Changing up the year-end posts this year. Since 2021 isn’t over yet, getting the numbers for popular movies doesn’t make sense now. Let’s take a look ahead to 2022 and what we can expect.
Like this time last year, COVID-19 was and is a concern. Restrictions were loosened over 2021, only to have them return as infected numbers beat the peaks of 2020. Vaccines and boosters are available, but they only work if a large percentage of the population get it; that percentage is currently unknown. With Omicron and rising numbers, it’s a fair bet to say that 2022 will start the same way 2021 did, with lockdowns.
This will give streaming services an edge over cinemas. If entertainment centres are shut down, streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime can fill in the gaps. All a streaming service needs is a draw, like The Mandalorian for Disney+ and Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop. Traditional broadcast TV can ride along by developing new series that can draw a trapped audience. There’s a window, at least during the opening months of 2022, for streaming and traditional broadcast to exploit.
Afterwards, people are getting tired of being stuck inside. It’s part of the reason why there are variants to COVID-19. Cabin fever is real. Humans are a social creature. People self-isolating for close to two years are tired of being stuck alone or with a small number of the same people day in and day out. Going out to movies is as much a social interaction, even if going alone, as it is consumption of entertainment. Studios should be preparing for a massive return.
Being risk adverse, studios will go with adaptations. It is difficult to compete with a known quantity, even if people are getting tired of that quality. Marvel movies arent going anywhere in the near future. Blockbusters will draw more people than introspective character films. Explosions are popular. Superheroes can bring explosions and survive them and are a known quantity. Marvel movies aren’t going to lose money, at least not in 2022.
In short, when it comes to entertainment and adaptations, 2022 will look a lot like 2021, maybe with things being more open thanks to vaccines and boosters that were just being rolled out in early 2021. COVID-19 will loom like a spectre, though, and if people don’t get vaccinated, streaming services will be the only ones to benefit.