After disappointing ticket sales over Thanksgiving week for the trio of awards-contending films THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN, BONES AND ALL, and THE FABELMANS, their distributors announced that they were moving up their availability on PVOD to December 13th.
This flies in the face of traditional distribution practices for Oscar candidates, which seek to build a buzz around films by showcasing them in theatres throughout the holiday moviegoing period. Alas, all three films’ grosses were insufficient to justify a continued exclusive run in theatres, and perhaps a wider audience will now find them online.
Recently, a string of new releases with awards potential has fizzled at the box office, such as TAR, TILL, ARMAGEDDON TIME, and TRIANGLE OF SADNESS. While critics have praised all these movies, none have managed to top $10 million in their theatrical run. This could signal a fundamental shift in theatrical releasing, with older audiences who showed the most interest in these titles still hesitant to return to the same level of moviegoing they enjoyed prior to the pandemic.
Ironically, just days before the early PVOD announcements for these movies, New York Times awards journalist Kyle Buchannan published an article pointing out that the top films under consideration for this year’s awards are almost all movies that opened in theatres. While THE FABELMANS, EVERYTHING, EVERYWHERE, ALL AT ONCE, ELVIS, and THE WOMAN KING seem to be high in most voters’ lists, films such as BARDO and PINOCCHIO are counter-examples of worthy movies that debuted on streaming and are not factoring in the conversation. It may be that this season’s awards voters demonstrate a preference for theatrical.
See also: Could Theatrical Movies Shut Out Streamers for the Top Oscars? (New York Times)