- The Streaming Future Is Already Here for the Movie Business
- Cinema vs streaming: The battle over when and where you can see movies
- Why cinemas will bounce back from the Coronavirus crisis
If cinemas weren’t already in trouble due to the pandemic, they are now in bigger trouble as Warner Bros. have announced to stream all their 2021 movies via HBO Max on the same day as theatrical releases. Typically, movies are screened in theatres exclusively before digital release around 90 days later. The Warner Bros./HBO Max plan will cut this “theatrical window” basically to zero days, slashing the “earlier-release” edge off from cinemas.
Following the announcement, theatre stocks in the US (Cinemark, AMC, IMAX) plummeted.
- Christopher Nolan (“Tenet”, “Inception”) is in ‘disbelief’. He was not informed of this arrangement despite being among Warner Bros.’ top filmmakers
- Denis Villeneuve (“Dune”, “Arrival”) is worried Warner Bros. has killed the “Dune” franchise
Silver lining for silver screens?
To compete with streaming platforms, cinemas should utilise their difference and market themselves as an experience rather than a viewing medium:
- Cinemas can’t beat the comfort of viewers’ own homes BUT can offer the ‘Cinematic Experience’ (i.e. atmosphere, screen size, sound system)
- Cinemas can treat tentpole/prestige releases as an ‘event’ (‘Film Release’ NOT ‘Streaming Flick’)
Video killed the Radio Star
…Unless the radio star turned to podcasts. It’s definitely a ruthless uphill battle for cinemas, but with the right strategy and adequate COVID measures, a bounce-back is not impossible. HBO Max is not available in Malaysia yet, so our cinemas should capitalise on this head start.