Analyst Predicts Studios Will Shorten 90-Day Theatrical Window – I’m On Board

Universal/Disney Studios will shorten 90-day theatrical window according to a Wall Street analyst. The film industry was thrown into chaos with the Coronavirus crisis, and we don’t fully know how things will change going forward. For now all movies due for theatrical release have either been delayed or moved into home streaming early.

Now a report featuring some predictions from Wall Street analyst Robert Fishman of MoffetNathanson has been published. We got those details via Deadline‘s coverage of this report. Fishman says that the future is uncertain for theater chains, especially for movies expected to take a low, to medium box office take. Fishman also predicts that the traditional 90 day window between theatrical release and home release will be shorted. He also thinks Universal will be the studio most aggressively leading this new strategy.

“This time is different in that all of the major studios … are likely to be more aggressive with windowing strategies. As long as multiple studios push forward with PVOD or some other form of window changes, the balance of power in favor of studios shifts even more in their favor and reduces the leverage the exhibitors have as they would be unlikely to boycott multiple studios’ upcoming releases. The standard 90-day ‘dark period’ between theatrical release and home video is an inefficient period that studios can no longer afford. It’s hard to see how mid-budget, non-tentpoles will be worth the cost and expense of traditional theatrical distribution.”

Fishman also said that whilst Disney will still be pushing for theatrical releases, he thinks they’ll also look to shorten the theatrical 90 day window.

“While we still expect all of their tentpoles to premiere on the big screen, we think Disney could continue to be more aggressive in shortening the window between the theatrical debut and when the movie hits Disney+.”

A Tricky Problem To Solve?

This is a tricky subject, one one hand I don’t want to see small theaters out of business. I also don’t want to see the disappearance of low-mid budget movies. However, I am also a movie fan and a consumer. The truth is, as a consumer, I want movies to appear on streaming services much quicker than they do now. I guess it depends where your heart lies when it comes to your love of film. I’m not that excited by theaters other than big tentpole movies that create a crowd experience.

For example, Avengers: Endgame was a movie that just worked so well in a theater, but most movies I prefer to watch at home. The only reason I don’t wait for home release for all the movies I want to watch is spoilers. You really can’t do my job if you can’t handle a few spoilers, but the first few weeks of a movies release, the internet is on fire. You just couldn’t realistically avoid theaters and also avoid spoilers. So shortening the 90-day window is not going to stop me from seeing any movies at theaters I would have anyway. However, if this change is made, it allows me to catch movies quicker that I might have chosen against watching in theaters.

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Way I see it, you cannot stop progress. This current crisis is the perfect opportunity for studios to push in a different direction. We can see how this change has helped studios like Universal already. But we also know that theater chains were not happy with Universal. Ultimately, the studios will win, because they own the movies. Studios could theoretically move to a complete home release model and still turn profit. Therefore, for me, the theaters need the studios more than the studios need the theaters. However, this may well be the first time in film history where this is the case. Go back far enough and no matter how good a movie you paid for, you needed a theater to show it to make money.

So I’m ready to see theater chains fight back for their life after Coronavirus. However, I’m pretty sure only the biggest and best will make it out the other side. But did we cry for preservation so much when the newspaper industry died, or Radio? Again, you cannot stop progress, not forever anyway. Let us know what you think of this prediction that Studios will shorten 90-Day theatrical window?

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SOURCE: Deadline

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