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Will Movie Theaters still exist in 10 or 15 years?

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1 hour ago, jimisawesome said:

The major chains are going to be closing any non profitable theater over the next 6 months and even closing theaters with smaller profits.  They will stop renovations to save capital which will further give people a reason to stay home.  Not just that but a lot of theaters are attached to malls which are getting killed and don't bring the foot traffic they once did.

This. I don't think people realize how bad things are going to get in the leisure/entertainment industry over the next few months. Sure, most places are reopening, but so far the majority of the audience has shown zero interest in returning. If there's a second wave of Covid, or a vaccine isn't widely available until later next year, then I don't see the big cinema chains surviving, unless they get a government bailout.

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1 hour ago, Darth Homer said:

then I don't see the big cinema chains surviving, unless they get a government bailout.

Even if related that a bit of 2 different issues, like when airlines goes down after 9-11 or now that does not mean that Air travel stop in the next 10-15 year's, it shift ownership of those asset (and make Buffet a lot of money).

 

All big cinema chains could declare bankruptcy and we could have movie theater more popular in 15 years than now, that a possible scenario, owned by restructured similar chain, new chain or movies studios/big money tech a la Apple/Amazon/Msft or a mix (say a population that has so much screen time at home that want to take a break for them but that phone dependency destroyed their other hobbies).

 

Until the actual multiplex theater is physically transformed into something else it is not really a death one yet and unlike the one screen small one I imagine it is quite something to transform them in something else. The multiplex that already spent the money to go digital, a bit like airplanes are the type of asset that could change hands instead of shutting down.

Edited by Barnack
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True, but I think cinemas are more vulnerable than airlines. People love to travel, and there's really no good alternative to getting on a plane and going to another country. People love movies, too, but there are many good alternatives to going to the cinema, especially when everything is available on demand now within three months max. Really the only thing keeping cinemas alive at this point is the MCU-type event movies which people feel they have to see as early as possible.

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4 minutes ago, Darth Homer said:

True, but I think cinemas are more vulnerable than airlines. People love to travel, and there's really no good alternative to getting on a plane and going to another country.

Certainly airlines do not have yet competition in many scenarios where there is no TGV like theater has from home ent and plane cost so much and cannot do anything else, that there always a buyer at a low enough price, movie theater in a good location can always use the land for something else.

 

And for theater, they make sense if the feature length type of storytelling stay popular, maybe that will not be the case, maybe it is not that people will watch movie at home, maybe in 2050 that 1h10-3h00 format will stop to exist all together outside some niche affair, the either short video or the mini and long series type being popular.

 

But streaming has being going for a while in music and the close to album format and close to radio song length format are still popular, historically momentum is really strong, that transition is more in the 30-50 year's than the 10-15 year's.

 

8 minutes ago, Darth Homer said:

Really the only thing keeping cinemas alive at this point is the MCU-type event movies which people feel they have to see as early as possible.

The fancy giant expensive cinemas yes and maybe the door to the prestige affair a la broadway-opera is close to them, theater sitting and structure is maybe the near future of movie theater, but that a worst case scenario bar I feel like, not them disappearing that fast.

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37 minutes ago, Barnack said:

Even if related that a bit of 2 different issues, like when airlines goes down after 9-11 or now that does not mean that Air travel stop in the next 10-15 year's, it shift ownership of those asset (and make Buffet a lot of money).

 

All big cinema chains could declare bankruptcy and we could have movie theater more popular in 15 years than now, that a possible scenario, owned by restructured similar chain, new chain or movies studios/big money tech a la Apple/Amazon/Msft or a mix.

 

Until the actual multiplex theater is physically transformed into something else it is not really a death one yet and unlike the one screen small one I imagine it is quite something to transform them in something else. The multiplex that already spent the money to go digital, a bit like airplanes are the type of asset that could change hands instead of shutting down.

A bulldozer does not cost much on desired property...

 

Theaters sit with so much parking that they would be ideal spots to rezone mixed use condo/outdoor entertainment or senior living sites (a serious growth industry for the next 10-15 years as boomers keep retiring), especially in the higher end city and suburban sites that carry the industry...

