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Monday December 19, 2022
Given the impressive box-office receipts earned by Top Gun: Maverick, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Avatar: The Way of Water, one might infer that—nearly three years after the arrival of COVID-19—the movies are back!
Diagnosing the state of the industry, however, isn’t quite so easy, since studios continue to skimp on mainstream theatrical releases (down 33 percent from pre-pandemic times), thereby tilting the balance of pop-culture power toward streaming. How films are distributed and seen remains in constant flux, confounding cinephiles and casual moviegoers alike. The result: a 2022 slate whose finest offerings have, in many cases, flown under the radar.