The movie industry almost had its back broken during the COVID-19 pandemic, at least so far as the theater sector goes. Big movies chains, led by AMC Entertainment, came close to bankruptcy. From 2015 to 2019, the annual domestic box-off total was over $11 billion. That cratered to $2.1 billion in 2020, and almost all of it was in the first 10 weeks. The sector barely recovered in 2021 as the box office hit $4.5 billion. “Spider-Man: Now Way Home”, was the only movie that grossed over $500 million as it took in $573 million over the course of the year.
The part of the industry that grew from streaming video, begun barely a decade ago, exploded upward. Netflix and Amazon added tens of millions of subscribers. Disney+ was launched with great success. People, forced to stay home, often binged on hour after hour of shows as they had little else to do. The trend allowed companies like Amazon to build “studios” with budgets as large as those of traditional players like Warner Bros. The trend went so far that movies produced by streaming companies started to win major awards like Oscars.
The other unexpected development of 2021 was that studios and streaming companies started to release expected blockbusters in theaters and online at the same time, causing controversy and more than one lawsuit from producers and stars.
To determine the best movie of 2021, 24/7 Tempo developed an index using average ratings on IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon, and a combination of audience scores and Tomatometer scores on Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie and TV review aggregator, as of December 2021. All ratings were weighted equally. Only movies with at least 2,000 audience votes on either IMDb were considered. Directorial credits and cast information comes from IMDb.
The best movie of 2021 was Spider-Man: No Way Home. Here are the details:
> IMDb user rating: 8.9/10 (307,635 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 98% (25,000 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 94% (358 reviews)
> Directed by: Jon Watts
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