Studios Adapting to Pandemic Limitations with Film Releases

WarnerMedia chief executive Jason Kilar revealed that his company plans to release blockbuster “Wonder Woman 1984” simultaneously in theaters and on its HBO Max streaming service on Christmas Day. He noted the changed environment, in which box office revenue alone doesn’t measure a film’s success but also by the number of new subscribers it generates for the studio’s streaming service. The distribution plan for the much-anticipated release is a sign of how much media companies have evolved to put more emphasis on streaming. Continue reading Studios Adapting to Pandemic Limitations with Film Releases

Release of ‘Tenet’ Could Be a Bellwether for Movie Exhibitors

Major Hollywood movies are finally being released in movie theaters, with “The New Mutants,” which had a $70+ million budget, and director Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet,” a $200 million thriller. But it’s still unclear how many people in the U.S. feel safe enough to go inside. Abroad, “Tenet” raked in $53 million on its opening day weekend from 41 global markets, a source of optimism for Warner Bros. (the film opens in the U.S. and China this week). Pirates have been foiled, meanwhile, fooled into downloading fake torrents of the blockbuster. Continue reading Release of ‘Tenet’ Could Be a Bellwether for Movie Exhibitors

‘Unhinged’ Earns $4 Million Box Office on Opening Weekend

On Friday, Solstice Studios’ “Unhinged,” a $33 million psychological thriller starring Russell Crowe, enjoyed a wide release in 1,823 locations across the country. Because most theaters are operating at 50 percent capacity due to the coronavirus pandemic, opening weekend box office was modest — $4 million — but considered a success given the unique circumstances. Solstice Studios chief executive Mark Gill predicted that “Unhinged” will earn “at least $30 million” in North America. The movie has already generated $8 million internationally. Continue reading ‘Unhinged’ Earns $4 Million Box Office on Opening Weekend

Theaters Hit Hard by Coronavirus as Streamers Reap Rewards

The coronavirus is hitting the National Association of Theatre Owners particularly hard, as local governments close movie theaters and consumers turn to streaming services. Regal Cinemas announced it is closing all its theaters, effective today, until further notice. Meanwhile, studios are reconsidering the exclusive 90-day window for theatrical exhibition. Universal Pictures is the the first major studio to announce a change to the traditional model. “We hope and believe that people will still go to the movies in theaters where available, but we understand that for people in different areas of the world that is increasingly becoming less possible,” said NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell. Continue reading Theaters Hit Hard by Coronavirus as Streamers Reap Rewards

Justice Department to End the Paramount Consent Decrees

The Justice Department’s antitrust division plans to terminate the so-called Paramount consent decrees governing movie distribution, indicating they are no longer useful. Those rules were established in the wake of a landmark 1948 Supreme Court ruling covering the eight major movie distributors in the U.S. Their end will dramatically change movie distribution. DOJ antitrust official Makan Delrahim noted that streaming services and new business models have opened the door to “consumer-friendly innovation.” Continue reading Justice Department to End the Paramount Consent Decrees

Companies Experiment With Cinema Subscription Services

MoviePass may be embattled, but its subscription model has taken off. That is most evident with the new service debuted by AMC Theatres, the largest multiplex chain in the U.S. AMC Stubs A-List allows subscribers to see up to three movies a week for $20 per month. The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema chain also will begin testing a service to offer unlimited movies for a monthly fee. Meanwhile, Helios and Matheson Analytics, Movie Pass’ parent company, hopes to raise as much as $1.2 billion to prop up the struggling subscription service. Continue reading Companies Experiment With Cinema Subscription Services

Skyrocketing Membership Threatens the Viability of MoviePass

MoviePass chopped its prices eight months ago, bringing membership to two million people — and the company to the brink of bankruptcy. Parent company Helios and Matheson Analytics, which owns 92 percent of MoviePass, reported that it was down to just $15.5 million in cash at the end of April, with $27.9 million on deposit with merchant processors. The question now is if subscribers can slack off on movie-going before the company runs out of money. A recent SEC filing indicates that the company’s auditor has “substantial doubt.” Continue reading Skyrocketing Membership Threatens the Viability of MoviePass

