The Marvel Cinematic Universe is arguably the biggest media franchise of all time. By comparison, Warner Bros.' DC roster of content doesn't have as many claims to fame as the MCU but still plugs along with some successful releases, such as The Batman. The pandemic introduced a large shift in the way people were able to consume these massive IPs. When movie theaters around the globe were closed in 2020, many major film studios chose instead to release their offerings on streaming, while others, such as Disney, opted to try and preserve the cinema experience and reserve movies to premiere exclusively in theaters once it became safe to do so.
Despite the fact that the season hasn't changed yet, the summer movie season might as well already be upon audiences. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is raking in big bucks the world over. And highly-anticipated movies like Jurassic World: Dominion are just around the corner. A diverse collection of more kid-friendly fare is also set to grace the silver screen this season, including Disney/Pixar's Toy Story spin-off, Lightyear, starring former Captain America Chris Evans.
But given the choice between trudging out to the movie theater and finding a seat and sitting still for an hour and a half or more or watching a newer movie release in the comfort of one's own home where the snacks are cheaper and the viewer has the ability to pause the proceedings, which option are they more likely to pick?
The New Normal for Film Releases
According to new survey data obtained by The Direct from Whip Media, it turns out that an average filmgoing individual will commit to either going to the cinema or watching at home depending largely on the movie in question.
Marvel Studios' Thor: Love and Thunder is, based on poll data, the movie that intended viewers most want to see in theaters. 77% of respondents said they would prefer to watch Love and Thunder on the big screen and just 23% plan instead to watch the sequel at home.
However, in the case of DC's League of Super-Pets, which stars Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Kevin Hart as the talking, superpowered pets of the heroes in the Justice League, a whopping 80% said they'd rather watch the animated comedy at home.
Have a look at the full results of the poll below:
Tentpole Blockbusters are Here to Stay
Given League of Super-Pet's status as a decidedly family-friendly animated picture made with children in mind, it makes a lot of sense that audiences are more willing to catch the movie at home. Rather than parents wrangling their kids and paying high prices for movie tickets and popcorn, it's only natural that they would rather see the movie in a more controlled environment like their own living room.
Thor: Love and Thunder, on the other hand, is a surefire blockbuster that will almost certainly crack a billion dollars off the back of lead Chris Hemsworth's proven star power. Marvel has shown that it can consistently deliver a product that will get people into cinemas, even with its content machine now producing shows and specials for smaller screens with their acclaimed offerings on the Disney+ streaming service.
This is not to say that Super-Pets won't be a popular film in its own right. With a fun, upbeat vibe and an all-star voice cast, it should still have little difficulty pulling in an audience. What's more is that while there is a sizable overlap between movies meant for kids and more maturely-minded PG-13 releases, animated children's flicks are often their own beast entirely.
Also worth considering is the effect of hype and spoiler culture on these big summer movies. Fans will flock to a movie like Thor to keep up with the ongoing MCU storyline and avoid missing out and potentially spoiling key plot points for themselves by accident. Were these same people to wait until the movie is available on streaming, the hype train would have long rolled past the station and the discourse would have died down, while spoilers remain abound.