What Studios & Exhibition Seriously Need To Do Right Now To Save Moviegoing After Release Date Fallout & ‘Tenet’
This isn’t a death knell piece for exhibition, nor is this more rhetoric to freak studios out and have them delay even more movies. Studios, you’ve created enough damage in that space.
I’ve heard you tried to work for months together during the pandemic, before Tenet‘s anticipated July opening. But there was a lot of division, not just between yourselves, but also among rival studios.
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As we write this, word is bubbling that San Diego County could roll back to being a purple zone, potentially impacting and shutting down theaters (Oh, but, don’t worry, Kohl’s will remain open). Because of Wonder Woman 1984, Candyman, Greenland, and Black Widow‘s move to deeper in the calendar, some exhibitors may have to shut down Monday through Wednesday, given the lack of product over the next month. The next major studio releases are 20th Century Studios/Disney’s Death on the Nile and Sony’s Lord & Miller’s Connected. But really, the length of the desert for exhibition will last until Nov. 20, when MGM’s 007 feature No Time to Die finally opens. Already, for its theaters in smaller markets, No. 2 exhibitor Regal is planning to cut their showtimes to stay financially sound.
“This is the worst thing that could have happened,” says one big circuit insider about 2020’s melting wide theatrical release schedule, “having Tenet open and nothing behind it. It’s the worst possible outcome and we needed that Mulan one-two punch behind it.”
“You want consumer confidence, because this is never going to fix itself,” says one chain buyer who preferred to remain off the record, “We, as exhibitors, need to stay open.”
The overall message on theater safety, aka the National Association of Theatre Owners’ CinemaSafe program, needs to be louder — like, a lot LOUDER, and bears repetition.