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Will Disney Kill Movie Theaters?

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Oct 26, 2020.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    Movie theaters may have opened back up, but they aren’t back for good. Cineworld recently suspended operations of their theaters, which includes Regal Cinemas. Cineworld comes in second only to AMC when it comes to being a global exhibitor. With them making that big of a move, I imagine AMC will close back up before the end of 2020, as well. The biggest announcement as of late though was when Disney announced that they were restructuring to account for a greater focus on streaming. Will this move help kill movie theaters even faster than they’ve already been dying?

    In the official press release from Walt Disney:

    “We are strategically positioning our businesses for the future, creating a more effective, global framework to serve consumers worldwide, increase growth, and maximize shareholder value,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company. “With our unparalleled Studio and Media Networks serving as content engines for the Company, we are combining the management of our direct-to-consumer distribution platforms, technology and international operations to deliver the entertainment and sports content consumers around the world want most, with more choice, personalization and convenience than ever before.”

    The key here is direct-to-consumer distribution. Disney+ allows for Disney to keep all of the money they make from new subscriptions. They don’t have nowhere near as many subscribers as Netflix does, which means that there’s room for growth. I recently released a video where I talk about how Marvel is screwing up by not releasing Black Widow on the service.

    Look, I understand that saying Marvel is screwing up is a stretch. We’re simply in unprecedented times. As someone who actually started going to the movies more over the last few years, I completely understand wanting to see movies that way. However, I also noticed that the movie-goin experience at a big chain like AMC wasn’t always all that great. You’ll always have the annoying people who talk loudly during movies or the person who doesn’t turn their phone off.

    As someone who was fortunate to be able to go in the off-hours, I didn’t necessarily experience those. If you arrive a little too early though, you’ll often find yourself sitting through commercials. Not previews, but actual commercials. And then you have to sit through another 20-25 minutes of previews on top of it before the movie even starts. There are plenty of people who will just arrive after the movie’s start time, but you shouldn’t have to. I have this pet peeve about sporting event start times as well. Just tell me when the thing I paid for is actually going to start, please.

    I don’t know what exactly the future holds for movie theaters, but here’s my best prediction. Movie theaters will become a more premium experience (think: Alamo Drafthouse) and the big chains will wind up either closing many theaters or will have to step up the experience that they offer (which will cost them even more money). I don’t want to see Disney completely kill the theaters, but they’ve been in a downward trend for a while now. Making the window from theater to VOD shorter, will help the studios, but not the theaters themselves. It’s a big predicament all around because I think the studios still love the theaters, too. They offer an experience that so few people can get at home, which is exactly why I don’t think Disney will kill theaters completely.


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    paythetab likes this.
  2. paythetab

    Chorus.FM Album Reviewer (Adam Grundy) Supporter

    Interesting article, @Deanna ! I'm fascinated with how the movie industry is responding to the pandemic, and although the short term idea of releasing things directly to digital subscribers hurts movie theaters, it's the most realistic option. I'm curious to see what streaming platform will land the new 007 movie, too. Any thoughts on why DC is being overly cautious with not releasing WW1984?
    Deanna likes this.
  3. JamesMichael

    Creative Developer Prestigious

    Apple seems to be pretty well rumoured at the moment
    paythetab likes this.
  4. beachdude

    I'm not brave Prestigious

    Wait, as in the new James Bond is being rumored to go straight to VOD via Apple instead of theaters?? That would be wild if so.
  5. paythetab

    Chorus.FM Album Reviewer (Adam Grundy) Supporter

    Yep, the original floated price tag by MGM was in the neighborhood of $600 million to have exclusive rights. I think they'll need to bring that tag down even for giants like Netflix and Apple.
    falafelmywaffle likes this.
  6. tyler2tall

    Regular Supporter

    I think Apple would buy MGM outright before it would spend $600 million for the rights to 1 movie.
  7. JamesMichael

    Creative Developer Prestigious

    Yep it's a wild move for sure and weird considering they've cautiously delayed it three or so times since the initial release window due to COVID and cinema turnout.

    If Apple scores the rights though it would be a huge win for them.
  8. disambigujason

    Trusted Supporter

    I’ve never been a big movie theater goer, but I do always look forward to it as an experience. I’ve also never really been cursed with bad attendees. The thought of it becoming a more premium experience is nice, but theaters near me already started doing that and the price jump wasn’t worth it. Cost has never been a prohibitive barrier, but it is already a significant one.
    Deanna likes this.
  9. Deanna

    Trusted Supporter

    Thanks! I think all of the studios want the theater experience for sure. But at this point, I feel like they’ll lose a significant amount of money either way. Disney has the upside of owning Disney+ and therefore can keep all of the $$$ (plus the subs that dropping Black Widow would bring). It’s a little harder to say with WW84, but I think they may just end up holding out until next year in hopes of making all of the money back. I don’t see that happening if they release Christmas Day though.
  10. 333 GANG


    I’d be sad to see theatres go. I didn’t go often, maybe 4 or 5 times a year, but I’ve mostly always enjoyed myself. Something special about going to the movies on opening night for a movie my friends and I were all anticipating.
  11. thecobrakais


    i really hope theaters don't go away. there's nothing that can replace seeing a movie you love on a giant screen with sound that knocks you out of your seat. it's just not something you can really recreate at home.
  12. Fletchaaa

    Trusted Supporter

    Yeah id be bummed I went to the movies so much before covid. Gonna renew my showcase subscription as soon as it makes sense (doesn't make sense now with not a lot of good movies out)
  13. JamesMichael

    Creative Developer Prestigious

    I’d imagine some closing is inevitable at this point. I don’t think they’ll quite go the way of drive thru cinemas though.
    beachdude likes this.
  14. Deanna

    Trusted Supporter

    If the AMC that I was going to managed to stay open, I’ll renew my A-List at some point. But they’re automatically starting it back up again in December so I’ll likely be cancelling it first.

    I seem to have a lot of bad luck when it comes to seeing things in theaters I guess. Drives me crazy when there are 3 seats taken in the entire theater and someone has to pick a seat right next to me.
    falafelmywaffle and paythetab like this.
  15. soggytime


    The sad part is the past few years between Moviepass and then AMC A List, I was able to go see more movies in theaters than ever. However, I can acknowlege that big chains like AMC have been completely mismanaged companies for YEARS, and this pandemic just sped up what was inevitable - theaters will become a more premium service similar to the Drafthouse model, which for the movie-going nerds that like the experience like myself, we'll continue to have that option.

    For the general public that doesn't care, they will have the option to watch movies from the comfort of their homes. At the end of the day, audiences crave new entertainment, and that will continue to be produced by very talented people and seen by millions.

    It might just not be distributed the ways we are used to.

    But hey, this paradim shift might get us some smaller movies again, rather than every single studio project being a gigantic Marvel wannabee.
    Deanna, Orla, beachdude and 1 other person like this.
  16. aoftbsten

    Trusted Supporter

    The theater experience is always truly special to me. Taking a break from the world for 2 hours and just getting immersed in a story is one of the things I've missed the most during COVID.
  17. blink180ryan


    About 10, maybe 15 years ago George Lucas did say eventually the movie going experience will move to peoples homes, via VOD. He's always been ahead of everyone else.