MoviePass Continues Rapid Ascent, Tops 1 Million Subscribers

MoviePass is a service that lets subscribers attend up to one 2D movie screening per day in theaters for a monthly charge. Shortly after a price drop to $9.95 per month in August (from a tiered $15-$50 model), the New York-based company announced it had jumped to 400,000 customers. By October, that number increased to 600,000. Last month, MoviePass dropped its monthly fee again for a limited time offer of about $6.95 per month for those willing to pay up front for a year. Now the company announced it “has since reached one million subscribers in less time than Spotify, Hulu, and Netflix.” Continue reading MoviePass Continues Rapid Ascent, Tops 1 Million Subscribers

Studios Consider Options for Early Movie Release to the Home

Apple is reportedly in conversations with numerous Hollywood studios for earlier access to movies. The goal would be to offer a higher priced home video rental of movies shortly after they are released in cinemas, a move that has been vigorously resisted by motion picture theater owners, who have occasionally and en masse boycotted movies given an early home release. 21st Century Fox, Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures have all confirmed they are looking into this kind of early release. Continue reading Studios Consider Options for Early Movie Release to the Home

Paramount to Test Shorter Release Window for Home Video

Paramount Studios is using two October releases to test a shorter window than the traditional 90-day window between theatrical release and home video. “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension,” which opens on October 23, and “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse,” which opens a week later, will go to home video about two weeks after their screen count falls below 300 locations. Paramount offered participating theater chains a percentage of digital revenue; AMC Entertainment and Canada’s Cineplex have signed on. Continue reading Paramount to Test Shorter Release Window for Home Video

Hollywood to Target Older Audience with Large Format Films

Large-screen format theaters have typically played action-adventure blockbusters aimed at the younger crowd. This fall, however, Hollywood plans to release more adult-oriented stories on the bigger screens, and often in 3D. Proof of that trend can be found in the films chosen to open recent festivals, including the 3D “Everest” at the Venice Film Festival and Robert Zemeckis’ 3D “The Walk” at the New York Film Festival. Exhibitors and their partners are also wooing adults to watch 3D films, which peaked in 2013 with “Gravity.” Continue reading Hollywood to Target Older Audience with Large Format Films

Paramount to Experiment with Flexible Film Release Window

Paramount Pictures is looking to experiment with two October film releases — “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension” and “Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse” — by shortening the length of time it takes to make them available to watch at home via digital platforms. AMC and Cineplex are joined by several smaller operators in participating in the new approach. However, Cinemark (the nation’s third largest exhibitor) and Regal Entertainment Group (the No. 1 chain in North America) have declined. Continue reading Paramount to Experiment with Flexible Film Release Window

MIPCOM: Netflix Pushing Day-and-Date Releases for Movies

Speaking at MIPCOM this week, Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said his company is going to modernize the distribution model of movies. The online streaming video service has new film deals in the works, including a sequel to “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” and a four-picture agreement with Adam Sandler. Netflix’s original films will have a day-and-date release, so that viewers can have the option of watching the movie in theaters, buying the DVD, or streaming it on demand beginning the same day. Continue reading MIPCOM: Netflix Pushing Day-and-Date Releases for Movies

‘Twilight’ Coming to Facebook, Netflix Unveils Exclusive Deals

Lionsgate and “Twilight” creator Stephenie Meyer announced plans to distribute a series of short films exclusively via Facebook. Five aspiring female directors will be hired to produce mini-movies based on the “Twilight” characters. Meanwhile, Netflix announced a new original series for kids, the animated “Kong: King of the Apes,” in addition to an exclusive four-picture deal with Adam Sandler. Netflix is also dealing with a potential exhibition boycott after announcing the sequel to “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” Continue reading ‘Twilight’ Coming to Facebook, Netflix Unveils Exclusive Deals

‘Crouching Tiger’ Sequel Slated to Debut Via Netflix and IMAX

Netflix and the Weinstein Company announced yesterday that they plan to release the sequel to “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” simultaneously via Netflix and a select number of IMAX theaters next August. This will mark the first time a major film debuts via online streaming and in theaters at the same time. The follow-up to Ang Lee’s Academy Award-winning martial arts drama will reportedly be the first of several films backed by Netflix that are expected to follow the new release model. Continue reading ‘Crouching Tiger’ Sequel Slated to Debut Via Netflix and IMAX

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