In the next few days, two of the highest-grossing films in history will return to the Spanish billboard. First, This Friday ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ will be re-released in theaters, only nine months after its first premiere. And the following Friday returns to theaters, almost 13 years after its premiere in 2009, ‘Avatar’.
These are just two examples of a business trend that is becoming especially strong in the United States. Many movies are being re-released, for a variety of reasons. ‘The fifth element’ thus celebrated its 25th anniversary, while ‘Transformers’ celebrated 15 years returning to theaters. The death of Olivia Newton-John inspired the AMC theater chain to re-release ‘Grease’ at a reduced price, of which 20% would go to breast cancer research. ‘Jaws’ has been screened with a new remastering in IMAX 3D, while ‘ET, the extraterrestrial’ celebrated its 40th anniversary by screening in IMAX format. In the UK, all 25 James Bond movies have been re-released in 4K to celebrate the 60th anniversary.
Hollywood is used to exploiting nostalgia with sequels, remakes, reboots and all those words. And now it seems that he prefers directly to re-release the films that were very successful at the time. What is this sudden rush of reruns? There are several answers, some very obvious and others not so obvious..
Reruns are not a novelty in the film industry. In fact, they were something very common several decades ago, when there were no other ways than movie theaters to exploit the benefits of productions. Before streaming, before home video, and before television, movies used to have more than one life at the box office.. Something that was helped by a practice that is no longer carried out today: double sessions, which resorted to B-series movies and reruns to accompany more striking premieres.
These days, though, distributors often look for compelling reasons to reschedule movies in theaters, whether they’re big anniversaries or bigger director’s cuts. But there is usually an obvious purpose behind it: to exploit a product so that it makes more money..
Marvel squeezing the most of their movies
The case of ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ serves to illustrate the most obvious and cynical way to do this. Retitled “Spider-Man: No Way Home – The More Fun Stuff,” the film starring Tom Holland returns to theaters just under a year later with an extra 11 minutes of footage.. In theory he does it to celebrate 60 years of wall-crawling comics and 20 years of movies based on Spider-Man. For example.
The truth is that it is not the first time that a Marvel Studios movie returns to theaters shortly after its first run in theaters. They already did it with ‘Avengers: Endgame’ and ‘Spider-Man: Far from home’. With 6 and 4 minutes of additional footage respectively, made up of content such as directors’ introductions, inconsequential deleted scenes and previews of future releases, more suitable to be extras on a Blu-ray than to buy a ticket. ‘No Way Home’ is said to carry “more fun content” and an additional post-credits scene showing the aftermath of Doctor Strange’s spell.
In these cases, the additional content is more of an excuse to increase the profits of a film. When Disney re-released ‘Avengers: Endgame’ just three months after it hit theaters, it was a clear marketing strategy aimed at dethroning ‘Avatar’ as the highest-grossing movie in history.. He ended up getting it, although only temporarily: ‘Avatar’ returned to first place when it was re-released in 2021 in China. (Here you can see the 100 highest grossing movies of all time.)
Trying to make the world fall in love with Pandora again
The return of James Cameron’s film to theaters around the world at the end of September has a mission that goes beyond money. To begin with, it is no coincidence that the revival will take place a couple of months before the arrival, finally, of the sequel, ‘Avatar: The sense of water’. In the time that has elapsed between 2009 and 2022, it is likely that most of the details of the first installment will not be remembered by much of the public.. In addition to acting as a kind of “Previously in…”, the revival will serve to gauge the interest that the public has in the saga, so that Disney and the rest of the industry can know what to expect in December.
In an interview with the New York TimesCameron has given another very interesting reason: to capture the new generations of viewers: “Young moviegoers never got a chance to see it in a movie theater. Even though they think they’ve seen it, they haven’t really seen it.”. In that statement, the filmmaker is veiledly referring to the home theater experience as a minor one. He later says it clearly: “We have created it for the experience of the big screen. You have to let people smell the roses. Let people make the trip. If you’re shooting an aerial shot or an underwater shot on a gorgeous coral, you hold the shot a little longer. I want people to really go inside and feel like they’re there, on a journey with these characters.”.
A help for some cinemas in drought
According to Disney, the film will be shown in theaters “for the first time in stunning high dynamic range 4K format. The film will also be available on Dolby 3D, IMAX 3D, RealD 3D and other premium format screens across the country.”. Exhibitors, without a doubt the leg of the industry that is being most affected by the new post-pandemic normality, receive this type of operation with open arms. In the United States, ticket sales are 30% below what they had sold at this point in 2019 (an extraordinary year in that sense, on the other hand), and there are considerably fewer blockbuster movies on the billboard. In fact, the returns of ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ and ‘Avatar’ could be considered some of the highlights of the fall.
In this context, theaters welcome any attempt by studios to bring audiences back to theaters. It has already been announced that ‘Titanic’, James Cameron’s other blockbuster, will hit theaters remastered in 3D 4K high dynamic range on Valentine’s Day 2023, coinciding with his 25th anniversary. It may seem like a desperate move to sell tickets, but perhaps bringing revered classics back to the big screen will help remind people why we were going to the movies. This summer, ‘ET, el extraterrestre’ grossed more in US theaters than premieres like ‘Con canas ya lo loco’.
Although there are reruns, and reruns. Disney is specializing in using theaters as advertising space, and has re-released ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ in US theaters, accompanied by a “sneak peek” of ‘Andor‘, the prequel series that arrives this week on Disney +. For its part, the independent fashion studio, A24, has used this strategy with two films: ‘Midsommar’ and ‘Everything at once everywhere’. The objective in both cases was to boost the titles in the awards season, but in the case of the Ari Aster film it was an extended version of the director that did have a lot of very interesting new content.
No revival has made as much ridicule as that of ‘Morbius’, yes. The defunct installment of Sony’s Spider-Man extended universe returned to theaters two months after its premiere last April. The distributor thought it was a good idea to try to revitalize the lousy collection taking advantage of the fact that social networks were full of memes that laughed at the film. In its revival, ‘Morbius’ raised a paltry $300,000. Who could have foreseen it?
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Why Are Movies Like ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ Re-Released?
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