Box Office Recovery Improved: “Do You Take Risk or Do You Punt?”

‘Black Widow’ may soon join ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ in deciding to retreat as a Hollywood studio, which may once again delay its tent amidst ongoing epidemics and consumer concerns.

Whether intentionally or not, Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman-CEO Tony Vincikera set up a malastrom addressing the box office situation at the Sept-9 Bank of America Investors’ Conference. “What we don’t want to do is make the mistake of making a very expensive $ 200 million film on the market, until we are sure that theaters are open and operating at a significant capacity,” he said. .

The comment was poorly perceived by those working in a weak Hollywood ecosystem trying to release big movies in real cinemas amid the ongoing coronavirus epidemic. Yet Vincekra underscores what is becoming increasingly clear: American box office recovery as Christopher Nolan derails theory Domestically, major film markets such as Los Angeles and New York City remain dark and more studios leave their 2020 tentpoles out of concern that consumers are not ready to return.

But, in the game of poultry or eggs, theaters in both states and many other countries need to reinvent the new Hollywood product (China, a big boast of the local product, is a big exception). Vinciquerra did not mention theory Despite the fact that Warner Bros. spent $ 200 million to produce before marketing the detective epic. theory Started wandering overseas – where unlike in the US, many theaters have now reopened for weeks – on August 26, followed by select American cities on the sept. 3. Through September 13, the film had a global gross of $ 207 million. Giant overseas totaled $ 178 million and a palatry $ 29 million domestically (or 86 percent to 14 percent split).

“Warner Bros. was revealed after last week’s domestic performance that the domestic release theory Was a costly experiment, ”says Jeff Bock of Exhibitor Relations. “Who thought it a good idea to open theaters a month after China when we are behind them in taking care of COVID. The meltdown of this film could have been avoided as he did his homework. Sorry, but it was really that easy. The combination of VOD or VOD-theatrical is the only answer for blockbuster movies until the US gets control of the virus. He is as diplomatic as I can be right now. ”

For most of the summer, Disney intended to open Mulan just after theory. But after the theater closed in the US, the company closed the course and sent the live-action epic directly to Disney + at a price of US $ 30 in the USA and $ 30 in other select markets. Mulan Still being released dramatically in major Asian markets with Russia, although it bombed in China over the weekend of September 11–13, with a debut of $ 23 million.

American cinema owner who reopened for the time being theory And MulanWere devastated by Mulan decision. Now, they face more heartache. Days later theory Bowing down, Warner Bros., led by CEO Ann Sarnoff, said it was delaying release Wonder Woman 1984 2 October to 25 December. This means that no other All-Audience Hollywood tentpole can open until November. And yet, there is speculation that Marvel and Disney Black widow (November 6) will move.

“There is not enough film volume to sustain any momentum. “We’re really looking at November and December,” says Wall Street analyst Eric Handler of MKM Partners.

Adds a top film executive, “Consumers Need a Film Amazing woman or Black widow to come back. The problem is that studios will make less money than usual, ”noted a top film executive. “Do you take a risk or do you punt until next year?”

So far, MGM’s 007 film No time to die Worldwide is determined to release in late November 1 (it is set to hit American theaters on November 20). Pixar and Disney inner heart Also set for November 20, but whether it holds its place at the Thanksgiving table is less clear. Whatever happens, Disney insiders say the animated tentpole will get a theatrical release, vs. being sent to Disney +.

Notes Comescore’s Paul Dergarabedian, “All these release date changes, while completely understandable, can have a dramatic impact on box office agreements such as flow and flow.”

Midrange and smaller event pixels set for October are also packing, including a Jordan Peel-made Sweet seller. And it remains to be seen whether the adult-skew event is the picture Death on the nile, From 20th-century Fox and Disney, airs on 23 October.

Its impact is already being felt by consumers. Led by theoryResearch firm NRG said people felt comfortable returning to theaters, with 52 percent of respondents saying significant improvements were seen. Together Amazing woman Now from the calendar, according to access to the data, this score has dropped to 48 percent. Similarly, 50 percent say they will not return to the cinema for two months or more, 42 percent of the day theory Revealed.

And survey after survey shows that older adults, and especially older women, are staying away. On theoryAfter opening US Weekend, a Posttrack exit poll showed 66 percent of viewers were 34 and under. “The primary audience is educated people, and they are staying away from the force,” says Bock. theory And searchlight feature title Personal History of David Copperfield, Which has struggled to hit $ 1.4 million domestically.

Overall, analysts such as Dargerbadian and Handler remain optimistic that filming will find its stride, even though the rest of the fall and early winter are mild in terms of titles. Ditto Pro for Sean Robbins of the box office.

Combined with staying power from ” theory, Which we are starting to see signs of, and special titles from smaller studios, there will be options, “he said.” This is far from the ideal scenario, and local cinemas with smaller population locations may choose to limit operating hours. Until more movies and patrons are available, but this time the industry is better than nothing. Everyone is writing a new rule book as it all unfolds. ”

A version of this story was first published in the September 16 issue Hollywood reporter magazine. Please click here to subscribe.

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