The fall movie season itself hasn’t been the same for the past few years, but long-awaited blockbusters could help change that.

NEW YORK — For the first time in three years, the fall movie industrial complex is kicking back into high gear. Red carpets are laid for the festival. The campaign for the Oscars has begun. Long awaited blockbusters, eg “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” And “Avatar: Waterway” All set for big box office.

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But after the upheaval of the pandemic, can the fall movie season go back to the way it was? Many are hoping it can. After two spring editions, the Academy Awards are back. A more traditional date of early March. The Golden Globes, after almost being canceled, are planning a comeback. Some films are also trying to recapture the earlier spirit. At the Toronto Film Festival in September, Rian Johnson’s “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” booked the same theater “Knives Out” premiered nearly three years ago to a packed house.

“Seems like yesterday,” Johnson said with a laugh. “Well, some things have happened.”

After the fall of 2020 and 2021 season that has been affected by Delta and Omicron variants of Covid-19, this fall may be the same as the typical annual cultural revival that happens every fall, when most The arrival of the best films of the year.

“We’re all, I think, just trying to bring into existence at least some version of what we knew before,” Johnson says. “Like everything, you just have to dive into the pool and see what the water is like. I’m really hoping that at least the illusion of normality is maintained. I think it’s all normal.”

But Daniel Craig’s “Glass Onion” with Benoit Blanc in a new mystery is also a reminder of how much has changed. After “News Out” was a box office hit for Lionsgate, earning $311 million worldwide for Lionsgate, Netflix shelled out $450 million to acquire the rights to two sequels. And while showrunners and the streaming company discussed a major theatrical release for “Glass Onion” — which would certainly be a success if it happened — in theaters ahead of the film’s Dec. 23 arrival on Netflix. A more modest rollout is expected.

There is a balance between theater and streaming. But later Summer box office recovery And an emerging approach to streaming by Wall Street, showing theatrical films — with billions in annual ticket sales and cultural footprints — looks great. For the first time in years, film Benny has a strong wind at his back. Or at least he did until then. A particularly sluggish August pace was eliminated. Largely due to the lack of new wide releases.

“If you look at how many movies we did compared to the business we did, we were doing at 2019 levels,” says John Fathien, president of the National Association of Theater Owners. “We had 70% of the supply of wide release films in the first seven months and we did 71% of the business we did in the same period in 2019. Movies.”

This will become less of a problem as the fall season progresses. “Wakanda Forever” (Nov. 11) and “The Way of the Water” (Dec. 16) each tied for the top film of the year with summer smash “Top Gun: Maverick” ($1.36 billion worldwide and counting). ) can compete with. Less clear, though, is if the fall’s strong slate of adult-oriented films and Oscar contenders can once again propel the movies. Last year’s best picture winner, “CODA” from Apple TV+ swept the awards without even a cent of the box office.

Among the most anticipated films hitting the fall festival circuit and theaters is Steven Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical “The Fable Men” (Nov. 23). “Blonde” (Sept. 23), starring Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe; Todd Fields’ “TÁR” (Oct. 7), with Cate Blanchett; Sam Mendes’ “Empire of Light” (Dec. 9); “The Sun” (Nov. 11), Florian Zeller’s follow-up to “The Father”; Chinonichiku’s Emmett Till Saga “Tak” (October 14); Martin McDonagh’s “The Banshees of Ansherine” (Oct. 21); James Gray’s “Armageddon Time” (Oct. 28); and Cannes Palme d’Or winner “Triangle of Sadness” (Oct. 7).

superhero movies (“Black Adam,” Oct. 21, starring Dwayne Johnson), kids’ movies (“Lily Lyle Crocodile,” Oct. 7), horror flicks (“Halloween Ends,” Oct. 14), rom-coms ( “Ticket to Paradise,” Oct. 21, with Julia Roberts and George Clooney) and more high-flying adventures (“Devotion,” Nov. 23) will also be mixed in, as will the streamers’ featured titles. These include Amazon’s “My Policeman” (Oct. 21), with Harry Styles; and Netflix released “Bardo” (in theaters Nov. 4), by Alejandro González Iñárritu; “White Noise” (in theaters Nov. 25) Noah Baumbach ; and Guillermo del Toro’s “Pinocchio” (airing Dec. 9).

But if most fall movies are about recapturing what’s been lost over the past few years, for some upcoming movies, change is important. “Woman King” (Sept. 16), directed by Gina Prince Blythod and starring Viola Davis, is a muscle-real epic about a West African army of female fighters. For Prince Blythwood, the filmmaker of “Love and Basketball” and “The Old Guard,” “Woman King” “is what it means to be a woman and feminine.

“I don’t think we’ve ever seen a film like this before. So much of our history has been hidden or ignored or erased,” says Blythewood. “‘Braveheart,’ ‘Gladiator,’ ‘Last of the Mohicans.’ I love those movies. Now, we had an opportunity to tell our story in this genre.

“Bruce” (September 30) is also something different. The film, starring and co-written by “Billy on the Street” comedian Billy Eichner, is the first gay rom-com from a major studio (Universal). All of its principal cast members are LGBTQ. Comedies have struggled in theaters in recent years, but the Judd Apatow-produced “Bros” hopes a new perspective will revive a familiar genre.

“It’s a landmark film in many ways,” says Eichner. “It’s not something we thought about when we were first developing it. Nobody sits down and says let’s write a historical film. We said, ‘Let’s make a comedy.’ It will make people laugh but it’s the opposite of what the majority of people have seen.”

“Bruce” and “Woman King” are productions that aim to challenge the Hollywood status quo. That’s also part of the nature of “She Said” (Nov. 18), a dramatization of New York Times journalists Judy Cantor and Megan Twohey’s investigation into movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. Sarah Polley’s “Women Talking” (Dec. 2) similarly describes a real-life women’s uprising. It is based on the events of 2009, when Bolivian Mennonite women came together after being drugged and raped by men in their colony.

Olivia Wilde’s buzz about “Don’t Be Very Darling,” starring Florence Pugh and Harry Styles as a married couple living in a 1950s-style suburban nightmare-slash-male fantasy, Some approach similar themes through a science fiction lens.

“I want to make something that’s really entertaining and fun and interesting, but actually my way of provoking a conversation about real issues like bodily autonomy,” says Wilde. I had no idea it would be as timely as it is right. now. Never in my wildest dreams did I believe that Row would have been overturned before the release of this film.

Other movie production timelines seem almost detached from our ground reality. James Cameron’s “Avatar: The Way of the Water” will debut 13 years after 2009’s “Avatar” (the highest-grossing film of all time), with the follow-up originally slated for a 2014 release. was since then, Many dates have come and gone. That sequels — four movies are now slated to debut over the next five years — sometimes seem like blockbuster godsends that might just wait in the wings forever.

Speaking from New Zealand where “The Way of the Water” was being mixed and scored, producer Jon Landau promised that the wait is, in fact, almost over.

“It’s finally happening,” Landau said. “Those delays, as you would call them, were really about us creating the basis of the story of the movies. It wasn’t about going: ‘Let’s fix a script.’ It was about: ‘Let’s get four scripts right.’

It’s even harder to measure change in the film industry when it comes to the gap between “Avatar” episodes. When the first “Avatar” was in theaters, 3-D was being billed (again) as the future. Barack Obama was renting Netflix DVDs by mail the first year of his first term.

“A lot has changed but not a lot has changed,” says Landau. One thing that hasn’t changed is this: Why are people interested in entertainment today? Just like when they released the first ‘Avatar’, they do. It’s an escape, an escape from the world we live in.”

AP Film Writer Lindsay Behr contributed.

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