Maybe more than anything, both of these movies demonstrated that audiences are hungry for something a bit different than the typical blockbuster fare we’ve been getting for quite some time. There’s a reason that “Barbie” made more in a single weekend than “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” has made in several weeks. Just because a franchise has been around for a while doesn’t mean we always need more of it. Yes, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” is one of the biggest hits of the year — let’s not ignore that — but that’s also a movie about endings more than anything else. Superhero movies such as “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” and “The Flash” that tried to set up stuff for the future? That didn’t pan out very well.
Similarly, “Oppenheimer” let one of cinema’s most beloved blockbuster filmmakers do his thing without being anchored to IP and, wouldn’t you know it, audiences turned up. Granted, “Barbie” is based on a globally recognized brand and Nolan made a biopic about a very famous historical figure, so these aren’t exactly “original” films. Be that as it may, the big takeaway here is that studios need to move beyond focusing so much on sequels and reboots as big summer blockbusters. Audiences are ready for something different, so Hollywood needs to give them different.