Fall Preview: Will it, perhaps, return to normal in the cinema?

NEW YORK (Associated Press) — For the first time in three years, the film industrial complex is back in the fall on high alert. The festival’s red carpets are being rolled out. The Oscars campaigns are ready. The long-awaited films, such as “Black Panther: Forever Wakanda” And the “Avatar: The Way of Water,” Getting ready for the big box office.

But after the upheaval of the pandemic, can the fall season get back to the way it was? Many hope so. After two editions in the spring, the Academy Awards are back on their more traditional early March date. Golden Globes, after semi-cancellation, Planning to come back. Some films also try to recover the spirit of the past. At the Toronto Film Festival in September, Rian Johnson’s “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” booked the same “Knives Out” theater that premiered in a crowded house about exactly three years ago.

“It feels like yesterday,” Johnson says with a laugh. “Well, some things happened.”

After a fall 2020 completely wiped out and a 2021 season bogged down by Delta and Omicron COVID-19 variants, this fall might, perhaps, just be something like the regular annual cultural revival that happens every fall, when most of the year’s best movies are.

“I think we’re all just trying to make it exist as at least some version of what we knew before,” Johnson says. “As with everything, you just have to dive into the pool and see what the water looks like. I really hope that at least the illusion of normality continues. I think that is all there is to normality.”

But “Glass Onion,” with Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc in a new mystery, is also a reminder of the extent of the change. After Knives Out was a huge box office success for Lionsgate, grossing $311 million worldwide for Lionsgate, Netflix spent $450 million to snap up the rights to two consecutive editions. And while exhibitors and the streaming company have discussed a larger theatrical release for “Glass Onion” – a sure hit if it happens – a more modest release is expected in theaters before the films arrive December 23 on Netflix.

The balance between play and broadcast remains precarious. But after the summer box office rebound And the An advanced outlook for broadcasting on Wall StreetGoing to the theatre, with its billion-dollar annual ticket sales and cultural footprint, sounds pretty good. For the first time in years, cinema winds are rising from behind. Or at least it happened until the particularly slow August momentum was exhausted This is largely due to the dearth of extensive new releases.

“If you look at the number of movies we’ve shown compared to the business we’ve done, we’ve been operating at 2019 levels,” says John Fethian, president of the National Association of Theater Owners. “We had 70% of our movie supply in full-scale in the first seven months and did 71% of the work we did in the same period in 2019. Moviegoers are back with pre-pandemic numbers, and we still need more movies.”

This will be less of a problem as the fall season increases. “Wakanda Forever” (November 11) and “The Way of the Water” (December 16) may compete with the summer film “Top Gun: Maverick” ($1.36 billion worldwide and counting still) for best film for this general. What’s less clear, however, is whether the strong fall list of adult-driven films and Academy Award contenders can once again drive movie-watching. Last year’s Best Picture winner, “CODA” From Apple TV+, he ran the awards competition without a cent of the box office.

Among the most anticipated films to hit the Fall Festival circuit is “The Fabelmans” (November 23) by Steven Spielberg. “Blond” (September 16), starring Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe; Todd Fields, “TÁR” (October 7), with Cate Blanchett; “Empire of Light” by Sam Mendes (December 9); “The Son” (November 11), Florian Zeller’s follow-up to “The Father”; The epic Emmett Till directed by Chinonye Chukwu “Until” (October 14); by Martin McDonagh “The Banshees of Inisherin” (October 21); “The Time of Armageddon” by James Gray (October 28); And the Palme d’Or winner “The Triangle of Grief” (October 7).

superhero movies (“Black Adam,” October 21, starring Dwayne Johnson), children’s movies (“Lyle Lyle Crocodile,” October 7), horror movies (“Halloween Ends,” October 14) rom-coms (“Ticket to Heaven,” October 21, with Julia Roberts and George Clooney) and more high-altitude adventures (“Dedication, November 23) will also mix, as well as headlines from streamers. Among these are “My Police Police” (October 21) from Amazon, with Harry Styles Netflix has released “Bardo” (in theaters November 4) by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu; “White Noise” (in theaters November 25) by Noah Baumbach; and Guillermo del Toro “Pinocchio” ( It airs December 9).

But if a big part of the fall movie season is about getting back what’s been lost in the past few years, for some of the upcoming movies, change is the goal. “The Woman King” (September 16), directed by Jenna Prince Blythwood and starring Viola Davis, is a muscular, fact-based epic about the West African Army of Female Warriors. For Prince-Blythewood, the maker of “Love & Basketball” and “The Old Guard,” “The Woman King” represents “an opportunity to reframe what it means to be female and female.”

“I don’t think we’ve seen a movie like this before. A lot of our history has been hidden, ignored, or erased,” says Blythwood. “Braveheart,” “gladiator,” the last of the Mohicans.” This type “.

“Brothers” (September 30), too, is something different. The film, starring and co-starring “Billy on the Street” comedian Billy Eichner, is the first gay rom-com produced by a major studio (Universal). All the main cast members are LGBTQ. Comedies have struggled in theaters in recent years, but “The Bros,” directed by Judd Apatow, hopes a new perspective will revive a familiar genre of film.

“It’s a historical movie in many ways,” Eichner says. “It wasn’t something we thought about when we were first developing it. Nobody sits down and says, ‘Let’s write a historical movie.’ We said, ‘Let’s make a funny movie.’ It will make people laugh but it’s not like anything the vast majority of people have seen.”

“Bros” and “Woman King” are productions that aim to challenge the status quo of Hollywood. That’s also part of the nature of “She Said” (November 18), a dramatization of New York Times journalists Judy Kantor and Megan Twohey’s investigation of film mogul Harvey Weinstein. Similarly, Sarah Polley’s “Women Speak” (December 2) chronicles a true feminist uprising. It is based on events from 2009, when Bolivian Mennonite women banded together after they were drugged and raped by men in their colony.

Directed by Olivia Wilde, Don’t Worry Darling stars Florence Pugh and Harry Styles as a married couple living in a 1950s suburban nightmare-like fantasy that deals with some similar themes through a science fiction lens.

“I want to make something really fun and interesting and interesting, but it’s actually my way of sparking conversations about real issues like body independence,” Wild says. “I didn’t know it was going to be as timely as it is now. I never thought in my wildest nightmare that Rowe was going to flip right before this movie was released.”

Other film production timelines seem to exist apart from our earthly reality. James Cameron’s “Avatar: The Way of the Water” will debut 13 years after 2009’s “Avatar” (which remains the highest-grossing film of all time), a follow-up film originally slated for release in 2014. Since Then, many dates have come and gone That sequels — four films now slated to release in the next five years — have sometimes looked like a Godots movie that might be waiting forever in the wings.

Speaking from New Zealand where “Water Road” was mixed and taped, producer John Landau promised that the wait, in fact, was almost over.

“It’s finally happening,” Landau said. “These delays, as you call them, were really about creating the basis for a series of films. It wasn’t about going: ‘Let’s get one script right.’ It was about: ‘Let’s understand four right scripts.'”

Measuring change in the film industry is even more difficult when it comes to sprawl between “Avatar” installments. When the first “Avatar” was shown in theaters, 3D was (again) touted as the future. Barack Obama was in the first year of his first term. Netflix was renting DVDs by mail.

“A lot has changed but not much has changed,” Landau says. “One of the things that hasn’t changed: Why do people turn to entertainment today? Like they did when the first Avatar was released, they did it to escape, to escape the world we live in.”

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AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr contributed.

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Follow AP Film writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP

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