The massive boost provided to AMC’s revenue thanks to «Barbie» and «Oppenheimer» may be but a blip on the radar during a lean time for movie theaters. Since reopening after COVID-19 safety measures forced theaters to close in 2020, the public has been slow to resume its moviegoing habits. Even the types of films that drove the box office pre-pandemic, such as those in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, mostly failed to pack auditoriums.
Now that moviegoing seems to have rebounded, the entertainment industry finds itself in the midst of twin strikes from the WGA and SAG-AFTRA. This has led to studios moving back their release schedules and scuttling projects entirely rather than giving in to writers’ and actors’ demands for better compensation and protections against job-eroding technologies like LLM-based artificial intelligence.
If studios don’t come back to the table, the resulting dearth of films at the box office is likely to lead to yet another dry spell for struggling theaters. AMC and other theaters might be riding high on the ticket crop from «Barbie,» but another drought looms on the horizon.