that had been in development since the mid-1990s, but was given new life when Paramount licensed the rights to Netflix.

“We raised our hands to make sure the franchise was right and that we kept the integrity and fun of the original,” Bruckheimer said.

This episode adds an emotional component in which Eddie Murphy's Axel Foley reunites with his ex-daughter (Taylour Paige). It also sees the return of Justice Reinhold, John Ashton, Paul Reiser and Bronson Pinchot and adds Kevin Bacon and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

On August 9, Apple TV+ will also debut The Instigators, a new action comedy starring Matt Damon and Casey Affleck as normal guys attempting a heist. Midnight Run was one of their touchstones.

The script was so funny and I really wanted to accept it, said Doug Liman, who directed.

BUT ALSO, NO ONE KNOWS ANYTHING

Remember, anything can happen with summer movies.

We can pretend we knew Barbie would be the biggest movie of the year, but anyone would have bet that an R-rated drama about the father of the atomic bomb would have grossed almost three times as much as the last round of 'Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones? ? Or that a $14 million crowdfunded film from a new studio about child trafficking with almost zero promotion would gross over $250 million?

Nobody knows something is going well, said Instigators producer Kevin Walsh. The world of cinema is so unpredictable. You never know what will work and what won't. But you have your taste. And following your tastes and your instincts in this profession is essential.

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