After five long months, there are finally new releases showing in movie theaters. In the United States, 68% of theater chains have opened, but the three biggest movie markets — Los Angeles, New York, & San Francisco — are not. What does this mean for movie theaters? What does this mean when it comes to the movie going experience? Well, with the new release of Warner Brother’s $200 million film, Tenet, we are starting to get some answers.
Warner Brothers and Tenet director, Christopher Nolen, released the film theatrically on September 5th with the hopes of being the saviors of the theater industry,. However, that wasn’t the case. In its first two weeks, Tenet collected around $30 million in the United States. It’s obvious that audiences are not risking their lives to go watch a 2-3 hour film with complete strangers. But 97% of audiences that did go watch the film were satisfied with the safety protocols.
Even as someone who loves the movie theater experience, I don’t plan on going anytime soon. Why would I, when I can watch other movies through streaming? This is how most movie audiences are thinking today. Now, we expect to have films instantly via streaming. Audiences expect to enjoy films from the comfort of their homes. Yes, experiencing a movie at home is not the same as in theaters, but safety and comfort come first.
Other films have now moved their theatrical releases towards the end of the year or even to 2021 to avoid the same fate as Tenet. Others are going directly to streaming, such as Disney’s live-action film Mulan. Disney did something other streaming services have not done before: Mulan was released on Disney+, but subscribers had to pay a one time fee of $30 to access the film. While Disney has not released any numbers, analysts estimate that roughly 9 million users paid $30 for Mulan. With that being said, Disney will keep 100% of the profits, unlike if it were released in theaters.
Although the movie experience has changed, consumers are still willing to pay for it. It’s becoming more obvious that streaming has grown into a massive threat for theater chains. The longer this pandemic goes on, the less audiences will appreciate the movie going experience.
Itzell Ramirez-Lopez is a marketing intern for Worthix. She is currently a fourth-year at the University of Georgia pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Marketing, with an emphasis in Digital Marketing. She is also pursuing a certification in Legal Studies. She will be graduating in May 2021.