Audiences Are Returning to Theaters, But Where Are The Movies?

Photo by Felipe Bustillo via Unsplash

Audiences Are Returning to Theaters, But Where Are The Movies?

By Movieguide® Contributor

Many worried about the future of movie theaters at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, citing low audience numbers as a cause for concern. However, with several box office successes in the past two years, Cinemark CEO Sean Gamble said theaters should be worry about a different problem: a shortage of new movies to play. 

Many studios pushed their movies back to 2023 as they continue to focus on streaming content. 

“We expect that to be a challenge for the entirety of this year – we don’t see those gaps filling in,” Gamble explained. 

Despite these issues, Cinemark reported high first-quarter earnings. According to Deadline, “Total revenue came in at $460.5 million, compared with $114.4 million in the year-earlier quarter. Analysts’ consensus estimate was for $447 million.”

Gamble said he expects Cinemark’s numbers to get back to normal by 2024. 

Movieguide® previously reported on the issues movie theaters have been facing over the last few years:

Amid movie studios’ struggle to figure out how to compete and work alongside streaming services over the last few years, President and CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners John Fithian said that the same-day release model is “dead.”

Fithian told attendees of CinemaCon that the same-day release model for theaters and streaming services is over and that they should seek out a new solution. 

“I am pleased to announce that simultaneous release is dead as a serious business model, and piracy is what killed it,” he said. “When a pristine copy of a movie makes its way online and spreads, it has a very damaging impact on our industry.”

The method was pioneered by Warner Bros. in 2020 when Covid-19 first hit. 

At the top of moviemaker and theater owners’ list of issues is piracy. 

Charles Rivkin, CEO of the Motion Picture Association, said, “On average pre-release piracy can take away as much as 20% of box office revenue — your revenue. And with the right efforts to build awareness with consumers, lawmakers, and the media, we can continue to build a culture that recognizes piracy for what it is — theft, pure and simple, and a direct threat to creators, the creative workforce and the creative community everywhere.”

The same-day release model was originally adopted due to the public’s hesitance to go to movie theaters during the pandemic. However, people are returning to theaters, and theater owners and movie makers are breathing a sigh of relief.