 

And places that sit for years usually always go the bulldozer route anyway...lack of upkeep tends to destroy buildings, and it becomes cheaper to start over than to renovate...

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On 9/16/2020 at 12:58 PM, Darth Homer said:

True, but I think cinemas are more vulnerable than airlines. People love to travel, and there's really no good alternative to getting on a plane and going to another country. People love movies, too, but there are many good alternatives to going to the cinema, especially when everything is available on demand now within three months max. Really the only thing keeping cinemas alive at this point is the MCU-type event movies which people feel they have to see as early as possible.

And some people have to travel because of business;they really have no choice in the matter.

Movies are 100% voluntary emtertaom,emt/

Some airline travel is essential;I can't think of a movie that is essential in that way.

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If we are not back to normal until late 2021 studios in the interim will have to make hard choices on what to do with their tentpoles. That could accelerate the consolidation of theaters to the big players (that’s if Chapter 13 allows them to survive long enough). It’s dire indeed. Assuming there is a vaccine by say, December it will take months to get a critical mass inoculated and that’s if people are comfortable with the antidote. The plus side is the fact that Tenet made *any* money in theaters bodes well for the films that have broader mass appeal. I could see Fast and Furious cracking $500m at the boxoffice. 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

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On 9/16/2020 at 3:46 PM, Barnack said:

Even if related that a bit of 2 different issues, like when airlines goes down after 9-11 or now that does not mean that Air travel stop in the next 10-15 year's, it shift ownership of those asset (and make Buffet a lot of money).

 

All big cinema chains could declare bankruptcy and we could have movie theater more popular in 15 years than now, that a possible scenario, owned by restructured similar chain, new chain or movies studios/big money tech a la Apple/Amazon/Msft or a mix (say a population that has so much screen time at home that want to take a break for them but that phone dependency destroyed their other hobbies).

 

As been said Airlines Industry is much different and include a lot of business travel that is just not replaceable by other means.  But more importantly the Airline Industry is to important to fail so will always have a government backstop.  The airlines directly employee 400k throw in another half million for the airports plus the thousands that work for Boeing or their suppliers.  Its a 200 billion dollar plus a year industry in the US.  You also have billions spent by cities and states on air ports and other infrastructure.  

 

The theater business is about 11 billion with attendance falling every year.  2020 would have been a down year from this and not much reason to believe 2021 would match 2019 either.  Most of the jobs in the sector are starter jobs without much political protection.  You have the distributors that seem somewhat indifferent to theaters.  All of this is a long way to say there are important people that care that Airlines live while they don't care about theaters.  

 

It does not break the laws of physics that theaters could be more popular 15 years from now.  That said the trend is not in that direction.  Ticket sales are down since the peak and the trend line is clearly down.  As stated above 2020 in a COVID free world would have continued this trend and been down and probably dramatically from 2019.  But, more troubling is the industry is holding on now because of the big franchise films.  The problem is the big franchises seem to be ending faster than they are being replaced.  The Disney Live Action remakes have what Little Mermaid left of the popular movies.  WHo knows what happens with Star Wars going forward.  Avatar could be huge but it will be nearing 15 years when the next one is released it could be no one cares or its just a regular big franchise not a mega franchise.  Even with Marvel their next few up are not exactly the A listers.  3 of the most popular brands are retired and what happens with Black Panther.  GotG3 and CM have not started filming.   Fast and Furious is coming towards the end.  I can go on and on

 

On 9/16/2020 at 4:11 PM, Barnack said:

 

And for theater, they make sense if the feature length type of storytelling stay popular, maybe that will not be the case, maybe it is not that people will watch movie at home, maybe in 2050 that 1h10-3h00 format will stop to exist all together outside some niche affair, the either short video or the mini and long series type being popular.

 

But streaming has being going for a while in music and the close to album format and close to radio song length format are still popular, historically momentum is really strong, that transition is more in the 30-50 year's than the 10-15 year's.

 

The fancy giant expensive cinemas yes and maybe the door to the prestige affair a la broadway-opera is close to them, theater sitting and structure is maybe the near future of movie theater, but that a worst case scenario bar I feel like, not them disappearing that fast.

