The Summer 2024 Movie Season Can’t Compete With 2023

The release of The Fall Guy signals that the summer movie season has officially started, but its muted box office suggests summer 2024 may struggle to compete with their 2023 counterparts.

As always, there’s a long and a short answer, so to change pace, we will start with the long answer. There’s no easy way to say it, but tentpole movie standards have dropped dramatically over the last decade. We’ve been bombarded with streaming platforms churning expensive movies with A-listers that look like unfinished cuts. Last year’s industrial strike caused lengthy delays to many productions scheduled for release this summer.

A year ago, summer 2023 kicked off with the closing chapter of the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy, opening big domestically with $118 million and eventually earning $875 million at the box office. After two box office misfires with last year’s Ant-Man and The Wasp underperforming, and The Marvels being a straight up flop, we only have one offering from the MCU this year. Now, it’s not an exact apple-for-apples comparison; The Fall Guy was never going to make GOTG money despite uniting Barbie and Oppenheimer stars Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt.

Historically, the first weekend in May is a busy weekend at the box office, but a movie has failed to hit $30 million for the first time in almost two decades. The Fall Guy launched to a soft $27.7 million for its domestic opening. For a movie with a reported production budget of $130 million (some estimates it was as much as $150 million), before those costly marketing fees, a $27.7 million opening is a poor start. It’s a PG-13 (12A) rated movie with likeable leads, plenty of action, and a prime release date with no real competition; it’s difficult to see how this was a misfire. There’s every chance that The Fall Guy will be a sleeper hit, but its $65 million global launch suggests it will struggle.

Last year’s double strike halted the film and TV industry and delayed hundreds of projects. We knew the summer season would be sparse for blockbusters, but with fewer competing releases, there’s a chance for sleeper hits to emerge or for those big studio movies to get more time in cinemas. So, let’s look at some of the contenders for the crown of Biggest Movie Of Summer 2024. Spoiler alert: the vast majority are sequels and reboots.

Broadly speaking, only a handful of movies stand a chance at being blockbusters, so let’s refresh ourselves with the potential big hitters.

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes

IF

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

Garfield The Movie

Deadpool and Wolverine

Inside Out 2

Bad Boys Ride or Die

Despicable Me 4

Twisters

Harold and the Purple Crayon

A Quiet Place Day One

Alien: Romulus

Already, a couple of titles here are a wild card, and let’s face it, this is a thin list. Harold and the Purple Crayon is trying really hard to be as magical as the book it’s based on, but can that translate into a healthy box office? Ridley Scott’s Alien prequels did as much harm to the franchise as AvP, so even with acclaimed filmmaker Fede Álvarez directing Alien Romulus, there’s no guarantee that the fans will return. The trailer looks more like an Alien movie than either Prometheus or Covenant.

Now, there’s plenty of opportunity for some overperformers from smaller titles. Horror frequently goes against expectations, producing giant hits from small budgets. The Quiet Place Day One is the most apparent breakout, as the previous two movies yielded mighty box office receipts. So, here are some upcoming horror movies that could prove to be solid hits.

The Strangers Chapter 1

Trap

The Watchers

MaXXXine

Naturally, there will be a few surprises, but I would be shocked if Deadpool and Wolverine didn’t emerge as the summer’s MVP; Despicable Me 4 and possibly Garfield will be the big kids movies. However, it seems like a foregone conclusion that summer 2024 will be challenging. So, in short, the 2024 summer box office is looking brutal at the moment.

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