Disney/Marvel’s BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER (pictured) is lifting exhibitor spirits this weekend, but no one film can erase a three-month product drought.
AMC CEO Adam Aron addressed the studios’ pipeline product pinch on AMC’s Q3 investor call. Exhibition’s biggest challenge today, he told analysts, isn’t streaming competition, Covid fears, or devising new release windows. The big problem, per Aron, is “above all else… movie theater operators need more movies.”
No one really knows why studio releases dried up from July through mid-fall. The most commonly reported reason was that post-production houses were slowed down by a logjam of special effects movies after pandemic production delays.
Other observers note that distributors have saved a lot of money by not having to market as many titles as before the pandemic. Marketing costs vary from studio to studio and by genre & by what time of year films open, but there could be $40-60M in savings for a big but not supersized movie.
That cost range reflects not just buying media to advertise a film, but also creative expenses to produce one or more trailers per title as well as tv spots, other video & print materials — plus paying for publicity & promotion campaigns.
Multiply those savings by even a few films and they add up to big numbers.