What’s happening right now at the box office and with theaters goes far beyond weak domestic results of $ 30 million. Principle.
This is not a death knell piece for the show, nor is it more rhetoric to scare the studios and make them delay films even more. Studios, you’ve done enough damage in that space.
It’s more of a Come-to-Jesus: studios and exhibitors, really, you have to work together.
I heard you tried to work together for months during the pandemic before PrincipleIt is scheduled to open in July. But there was a lot of division, not just between you, but also between rival studios.
If there was ever a gap between exposure and distribution, it is now. Some say it is a systemic failure.
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As we write, rumors gurgle that San Diego County could be a purple zone again, with potential theaters impact and closure (Oh, but don’t worry, Kohl’s will remain open). Because of Wonder Woman 1984, Candyman, Greenland, is Black WidowAs the calendar is deeper, some exhibitors may have to close Monday to Wednesday due to lack of products in the following month. The next major studio releases are 20th Century Studios / Disney’s Death on the Nile and Sony Lord & Miller’s Connected. But in reality, the desert length for the exhibit will run until November 20, when MGM’s 007 is screened There is no time to die finally opens. Already, for its theaters in smaller markets, exhibitor n. 2 Regal is already planning to reduce scheduling times to remain financially sound.
“This is the worst thing that could have happened,” says a major circuit insider of the 2020 theatrical release schedule, “having Principle open and nothing behind. It’s the worst possible outcome and we needed it Mulan one-two punch behind it. “
“You want consumer confidence, because this will never go away on its own,” says one buyer of a chain who preferred to stay off the register. “We, as exhibitors, have to stay open.”
So how the hell are we gonna get out?
The general message about theater safety, also known as the National Association of Theater Owners CinemaSafe program, needs to be louder, much STRONGER and more bearable.
The reopening of New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, whenever it is, alone will not solve our box office problems overnight.
“It’s not as simple as that Principle at the box office. It’s a much bigger psychological problem, “says the head of a rival studio about the film show during the pandemic.” There are a lot of conflicting claims that it’s safe and unsafe right now, and that applies to all industries. . It is conditioned behavior and for six months we have been told that you can be hurt if you are in one place, away from home. “
The message that cinemas are safer than restaurants and bars, and that there are no known cases of COVID-19 linked to cinemas, has not been recorded in the public mindset, and certainly not with New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo. , which continues to hold on to multiplex reopenings on AC ventilation issues.
This is despite the fact that gyms, restaurants and casinos (casinos!) Are open in the Empire State. I’m told this week New York health officials will be scanning theaters in the state, which falters at a very good 1% infection rate. Despite being among the first establishments before closing in mid-March to create social distancing, extra cleanliness and touchless parameters for their consumer base, cinemas have been maligned. I understand that there are many people behind the scenes and targeting the public, such as Jane Rosenthal, CEO of Tribeca Enterprises, who is the industry ally when communicating with Cuomo when it comes to the reopening of the show. He recently developed the governor’s PSA “Mask Up America” campaign, starring Paul Rudd, Billy Crystal, and Robert De Niro, which recorded 22 million views nationwide. I’ve heard that directors and stars lobbied Cuomo behind the scenes, and we have yet to see the Governor admit.
Of those who have been asked if they will return to the cinema right now and feel comfortable, there are three groups: enthusiastic explorers (84%), social skeptics (35%) and those who resist health, according to NRG. It is the older, liberal-inclined, typically coastal social skeptics (Christopher Nolan’s audience) who demand the most immediate push. However, the demo wants to feel that it’s safe to go back, not to an exhibition boss or a Kardashian, but rather to the health officials themselves.
Also in the same NRG COVID-19 viewers study on Monday, 51% of viewers feel comfortable or somehow comfortable returning to the theater during the pandemic – a number that has increased from 20% to 30% in the recent weeks, I am told by sources in the studio. However, 49% are still uncomfortable. To complicate matters further, and perhaps another reason why there was no rush to the box office for Principle As US theaters in San Diego and New Jersey opened at the last minute over the opening weekend, only 41% of all potential viewers recently realized their local theater is actually open.
