There’s no denying the movie theater landscape is changing. The Covid-19 pandemic threw the industry a huge curveball in 2020 and movie studios had to find ways to adapt to delays or home entertainment releases. Now theaters are getting back to business, but not as usual. Cinemark recently inked a new deal with five major movie studios that could change the length of time is required to be in theaters before moving to VOD.
The deal includes Warner Bros. Picture Group, The Walt Disney Company, Paramount Pictures and Sony Pictures Entertainment. Cinemark said that “each deal has unique attributes specific to the individual studio that mutually benefits both parties.”
“Cinemark is thrilled to have reached new agreements with our major studio partners, and we are eager to continue providing movie fans an immersive, larger-than-life cinematic environment to see major upcoming films, ranging from the biggest blockbusters to specialty fare to family-friendly content,” said Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi. “In our ongoing efforts to maximize attendance and box office during the pandemic and beyond, our goal is to provide the widest range of content with terms that are in the best long-term interests of Cinemark, our studio partners and moviegoers. We are pleased with these recent developments and are confident we are taking positive steps toward reigniting theatrical exhibition and evolving the industry for a post-pandemic landscape.”
Earlier this year, Cinemark Theaters agreed to a proposal from NBCUniversal to allow movies to be released on VOD early, contingent on the film’s box office performance. The agreement stipulated that movies that earn more than $50 million during opening weekend will have to remain in theaters for at least 31 days including five weekends, while titles that make less than that can head to digital after just 17 days.
Warner Bros is another example of a studio opting for a more hybrid approach. The studio currently has a deal with HBO Max to debut their new releases on the streamer the same day as theaters.
Having a shorter theatrical window on films is beneficial to movie studios since they generally make the big bucks during the first couple of weekends. After that, they have to keep spending more on marketing to drive audiences to the theater.