The COVID pandemic put theaters in a tough spot.
According to a breaking story from Variety, Cinemark has reached a deal with the five major studios that could limit the theatrical window, meaning movies can and will hit streaming faster.
This isn't the first deal Cinemark has signed since COVID ravaged the world. They made a deal with Universal in early November that allowed the studio to put new movies on premium VOD platforms only 17 days after they open in theaters. In that deal, films that made at least $50 million opening weekend had to play exclusively in movie theaters for 31 days.
We have no new details on the deal struck with the other studios, but it would seem to be very similar to the one above. Cinemark has said that “each deal has unique attributes specific to the individual studio that mutually benefits both parties.”
So we wonder what the differences could be—it seems like these will be based on what each studio uses as their streaming service. We know Paramount plans to put all new releases onto Paramount+ after 45 days. I wonder if Disney and Universal have similar plans.
Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi said in an official statement, “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.”
He continued, “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.”
It will be interesting to see how this shakes out. Obviously, theatrical has changed a lot in the last year, but these pivots are creating a very interesting future. We are really seeing movie theaters changing into event spaces, where you take advantage of the huge screen and audience for blockbusters. But how will this affect other genres? Will we all cry as a group anymore? And what about comedies? Will this change what studios buy?
Time will tell, but cinema is never going back to the way it was just a year ago.