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EmpireCity

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Everything posted by EmpireCity

  1. I knew it was coming, but today was the official death of 2020 and movie theaters as we have known them for the last 100+ years. Don't expect to see a major release movie in the domestic market until Spring 2021. Given that theaters are already begging for a Congressional bailout, the situation is dire and congrats to whoever has deep pockets and picks them up at a rock bottom discount bargain later this year.
  2. I think that PVOD/theatrical/streaming simultaneous releases are here to stay on many levels. The first is that NATO and their membership will have no real leverage over the studios. Second is that if what I am talking about above happens and large tech companies scoop up theaters that they will be more than happy to have a hybrid model. I don't think that this will include blockbuster movies. Marvel, Star Wars, DC, and large tentpole movies will always release in theater first and then have a rollout after as they currently do. I think it will still stick to the 2-3 month window for digital and 3-6 months for streaming/physical. Even Netflix is happy to release simultaneously in theaters. They have been doing that for 2+ years. I think Apple and Amazon would do the same under this model. Disney will always support theatrical, but they will put their "risky" movies on streaming only.
  3. Don't forget that data is king. Amazon didn't buy Whole Foods because they wanted to own physical grocery stores so they could become brick and mortar grocers, they did it so they could tap into dynamic real time data. What they have learned about consumer behaviors that they can feed into their database and algorithms is pure gold. The same principles will apply to theaters for the big tech companies. Data that they can get and analyze from buying a theater chain like AMC or Regal or Alamo Drafhouse or Studio Movie Grill is invaluable. As a secondary measure, they can use it as a further data proving ground as a loss leader or subscription driver. There is a reason that Wal-Mart's big move this week is to get into a subscription model.
  4. Theaters will survive. They might sit empty until late spring or summer 2021, but they will survive. Once there is a viable vaccine (and sounds like that is at best late fall 2020 or early 2021) on any level things will return to normal shortly after. The buildings are there. The equipment is there. Most have either been upgraded or are newer. Revenue producing kitchens and other options are there. The theater companies and current owners as we know them might not survive, but someone with hordes of cash sitting on the sideline will step in and get them for pennies on the dollar. Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Disney, Warner Bros. and others all have incentive to buy them for various reasons. Billions of dollars sit out there waiting to pounce. They are waiting for Chapter 11 or outright shut downs to happen and then when the time is right they will step in. Look back to the 1920's for an indicator. The world came off a terrible 2-3 year pandemic that killed far more people, but once it was gone and people felt comfortable entertainment boomed and people were ready to go out and gather in groups. It is how we got the roaring 20's. It is coming again.
  5. Hello, old friends. Hope you are all healthy and happy as can be in this time of pandemic. Speaking of, pandemic or not, the industry was largely headed for a self-made hell for the last 7-10 years. The good and bad news is that theaters will survive. The good is obvious. The bad is murky. Mostly the industry will need to be bailed out by studios and large tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Netflix and others. It is already happening. There are things in the works that will blow your mind. Amazon will absolutely own one of the larger chains and likely a smaller dine-in type chain as well. It will be a loss leader to drive Prime membership similar to what they have done with Whole Foods. Studios with resources will either move on their own or with strategic partners to cut out the middle man. The very, very bad of the industry is that at least for the next year or longer programming will be the definition of stale. My personal prediction is that pretty much EVERYTHING is moving from 2020. Not such a bad thing as with many productions shut down or delayed, the content can slide into 2021 and fill large gaps. The win/win for the studios and consumers is that straight to VOD/streaming/PPV or whatever you want to call it is here to stay. Mid-budget movies are thriving. Creative freedom to take chances that aren't considered failures because the opening weekend wasn't large enough is a thing of the past. It allows things like The Old Guard, Greyhound, Extraction and others become actual hits. Forget 2020 and gear up for 2021. The industry will be back, it will take some time and look different, but theatrical is here to stay.
  6. I thought I would let everyone here know that in the next week or so will be starting a new YouTube channel and Twitter feed. Going to guess most won't give a shit, but want to get my random thoughts out there and smack down losers like Grace Randolph.
  7. The cinema and industry overall will look radically different in a few years if not sooner.
  8. This gives studios even more incentive to make it harder on theaters in the near term to drive their price down and buy them for pennies on the dollar if that is where they want to go.
  9. This is currently behind the scenes, but all movie theaters are struggling right now and it is only going to get worse in 2020. There are huge layoffs already happening, planned expansions are being put on hold, many theater locations holding on by a string hoping that the busy Holiday season will make things better. The reality is the fall of 2019 has been a disaster and the outlook for 2020 is dire. Current projections are a 10% drop in overall box office. If you add in the pressure of Disney pulling the Fox catalog and all of the major streaming services hitting, then it could get even worse. If theaters contract and can't stay open because studios are giving them even less product than before and concentrating their talent and budgets on streaming, you aren't going to see those massive numbers as you point out. The next 18 months are going to be a crucial time. No more Star Wars coming to theaters for multiple years, no more Avengers, the Avatar sequels are a shaky bet with no tech gimmick to push them.
