After Sony’s Brad Pitt-starrer Bullet Train hits theaters next week, August, September and October’s film schedule becomes deserted. It’s hard to find any blockbusters in the mix. In fact, there aren’t many movies that can open beyond $50 million at the box office until Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which doesn’t debut until Nov. 11.
The lack of films comes in a year that is already far behind Hollywood’s pre-pandemic output. At this point in 2019, there were 63 nationwide launches in North America, according to comscore (SCORE). This year the number is 39 – a 38% drop from three years ago.
Despite the delay, 2022 has largely held its own. Ticket sales are roughly 30% behind pre-pandemic levels in 2019, which is pretty good considering the lack of movies hitting theaters.

So where are all the movies? There is still a lot being produced and released, but a lot of it is either going live or being delayed because the industry is experiencing many of the same problems as the rest of the economy.

In short, Hollywood has supply chain problems.

Slow down in Tinseltown

“A number of ongoing issues related to supply chain stocks and production pipelines have impacted various films,” Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at, told CNN Business. “It’s important to remember that studios map out their release strategies six months to a year or more in most cases.”

Although summer movies have been a “tremendous success” in theaters, the industry is “still playing on audience sentiment and expectations for new content on the big screen,” Robbins added.

Think back to two years ago when studios were delaying movies almost every day as the coronavirus pandemic upended Hollywood. the echo of those decisions is still felt today.

There’s another reason why theaters may be short of the normal amount of movies: Broadcasting.

'No' is the last film no.  1 of Jordan Peele at the box office

As broadcast becomes more focused on media companies, studios find themselves supplying both theaters and broadcasters. Some movies that seem perfect for theaters, like 20th Century Studios’ “Prey,” the next installment in the “Predator” franchise, are going exclusively to streaming instead of the big screen. In fact, many of the movies from 20th Century Studio and Searchlight Pictures now go to Hulu.

“It’s no secret that studios are looking to diversify distribution strategies as broadcasters want to expand content offerings and compete among subscriber bases,” Robbins said.

A direct-to-air strategy makes sense for many films. And “a big-budget movie that goes straight to streaming can have a low ceiling at the box office at first,” Robbins added. Otherwise, there would be “little sense in cutting off that profitable revenue stream.”

Positive side

While there may not be many blockbusters in theaters over the next few weeks, there will still be movies to watch.

There are smaller films like A24’s horror ‘Bodies Bodies Bodies’ which opens on August 5, the bright ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ starring Florence Pugh and Harry Styles on September 23, the romantic comedy ‘Bros’ . on September 30, “Halloween Ends,” the next and potentially final film in the Halloween franchise, on October 14, and “Black Adam,” a superhero film starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, on October 21.

'Thor: Love and Thunder' finds a strong opening at the box office for Marvel

Each of these films can surprise and find an audience.

There will even be blockbusters from the past in theaters with IMAX re-releases of “ET: The Extra Terrestrial” in August and “Jaws” in September.

Also, with the lack of movies coming out in theaters, this summer’s hits like “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Minions: The Rise of Gru” could continue to boost ticket sales.

So there are some silver linings for cinemas over the next few months. Still, that doesn’t change the fact that “Wakanda Forever,” Hollywood’s next big blockbuster hope, feels forever away.

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