 

To use your example, The music industry is 80% streaming.  Physical sales are now about 10% of the market split almost evenly between Vinyl and CD.  In this example CD is the closest we have to multiplexes and they can't survive being 5% of the industry.

 

 

Without Covid there might have been time to come up with new business plans or at least it take a while for this change to finalize.  But, we don't live in that world we live in the COVID world that is accelerating trends.  We have movie review sites and podcasts telling people not to go to the theater despite what many public health officials are saying about the risk.  Theaters can't survive if their busy weeks are capped at 30 or 50 or even 80% capacity for more then a year or two without huge concessions from the distributors.  AMC already needed an emergency loan just to reopen and they have a lot of debt they need to service without much in the way of cash flow.   Could someone come in and save them? Sure but they are going to face the same problems and they are going to have to shave locations to make it work too.  

 

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On 9/16/2020 at 11:58 PM, Darth Homer said:

but there are many good alternatives to going to the cinema, especially when everything is available on demand now within three months max. 

But none of the alternatives are really profitable (at least in the short term). Netflix literally has negative cash flow and the PVOD experiment hasn't really seemed to work. Studios need cinemas and they're gonna keep them alive if it's needed.

Edited by lorddemaxus

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Just to throw my two cents out there, movie theaters are far from the only form of entertainment under siege. Let's take a quick look at some others (stats copied from various websites. All are available by searching):

 

Bowling - 

In the US in the late 1970s, just over 9 million Americans belonged to bowling leagues. As of 2017-18 that number had declined to 1.34 million. At the peak of public interest, about 12,000 businesses offered bowling as an amenity. The average bowling alley had 8 lanes, and thousands of those locations were dive bars in rural America that had just 2 or 4 lanes. They are all gone. As of 2013 there were about 3,800 bowling alleys remaining in the US and the average location had 26 lanes. As of 2019 there were about 3,200 remaining alleys.

 

This will become a recurring theme in my post. Bowling has changed, in many ways, but it endures as a niche activity enjoyed by a dedicated following. Alleys are larger now, are specialized instead of being tacked on to some other business model, and offer new innovation like UV lighting aka cosmic bowling, with loud music playing. 

 

Golf-

Many credit Tiger Woods for creating a surge in interest in golf and expanding golf's demographics. At the peak in the early 2010s, of the 34,011 golf courses worldwide some 45% were located in the US. That put the number of domestic courses at about 16,000. This was the culmination of a 10+ year binge of course construction. In the year 2000 alone, $5.6 billion was spent on constructing new golf facilities. By the early-2010s investment had dwindled to about 200M a year.

 

The building boom outlasted and overshot the growth boom, and very quickly it became apparent that not enough rounds of golf were being played to sustain the number of courses in existence. Courses started to close at an accelerating rate. By 2015 the number of operating courses was down to 15,300. There are presently 9,700 courses in the us, the majority of which are public. There is still an oversupply, as golf has now fallen out of favor in much the same light as bowling. Experts predict continued course attrition until a point of equilibrium is reached.

 

American football-

I won't get into the details, but there are equally clear signs that interest in football peaked years ago and is steadily declining. See this article. The decline is broad, deep and unmistakable. All facets of football have been impacted. Participation, attendance at games and viewership on TV.

 

Other sports-

What is true of football & the NFL holds true for other sports as well. The NBA, MLB, NASCAR and others, they are seeing declines in viewership and attendance

 

 

I think that's enough to drive the point home. As a society we entered a new era, especially over the last decade, where entertainment is more customized to the tastes of the individual. Movie theaters are not immune. We have seen a decline in attendance, and will continue to to lose some customers annually (pandemic aside). That isn't the end, though. Theaters will exist. There are a sufficient number of people who enjoy going to the movies to sustain the industry. We'll continue to see the business model evolve, with PLF / high end audio, in theater dining, and other innovations. Budgets for films may change. Movies will continue to be made, though, and people will go out to see them. This will not be changing in the near future.

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Just saw this, I think. Imo theaters will still exist but as a novel way for a relatively niche group of people to see movies that are released digitally the same day.

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