Big movie franchises keep movie theaters afloat (includes multimedia content)

A movie theater audience (Unsplash)

The audience fills up the room. The anticipation builds as the lights dim. The credits roll and the crowd cheers.

People are coming out of pandemic hibernation to watch highly-anticipated franchise movies in theaters.

Aolani Ramos, 22, recently attended a cinema to watch “Spider-Man: No Way Home” with her die-hard Marvel fan group of friends.

“The theater was packed and it looked like we were back to pre-pandemic times where people were just focusing on watching a movie,” said Ramos. “COVID-19 is always a concern for me wherever I go, but I make sure to wear my mask at all times, so my friends and I weren’t worried about going to the theaters.”

Unfortunately, not everyone had the same experience.

Gabriel Rivas, 24, recently went to a different movie theater to watch the same film.

“It was difficult to enjoy the movie with all the coughing going on around me,” said Rivas. “I usually never leave my house, but I’ve been waiting for this movie to come out for three years and I didn’t want to read any spoilers on social media, so I took a risk.”

Despite the recent surge of Omicron cases, most people showed no concern and treated it like a pre-pandemic movie night.

According to Rebecca Rubin of Variety, “big-budget tentpoles like ‘No Time to Die,’ ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ and ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ started the box office’s slow recovery.”

According to box office mojo, each film made a big dent in the worldwide box office numbers during the month of their release.

The finale of Daniel’s Craig role as James Bond’s “No Time to Die” made $774,153,007. Sony’s Spider-Man Universe “Venom 2: Let There Be Carnage” made $502,050,366. Marvel’s new superhero addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” made $432,233,010.

According to Pamela Mcclintock of The Hollywood Reporter, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is $1 million away from passing James Cameron’s “Avatar in the domestic box office as it gained an extra $9.6 million over the weekend, making the total $749 million.

The numbers correlated with audience surveys that showed people went to the theaters specifically to see that movie.

“My friends and I went to watch the film because we’re all Marvel fans, but even bigger Spider-Man fans and the theater experience was like no other,” said Ramos.

@ign It was VERY cool to watch the new Spider-Man trailer in a full theater. #spiderman #nowayhome #movie #trailer #reaction ♬ original sound – IGN

Future franchise installments may anticipate even higher box office numbers as the survey pointed out that people are excited for “The Batman” and Marvel’s “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.”

Not only does the hype of a franchise film bring audiences to the theaters, but spoilers on social media also play an important role in a franchise’s opening weekend.

Spoilers contribute to the success of the film as people step out and go to the movie theaters as close to the premiere as possible to avoid them.
@marvel 💔 #SpiderManNoWayHome #TomHolland #Zendaya ♬ original sound – Marvel Entertainment

In the survey, people responded to questions about recent movie-going experiences.
Oddly enough, the survey showed that people prefer streaming over watching it in theaters for big franchise movies, but they still go to theaters for the experience.

Rivas remembered how audiences reacted when he watched “Avengers: Endgame” back in 2019.

“Every time I re-watch the movie, I can always remember how the audience reacted during a certain scene. That resonated with me because it was such an amazing thing to witness,” said Rivas.

Ramos felt that her experience was 100% worth it and if streaming were an option for “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” she still would’ve watched it in a theater.

“The theater experience was absolutely unreal. Everyone in there was coming together to experience a highly anticipated movie together for the first time in two years,” said Ramos.

People cosplaying as Spider-Man (Pexels)

Movie theaters were on the brink of closing, but big franchises like Marvel, DC and James Bond are making their movies exclusively for theaters, bringing in the money and the people to save the theater.

Virtually all survey participants agreed that the theater experience is worth keeping and recent box office numbers expressed that franchise films will preserve it.

According to Rebecca Rubin from Variety, Sony and Marvel’s latest film “Spider-Man: No Way Home” has been the only reason people return to the movies lately.

“It’s rare for any film to secure the No. 1 slot in its sixth outing, though “Spider-Man: No Way Home” didn’t have much in the way of competition. In fact, you would be forgiven if you’d never even heard of this weekend’s two new nationwide releases.”

The highly-anticipated film was a success for movie theaters as their online websites crashed due to high demand and broke pre-sale records.

Fans had to search and fight for the movie tickets as if they were going to a concert. Even scalpers got in on the fun.

“Immediately selling out showtimes? In this economy? It’s a welcome champagne problem for the beleaguered movie theater business,” said Rubin.

Click here to listen to Ramos’ movie theater audience reaction for “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”

Gabriela Gutierrez-Gallo is a senior at Florida International University majoring in communications with a concentration in journalism and a minor in social media and e-marketing. Her interests include film history, writing, and photography.

Chelsea Marino is majoring in journalism with a certificate in music business at Florida International University. She has a passion for music and sports