This week’s split-screen between exhibitors celebrating at their annual CinemaCon conference in Las Vegas and Netflix squirming under the bright lights of a tough quarterly report has dispelled the notion that streaming has eclipsed theatres as the engine of growth for the movie business.
In a timely piece, Los Angeles Times columnist Ryan Faughnder looks at the recent series of successes for exhibition. From blockbusters SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME and THE BATMAN, family films including SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2 and THE BAD GUYS, horror flicks SCREAM and A QUIET PLACE PART 2, and even romantic comedies such as THE LOST CITY have proven the enduring appeal of a traditional theatrical release.
He goes on to highlight the breakout success of the indie release EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE, which has grossed over $35M in an expanding release that began in March. Some have claimed that an original, independent film could no longer be successful in theatres, having any recognizable star and not being connected to an existing franchise or having established characters. In fact, the success of EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE would not have been possible without the buzz created by a theatrical run.
On the one hand, it is true that fewer films are going to theatres and the exclusive window for theatres has been compressed. On the other hand, it’s becoming abundantly clear that day & date releasing does not work well for big studio titles and that Hollywood’s infatuation with streaming has suddenly come up against its own set of challenges. The past few weeks have demonstrated that the exhibition maintains an enduring role in the industry, with a unique financial and cultural impact.