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Summer Becomes New Battleground For Streaming Sci-Fi and Superheroes

David Satin

One of the most old-fashioned aspects of broadcast TV was the seasonality of its releases. New seasons of shows were typically released in the early fall, which matched viewer patterns that demonstrated TV watching was popular in the fall and winter but fell off during the summer months.

Streaming services began following that pattern, often saving their biggest releases for the Thanksgiving season. Summer was never a big target for streaming services, but that trend is changing with the evidence that streamers are just as active during those months. According to Nielsen, not only do streamers exhibit no seasonal variation in their habits, but four platforms had record viewership shares in June of 2022.

Big-name sci-fi and superhero content especially are beginning to see more frequent summer releases. Several major streaming services released a tentpole sci-fi or superhero show in the summer of 2022. “Obi-Wan Kenobi”, “The Boys”, “Ms. Marvel”, “Stranger Things” all came out between May 27 and June 8th, showing that services like Disney+ weren’t afraid to put marquee titles on streamers to compete with their own theatrical movies.

Movie theaters used to rely on superhero movies and other such tentpoles to bring audiences in during the summer. But first quarter attendance at theaters in 2022 was down 40% compared to the first quarter of 2019, and that content is shifting more and more to streaming platforms.

Studios are seeing the benefits of marrying releases on streaming platforms to theatrical releases. Warner/Discovery CEO David Zaslav explained the benefit of such a close relationship recently, explaining “you open a movie in the theaters, it has a whole stream of monetization. But more importantly, it’s marketed and it builds a brand. And so when it does go to the streaming service, there is a view that that has a higher quality that benefits the streaming service.” It is no coincidence that “Ms. Marvel” began streaming right between theatrical releases of “Doctor Strange” and “Thor: Love and Thunder”

To be sure, the fall schedule will still be very busy for streaming services this year. Tentpole shows like “The Rings of Power” on Prime Video and “The House of the Dragon” on HBO Max will be huge draws this fall. But “Stranger Things Volume 4” became Netflix’s most-watched English language show after just 17 days, and the potential for summertime growth will only get hotter.

  • Stranger Things

    2016 M07 15

    Da en dreng forsvinder, afdækker en lille by et mysterium, der involverer hemmelige eksperimenter, skræmmende overnaturlige kræfter og en mærkelig lille pige.

  • Obi-Wan Kenobi

    2022 M05 26

    During the reign of the Galactic Empire, former Jedi Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi, embarks on a crucial mission to confront allies turned enemies and face the wrath of the Empire.

  • The Boys

    2019 M07 25

    A group of vigilantes known informally as “The Boys” set out to take down corrupt superheroes with no more than blue-collar grit and a willingness to fight dirty.

    This show is NOT for kids, thanks to the profanity, gore, and sexual content. But it is an antidote for adult fans who might be a little bored with the stereotypical superhero fare. It’s funny, dramatic, exciting, and thought-provoking.

  • Ms. Marvel

    2022 M06 8

    A great student, avid gamer, and voracious fan-fic scribe, Kamala Khan has a special affinity for superheroes, particularly Captain Marvel. However, she struggles to fit in at home and at school — that is, until she gets superpowers like the heroes she’s always looked up to. Life is easier with superpowers, right?

  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

    2022 M05 4

    Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), with the help of mystical allies both old and new, traverses the mind-bending and dangerous alternate realities of the Multiverse to confront a mysterious new adversary.

    The film also stars Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Karl Mordo), Benedict Wong (Wong), Xochitl Gomez (America Chavez), Michael Stuhlbarg (Nicodemus West), and Rachel McAdams (Christine Palmer).

    Director Sam Raimi returns to the superhero genre for the first time since the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man films.

  • Thor: Love and Thunder

    2022 M07 6

    After his retirement is interrupted by Gorr the God Butcher, a galactic killer who seeks the extinction of the gods, Thor enlists the help of King Valkyrie, Korg, and ex-girlfriend Jane Foster, who now inexplicably wields Mjolnir as the Mighty Thor. Together, they embark upon a harrowing cosmic adventure to uncover the mystery of the God Butcher’s vengeance and stop him before it’s too late.

    The film stars Chris Hemsworth, Christian Bale, Tessa Thompson, Russell Crowe, and Natalie Portman. Taika Waititi returns to direct after “Thor: Ragnarok.”

  • Ringenes Herre: Magtringene

    2022 M09 1
  • House of the Dragon

    2022 M08 21

    Denne episke serie foregår 200 år før begivenhederne i “Game of Thrones” og følger Targaryen-familien.


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