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The Movie Business Has a Supply-Chain Problem

The shortage of films means slower sales ahead for theaters.

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Photographer: Chona Kasinger/Bloomberg

Movie studios are the most optimistic they’ve been in years. The business has bounced back from the depths of the pandemic— when most theaters were closed or doing paltry business. Grosses so far this year are up threefold from 2021, according to Comscore. The last two months felt like the good old days of summer thanks to a handful of blockbusters like “Top Gun: Maverick.

Yet for all the optimism, the business isn’t back. Ticket sales are still down almost 40% from before the pandemic, and it’s about to get worse. At least in the short term.