Summer blockbusters are over. Will theaters hit a box-office wall?

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“[Movie theaters] just skated by during the pandemic, and now they're looking at a pretty fallow period,” says Lucas Shaw, leader of entertainment, media and telecom team at Bloomberg. Photo by Shutterstock.

After a brief box office comeback this summer, cinemas face a cooling period before the release of big fall blockbusters like “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” In the meantime, audiences will turn their attention to streaming, including to the much anticipated Amazon’s “Lord of Rings: The Rings of Power,” which may end up costing around $1 billion to make. 

Theaters brace for a box office cooldown

Kim: We've had the movies coming back this summer, to the great relief of theater owners. However, it is July and we are about to hit a wall of no more big releases for some time to come.

Lucas: You look at the schedule, and there's pretty much no blockbuster or any movie that people would consider a big hit for the next two, two and a half months really, until “Black Adam” this big, DC, Dwayne Johnson movie, in October. 

It's something that a lot of different studios are talking about both because they've enjoyed a couple of months of resurgence, and because the cinema chains and theater owners are really freaked out about it. They just skated by during the pandemic, and now they're looking at a pretty fallow period. 

“Black Panther” sequel is “review-proof” 

Kim: There's “Black Adam,” and then there's a space until the “Black Panther” sequel turns up in November. Based on the reception at Comic Con, and the release of that trailer for “Black Panther,” I would be very happy to have some points on that one. 

Lucas: You have one of the most successful Marvel movies of all time, and there's going to be so much more attention around it because of Chadwick Boseman’s untimely death. We sort of went through this recently once before with the “Fast and Furious” movie after Paul Walker died, and that was the biggest movie in the history of that franchise.

Kim: I'm not worried about “Black Panther.” [It has] one of the great trailers that people have seen in memory. So if the movie stands up to that, and even if it doesn't, this movie is review-proof and even flaw-proof, as Marvel movies often tend to be. 

“Lord of the Rings” - the first $1-billion series

Kim: There is going to be a lot of TV. We have the “Game of Thrones” prequel “House of the Dragon,” which is coming next month, and we have the giant Amazon “Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.” This has been a long time in production. Very expensive. Lucas, we believe it is the most expensive thing ever put on television?

Lucas: Amazon paid a fortune just for the rights to make it. The Tolkien estate, Harper Collins, and Warner Brothers, and people who've been involved in the movie took out the rights for a TV show a few years ago, and Amazon paid hundreds of millions of dollars just for the rights to make a show. 

The reports have pegged the production budget for the first season and another couple $100 million [and] then all the marketing around it. Amazon is planning to make this one of the biggest campaigns if not the biggest they've ever done, utilizing the full force of this massive company. I've had people tell me that you factor all that in, and you could see this as the first $1-billion TV show.

Kim: That's a big number. A lot riding on it. Jeff Bezos has said he wants something like this, and he's getting [it]. We'll see how it lands with the fanatical fans of “Lord of the Rings” material.




Kim Masters


Joshua Farnham