It feels like only yesterday that almost every executive in Hollywood was hailing streaming as the future of entertainment. Netflix became one of the biggest studios in Hollywood, attracting top talent, such as David Fincher and Martin Scorsese, to make content for them with almost unprecedented freedom.
But 2022 proved to be a rather disastrous year for the film industry and Hollywood. As reported by The Financial Times, the entertainment sector’s biggest players collectively lost half a trillion dollars in the stock market as the streaming boom slowed down.
Netflix is still raking in viewers for shows such as Wednesday and are gambling big with auteur-led films such as Noah Baumbach’s White Noise and Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Bardo. Curiously, Netflix released Rian Johnson highly-anticipated Knives Out sequel, Glass Onion, in cinemas only for a week before adding it to the streaming service just in time for Christmas.
Many industry experts are now predicting that 2023 will be an incredibly difficult year for Hollywood. Netflix made headlines in 2022 when it lost subscribers for the first time and Warner Bros Discovery, which also owns HBO, and its CEO David Zaslav became public enemy number one after scrapping a lot of films, including the already completed Batgirl, in order to cut costs. Understandable, as the company is currently battling a net debt of nearly $50bn, but it still seems like a very extreme measure to be taking.
There are also reports of a potential writers’ strike taking place in 2023. The current Writer’s Guild of America contract runs out on 1 May and if there is a dispute over a new contract and its terms, we might be seeing another strike.
Memorably, the writers’ strike in 2007 brought several productions to a complete halt and it affected beloved TV shows such as Breaking Bad and Lost.
There is evidence of audiences returning back to cinemas. Avatar: the Way of Water has already earned $1.4bn globally and is predicted to make just under $2bn, just breaking even. Top Gun: Maverick, one of the best films of 2022, also had a stellar run after its May release, bringing in almost $1.5bn in cold, hard cash.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, although not attracting quite as many bums of seats as its predecessor, has also been a success for Marvel in a year that has seen a lot of its focus shift on the Disney+ shows with middling reviews for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder.
2023 might look a little grim, but hopefully, with a lot of highly-anticipated releases from popular filmmakers, the cinema experience will be safe and the industry will bounce back sooner rather than later.