Can you believe we’re almost halfway through January? I’m still getting used to writing 2024 … and, before I know it, it’ll be July. And then I’ll blink, and it’ll be December again. What films are going to be box office gold this year? What’s happening with streaming? Will AI take over the world?
Here are my top 10 screen predictions for 2024!
2024 screen predictions at a glance:
Australian TV trends on social media
The rest of the world discovered Australian streaming service Stan at the turn of the new year, which led to some amusing commentary on X (see below). Hopefully this year we see Australian TV trending for different reasons – namely the quality offerings that are coming to small screens.
Australians are making more TV in 2024 than you can shake a bottle-cap covered stick at. On ABC, The Newsreader season three is hotly anticipated, as is legal comedy Fisk‘s third outing. We’re also getting a new take on Ladies in Black, a six-part drama about a group of ‘shop girls’ in the 50s.
On Netflix, we have Boy Swallows Universe and the upcoming Desert King, and our own Stan has Prosper, Last King of the Cross season two and Invisible Boys. You can read about all the upcoming Aussie shows here.
Cinemas get packed again
I went to the cinema a week ago to rewatch The Boy and The Heron and there wasn’t a single seat free. Groups of friends, families, couples, nans and pops are all chomping at the bit to catch a film on the big screen, it seems.
After COVID drastically changed our movie-going habits (i.e. making everyone less keen to get in a room filled with strangers for a few hours), it looks like the world of cinema is finally returning to normal. There are a few etiquette things to iron out, though. For example: no, it’s still not OK to be on your phone during the film. No, it’s not OK to toss popcorn at the people in the front row. And no, you shouldn’t ask your mate what’s going on in the plot – ride the confusion and save your discussion for after the credits roll.
Oh, and mask up. COVID ain’t over yet.
Netflix announces more live-action adaptations
Due to the success of live action takes on One Piece – and the presumed success of the upcoming Avatar: The Last Airbender – Netflix will definitely be betting on more anime adaptations in 2024 and beyond. I reckon it’ll look at something like the immensely popular magical-girl series Sailor Moon first, or possibly JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (although unless there are monumental amounts of money involved, I don’t see JJBA working as a live-action series). Naruto and Bleach are also top contenders given their similarity to One Piece in both aesthetics and appeal.
Personally though, I’m hoping for an Inuyasha live-action series. It’s basically the Edo-period Japanese version of Outlander, but with 100% more monsters. Crunchyroll may try to pip Netflix to the post and do it first, though – especially as it’s at the top of its game in growing an anime empire right now.
There’s a surge of AI movie posters
Beetlejuice isn’t supposed to have six fingers, is he…? Whether we like it or not (and we don’t), AI is quickly integrating into the screen industry. From bot-generated scripts to AI-made character design, the rise of the robots is slowly spilling into Hollywood and beyond. In 2023, writers and actors went to strike for, among other reasons, better rights and protections against AI. The technology is already being used to scan and duplicate actors’ faces and voices. Who can really make the call on when a writer has used ChatGPT to generate parts of their script? It’s not always so obvious.
I think we will start to notice slightly-off visuals in 2024’s movie posters and title graphics that will indicate the usage of AI image generation. But the backlash will be nasty.
The Legend of Zelda film adaptation garners controversy
After the huge financial success of The Super Mario Bros. Movie, it makes sense that Nintendo would look to its next most popular IP to give the silver screen treatment. But not everyone was happy with The Super Mario Bros. Movie – critics generally scored it low in their ratings, and many fans were unhappy with the soulless, hyper-pop depiction of their favourite video game ever.
Thus, I think someone or something on upcoming The Legend of Zelda movie is getting cancelled. A dodgy casting choice would be the most obvious reason (Chris Pratt as Link is the lowest hanging fruit ever), but it could be anything – like an exec deciding to cut the iconic orchestral music in favour of a moody, droning score (or perhaps Top 40 pop hits and TikTok grabs à la Mario), or the director attempting to make yet another grimdark adaptation and sucking all the life and colour out of Zelda.
The rise and rise of vertical video
If the massive (and somewhat ham-fisted) integration of TikTok into the latest Mean Girls movie is anything to go by, the Chinese social app is more popular than ever, and by extension ready to make its big screen feature debut. On top of the first ever fully vertical film shown in cinemas (probably announced around late 2024), I reckon we’ll see more production and broadcast companies pivoting to vertical video for short films or for miniseries. Thus, content makers will continue to carve out a new media frontier that will challenge (is already challenging) our current definitions of film and TV.
Also, don’t be surprised to see new excellence awards just for vertical video content included in the AACTAs soon.
Marvel fatigue reaches breaking point
Superhero films were completely absent from the top three global box office spots in 2024, with movies like Barbie, The Super Mario Bros. Movie and Oppenheimer taking the lead, signalling a shift in audience interests.
We’re so done with it all. Box office numbers are already at an all-time low for the superhero flicks, and now studios are scrambling to figure out what’s next. There are only three Marvel films out this year: Madame Web, Deadpool 3 (both from Sony, though they are Marvel Comics IP) and Kraven The Hunter. I expect the best performing of them all will be Deadpool 3, as it returns to familiar crowd-pleasing territory and brings along Hugh Jackman for the ride. The rest will be utterly forgettable.
More streaming services merge
‘Smaller’ (i.e. not Netflix) streamers will look to merge, after realising that they are not profiting from the rising user costs, the abundance of disruptive ads, the password sharing crackdowns and limited quality offerings that involve multiple sign-ups to watch. The people are displeased, and the cost of living crisis means we are cancelling subscriptions left and right. Streamers will begin to buckle under the pressure, and I reckon a few rebrands are in store, if not complete removal of a couple of services.
Now is the time to stock up on physical media, before your favourite films and TV shows disappear forever.
Musicals are back, baby!
My grandma is about to be the happiest movie-goer on the planet as movie musicals (and most likely sing-a-long versions of them) are coming back in a big way. This year we’ve already had Mean Girls, and The Colour Purple is following close behind. If you’re not into people bursting into song to convey emotion and important plot development, look away now.
Here’s a list of movie musicals coming out in 2024:
- Mean Girls
- The Colour Purple
- Joker: Folie à Deux
- Fun Home
And here’s a list of movie musicals being planned for near future release:
- Girl from the North Country
- The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
- Bare: A Pop Opera
- Be More Chill
- Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
- Flower Drum Song
- Guys and Dolls
- Merrily We Roll Along
Movies will be horny again
Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal recently lamented (while picking out Blu-rays from the famed Criterion Closet) that people don’t make horny movies anymore. Well, worry no longer Gael, there are films like Y tu mamá también getting made again, and they’re going to change people’s lives, making society more sexually aware than ever before. Or, at the very least, all of that pent-up energy we amassed during COVID lockdowns will burst forth in a big way, leading to what culture experts may call in a few years ‘The Big Film Bang’ (insert your own jokes here).
We already know that people want freaky, sexy films, and they want them now. Just look at the discussion that exploded around the unconventional sex scenes in Saltburn and Poor Things. This year, we have Luca Guadagnino’s Challengers, Ti West’s MaXXXine and Rose Glass’ Love Lies Bleeding (and we have a new Cronenberg film, The Shrouds, maybe getting confirmed for 2025) hopefully filling that horny hole (ahem) that the world’s been growing over the last decade.
To find out if we were right about our predictions for 2024, stay tuned and subscribe to ScreenHub.