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Disney: “not sure there’s going back” to pre-pandemic theatrical windows

ManaByte

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“I think the consumer is probably more impatient than they’ve ever been before,” said Chapek. “Particularly since now they’ve had the luxury of an entire year of getting titles at home pretty much when they want them. So I’m not sure there’s going back, but we certainly don’t want to do anything like cut the legs off a theatrical exhibition run.”

“I don’t think they’ll have much of a tolerance for a title, say, being out on theatrical for months, yet it hasn’t had a chance to actually be thrown into the marketplace and another distribution channel, just sort of sitting there getting dust,” he added.

“It certainly makes a lot of sense right now, in a COVID world to have an option,” he said. “Obviously, theaters aren’t going to be 100% back. But it’s nice to know that we’ve got the ability for people who do want to enjoy it in their home — because they don’t quite feel confident in going to a movie theater — that they’ve got that choice. What this looks like in the future? Well, we’re going to gain a lot of experience and a lot of data points.”

 

sol_bad

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Still no sign that Black Widow is coming to Disney+ at the same time as the theatrical release. I can imagine a shorter time frame between theatrical and streaming release though.
USA Covid cases are rapidly dropping, I think the May release is in a good position, maybe delay it to June if there are any concerns.
 
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GAMETA

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They could make movies pay per view alongside theaters, I bet there's big money to be made... piracy's always been rampant anyways, so whatever... must be better than releasing "for free" on Netflix or Disney+
 

Methos#1975

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Being locked to the cinema at release is a archaic notion in this day and age, same day releases and other options should be the rule. I rather watch pretty much any film at home over the cinema, my setup kills my local cinema
 
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Reality Czar

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RIP to cinemas. 100 years was a good run.

RIP to public social communal experiences in general. Another part of culture killed forever by this madness.

Don't we have vaccines? Joe Biden is on them. My parents got theirs. They work, right? What the heck are we waiting for?
 
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Hulk_Smash

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I won't be going back to the theater, but it's probably for the opposite reason why some of yall won't go back. I won't go back because Hollywood and the theaters caved to the shutdown nazis. There is zero, zero, zero reasons why they couldn't remain open, social distance, require masks, check temps. Sure the big, big budget movies wouldn't show but NO movies showing? I guess TENET, one movie, scared them all off.

Doesn't matter. I am now used to not going. Whereas I'd go to the movies about once a month before the shutdown nonsense, I will only be attending one this year, if it even comes out this year. And that's Top Gun.

It also helps that:
1. I'm burned out on super hero movies.
2. My kids are old enough to be dropped off at the theater.
3. My home theater set up is better than ever.
 

Hulk_Smash

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RIP to cinemas. 100 years was a good run.

RIP to public social communal experiences in general. Another part of culture killed forever by this madness.

Don't we have vaccines? Joe Biden is on them. My parents got theirs. They work, right? What the heck are we waiting for?
Movie theaters are unique in that you can get at least a piece of that experience at home with a decent set up. Can't really say that about concerts, ball games, live theater, amusement parks, etc. The latter require hardware and live people to even exist. Those won't go away. Concerts will hurt for a while longer, but do you really think sports fanatics will give up their live sportsball? Don't think so.
 

quickwhips

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They could make movies pay per view alongside theaters, I bet there's big money to be made... piracy's always been rampant anyways, so whatever... must be better than releasing "for free" on Netflix or Disney+
They charge on top of sub on disney plus.
 

Sub_Level

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Many films will still have at least a 1-month theatre run.

Don't expect Black Widow to launch day-and-date on Disney Plus. And especially not Spiderman.
 

