The last several weeks have seen a lot of successes in the streaming and digital download markets, as films like Invisible Man have successfully built on their theatrical box office numbers, as Trolls World Tour broke VOD records, as Parasite broke streaming records for Hulu, and some smaller movies like Never Rarely Sometimes Always are finding audiences on iTunes. Analysts also expect Chris Hemsworth’s Extraction (review forthcoming) to put up monster numbers for Netflix this weekend.
Indeed, as much as we all want to get out of our homes and socialize again, this period has probably spoiled many of us to the convenience of watching first-run movies at home. The last movie I saw in theaters was Ben Affleck’s The Way Back, and if I’d known it would be available for rental just three weeks later, I’d have waited. That’s not a knock against the movie, which I liked. But the only reason I need to see movies like that in the theater is because it gives me two hours alone, and I am in the minority among people who prefer to go to the movies alone. Otherwise, it is the perfect movie to watch from the comforts of my own couch. Honestly, most movies are, including Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani’s forthcoming Love Birds, which has moved to Netflix.
However, with streaming outlets providing more smaller and mid-budget movies and making them available at home, moviegoers may start to limit their trip to the theater for event movies only, even more than before. That’s an assessment of the future of the industry that many share. From Variety:
“The longer this goes, the more consumer behavior changes,” said Rich Greenfield, a media analyst at LightShed. “The more movies you can watch on Netflix, Amazon or Disney Plus, the harder it’s going to be to get people back to movie theaters.”
Theaters, however, are unlikely to reopen at least until July or, specifically, July 17th, the release date for Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, the next available summer blockbuster still on the schedule (for now). Even as states push to reopen their economies, and even as Georgia gives the all-clear to reopen theaters beginning on Monday, AMC Theaters has announced that it won’t reopen until there are movies to screen.
“As we plan our reopening, the health and safety of our guests and associates is our absolute highest priority. To be able to open, we also need a line of sight into a regular schedule of new theatrical blockbusters that get people truly excited about returning to their favorite movie theaters. Those blockbusters are scheduled to return this summer, beginning with Warner Brothers’ Tenet and Disney’s Mulan, with many more major titles scheduled immediately thereafter,” AMC said in Friday’s statement.
No pressure, Christopher Nolan. The resurrection of an entire industry may rest on the shoulders of one man and a movie most of us don’t know that much about. The good news is, that first week back, Tenet will probably be on every screen in every multiplex, which should give moviegoers plenty of space to spread out. If no one goes to see it, however, don’t worry: It’ll probably be on VOD within two weeks.
In the meantime, we’ll all just have to settle for, uh, Scoob, which will now skip theaters and head straight to home viewers on May 15th.
Header Image Source: Warner Brothers