Why are movie theater owners worried about hybrid streaming releases?

  • The National Association of Theater Owners wants Hollywood studios to adhere to theater windows.
  • The group’s CEO, John Faithin, said there were still big questions about some of the studio’s plans.
  • Disney sparked the strongest reaction from NATO after the release of “Black Widow” in theaters and Disney +.
  • See more stories on the Insider Business page.

Movie studios have come up with many theatrical alternatives during epidemics. But with most theaters in North America still open and theaters looking to recover from the devastating 2020, theater owners have questions about Hollywood’s release strategy – and they want answers.

Speaking at the Cinema Cannon on Tuesday, John Faith, head of the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO), said that releasing films simultaneously in theaters and streaming “doesn’t work for anyone.”

Some studios have expressed a plan or desire to move away from the release of “Day and Date”, and instead shorten the theater window, which was usually 75 to 90 days before the epidemic.

When asked about it in an interview with Insider this week, Fethian said:

“Is the key word. Some. Many big questions remain about the views of the big distributors coming out of the epidemic, and we would like to see where it goes. We don’t have all the answers yet and that’s why we’re making a case. Without drilling into specific companies, I’ll leave it there. “

Here’s how big movie studios are getting closer to release plans:

  • Universal Has entered into an agreement with major theater chains to shorten the theater window to 17 days, at which time it can release its films on digital rental platforms. He released his latest “Boss Baby” movie simultaneously for Streamer Mayer, but remained committed to most theaters.
  • Warner Bros.After releasing all his films simultaneously in cinemas and streaming service HBO Max this year, there will be a 45-day special theater window for his films starting next year.
  • Sony Is the only large studio that does not have its own streaming component. Save streamers to sell some movies during epidemics, such as “Greyhound” to Apple, which has largely moved to theatrical releases this fall and winter, including “Poison: Late” “Carnegie” and “Ghost Busters: Later Life”. It signed a deal with Netflix this year to acquire the domestic rights to streaming giant Sony’s movies, while their theatrical and domestic entertainment windows will start at the studio’s 2022 slate, and Netflix will be available on any movie. First look at what Sony wants to make for live streaming.
  • Paramount After a 45-day window, it will release some of its tents, starting with the previously released “A Quiet Place Part II”. Bob Baksh, CEO of Perak company Viacom CBS, said during a recent earnings call that the 45-day window is “the overall direction we want to go with the times”, but that “the situation is a bit fluid” and he Paramount intends to review films on a case-by-case basis. The latest example of this was his film “Pow Patrol”, which was recently released in cinemas and Paramount + on the same day.

And then there it is. Disney, Which has angered NATO by releasing “Black Widow” in theaters simultaneously and Disney + subscribers for an additional fee.

After the movie fell 68 percent from its first weekend at the domestic box office to the end of the second week, NATO issued a strong statement calling the simultaneous release “a model of an epidemic era that goes hand in hand with the epidemic.” Should be left on “(” Black Widow “is still the biggest movie in the US this year with 180 million).

Disney’s upcoming Marvel movie “Sheng Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings” will be exclusive to 45-day window theaters, which CEO Bob Chapek called an “exciting experience” during a recent earnings call. Chapek said the company “values ​​flexibility” in making release decisions, suggesting that the situation after “Shang Chi” is fluid.

When asked for comment on future window plans, a Disney spokesman reiterated that the company has not announced or confirmed any plans beyond “Shang Chi”.

Read the full insider’s interview with John Faithin, CEO of the National Association of Theater Owners.

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