Popular taste in movies is changing in 2024

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The Future. This Presidents’ Day weekend has seen lower movie theater attendance than usual. It’s also witnessed a change in popular taste, with a musical biopic defeating a superhero flick at the box office. This upset could signal that comic book characters are on the way out, as new genres like music-based films are on the way in.

What’s going on at the box office?
Apparently, not every superhero movie has blockbuster potential.

  • Bob Marley: One Love, a biopic of the Jamaican reggae singer, was the best-performing film this past weekend, earning $52 million domestically — pretty cool given that Marley died in 1981 and may be unknown to younger audiences.
  • Madame Web, a superhero thriller led by Dakota Johnson in the Spider-Man universe, flopped with $26.2 million in domestic ticket sales — pretty grim since it cost $80 million to produce and will struggle to turn a profit in its theatrical run.

How did we reach this moment?
“One look at the hits and misses of 2023, and there is clearly a new blueprint as to what can constitute a hit,” Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst at the box-office tracker Comscore, told Variety.

Not only was Barbie (a fantasy musical-comedy) the biggest hit of 2023, earning $636.2 million domestically, but Wonka (the musical based on the Roald Dahl novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) is the biggest holdover from last Christmas driving traffic to cinemas this year — it’s grossed $210.7 million in the US and Canada so far.

Kait Cunniff

Kait is a Chicago-raised, LA-based writer and NYU film grad. She created an anthology TV series for Refinery29 and worked as a development executive for John Wells Productions, Jon M. Chu, and Paramount Pictures. Her favorite color is orange.


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