Korranator

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That's fine, I kind of grew out of the whole experience. Besides I can't think of a damn thing I even want to watch. Hollywood and Disney have gotten stale and too busy shoving their political nonsense down our throats. Besides Disney + can go fuck itself. I'm not paying extra for that crap.
 

sol_bad

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Being locked to the cinema at release is a archaic notion in this day and age, same day releases and other options should be the rule. I rather watch pretty much any film at home over the cinema, my setup kills my local cinema

I can imagine this happening with the smaller releases that barely anyone bothers with going to the cinemas for but for the big block buster movies, nope, not happening. Not when there is a cool billion dollars to potentially make. WW84 already has proven that a duel release is a bad idea. It barely made anything at the box office and HBO Max subscriptions barely increased.

And you can say WW84 is a bad example because it's a "bad" movie if you want. But if it were a theatrical only film outside the pandemic, it would have made hundreds of millions of dollars theatrically before word of mouth got out there.
 
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Fox Mulder

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There’s like 5 different vaccines and numbers are falling. Liberals should be screaming about how their side swooped in with science and saved the day, not this endless fear lockdown shit. People want to go back to bars, sports games, concerts, and movies.
 
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bitbydeath

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Many films will still have at least a 1-month theatre run.

Don't expect Black Widow to launch day-and-date on Disney Plus. And especially not Spiderman.
They could add it to the premium side of Disney Plus and skip the movies altogether.
 
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Goro Majima

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Movie theaters are just physical DRM and having more choices to consume digital entertainment is good for the consumer.

Wish we could get rid of car dealerships too.
 

Ra\/en

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I'm sure that once the population has been vaccinated (those that will take it), and case numbers continue to decline we will see many people return to theatres. Humans are social creatures that are emotionally attracted to shared experiences... I don't think that will fully go away.
 

SegaShack

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I never liked movie theaters or enjoyed "the theater experience". Years ago I got a home theater projector and love it. I always preferred enjoying movies at home and am not into paying 12 dollars to see a poorly calibrated projector in a room full of people.

I know coworkers who are super into the theater experience and I feel for them, I can only hope people have the option to do what they chose.
 
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SegaShack

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I'm sure that once the population has been vaccinated (those that will take it), and case numbers continue to decline we will see many people return to theatres. Humans are social creatures that are emotionally attracted to shared experiences... I don't think that will fully go away.
I mean whats a shared experience in a theater? Everyone's in the same room together and are quiet together? I just don't get this aspect. Or is it so everyone can applaud when a Star Wars cameo happens on screen.

I think for every person wanting a movie theater, there are others who'd rather watch at home.
 
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So we have:

Warner - Day and date releases with HBO Max
CBSViacom - Movies coming to Paramount+ 45 days after theatrical release
Universal - 3 weekends exclusive theatrical window (i.e. 17 days) then VOD then Streaming.
Disney - Shorter theatrical window (My guess is ~30-45 days to VOD and then 30 days later to Disney+/Hulu/Star. Currently Premier Access have a 90 day window)
Sony, Lionsgate, MGM, others without a streaming service - Who knows?


IIRC movies make 75-80% plus of their domestic BO gross in the first 3 weeks. Probably a higher percentage overseas in a shorter amount of time and in China probably close to 100% in 2 weeks or less. I don't expect us to ever go back to 90 day exclusive theatrical window -> 3 months VOD -> Streaming.

I also don't think all movies will see those releases. So I think studios will take a look at it on a case by case basis. Big movies will still find success at the movie theaters, but something like Nomadland is better off doing day and date releases or being exclusive to streaming altogether.
 
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Methos#1975

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I can imagine this happening with the smaller releases that barely anyone bothers with going to the cinemas for but for the big block buster movies, nope, not happening. Not when there is a cool billion dollars to potentially make. WW84 already has proven that a duel release is a bad idea. It barely made anything at the box office and HBO Max subscriptions barely increased.

And you can say WW84 is a bad example because it's a "bad" movie if you want. But if it were a theatrical only film outside the pandemic, it would have made hundreds of millions of dollars theatrically before word of mouth got out there.
The real issue here is that WW84 was linked to a subscription service which I don't think is the best option, especially since HBO Max is kinda of shit right now for many since limited devices offer HDR/Dolby Vision and Atmos on it and it doesn't at the time have mass available. It was doomed from the start as will be Dune, MK, Godzilla vs Kong, etc. I think better options are letting it be rented at home with full 4k HDR and Atmos options over a wide spectrum of services like Vudu which has worked well with several films so far.
 
