“The Equalizer 3,” “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3,” “The Nun II;” these are the movies showing in the Orange City theater currently. What do all three of these have in common? They’re all sequels of movie franchises that aren’t particularly popular or profitable. Why is it that these are the only movies in theaters right now? Moreover, why can we not see big name franchises on the big screen or highly acclaimed blockbusters and original movies? Fans of cinema and seeing movies come to theaters, and dwell heavily on the second question. However, there is great reason as to why the theater showings are different right now, and there’s still hope to come for the upcoming big-name movies.
Although you may be looking for the next big one-hit wonder to come out soon, or the newest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or another fantastic Christopher Nolan movie; the season we are in right now is not a common one for movies like these to be released. Movie productions and eventual release dates go in certain waves throughout the calendar year, as they are released on a date that they will gain the most profit. Due to this, movies are often released during Christmas season, Thanksgiving, mid-spring around spring and Easter break and the summertime. Why is that these are the “movie season” times? Well, it is because these are times when people are generally home and with family, and since going to a movie is highly accepted as good family time, more people will go meaning more profit.
Generally, movie theaters will want the movies they know will be highly profitable to be shown at these times. Hence why we often see Star Wars movies released in December or highly anticipated action blockbusters, such as “The Dark Knight,” released in the summer months. Currently, it is not a time for big-name, profitable movies, such as “Barbie” or “Oppenheimer,” to be in theaters as those chose the summer months to truly succeed. So, what does this mean for the many other months that aren’t “movie season”? These times often get a few big-budget movies sprinkled in but are often clouded with lower-budget productions. In these points, Hollywood will rely on franchises, as we have seen in the last decade that those usually bring in great profit. These companies often try using these movies to bring lesser-known franchises more money, such as the three in theaters now.
Along with determining the best weekend for optimal profits, movie production companies also methodically plan out how long producing the movie will take. To kickstart production, the director and their writers convene to outline the many intricate details in movie making. However, currently most companies have a shortage of writers due to the Writers Guild strike. The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has been on strike since early May, which has greatly affected release dates of movies set to come out in the next few years. It has even halted production of big-name movies, such “Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse,” as writers are protesting production sets. The other writers’ union, the SAG-AFTRA has also been on strike since mid-July. This has prevented many original ideas from reaching production studios and has caused studios to rely on lesser-known franchises to still make some profit. Original movies have been affected the most, as production schedules and details have taken more time to create due to the uncertainty of writers.
Although not many big-name productions have come out during this time, the strike has still prevented many movies from coming out soon. For example, the greatly awaited sequel to Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune” was supposed to be released November 2023 and is now being pushed back to March 2024. This has disappointed many fans, but is fortunately not delaying releases by too much. Additionally, the writers’ strike is predicted to be resolved within a month or so, which gives reason to believe release dates should return to as scheduled and big-name and/or original movies will return to theaters.
Despite the theaters being down in popularity currently, there are still great things to come within the next few months. “The Marvels” will debut on Nov. 10, the highly anticipated Ridley Scott movie, “Napoleon,” will debut on Nov. 22, and “Wonka” on Dec. 15. Fortunately, Hollywood has still been providing theaters with great movies even amid the strike. Great originals are hard to come by with less writers, but as movie fans, we can come to enjoy the comfort and reliance we have in franchises. Finally, this break from original movies and big-name movies provides us with time to reflect on the great movies the summer brought us, for there were many, and what is to come in the wonderful world that is film.