by Scott Baughman

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 40 years, you know that summertime means blockbuster movies – among many other things. But ever since a certain giant shark opened its Jaws in 1975, summertime means big movies. Whether you call them popcorn flicks, tentpole flicks or brain-dead fare – there’s no denying the big money and big pop culture moments that come rolling around every year about this time.

This year, Marvel comics are betting the house on their summer blockbuster season with your friendly, neighborhood Spider-man in “Spider-man: Far From Home.” However, much of the blockbuster season has been extended in the past few years to where some of the super-hero cinematic achievements have opened as early as February! Avengers: Endgame, arguably the biggest superhero movie ever, has already come and gone with a huge box office splash well before Spring is over.

But this year, the summer blockbuster might be winnowing down to a thing of the past – at least as far as movie theaters are concerned. Why, you ask? Due to the ever disruptive present of our not-so-old friend – the Internet, of course.

One of the major productions that has people abuzz is the third season of Netflix’s hit nostalgia and horror play “Stranger Things” which released on July 4 this year. Much of the scuttlebutt of expected summer fare has revolved around Stranger Things but you won’t find it in any movie theater, you can only stream it online via Netflix. What does this say about the future of movies? It’s all moving online, folks. So here, dear reader, in no particular order are the 7 best streaming services – present or upcoming – out there on the web:

  1. Disney+: The house of mouse is making their play to dominate digital streaming services just like they do the movie houses in the coming decades with their own, in-house streaming service that will feature all kinds of content from their major brands like Pixar, Marvel and of course – Star Wars! You can’t go wrong with all these properties as options. It doesn’t start until November, but analysts predict about 90 million people will subscribe to Disney+.
  2. Netflix: I’ve already mentioned them once in this piece and Netflix is the original Internet streaming service. The 800-lbs. gorilla in the room is how other services will compete with the progenitor of the very idea of Internet streaming movies.  The service already has more than 153 million subscribers and it stands to gain more as it invests more in original content like Stranger Things. But, it could be a cold fall and winter for those who want to “Netflix and Chill” because when Disney+ comes online, Netflix will lose a lot of its best content, so it’ll be interesting to see how the big one adapts.
  3. Amazon Prime: Amazon has moved way past just having the free 2-day shipping for Prime members, now you’ve got Prime streaming as an added bonus to the Prime membership. It has more than 100 million subscribers paying about $13 a month. The offerings from Prime include “Jack Ryan” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” as series you can stream, but a major draw for the service are the Hollywood movies – including some pretty old or obscure offerings – are also a draw for Amazon Prime. And let’s not forget the company has won some series awards for some of its original streaming content.
  4. Hulu: The combination of several terrestrial broadcasters, Hulu includes shows you can stream from such legacy channels as NBC and FOX and some CW shows as well. The streaming company also includes some old school movies and some recent fare from fringe production companies. But Hulu’s days itself might be numbered as recently it was purchased by – you guessed it – The Walt Disney company! Could the company be rolled into Disney+ some day soon to give the fledgling streaming service a boost of total subscribers right off the bat? Time will tell.

And there you have it, summer blockbusters in cinemas might be a thing of the past very soon, but the idea of a great story that we can all discuss shared in a mass media way has been a staple of human civilization since our ancestors gathered around the bon fire at the end of a long summer day to share stories of the hunt. And that won’t be ending any time soon. Until next time…download complete!