The summer of 2020 will be remembered as the toughest time in Hollywood’s history. With the constant rise in popularity of streaming platforms and theatres shut since March, the rather bleak health of the theatre business is in more danger than ever before. While studio executives and theatre owners wonder what the new movie-going experience will be like, everyone is watching the release of Christopher Nolan’s Tenet closely – the first big test of Big Cinema.
In the constantly changing times, businesses are adapting as well. First AMC Theatres and Universal Pictures made a historic deal of collapsing the traditional 90-day window to 17 days. This means that any new feature film can arrive on Video On Demand as soon as 17 days after their theatrical debut. Next, Disney made the unprecedented decision of releasing its summer blockbuster Mulan on VOD.
The Future of Big Screen
The fear and uncertainty triggered by the coronavirus have wreaked havoc on the movie business. On one hand, productions are stalled and on the other theatres are shut with no reopening any time soon. Major studios are losing money on delayed projects each day. Disney’s attempt to release Mulan on VOD will act as a litmus test for the whole industry. The money that Disney will make out of the action-adventure drama will undeniably set a precedent for the Hollywood Business.
However, a new survey from Performance Research in partnership with Full Circle Research has interesting finds. In a sample of 1000 people, 12 per cent of people will prefer to watch a movie in theatre rather than waiting 90 days. Another 15 per cent said they’d like to see the movie in the theatre anyway. To set a contrast 21 per cent would probably wait to watch at home and 23 per cent said they’d surely wait for VOD (priced at $20.)
The public health emergency which has made it unsafe for people to step out of their homes, has made studios consider streaming platforms as a viable option. Most people are likely to feel safe watching a movie from the confinements of their own home than a movie theatre. Some experts note if Mulan earns well on streaming platform, Disney owned Marvel Studios’ Black Widow will be next. The AMC Universal deal already has made some speculate that it will hurt the theatre business and 17-day window will make the audience stay at home.
Watch: Disney Mulan and Black Widow might go to streaming
Nevertheless, the survey finds a negligible difference for theatergoing between a 17-day theatrical window and no window at all. About 15 percent moviegoers confirmed they would choose to see a movie in theatres even if they have an option to see it immediately at home. The survey finds this as the core evidence of people in support of theatre experience once dangers from Coronavirus subsides.
A previous survey done in May by online seller Atom Tickets finds that 25 percent people are willing to return to cinemas as soon as they open whereas 34 percent felt they’d wait a month after they open.
The Curious Case Of Christopher Nolan’s Tenet
The same set of questions were asked about the upcoming movie releases like Wonder Woman 1984, Tenet, Top Gun: Maverick, No Time To Die and more. Interestingly, 16 percent people want to see Tenet and Wonder Woman 1984 only in theatre preceded by Top Gun Maverick (19 per cent) and No Time To Die (18 per cent).
While the sequel of Gal Gadot’s superhero drama is set for October 2020 release, followed by Daniel Craig’s Bond release in November, Tom Cruise’s Maverick will now return only in July 2021. But Tenet, starring Robert Pattinson and John David Washington, is set to release next week on August 26.
Chris Nolan is known to make movies for theatrical experience only. His mind-bending camera tricks are best suited for the theatre-level IMAX resolution, not our home theatres. The movie created quite a stir with its release date. In another unprecedented event, ahead of its US release the movie will be released in 70 countries worldwide along with selective states in the US. This also worries fans and studio execs about both piracy and spoilers.
Hollywood expects Tenet’s release to draw viewers out of their home. Whether the viewer’s preference will translate into box office numbers or VOD soon becomes Hollywood’s new fad. It’s no wonder that all eyes are set on Christopher Nolan’s Tenet.