Marvel’s God of Thunder success is another step toward post-pandemic normalcy

At the height of the pandemic, as lockdowns prevented large indoor gatherings and forced the closure of nearly every public-facing consumer outlet except supermarkets, Hollywood studios were in a panic. As a result, some studios tried hybrid releases, which had major films like Black Widow simultaneously debut in theaters and via streaming television in a bid to soften the impact of closed movie houses.

That strategy proved to have mixed results, but nevertheless kept the public engaged with the notion of big-budget film releases, even if they couldn’t, or wouldn’t, necessarily visit a crowded movie theater to see them. However, in 2021, as Covid-19 vaccine availability bolstered the public’s confidence, Hollywood studios began testing the waters for return to theater-exclusive releases, with promising results from films like Sony’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife. 

The real box-office test of whether movie theaters are truly in post-pandemic territory will come during the upcoming fall and winter months, when a surge of Covid-19 infections are expected to take hold in the US.

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