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Methos#1975

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I mean whats a shared experience in a theater? Everyone's in the same room together and are quiet together? I just don't get this aspect. Or is it so everyone can applaud when a Star Wars cameo happens on screen.

I think for every person wanting a movie theater, there are others who'd rather watch at home.
Yeah I don't get this either. In my experience watching a film at the cinema is a wretched experience. Loud ass teens on phones, crying babies, improper calibrated sound systems, the rank oder of too many packed in one place, etc. It's not a pleasant shared experience for sure.
 

mcjmetroid

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" they want them. So I’m not sure there’s going back, but we certainly don’t want to do anything like cut the legs off a theatrical exhibition run.”

Isn't this their entire cinema business model. Kill other movies chances by threatening cinemas with their big movies.
If you carry A, then you will never get Star Wars.

I wouldnt believe Disney if they told me the sky was blue.
 

jufonuk

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Being locked to the cinema at release is a archaic notion in this day and age, same day releases and other options should be the rule. I rather watch pretty much any film at home over the cinema, my setup kills my local cinema
I mean there is no reason they can’t do cinema and VoD simultaneously. It would probably kill the cinema. As TBH it’s expensive noisy and not worth it a lot of home TV’s are big enough now. I get you go for the cinema experience. but the cost of VoD compared to Cinema. For home you would buy the one time and have who ever around.
 
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michaelius

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Make no mistake - they want to cut middleman and pocket those profits cinemas get themselves.

But I think they are missing one point - at least some people go to cinema for social experience of meeting with friends.
 
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sol_bad

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Make no mistake - they want to cut middleman and pocket those profits cinemas get themselves.

But I think they are missing one point - at least some people go to cinema for social experience of meeting with friends.

Some people?
The majority of Disney movies are making a billion dollars or more. That can't be replicated at home as proven by Mulan and will most likely be proven with Raya and the Last Dragon.
 
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ManaByte

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Make no mistake - they want to cut middleman and pocket those profits cinemas get themselves.

But I think they are missing one point - at least some people go to cinema for social experience of meeting with friends.

If they release movies in theaters for like 3 weekends as Universal is doing, it'll still kill theaters. The first couple weekends is when the studio makes the most on the movie. The longer the movie is in a theater, the bigger cut the theater gets from it.
 

IntentionalPun

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WW84 already has proven that a duel release is a bad idea. It barely made anything at the box office and HBO Max subscriptions barely increased.

Barely increased? They went up ~50% between September 2020 and January 2021.
 

IntentionalPun

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Some people?
The majority of Disney movies are making a billion dollars or more. That can't be replicated at home as proven by Mulan and will most likely be proven with Raya and the Last Dragon.
Disney's record global box office year was around $11 billion. But that's not all their money. Global average is less than 50% cut to the studios due to the fact they make like 20% in places like China.

Being fair, let's say 50% cut.. so $5.5 billion in revenue.

Disney+ is eclipsing 100 million subscribers, and growing quickly. At $70 / year, thats $7 billion. Not money they have to share with theater chains.. less money to market a single service, less money to run a service than deal with worldwide film distribution, etc. They'll likely hit 200 million subs WW within a year or 2.

It's a focused way to make a lot of money; does it cut into or kill theaters? Sure; does it cut into or kill television? Yes.. but it's also a much simpler way to make money. Guaranteed to fluctuate far less every month.. you can raise prices by $1-2 and instantly bring in more money.. you can expand into a new territory and instantly add tons of money, etc. Only focus is on subscriber count, and you control it all.. vs. dealing with distributors, theaters, television networks, etc.

