Even when movie theaters reopen, whenever that may be, things may not return to normal. This, according to a new survey, which suggests that quite a few people will be avoiding public gatherings once this is all over, with movie theaters being hit particularly hard. This, coupled with some changes that are already happening in the industry as all of this is unfolding, could er the cinema landscape as we know it. That may sound dramatic, but it's a distinct possibility.
According to the survey, 44 responded saying they would go to fewer large public events after this period of social distancing is over, with 38 percent saying they would attend about the same number. 18 percent said they would attend more, but 47 percent, rather importantly, said that the idea of going to a major public event "will scare me for a long time." Specifically talking about going to the movies, 49 percent of those surveyed said it would take a few months, or possibly never, to return. 28 said they will go to movie theaters less often and 15 percent said they intend to go to the movies more often, while 58 percent said their attendance won't be affected.
These numbers should be concerning for virtually anyone involved in the movie business at any level, as well as those who enjoy the theatrical experience. Movie theaters are already struggling financially with the shutdown. If audiences don't turn up when they are allowed to open again, the outlook isn't great. From the studio perspective, this could seriously harm many of the projects already completed or in the works. Without a certain level of performance at the box office, movies become a financial loss. Plain and simple.
The other issue is that change is already starting in some ways. An increasing number of recent theatrical releases, as well as some that never made it to theaters but were intended to, are being released early to premium digitally rental or purchase. Movies like The Invisible Man have performed well, which could encourage studios to maintain a premium digital model for certain releases even after movie theaters are back up and running. This is something major chains such as AMC have argued against for years, but now that the floodgates have opened, it may be too little too late.
If theater attendance does see a major dip, as these numbers suggest, it could ultimately impact the way movies are produced, what types of movies are made and certain studios could even fold if the money isn't there. With declining physical media sales, the secondary market hasn't been as impactful as it used to be. The box office is where most movies made the majority of their money. This situation is evolving rapidly and is impossible to predict, but a general fear of public gatherings coupled with modern convenience with streaming media could be a near-fatal blow to the theatrical exhibition business as we know it. This news comes to us via Variety.
Movie theaters across the United States are shut down as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the country. Once we’re done battling this virus, some movie theaters may not be there to meet us on the other side. With an unclear window for when movie theaters will reopen, some of them simply can’t afford to be without a revenue stream for a few months. But the good news is, for those theaters who are able to survive, they’ll be met with open arms by moviegoers again.
A new poll conducted by analytics company EDO asked 6,800 participants whether or not they were likely to return to movie theaters whenever they’re back open for business. The good news is that 70% of those polled said they were likely to head back to movie theaters, and out of that group, 45% of them said they were “highly likely” to get back in front of the big screen. But for others, it won’t be such a quick turnaround.
Deadline called our attention to the latest poll conducted by EDO, which comes from a report titled “Social Distancing Moviegoing and TV Habits.” Among the 45% who were highly likely to come back to movie theaters, 20% said they would hit up movie theaters again as soon as they were open. Meanwhile, the other 25% said they would wait a few days.
It’s not all good news though. Some of the more cautious polled, 45% of the group, said they would wait a few weeks before getting a ticket to the local multiplex. Another 11% said they would wait several months. Considering the fact that China reopened their movie theaters too soon after seemingly quelling the spread of coronavirus, only to close them again after a week of operation, holding off on a return to movie theaters might not be such a bad idea.
Honestly, even if movie theaters are able to reopen in June or July, they might not have much to entice moviegoers back into theaters. Major blockbusters like Wonder Woman 1984, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, and Minions: The Rise of Gru have already evacuated their previous summer release dates, so it might be slim pickings if theaters open sooner than later.
For now, moviegoers are taking full advantage of streaming services and VOD content while self-quarantining at home. Among those polled, Disney+ and Hulu were the most popular streaming services being signed up for following the outbreak. Meanwhile, consumption of Netflix and HBO Now went up 80%. As for movies on VOD, nearly half confirmed they had bought movies from Amazon, YouTube and iTunes.
With at least another month of self-containment in the United States being pushed by the CDC maybe longer if coronavirus cases keep increasing at their current rate, the use of home entertainment services is only going to go up, and the struggle for certain movie theaters to stay alive is going to get harder. Even chains...