Return of the Summer Blockbuster?

A few years ago, the summer blockbuster was a gimmie. Something that came around every year and we, the consumer, dutifully migrated out of the heat and into full theaters with buckets of popcorn in our laps and three hours to kill. This summer’s lineup has already begun with the premier of Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness last weekend.

So, if the blockbuster is back, will the movie goers come back to the theater?

The lure of the theater

Let’s start with the pros. There is a lot to miss. A lot to pull audiences back into theaters. Personally, I miss laughing with my friends, I miss being blinded by the silver screen, and I miss CGI explosions so loud that my ears would keep ringing long after the lights came back on.  People want to go back to what we all used to know. We are an audience seeking out entertainment choices. Being uniquely isolated in your own little world inside the theater is a feeling that is hard to replicate with other entertainment choices.

Captive Audience for advertisers

Movie theaters represent the most final of frontiers, a newly re-captive audience is giving brands a renewed opportunity to make a splashy return. Whatever is presented to a movie-goer is what they get. There is no changing the channel or getting up every few minutes to grab something from your kitchen. Piled onto this is the golden rule of the movie-going experience “Don’t talk during the movie”.  It is also a space to reach a very hard to reach demographic, the younger male audience.  They are seeking BIG blockbuster action and fantasy titles with BIG special effects on a BIG screen!

Hesitation on if movie goers will return

Despite the audience seated in front of your ad, there are still cons to re-joining the ranks of theater advertisers at this point. Though a blockbuster like a Marvel movie reportedly led to sold out screenings and millions upon millions in revenue, there is not the evidence to suggest that people are ready to walk into their local movie theater for just any new movie. Ticket sales continue to trail the recorded pre-pandemic levels by just under 50%. Over the course of the Pandemic, we have seen people show up for superhero movies, kids movies, and horror movies. In the entirety of Hollywood, there is certainly more than those three genres. Additionally, the window of time that a movie available in theaters has greatly decreased. To sum it up, there is less time to run a movie, meaning less time for an ad to be shown, in front of an audience, that isn’t guaranteed.

What’s my take? Hollywood is gearing up for a huge lineup of big named films well into 2023. Let’s see what success the Summer Blockbuster brings. If we like what we’re seeing, let’s go all in on it this Winter.

Written by Media Coordinator, Maya Hettleman

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