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“Age of the Summer Flopbuster”

Hola, friends! I hope you're all enjoying the wet, hot, American summer out there. Whether you're spending time at the pool, getting in some water skiing, kayaking, grilling out, or just getting your sweat on, this weather affords us all sorts of opportunities. But what to do come nighttime? Maybe you want to swing into a nearby theater and catch a good movie. But wait, do they even make those anymore?

Thanks largely to a handful of dubious influences and misplaced priorities coupled with a string of various strikes, Hollywood's had a rough go of it the last couple of years. Audiences in your average movie screening are smaller than they've been in decades, leading to cineplexes and theatres closing in alarming numbers all over the country.

Of the ones remaining, many have begun rescreening beloved films from years past in place of new features in a desperate move to generate some much needed revenue to stay afloat. But are the new films really that bad? Well, let's take a look.

Checking the website of one of the larger movie theater chains at the time I write this, the movies from major studios currently showing include Inside Out 2, The Exorcism, Bad Boys: Ride or Die, The Bikeriders, The Fall Guy, Furiosa, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, and The Strangers: Chapter 1. Unsurprisingly, most are sequels or prequels and are not performing well. Alongside these are a film released by independent studio Magnolia Films (Thelma; well received by audiences and critics), three foreign films (one Arabic, one Tamil, and one Hindi), a fringe musical on the theatrical rock band Ghost, and a rescreening of the classic Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

Unfortunately, there's no listing for the foreign entries on the usual review aggregate websites, so it's hard to say how those are being received. Still, their growing presence in US theaters lately says a lot about the state of modern American cinema, and none of it's good. Fortunately for those of us who continue to have a fondness for seeing features in the classic setting, we do have these other options (I'm going to see the Ghost film in a couple of days and couldn't be more pumped) which offer something well worth the cost of admission and serve to provide a path to both please audiences and help keep alive the theaters that remain.

And for the cinephiles, this is great news. So, if you're one of us and want theaters to stick around, please do consider these alternatives and go catch one or three whenever you can. Let's help keep the movie houses open while sending a message to Hollywood to up their game. Don't forget to arrive in time to load up on popcorn before the show, and I'll see you there!


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