8 Pop Culture Predictions For 2022


A new year always offers new hope, even for the New York Jets. September, and cold, hard reality, is still nine months away for Gang Green.

In pop culture terms, though, 2022 suggests we’ll be getting much more of the same, with some notable twists. Hollywood is conservative only in how cautious it is to embrace change. Still, we can read the 2021 tea leaves well enough to make the following predictions for the new year.

Cancel Culture Isn’t Going Away

Let’s start with the most depressing prediction. Cancel Culture and its woke acolytes will still be haunting us when that big, glossy ball descends anew in New York City at year’s end. It’s too entrenched in our culture to go away within 12 short months.

More importantly, Cancel Culture represents a power source for progressive elites, something they’ll clutch with all of their might. Plus, we don’t have tipping point of talent willing to stand up against it. For every Adam Carolla or John Cleese there’s a Marc Maron or Stephen Colbert ready to either embrace it or pretend it doesn’t exist.

The best scenario? More entertainers take a bold stand, like J.​K.​ Rowling, against its toxic nature. The year ended with Oscar winner Javier Bardem defending his right to play the roles he’s given regardless of ancestry or skin color.

It’s a very small step, but one that offers hope for a brighter, more free future. There’s always 2023, right?

VOD May Be the New Normal

The list of 2021 film flops should send chills down the spine of every film studio, large or small. “In the Heights.” “Respect.” “West Side Story.” “The Last Duel.” “Nightmare Alley.” “King Richard.” “Dear Evan Hansen.”

The names behind those flops represent the very best of Hollywood talent. Steven Spielberg. Guillermo del Toro. Ridley Scott. Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Sure, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” brought every third American back to the movie theater, but they’re not interested in adult-minded dramas and Oscar bait fare.

Will the pandemic’s end change that? Possibly. What’s crystal clear is that older audiences have grown accustomed to watching new-ish movies at home. And, if a title isn’t immediately streaming into their living room, they’ll wait a few short weeks until it is.

That will convince studios to embrace the Video on Demand template used sporadically in 2021 with titles like “Dune” and “King Richard” (both debuted in theaters and HBO Max simultaneously).

It makes sense. And it will reduce the local cineplex to a haven for IP blockbusters and cheap horror fare.

That Oscar Spiral Will Continue

The 2021 Oscar ceremony felt like a homework assignment for movie buffs. No big laughs nor comedic emcees. Lectures aplenty. And films few American audiences watched or cared to screen at the end of the day.

Expect little to change in 2022.

The current Oscar film slate (“Belfast,” “West Side Story,” “Nightmare Alley”) lacks a blockbuster able to lure viewers back to the ceremony, a la “The Lord of the Rings” or “Avatar.” “King Richard” checked off some of those populist boxes, including a robust critic/audience rating at Rotten Tomatoes, but very few people saw it.

That means the Oscar ratings will either stay low or sink even further than before.

Gutfeld Will March Alone (For Now)

One of 2021’s biggest surprises, at least to Team Hollywood, was the sudden success of Fox News’ “Gutfeld!” How could a late night cable show with no A-list stars compete with Colbert, Kimmel, Fallon and co.?

Quite easily, as we learned.

“Gutfeld!” regularly threatens CBS’s “The Late Show” for the late night rating’s crown, and it routinely trumps the competition. You’d have to double or triple “The Daily Show’s” ratings to come close to “Gutfeld!”

So Hollywood will look to clone its success, no?

Of course not. Straight shooters always realized a right-leaning late night show stood a strong chance of success. Mainstream platforms simply refused to test the waters. What if they were right, they feared, and conservative yuks flooded the marketplace? They’d rather lose money than allow that to happen.

The success of “Gutfeld!” won’t change that mindset.

Late Night Meltdown

Comic hosts like Colbert, Seth Meyers and John Oliver can only deny reality for so long.

We’ve had a full year of these far-left comics either ignoring or downplaying the Biden administration’s fumbles. At some point, though, even left-leaning audiences will get tired of the game. Supply chain woes. Soaring gas prices. Inflation. More lockdowns?

Their hardcore bases will always salivate for every new Don Jr. quip, but independent and center-left fans may seek other ways to end the night. The ratings, already sinking in the Age of Biden, may droop even further.

More Crowdfunding Success Stories

“The Chosen” proved a game changer in more ways than one. The serialized look at the life of Christ earned positive reviews from critics and audiences alike. The former group is often hostile to faith-friendly stories, making “The Chosen” an aberration.

Plus, the show’s crowdfunding success story made it all possible. We saw a repeat of this with the animated, pro-freedom “Tuttle Twins” and, in a less public way, the rise of indie comic book artists funding their work via their fan networks.

Add comedians like Ryan Long, Tim Dillon and Tyler Fischer who use Patreon accounts to boost their bottom lines, and it’s clear fans are willing to pay for content mainstream Hollywood won’t give them.

The Streaming Shuffle

How many streaming channels can we subscribe to before we say, “enough.” Platforms like Hulu, Amazon Prime and Netflix offer a dizzying array of new and older fare. Others, though, deliver less, like Peacock, AppleTV+ and Paramount+. We may see audiences becoming more selective with their streaming choices, mixing and matching platforms or abandoning old favorites for extended periods.

The platforms, in turn, could lower prices or find new ways to reclaim those eyeballs.

Progressive Hollywood Loses Its Mind

Celebrities have never been louder, angrier and more eager to share their political views on just about every topic. That’s their First Amendment right, of course, but the assembled stars have been quieter of late.

There’s no Trump in the Oval Office, and the man currently in charge is doing a lousy job. Sure, they raged against Kyle Rittenhouse with Fake News fury, but we’ve seen a softening of their political rage in 2021.

That subdued spirit will change as the midterms draw near. The modern Left has set the template already. It’s the end of our Democracy (unless you pull the lever for Democrats)! Of course, what they mean is the Democrats can’t always get their way, and many Americans still believe in election integrity, the kind involving an ID to let one’s voice be heard.
Expect the stars to rally in the same ol’ ways (video lectures, social media screeds, late night warnings and more) to prevent what looks like an inevitable red wave come November 2022.

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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