Theaters’ Plea to Hollywood: ‘Show Movies in Movie Theaters First’

Theaters are struggling to find a place in the movie business since the pandemic hit two years ago due to theaters shutting down and public apprehension to attend a crowded space of strangers. While theaters remained shut down with Covid-19 restrictions, streaming and video on-demand still allowed people to watch new releases. The theater industry however, despite the rapid rise of streaming, insists new movies must be released on the big screen. 

“There’s only one way to create a billion-dollar franchise,” said Adam Aron, chief executive of the world’s largest circuit AMC Theatres in remarks from the Colosseum stage at Caesars Palace on Tuesday. “Show movies in movie theaters first.”

Movie studios, however, are not completely convinced that the decades old business model, where studios play films exclusively in theaters before moving to home video, is the way forward. According the LA Times, “In the most disruptive example, Warner Bros. sent its 2021 flicks to sister streaming service HBO Max for no extra charge, including “Godzilla vs. Kong” and “Mortal Kombat.” Comcast’s Universal Pictures and ViacomCBS’ Paramount Pictures have experimented with simultaneous releases for, respectively, “The Boss Baby: Family Business” on Peacock and “Paw Patrol: The Movie” on Paramount+.”

Some studios are inching away from same-day streaming releases and others are agreeing to shorten the window in which the movie stays in the theater from 90 days to 30-45 days. Disney will release Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” exclusively to theaters and Warner Bros and AMC signed a deal for a 45-day exclusive theatrical release starting next year.

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