Cinema hopes blockbuster kicks off Covid downturn

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The struggling movie theater owner is pinning his hopes on a series of Covid-delayed blockbusters that have recovered from the “survival” crisis, such as No time to die, The latest James Bond movie, even the Delta variant makes many fans insist on using their streaming service.

MGM and Universal Pictures announced on Friday that they will advance the premiere No time to die The film festival in London on September 28 is good news for global film companies as they gather in Las Vegas this week for their annual conference.

The $250 million Bond film has been postponed three times since its original release date in 2020.But it’s not clear that other games, including Sony’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife Paramount Aspirational: Maverick Will be released as planned or postponed this fall.

Whenever they are released, few people believe that these games will be able to come close to realizing the global box office revenue generated before the pandemic.

CinemaCon is the largest conference in the movie theater industry, usually a love affair between a movie studio and a chain of theaters. But this year’s event comes at a time when theater owners are facing unprecedented pressure due to Covid, and tensions between film distributors and studios on streaming media.

“The past 18 months has been the biggest movie survival challenge ever,” said John Fisian, conference host and chairman of the National Association of Cinema Owners. But he said that he is confident that the industry can return to record levels in 2019, when box office revenue reached $43 billion, and audiences will return to the cinema to watch “good movies for this autumn and winter.”

However, others are not so sure. They say that the box office in 2019 may be the high water mark of the epic transformation of the film business. For an industry whose business model is being disrupted by streaming media, even a healthy box office this fall—which is by no means a certainty—may not alleviate the sense of crisis.

This summer, Hollywood studios “simultaneously showing” movies on theaters and streaming services during the pandemic shocked movie theater owners. Many believed that this represented an inevitable change in their business economy.

Disney and Warner shocked theater owners and first-line actors by releasing summer popcorn movies Black widow with Godzilla VS King Kong At the same time it was shown in theaters, their streaming media services ate away potential box office revenue.

This is a concern for large theater chains led by the United States control center And the movie mark.

Jeff Bok, senior media analyst at Exhibitor Relations, said: “The theater is really fighting for their lives.” “You want to know if people will go back in time. [watching films] Their way. “

The radical streaming actions of Disney and Warner Bros. triggered a fierce response, and the lobby of the theater owner criticized the decision and the actress. Scarlett Johansson Filed a lawsuit against Disney for breach of contract. Disney has said that this lawsuit is “unfounded.”

But Wall Street hailed the late move of these film companies to follow Netflix into streaming media, and investors raised their stock prices because of the strong subscription numbers of Warner’s HBO Max and Disney’s Disney+ streaming services.

“The incentive for film companies is not profitability or how to get the best return on the film, but to promote subscriptions,” Fithian said.

He said that putting the number of subscriptions above profit is unsustainable, which makes shocks between streaming services inevitable. Cinemas may not enjoy the long “exclusive window period” as they did before the pandemic, “but they will not be the same as during the pandemic.”

At present, cinema owners hope that the ever-increasing vaccination rate will give fans the confidence to return to the cinema. At the beginning of the summer film season in the United States, a survey showed that 80% of movie audiences were confident of returning to the cinema. However, with the spread of Delta variants, these numbers have recently dropped to 67%.

“Consumer confidence is not enough,” Fithian said. “But the big screen is clearly back.”

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