  10. Theaters have already largely done this. Bigger screens, laser 4k projectors, Atmos sound, luxury recliners, D-Box seating, upgraded full menu including alcohol, VIP service, no talking or texting policy, etc... None of it has truly mattered in the long run and all of it is done at an enormous cost. Short of having the stars of the movie show up at every screening and serve you, not sure how else the theaters can serve the customer.
  11. It is depressing, but it will be fine in the long run. Things change.
  12. That is one of the last ditch efforts, but as you can see a lot of the people that sign up for it mostly complain about the service fees and aren't happy with even a reasonable cost because moviepass conditioned them to an unreasonable price. It will help but won't save theaters. At the end of the day, owning and running theaters is incredibly expensive. Top of the line projectors, surround sound, premium recliner seating, staffing, food and beverage costs and even the normal brick and mortar costs of things like heating/cooling, electricity, insurance are all costly. Gone are the days when you could have a big screen, a relatively cost effective 35mm projector, some normal seats and only popcorn / candy / soda because everyone now expects a premium experience with upgrades everywhere for the same cost. The same time the cost of running theaters has gone through the roof, the cost and quality of home entertainment equipment has never been cheaper along with the availability and quality/quantity of streaming entertainment options. It is about 20 converging factors that don't add up to anything but negative for theaters.
  13. Quite the opposite. Disney will make far more from Disney+ than they would from box office. If theaters disappeared tomorrow, that box office money wouldn't disappear. Disney (or any of the streaming services) would simply put their new release theatrical films on Disney+ and places like Vudu / Amazon and for an extra charge people could watch them on release or choose not to do that and wait 3-6 months for when they are included in the normal streaming price. Disney would love that. Instead of splitting that money 65/45 with movie theaters and playing a ton of money in booking and distribution logistics, they simply put it on Disney+ and with a few clicks start accepting money from credit cards already on file. They keep all the money. The other part of this that has been a dirty secret until recently is how much better this is for the studios when it comes to compensating talent. The days of most back end deals would be gone. No more having to pay Robert Downey Jr. something like $250m-$300m for his participation in the Marvel Universe. Hollywood has mostly killed off movie stars anyways, so having a further veil of unknown in how much streaming films actually make is another advantage to them.
  14. The other thing to consider is that movie theaters have been artificially propped up and inflated as an industry for a couple decades now. Theater owners are terrified to ever move to a true model that lets the consumer decide what they really want. Their association and leverage has created something that really isn't sustainable for them. The fair market would ultimately show what the reality of theaters really are in 2019 and going forward. If you gave people a choice of buying a movie day and date for something like $20-$30 on streaming or going to the theater to see it for normal price, I think you would get a cold slap of reality that far more people would choose the streaming option. That doesn't mean theaters would disappear, but they absolutely would contract down to what the actual demand is.
  15. Absolutely. It is the dumbest logic ever by the studios. The thought that someone won't pay for their streaming service because they are able to go to a theater and watch one of their catalog movies is absurd. It is nothing but free money for them, but some weirdo long ago came up with the "vault" concept and they are terrified to go away from it.
  16. I wouldn't say that they are necessarily ok with it, and I don't think theaters will go completely extinct, but as a simple math equation it doesn't make a lot of sense for the studios to keep the current outdated system propped up. The other factor is all of this is happening while the stock market is booming and the United States is at nearly full employment. There is going to be another economic downturn and when it happens the pressure will really be on movie theaters unlike it ever has in history. Traditionally movie theaters have actually benefited from economic downturn as people saw them as an inexpensive escape when they couldn't afford to take a vacation or do something more expensive. That was true when tickets were $5 and sneaking in some candy and a soda you bought from CVS was the normal thing to do. Now tickets are $12+ and the theater model is dine in based more than ever. People aren't going to dump $100+ on seeing a movie and eating overpriced food when they can get Disney+ for $7 a month or HBO Max or Netflix for $15 a month and can order in some DoorDash for a fraction of the price. They also will be watching on their 75'' 4K SmartTV and nice sound instead of their crappy 27'' tube tv with bad speakers.
  17. The new streaming services have also made the very smart decision of weekly or longer format releasing of their shows instead of dumping them all at once like Netflix has done. It is going to keep the buzz and social conversation going for a lot longer. You see it already with The Mandalorian. If they would have dumped that all at once it would have been forgotten in some form by today. Releasing 2 episodes this week and the rest once a week is going to keep the conversation going for a long time.
