As Theaters Pivot to Blockbuster-Only Strategy, What Streaming Services Offer the Best Movies?
For quite some time now, Hollywood studios have been trying to keep their heads above water, feeding movies to streaming services and far fewer theatrical releases. This trend will only continue in 2022 as major studios have only slated 71 films to open in theaters thus far such as “The Batman,” “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” “Nope,” Olivia Wilde’s “Don’t Worry Darling” and James Cameron’s long-anticipated “Avatar” sequel. Contrast that to Netflix, which is dropping 86 films this year.
While this is a notable uptick in theatrical releases compared with 2021 (57 new releases) and 2020 (34 new releases), the total number of films scheduled for 2022 has decreased from 2019 and 2018 (the most recent “normal” period at the box office), in which 81 movies were released each year. So not only have box office receipts yet to rebound to pre-pandemic levels, but studios are prioritizing their parent company-owned streaming services instead, bulking them up with worthy blockbusters.
Disney recently decided to not give its Pixar animated feature “Turning Red” a planned theatrical release and put it directly on Disney+ instead, and Universal announced that “Marry Me,” a Jennifer Lopez romantic comedy, will premiere day and date on Peacock.
So as the movie theater industry attempt to regain its strength, it’s possible that the number of new releases in 2022 could keep fluctuating. Already, studios have tweaked the calendar, and this could continue if “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is the only movie to sell tickets.
Whereas Universal plans on releasing 27 in theaters, more than double its closest opponents, Sony will debut 13 films, Warner Bros. will have 12, Disney will release 11 and Paramount will premiere nine movies in theaters. Only Universal has increased its theatrical output since the pandemic struck.
As it seems the studios are only planning blockbusters and franchises for the big screen, that means the streaming services are better places for comedies, adult dramas, rom-coms, and mid-budget movies that may no longer get a shot in cinemas.
Streaming Services That Go Beyond Blockbusters
When Netflix first launched, it relied on its library of movies and shows – both old and newer releases – to keep people engaged. But as it grew out its original content, first in TV and over the past couple years in film, Netflix has really narrowed down its library selection and focused more on highlighting its originals.
Set for an Oscar nomination, Jane Campion’s film “The Power of the Dog” stars Benedict Cumberbatch and has had positive reviews since its release on Netflix. Other notable titles that have done well recently are “Red Notice,” “Don't Look Up,” “tick, tick… BOOM!” and “Brazen.”
The WarnerMedia platform has cemented itself with one of the most in-depth movie catalogs, stocked with Warner Bros and New Line Cinema titles, as well as exclusive streaming rights for all the Studio Ghibli movies in the US.
In addition, it is popular for its same-day premieres like for BAFTA-nominated “Dune.” Other theatrical releases include “Matrix Resurrections,” “The Suicide Squad,” and “King Richard,” which will be back on HBO Max at some point, along with “Dune.”
Titles that are currently on the service are “Judas and the Black Messiah,” “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It,” “Malignant,” “Tom & Jerry,” “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” “In The Heights,” “The Little Thing,” “Godzilla vs. Kong,” “Mortal Kombat,” and many others.
Coming to the service (again) is “The Many Saints of Newark” on February 17. Other upcoming titles include “The King's Man,” “The French Dispatch” and “Kimi.”7-Day Trial
Owned by Disney, it serves as a great home for all the 20th Century Fox content that isn’t put on Disney+ in the US as well as several movies from other companies like Universal and Sony Pictures. Hulu also has a decent library of original content.
We recommend the titles “Nightmare Alley,” “Plan B” (which holds a 96% score on Rotten Tomatoes if that sways you), “Nomadland” (won best picture at the Academy Awards and director Chloé Zhao won Academy Award for Best Director), “The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” and plenty of others.
Contains tons of top-quality movies that the whole family can enjoy, with almost every Disney movie on there, along with the entire back catalog of Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars movies. There are also a few features from 20th Century Fox on there too including “Avatar.”
If you’re wary about heading back out to the movies then it’s a great alternative way to watch blockbusters like “Black Widow” and “Luca.” The most recent and most popular movies include “Encanto,” “The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild,” “Eternals,” as well as 2021 hits “Raya the Last Dragon,” “Jungle Cruise,” “Cruella,” and “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.” Upcoming titles include “Turning Red” and “Free Guy.”Sign Up
Amazon Prime Video
There’s a little bit of everything for everyone on here which means you’ll find something to watch whether that be older films or an absolute banger like “Knives Out.” Also, Amazon has finally started putting some effort into original movies alongside its TV series.
Some titles to check out include “Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm, “The Tomorrow War,” “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania,” and others. You can also look forward to a new movie called “I Want You Back” which comes out next week.
While Apple TV+ is up there in quality, it doesn’t have as many all-time hits like its rivals. However, thanks to a multiyear, first-look film deal with Skydance Media, there should be a ton of new films coming soon like “Ghosted,” with Chris Evans and Ana de Armas, and “The Greatest Beer Run Ever,” starring Zac Efron and Russell Crowe.
Other films worth eating an entire bag of popcorn to would be “Tragedy of Macbeth,” “CODA,” “Finch,” and lots more.
The service’s strength would have to be its older movies, not necessarily the latest blockbusters. However, they do release some good originals and the collection of TV shows is worth noting, especially if you’re invested in watching series from NBC, SyFy, USA, and Bravo.
Obviously, we’d recommend “Halloween Kills” if you haven’t seen it already. Also, try “The 355” and “Marry Me,” which comes out soon.
A great choice for movie buffs, Paramount+ has a substantial backlog of classic and modern titles like “The Wolf of Wall Street,” “A Quiet Place: Part II,” and “Sonic the Hedgehog.” Paramount Pictures also has a good number of big franchises in its lineup including “Mission Impossible,” “Star Trek,” and “Jackass.”7-Day Trial