2024's Biggest Summer Blockbusters Are All On TV

The season of the small screen has arrived.


It's been a weird year for movies. The first five months of 2024 have delivered only a few mainstream releases in films like Challengers, Dune: Part Two, The Fall Guy, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, and Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga. While all garnered largely positive responses from those who saw them, several struggled to generate traction at the box office. Furiosa and The Fall Guy, in particular, performed well below their early box office expectations, despite positive reviews.

As a result, 2024 has proven to be a significantly better year for TV than film. Over the past five months, great dramas like Baby Reindeer, Shogun, X-Men '97, and Fallout have grown into breakout hits, while shows like Ripley, The Sympathizer, Monsieur Spade, and Mr. & Mrs. Smith have justifiably received some of the year’s best reviews. With this in mind, it makes sense that Disney, Warner Bros., and Amazon have bet the future of some of their biggest franchises on a trio of TV shows premiering this summer.

House of the Dragon will bring Game of Thrones fans back to The Wall.

Ollie Upton/HBO

In June, Lucasfilm will unveil The Acolyte, its first live-action Star Wars show since last year's Ahsoka, while the second season of HBO's House of the Dragon Season 2 is set to premiere just 12 days later. On August 29, Amazon Prime will cap off the summer with the long-awaited premiere of Season 2 of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. Not only is there genuine anticipation surrounding all three, but they all have the chance to bring some life back to their respective franchises.

The Acolyte is the first Star Wars title Disney’s produced since The Mandalorian Season 1 that isn't connected to any of the franchise's existing titles. That alone makes The Acolyte noteworthy, but it also has a talented creative team behind it, an impressive ensemble cast, an intriguing premise, and an exciting new setting. It's been a long time since a Star Wars title of any kind looked this promising, and if The Acolyte lives up to its potential, it will arrive at a time when the franchise is in desperate need of a change of pace.

Meanwhile, both House of the Dragon and The Rings of Power seem primed to improve upon their freshman seasons while fixing some of the biggest issues fans and critics had with their first batches of episodes. Both were criticized for opening with seasons that essentially served as extended prologues to their main stories. Now, it doesn't look like fans will have to worry about sitting through too much more set-up when they return.

House of the Dragon ended its first season with the unofficial commencement of the devastating Targaryen conflict known as the Dance of the Dragons, which will already be raging by the time Season 2 begins. Meanwhile, after spending its first season setting up Sauron's return, The Rings of Power is set to finally dive into some of the Second Age stories that Lord of the Rings fans have been waiting years to see onscreen. Both are shaping up to be among the year’s biggest blockbuster TV offerings.

After spending most of The Rings of Power Season 1 masquerading as someone else, Sauron has finally stepped out of the shadows to wreak havoc.

Prime Video

This summer is still set to deliver Deadpool & Wolverine and Alien: Romulus, two films with the potential to rejuvenate a pair of high-profile Hollywood franchises that have been struggling. But it’s noteworthy, and a little concerning, that most of the year's biggest blockbuster titles are all TV shows. Maybe that’s fitting for a year that’s already had more memorable TV efforts than big-screen ones, but it raises questions about the future of the theatrical experience.

If The Acolyte, House of the Dragon Season 2, and The Rings of Power Season 2 all succeed, then the future of blockbuster franchise storytelling may be increasingly defined by long-form TV titles as movies fade into the background. Regardless, with more Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Game of Thrones-related titles in development, all three franchises could certainly benefit from positive reactions to their summer offerings. Whatever happens, this is shaping up to be a huge year for Hollywood.

The Acolyte premieres Tuesday, June 4 on Disney+. House of the Dragon Season 2 premieres Sunday, June 16 on HBO. The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 2 premieres Thursday, August 29 on Prime Video.

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