How Major Streamers and Theater Blockbusters Can Work Together
By Movieguide® Staff
The rise in popularity for streamers and the closures of theaters changed the entire landscape of movie releases in 2020. While many see the shift in how audiences watch blockbuster movies as a sign of a new normal, other industry executives claim that the two mediums could benefit from working together.
Without question, Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, and other growing streaming platforms led entertainment during the pandemic. However, as the traditional box office begins to recover with solid performances like A QUIET PLACE PART II, the theater’s longevity is in less doubt.
In 2020, Disney announced that they would renew their focus (and funds) on their streaming service, Disney+. However, executives at the company also noted that they would not neglect theatrical releases.
“We had a $13 billion box office [in 2019], and that’s not something to sneeze at. We built those franchises through the theatrical window,” Disney CEO Bob Chapek said at the studio’s December 2020 Investor Day while discussing the future of Disney+.
“It was much more of an opportunity and something that excited [me] when [Disney executive chairman and former CEO] Bob Iger asked us to start working on shows for Disney+,” Marvel’s Kevin Feige said later in 2021.
Disney’s newest Marvel projects provide a telling gauge for the possible effects of having tentpole theatrical releases and streaming series work together.
If anything, Disney+ hasn’t buried the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but rather has enhanced it. The streaming service has become an outlet where Feige and his team can expand the storylines of secondary characters they normally couldn’t chiefly focus on in the comic book movies, like Wanda Maximoff and Vision in the first MCU Disney+ series WandaVision; Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier; and Thor’s Loki, whose self-titled series dropped June 9. Feige is using these Disney+ MCU shows to weave in and out of the label’s big-screen movies…
In regards to concerns over whether Disney+ MCU shows will cannibalize the future box office of the brand’s superhero movies, which have grossed well over $22.5 billion, Feige isn’t worried. He told Deadline back in January, “As long as [the series] are different, as long as they’re unique and some of the characters might cross over and the Marvel logo is at the front, if they’re unique and interesting stories, that doesn’t go out of style.”
While streaming success has proven more difficult to track, moral content leads the way in box office recovery. Whether the future of entertainment is Netflix or AMC, content is what will ultimately drive audiences.
Movieguide® recently reported:
Paramount’s A QUIET PLACE PART II became the highest-grossing movie in the pandemic with a robust theatrical opening and no release on a significant streamer.
The movie, created by and starring John Krasinski and his wife Emily Blunt, reached a total of $109.3M this past weekend, barely ousting Lin Manuel Miranda’s new musical IN THE HEIGHTS for the top spot.
According to Box Office Mojo, Warner Bros.’s IN THE HEIGHTS earned 11.5M over the weekend, followed closely by PETER RABBIT 2: THE RUNAWAY.
A QUIET PLACE PART II and PETER RABBIT 2: THE RUNAWAY were released with a theatrical window, while Warner Bros.’s deal with the streamer HBO Max means that IN THE HEIGHTS is day-and-date for the first 31 days.
However, the top three movies prove Movieguide®’s claim that movies with moral, biblical, and family-friendly content lead box office numbers, pandemic or not.
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