What awaits franchises and cinemas?

Timothee Chalamet stars in Warner Bros.’ “Dune.”

Warner Bros.

Mean Girls, Spider-Women, and Sandworms will top the box office in 2024, and they’ll have their work cut out for them.

The March 1 release of “Dune: Part Two,” the delayed and highly anticipated sequel to Denis Villeneuve’s 2021 sci-fi epic, is expected to draw hordes of moviegoers.

It’s arguably the most notable release in what will be a franchise frenzy this year, as studios like Warner Bros., disneyuniversal and Supreme lean on familiar titles to attract audiences to theaters. But moviegoers may be tired of these IP-based films. Some of the standouts of 2023 had fresh ideas and unique appeal.

“Dune: Part Two” is followed by a series of sequels, prequels and spin-offs from franchises such as Ghostbusters, Gladiator, Bad Boys, A Quiet Place, Planet of the Apes, Transformers, Alien, Sonic the Hedgehog and Saw. However, it is unclear whether the return to these stories will appeal to audiences in the new year.

Even before Hollywood was roiled by strikes by writers and actors, halting production and delaying some releases, 2024 was expected to be a tumultuous year. After the Covid-19 pandemic, the domestic box office has struggled to fully regain audiences even with tempting titles from major franchises.

For many entertainment experts, 2025 was the flag on the recovery horizon, a time when moviegoers would get back into the habit and there would be enough film product to keep them coming back. Now they are not so sure.

“Sometimes an industry has to take two steps back before moving forward again,” said Jeff Bock, senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations. “[This] The year could certainly surprise. However, it will most likely be a bad year.”

intellectual property fatigue

Studios hope the upcoming franchises will be more like the hits “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” or “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” and less like flops like “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” and ” The wonders.”

Audiences don’t care about new content from their favorite brands, but studios have learned a hard lesson in recent years: less is more.

DC Studios and Marvel have inundated fans with a ton of content, much of which didn’t live up to previous releases. This caused a decline in box office returns. However, when new entrants are carefully crafted, the public responds with their wallets.

After all, Matt Reeves’ “The Batman,” a standalone film starring Robert Pattinson as the Dark Knight, generated more than $750 million in global ticket sales in 2022. James’ latest Marvel movie Gunn’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” grossed about $845 million worldwide last year.

“People just want to be entertained; to see compelling stories masterfully told,” said Michael O’Leary, executive director of the National Association of Theater Owners. “People, deprived of those kinds of public experiences, are increasingly seeking them. And, frankly, their expectations are higher than ever.”

This year, eyes are on Warner Bros.’ The prequel to Mad Max, which centers on the warrior Furiosa from 2015’s “Fury Road,” and the long-awaited sequel to 1988’s “Beetlejuice,” also coming from the studio.

There’s also the highly anticipated “Deadpool 3,” the first R-rated movie. disney-Marvel movie coming to theaters and a collection of new entries from popular animated franchises.

“While the films scheduled for release in 2024 represent a dizzying array of well-known sequels, franchises and IPs, this list of films includes venerable cinematic brands,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. “If executed correctly, [they] could find public favor.”

Highly Anticipated Movie Releases of 2024


  • “Night swimming” (January 5)
  • “The Beekeeper” (January 12)
  • “Mean Girls” (January 12)


  • “Argylle” (February 2)
  • “Bob Marley: One Love” (February 14)
  • “Madame Web” (February 14)


  • “Dune: Part Two” (March 1)
  • “Imaginary” (March 8)
  • “Kung Fu Panda 4” (March 8)
  • “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” (March 29)


  • “The First Omen” (April 5)
  • “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire (April 12)


  • “The Scapegoat” (May 3)
  • “Imaginary Friends” (May 17)
  • “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” (May 24)
  • “The Garfield Movie” (May 24)
  • “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” (May 24)


  • “Bad Boys 4” (June 14)
  • “Inside Out 2” (June 14)
  • “A Quiet Place: Day One” (June 28)


  • “Despicable Me 4” (July 3)
  • “Twisters” (July 19)
  • “Deadpool” (July 26)


  • “Harold and the Purple Crayon” (August 2)
  • “Trap” (August 2)
  • “Borderlands” (August 9)
  • “Alien: Romulus” (August 16)
  • “Kraven the Hunter” (August 30)


  • “Beetlejuice 2” (September 6)
  • “Transformers One” (September 13)
  • “Saw XI” (September 27)


  • “Joker: Folie à Deux” (October 4)
  • “Smile 2” (October 18)


  • “Venom 3” (November 8)
  • “Gladiator 2” (November 22)
  • “Wicked: Part One” (November 27)


  • “Karate Kid” (December 13)
  • “The Lord of the Rings: War of the Rohirrim” (December 13)
  • “Mufasa: The Lion King” (December 20)
  • “Sonic the Hedgehog 3” (December 20)

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC.

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