But they'll continue to deal with those things while they exist no matter what, and have their cake and eat it too. But the future of streaming has plenty of money in it. TV is dying either way.. blu-ray never really took off how studios wanted.. theaters have actually been a troubled business for many years, etc. The writing has been on the wall.
 
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Cravis

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James Cameron says hi.

Disney forgets their average movie goer is really fucking stupid. Give them something they can’t experience at home, like Avatar 2 in 3D, to get them come back and they’ll realize how much they missed theatres and they’ll continue returning.

For the record I absolutely hate Avatar.
 

ManaByte

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James Cameron says hi.

Disney forgets their average movie goer is really fucking stupid. Give them something they can’t experience at home, like Avatar 2 in 3D, to get them come back and they’ll realize how much they missed theatres and they’ll continue returning.

For the record I absolutely hate Avatar.

Someone should tell James Cameron that 3D movies died like two years ago.
 
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Ten_Fold

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Anti social people and lazy people love watching it at home which is fine, but going out on a Friday night is even better. Maybe I don’t like to sit at home all day.
 

SegaShack

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Yeah I don't get this either. In my experience watching a film at the cinema is a wretched experience. Loud ass teens on phones, crying babies, improper calibrated sound systems, the rank oder of too many packed in one place, etc. It's not a pleasant shared experience for sure.
This describes every movie I've been to. I just don't see the fun in it.

I remember seeing the Lion King remake recently and the sound was so bad you could only hear the vocals in the songs and none of the instruments. This was a Cinemark theater.

When I contacted their CS, they refused to even issue a partial refund.
 
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Some people?
The majority of Disney movies are making a billion dollars or more. That can't be replicated at home as proven by Mulan and will most likely be proven with Raya and the Last Dragon.

That's not true. The majority of Disney movies do not reach 1B, even pre covid.

I think there's a case for tentpole huge blockbuster to get an exclusive theatrical window. And now that studios can have their own movie theaters too there's a case for Disney (and other studios) to have bypass multiplexes and have their own premium movie experiences at Downtown Disney, Disney Springs and some other major locations in major metropolitan areas.

Films in general get 50% of the domestic BO gross, 33-40% of International, and 25% of China. However, for domestic it's a sliding scale (i.e. studio may get 70% the first weekend and then down to 60% and so forth). Furthermore as I stated earlier the BO return for the majority of movies is in the realm of 80% of its LTD domestic run after the first 3 weekends. It's probably 90% plus after the first 3 weekends in international markets and 100% in China. Japan is the exception to this rule and known to have long legs for some movies.

Honestly I see studios releasing tentpole huge blockbusters exclusive in theaters for about 3 weeks to 45 days max. They'd do a simultaneous release in major markets and then release it on VOD and streaming right after that. Disney, for example, will still want the theatrical revenue for Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, WDA and some major Disney and 20CF Live Action movies. They can get most of that revenue in the first 3-4 weeks that the movie is out.

However the majority of films (i.e. Artemis Fowl, Ivan) are better off going directly to streaming and/or a dual release. Some - like Searchlight Pictures - may benefit from a dual release for all of their movies as they never set the BO on fire anyways.
 

sackings

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uh if its available in home the same day, piracy is going to skyrocket. I'm not even a fan of going to the theatre unless its a really nice one. But I think the theatre experience is important for jobs and the experience. You better believe if they eliminate theatres they'll raise the price of streaming it.
 

ManaByte

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Disney, for example, will still want the theatrical revenue for Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, WDA and some major Disney and 20CF Live Action movies.

Disney just restructured the entire company around streaming. Previously contracts would have a guaranteed theatrical release in them, going forward they don't; which gives Disney the freedom to release a movie however they want.
 

EverydayBeast

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Everyone is waiting for a vaccine, you see the “theater vs home video” battle and some people just seem unwilling to go to theaters unless there’s a discount or vaccine available.
 
