As studios continue to delay major movie releases because of the Coronavirus, many of their statements have included a common element. Studios such as Disney, Universal, Paramount, Sony and MGM still “believe in the theatrical experience”. They want moviegoers to come together and sit in a theater and watch these films on the big screen.
Here we are in this Coronavirus era of “social distancing”, #CancelEverything and #StayHome. We’ve already seeing a big box office decline, and it’s only about to get worse as movie theaters in Los Angeles and New York City are set to close.
When all of this is (hopefully) over… maybe six months from now… will moviegoers care to once again come together, armrest in armrest, to see a film in a crowded, confined room on a gigantic screen?
It just so happens that many of the major studios now, or will soon have, streaming outlets to post their movies. Disney has Disney+. Fox films can stream on Hulu. Paramount features can go to CBS All Access for now before PAR launches their own service with ViacomCBS. Universal movies will have Peacock. And you’ll be able to watch Warner Bros. films on HBO Max. (Sony Pictures is still currently under a deal with Starz.)
Other giants, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, are currently producing and posting their own movies. And they could absorb titles from other studios, such as Lionsgate and STX.
If you still think this is the future: get ready, because this is the NOW.
I’ve always believed that timing is everything… and here we are. As this past weekend prove, the majority of Americans aren’t interested in going to the movie theater anytime soon, and the number of locations that will close (even for what may only be a short amount of time) will continue to grow.
Moviegoers of all ages (especially families) will be looking to these streaming services for content while in quarantine, lockdown, or whatever term gets coined next.
Disney took the first major step in this by posting “Frozen II” on Disney+ over the weekend – 3 months earlier than anticipated. But will they actually put one of their features [that is or could be in limbo, such as “Mulan”, “Black Widow”, “Artemis Fowl”, “Soul” or “Jungle Cruise”] on Disney+ instead of releasing it in theaters? They’ll still make a lot of money from subscriber payments.
The same situation applies to the other studios…and then the questions carry over to The Motion Picture Academy. Is it FINALLY time for them to abolish the whole “You have to show a movie in a theater in Los Angeles in order to qualify for the Oscars” rule?
I think the answer is a big fat YES.