Of the many I have spoken to, they emphatically state that it is not the studio’s job, nor is it the responsibility of directors or stars, to send the message that cinemas are safe. This is the work of the exhibition. That’s why I call bulls assholes. But we’ll talk about it shortly.
Several sources I spoke with blame the National Theater Owners Association for being slow with the CinemaSafe campaign, which was the latest news. That said, the show organization is not a marketing organization and they had their hands busy during the pandemic, battling theatrical window problems (Trolls World Tour), and interfere with DC lawmakers seeking financial assistance from closed exhibitors. Warner Bros., as I’ve heard, gets extra props for their behind-the-scenes assistance to make the CinemaSafe program. As such, we need more studies involved.
Essentially, CinemaSafe’s message has to reach nationwide in TV commercials. It cannot be preached exclusively to the choir on theater screens. Perhaps a medical expert should be included in such announcements. I understand that Dr. Anthony Fauci even approved NATO’s suggested security protocols. The general public needs to know. Perhaps TV commercials for movie trailers need to be tagged at the end, emphasizing CinemaSafe. If Disney + and Netflix can run TV ads in recognition of their brand for its streaming service, the film industry needs to step up and work on a bigger PSA if they want someone to go back to the movies.
How about a NATO-ordered medical study that proves it’s actually safe to be in a cinema, socially remote, wearing a mask and with strangers? From what we know so far, no one has contracted COVID-19 from a movie theater. Such a study could go a long way in convincing stars that it’s okay to promote a film or even support the viewer.
But who will pay for it?
The exhibit is financially short on things and has been closed for months. This is why they require the help of studies. Major, there is no need to present or administer the message that it is safe to return to theaters. But you can help pay the advertising bill. Hey, you studies, you have financially helped the digital and 3D exhibition revolution, so why can’t you help fund the national PR campaign to get back to cinema?
A head of a cinema chain told me yesterday that they will shoot video testimonials of consumers leaving the cinema and post them on social media to generate positive word of mouth. Seriously, good on this one. Loyalty programs should send dormant list messages as soon as possible about cinema safety, even when cinemas are closed in specific markets. AMC has already achieved cleanliness records from its clientele in the past three weeks.
Studio marketing executives praised Nordstrom for how they used social media influencers to attract anxious shoppers; which is the same kind of feel that should be implemented in this scenario with cinemas. Perhaps this is the key to attracting the 52% of teens and 51% of women under 25 who are uncomfortable or go to the theater in recent NRG statistics.
And, great show of the circuit, if distributors end up saving your skins, you have to fold too. Don’t worry, they still believe the big screen is the conduit for later revenue. But if they’ve given you up with major releases for fall, maybe it’s time to experiment with theatrical PVOD day and date windows with an independent distributor and see what happens. We are in a pandemic and nothing is definitive about the business until we get out of it. The teen sequel to Voltage After we collided, distributed by Open Road / Briarcliff, it will be released in theaters and in PVOD on October 23, but the big three circuits turn up their noses despite the photo having obtained half a million in Canada over the weekend.
Voltage Pictures president and chief operating officer Jonathan Deckter says, “There’s no question that we need an exhibition not only to survive, but to thrive in order to keep the independent film ecosystem intact. we understand is why major exhibitors in the US continue to handcuff themselves during this pandemic and are not airing day and date movies. For example, our domestic partners on After we collided (which is the ONLY English language film that is doing pre-pandemic business anywhere it has been released overseas, $ 23 million in its second week in 20 markets) Open Road / Briarcliff are unable to book some chains because we will also be releasing digitally on the same day, so that faithful After fans have access to the film on the same day. It seems the show would rather not have new content, as the studios continue to push their films, rather than temporarily adjusting to the times. “
There was too much pressure Principle to be considered as the feature that would save the national box office, and some say it was still too early to reopen cinemas with no vaccines still in sight.
It will only take patience and time before viewers feel completely comfortable returning.