When Andrew Lincoln left The Walking Dead in its ninth season, his final episode of the AMC zombie series was followed by an episode of Talking Dead which immediately announced a trilogy of films to tell the story of Rick Grimes. Since then, that trilogy has seemingly converted into a single movie which will decide whether or not more will follow, but not much else has come of it. The Dead universe's chief content officer Scott Gimple continues to promise "more news soon" for the past what-seems-like forever. In the end, it just feels like it's all taking way too long as a The Walking Dead movie was already late.
The big problem the movies are facing are people losing interest in The Walking Dead as a whole. The show is the best it has been in years as the Whisperers have truly spiced things up and the main characters have become fun to watch again. Regardless of the peaks and valleys or opinions fans (diehard or casual) might have about the past five years of the show, the numbers don't lie. The show hit its lowest ratings ever with the Season 10 premiere -- an episode which was quite good and well-reviewed, including a perfect score from ComicBook.com. It is difficult to keep interest in anything, even it is a behemoth of a TV franchise, for this long and after this much content has been released.
Ultimately, four million people watched The Walking Dead live (add some credit to that number from unreleased AMC Premiere numbers and the later DVR viewings) on October 6, 2019. This is a fraction of the audience this series had when it should have been looking at movies. The Season 7 premiere hauled in 17 million viewers back in 2016. People were willing to follow The Walking Dead seemingly anywhere back then. The media was crawling for opportunities to cover the series and the audience was begging for every detail they could get. If a movie were announced in 2016, there wouldn't have been enough space in the news cycle to accommodate the audience's thirst to hear about it.
Now, a third series in the Dead universe has been announced and its trailer was not met with any gangbuster buzz, despite some positivity in response to it -- and "updates" about the movie hardly move the needle.
This all goes to show that The Walking Dead movies are taking far too long.
For a project that is going to the box office and letting ticket sales speak for its success, the joint effort between AMC and Universal Studios is going to have to do something a bit different if it is going to hook a massive audience into theaters. Rick Grimes remains one of the few lightning rods when it comes to audience interest in The Walking Dead but it's almost been a year since the character has disappeared.
The audience eager to hear about these movies is slowly dwindling, something statistically proved by the number of people clicking on headlines regarding the film falling to a percentage of what it once was. Perhaps this because the audience has grown to expect the same "more news soon" promise in articles over the past twelve months (we narrowly squeezed a bit more out of Gimple recently) and it's grown tiresome and many have tuned out, as a result. Perhaps they are simply fatigued, ten years into a title and universe with mysterious threads being left open with little sign of reward.
As a result, it's past time for a massive movie update to try to keep the fans interested -- and the movie itself needs not to be far behind that.
Ultimately, the time will come for a trailer to drop and preview something along the lines of "Rick Grimes - A Walking Dead Movie" or whatever the title may be. This is when people will decide, truly, whether or not they're going to see the movie in theaters. However, the sooner that trailer arrives, the more there will be an audience to make that decision in the first place. This thing just has to at least get into production first.
There are several factors as to why the movie front for the Dead universe has remained quiet, in part because its shape keeps changing as it reaches its final form and a quality which Lincoln and company will be proud of. Still, the sooner fans get what they want here, the more fans there will be.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm ET on AMC.