After years of closed cinemas, US audiences were finally able to go back to movie theatres in 2022, bringing back the expectation of big theatrical releases for blockbuster movies that year. As a matter of fact, a relevant number of anticipated movies were released last year, ranging from superhero movies to horror flicks and reboots of 1980s classic films.
Using our proprietary metrics, it’s possible to measure the most impactful movie releases of 2022, in terms of the demand during the first 30 days after a movie premiered in a theater or on streaming. According to that metric, Thor: Love and Thunder was the most in-demand movie release of 2022, with an average of 187.1 times more demand than the average movie during its first 30 days. Thor: Love and Thunder is followed by another Marvel title, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, showing the continued dominance of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In addition to these two movies, another MCU film ranks in the top 10, Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness.
Movies from the DC franchise also appear in the list, with The Batman ranking 5th and Black Adam ranking 9th. Together, the two major superhero franchises made up half of the top 10 most in-demand movie releases of 2022, underscoring the power of sprawling superhero franchises to activate audiences.
Only two movies in the ranking didn’t have a theatrical release, being released on a streaming platform. Those are Turning Red and Hocus Pocus 2, both Disney productions that have been released primarily on Disney+. This points to the flexibility of the company’s release strategy. Some movies, especially MCU’s blockbusters, are released in theaters and have an extended theatrical exclusivity window, while some non-franchise movies may go directly to streaming.
The chart below shows that movies released during the months of March and April 2022 had a higher average demand than movies released in other months. Huge hits like Turning Red, The Batman and Sonic The Hedgehog 2 were released in that period. The average demand keeps high during most of Spring and Summer in the US, decreasing after the month of August, and reaching lower levels in October, showing a seasonal pattern of behavior in demand for new movie releases.