  18. Correct, but the counter to that is theaters have shown and tested out those other films and they simply can't compete. Step Mom is a good movie, but it isn't even in the realm of Sound of Music. A Wonderful Life is largely already shown and demand wouldn't go up much with more showings. You are correct, and that is the current rumor/fear is that Warner Bros. is going to likely pull their catalog.
  19. I also wanted to add that if this happens, it won't fully go into effect until Disney+ and HBO Max are set up around the world. Theaters still have the leverage of overseas box office.
  20. I truly believe it will be a modified version of that with everything being available on both streaming and theaters day and date or as close of a window to that as possible. The best NATO can hope for is maybe they can preserve a 2 week or 4 week window.
  21. The other factor that is killing movie theaters, especially smaller and independent ones, is that Disney has almost fully pulled the Fox catalog. No more filling theaters with Die Hard during the Holidays. No more sold out theaters of Moulin Rouge on Valentine's week. No more Sound of Music on Mother's Day. Many more examples of how much this hurts theaters that depended on that 10%-15% of their business that often filled lonely Tuesday or Wednesday nights during slow times.
  22. I meant more of the logistics of it, not the actual overall "will theaters be eliminated" part.
  23. Hello, everyone. I come in peace. Wanted to post some thoughts about the landscape change taking place going forward and how it affects movie theaters, box office, studio relations an more. At first you may think this is some hot take based off Disney+, but it isn't. This is something that has been on my mind for a long time but recent events have, in my opinion, have confirmed what I have been seeing build up for years. Movie theaters and box office as we know it is going to drastically change. NATO has always had the upper hand when it came to protecting the 90 day release window. They carried a $10b-$12b hammer called the box office and weren't afraid to use it. Studios would float the idea of breaking that window, but at the end of the day no studio dared break it. Then Netflix came along with quality films and the big 3 of course wouldn't comply with their shunning of the 90 day release window, but smaller and independent theaters have broken ranks. They need the product and revenue to fill screens and can't pass up things like Roma and The Irishman, especially when Netflix is offering 35% terms and Disney is offering 65% terms. The issue is that theater owners have been getting squeezed for years with rising costs. Studios keep pushing harder and harder for a bigger cut. 4K and laser projectors, Atmos sound, huge IMAX screens, and now the demand for luxury recliners in every theater have driven the cost of doing business through the roof. This is all while the cost of high quality home theater equipment has dropped to all time lows. You can hit your local Black Friday sales and grab a quality name brand 75'' 4K Smart TV for $750 and a nice soundbar with a subwoofer for $150. Theater owner costs of course are passed onto consumers in the form of higher ticket price, booking fees, $8 popcorn, $12 cocktails and an outing that might cost $100+ for a family of four to see a film. Netflix, Disney+ and HBO Max and their imminent combined success is going to change everything. Disney+ alone is projecting to have $9b-$12b of revenue per year within 5 years. Compare that with the entire box office domestic take of $11.8b in 2018. Those revenues of course are split roughly 55% to studios and 45% to theater owners. Disney+ has no split and Disney keeps nearly all of it. The biggest thing these streaming service will create is a viable distribution platform that is cost effective. That was always NATO's firewall in the fight in preserving the 90 day release window. They controlled where and when the consumer could see films in high quality. These studio owned streaming platforms now eliminate all of that leverage. You see already films that were scheduled for a theatrical release like Noelle and Superintelligence heading for streaming instead of the theater. The counter point to that will be that the movies that have been pulled from theatrical and put on streaming were largely poorly test screened and larger blockbusters will certainly still hit the theater. I agree with this point, but what will change is when and how. I think within the next few years the 90 day release window will be eliminated or adjusted. The model going forward will be something like this..... Disney will release Thor: Love and Thunder day and date on Disney+ (and possibly other services like Vudu, Amazon) and in theaters. Disney+ subscribers and other streaming platforms can pay an extra $25 to see it immediately. If they choose not to, they can wait however many months Disney chooses to put it on the streaming platform as part of the regular cost. The movie will also be released in theaters for a normal ticket price. It is coming. Studios have floated this for years trying to negotiate with NATO to make it work. They never budged and had all the leverage. Now that leverage is gone. Theater owners will have no choice but to accept as not going along with it would be like cutting off their leg to save their foot. What I ultimately think for movie theaters is that there will be a large contraction over the next decade and even more mergers so they can survive. Looking forward to discussing as I think not enough of a discussion is being had on it.
  24. This was a slightly different version of what they showed at CinemCon 6 months ago. Said on here it sent chills through the room and people went crazy for it. Stand by it having a chance at both domestic records.
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