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Disney just restructured the entire company around streaming. Previously contracts would have a guaranteed theatrical release in them, going forward they don't; which gives Disney the freedom to release a movie however they want.

Yes, hence why I said they'll release some movies exclusively in theaters for a shorter window (3-4 weeks) due to them being profitable from the theatrical run 90% of the time (i.e. Marvel, SW, and something like Avatar). Studios will have the option going forward on a case by case basis. Other movies directly to streaming. Other movies a hybrid. They'll have the option.

Let's not forget that the guy that was responsible for leading the restructure just reiterated yesterday that theatrical releases are important to them. "We believe in the power of exhibition to build our franchises", "2019, the last normal year, we had 11 billion dollar films and so that is a big deal to us and that will continue to be a big deal we believe". He also mentioned they are happy with the 3 pronged strategy on how to go to market and how consumers are more impatient than ever before but they are not going to cut the legs off the theatrical exhibition run.

They'll be flexible going forward and look at consumer behavior and adjust accordingly.
 
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TriSuit666

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Disney's record global box office year was around $11 billion. But that's not all their money. Global average is less than 50% cut to the studios due to the fact they make like 20% in places like China.

Being fair, let's say 50% cut.. so $5.5 billion in revenue.

Disney+ is eclipsing 100 million subscribers, and growing quickly. At $70 / year, thats $7 billion. Not money they have to share with theater chains.. less money to market a single service, less money to run a service than deal with worldwide film distribution, etc. They'll likely hit 200 million subs WW within a year or 2.

It's a focused way to make a lot of money; does it cut into or kill theaters? Sure; does it cut into or kill television? Yes.. but it's also a much simpler way to make money. Guaranteed to fluctuate far less every month.. you can raise prices by $1-2 and instantly bring in more money.. you can expand into a new territory and instantly add tons of money, etc. Only focus is on subscriber count, and you control it all.. vs. dealing with distributors, theaters, television networks, etc.

But they'll continue to deal with those things while they exist no matter what, and have their cake and eat it too. But the future of streaming has plenty of money in it. TV is dying either way.. blu-ray never really took off how studios wanted.. theaters have actually been a troubled business for many years, etc. The writing has been on the wall.
Except right now D+ is propping up the company.

Remember that movie and theatre experiences are a small part of the overall Disney portfolio, which by and large is invested in bricks and mortar, and Cruise ships.

Unless Mr and Mrs Bob can entice people back into the parks, or the Disney Wedding Chapels, D+ is NEVER going to be a sustainable business model on its own. And they can quote all the nonsense sub numbers or fiddle the Quarterly Reports how they like, they're still losing money hand over fist at the moment.
 

tsumake

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I’ve read over the years people complaining about movie theaters and how much better their home setups are. Now, people are watching feature films on their phones. Content is everywhere and at your fingertips. But is this better?

A properly made film is meant to be watched on a big screen, with other people. I get that assholes go to the movies and I get that in some places, movie theaters suck. So, if your setup trumps the local cinema, good on you. But nothing beats a great cinema experience.

I still remember seeing “John Wick 2” on opening weekend. It’s not a masterpiece but hearing people laugh at Peter Stormare’s flamboyant performance, hearing people yell “damn!” during the pencil scene, and generally feeling the audience engaged in scenario elevated the entire experience.

Cinema is a part of our culture and history. To treat it as a disposable commodity is a pity.
 
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Reizo Ryuu

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I never liked movie theaters or enjoyed "the theater experience". Years ago I got a home theater projector and love it. I always preferred enjoying movies at home and am not into paying 12 dollars to see a poorly calibrated projector in a room full of people.
Well there's no way your home setup will ever look or sound as good as an IMAX theater.
Heck a lot of UHD home releases have cropped out the IMAX format, so you're not even seeing it the way it was intended.

If your options are your home setup or a "poorly calibrated projector", "sound so bad" and (loud) people, then I can understand wanting to be at home, but it also just means you've been going to a trash theater and should probably find a better one.