2020 At The Boxoffice

Jake Lipson

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I don’t think Fauci is wrong.
I agree. I meant more that it would be nice if he was because everyone would love to be back to normal sooner. I didn't mean to imply that I actually think he is. But that underscores the issue that Disney faces with Black Widow. Assuming that Fauci is correct, then moving Black Widow to February where The Eternals is now wouldn't really make much difference in terms of its box office potential. That would simply be delaying the inevitable soft numbers that Tenet is currently generating.

Based on Fauci's timetable, the earliest possible date when we're back to normal and Black Widow could make its normal amount of money would be November 2021. That assumes everything goes perfectly between now and then, which is not a reasonable assumption. As you've noted both here and in the Soul thread, I'm not sure that it makes much sense for Disney to hold onto the film (and their entire subsequent MCU slate) for that long. Kicking it back three more months won't do it.

That's the challenge they are facing from a scheduling standpoint.
 
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Worth

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...I think a lot of people, well intentioned as it may have been, have been cheerleading this as a “2020” issue to try to keep morale from sinking too far, but this doesn’t go away in January. If anything, it could very well be worse then. It’ll be flu season, it’ll be very cold in much of the country, we’re sending kids back to school even though the science doesn’t support it, and we’re opening restaurants and other indoor recreational and social gathering spots against medical advice, and we don’t have a handle on testing. As a society, we did very little of what we were supposed to do with the time the shutdown bought us, and there’s no political or social will to mandate another one, even if conditions are worse than they were when the original shutdown went into effect...
I'm in Canada, and even though things are much better here over all than they are in the US, our numbers have tripled in the last few weeks.
 

Josh Steinberg

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I'm in Canada, and even though things are much better here over all than they are in the US, our numbers have tripled in the last few weeks.
That’s unfortunate. :(

I hope you and yours are able to stay as safe as possible where you are.
 

Worth

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I’m not sure that I agree. I think what killed off adult-only mid-budget fare at the box office was the evolution of prestige content for home viewing, first on premium cable and then more so with subscription streaming...If you look at what’s popular in prestige television, the people in it and the people working behind the scenes on it, and the source material (when not original), it’s all stuff that ten years ago would have been theatrical movies. And it’s capturing that place in the zeitgeist that movies used to; water cooler talk at the office is now about the latest streaming hit...I think it’s a really difficult sales pitch to make to people who aren’t theater enthusiasts: inconvenience yourself and pay more now instead of waiting a short period to see it conveniently at home virtually for free...
While I agree with that to some extent, there is still an audience out there for something beyond the latest Star Wars or Marvel offering. In the past few years. Us, Glass, Hustlers, A Star is Born, Get Out, A Quiet Place, Crazy Rich Asians, Hidden Figures, La La Land, and Baby Driver all made over $100 million against small to medium budgets.
 

Josh Steinberg

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While I agree with that to some extent, there is still an audience out there for something beyond the latest Star Wars or Marvel offering. In the past few years. Us, Glass, Hustlers, A Star is Born, Get Out, A Quiet Place, Crazy Rich Asians, Hidden Figures, La La Land, and Baby Driver all made over $100 million against small to medium budgets.
Thats absolutely true.

I think one of the other issues is that there’s simply too much content out there. It is possible for a handful of films to break through and find success. But it may also be the case that too much content is being produced at present between theatrical and streaming and cable.
 

Jake Lipson

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But it may also be the case that too much content is being produced at present between theatrical and streaming and cable.
If they're all finding audiences, then it's not too much content. But it's enough that people have to pick and choose what they want to spend time watching, which limits the number of things that everyone will see.

The DC TV shows on the CW are a good example. I am not a comics reader, but I will often go to see comic book movies in the theater. But when I look at what the CW is doing -- I've lost count of how many shows there are now. I simply don't have the time to watch five or six series that interconnect to each other and cross over frequently. I'm not making any judgments as to whether the shows are good or not, since I haven't seen them. But I don't want to have to watch five or six shows weekly in order to understand what's going on in one of them. So I just pass on the whole thing as "not for me." It might well be good, but that's not a time commitment that I want to make. Whereas if a new Wonder Woman comes out in theaters every few years, I know I can go to that and understand it and enjoy it and be fine, so I will. (At least, not during a pandemic.). Because I don't have to spend several hours a week trying to keep track of what's going on in the movie.
 
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Ejanss

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While I agree with that to some extent, there is still an audience out there for something beyond the latest Star Wars or Marvel offering. In the past few years. Us, Glass, Hustlers, A Star is Born, Get Out, A Quiet Place, Crazy Rich Asians, Hidden Figures, La La Land, and Baby Driver all made over $100 million against small to medium budgets.
One of the problems is the Writers' Strike of '08, that finally drove a wedge between studios and the spec-screenwriters that GIVE us the Stories Nobody's Ever Heard Of Before Now.
The other was Warner's embarrassment of riches in '01, when they had the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings series within a month of each other, each promising a whole franchise-slate of serialized movies already written and already in production to deliver one a year by the clock, so audiences would know what movie they were going to see next November or December at this time next year.

And then in '10, when Marvel took their already-written stories and turned it into a "universe", every studio wanted to take something they already owned, and turn it into a three-year-announcement of release dates for their own recognized pop-culture franchise, even if they had to hire Alex Kurtzmann to write every single danged one of them. (Which resulted in Universal's Tom Cruise "Mummy", the movie that will forever be carved on its tombstone.)

And where were all those imaginative struggling writers coming up with the next generation of new stories?
Since they knew they were never, ever going to sell their scripts to mainstream studios again, they set out to become Bold, Independent Filmmakers, drowned us in self-indulgent Indies with no higher mainstream-commercial studio authority to kill their script darlings, and made industry-crushing pests of themselves.
 

Jake Lipson

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I will be delighted to take a safe, tested and scientifically proven vaccine as soon as it is available to me. And then I look forward to going back to the movie theater.
 
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Jake Lipson

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The New York Times ran an article titled "Movie Theaters Returned, The Audience Didn't, Now What?" which found its way into my Facebook feed. However, it's behind a paywall so I can't access it. I thought I'd post it here in case anyone who does subscribe there could tell us generally what it says, because it is something that sounds interesting.

 

Worth

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The New York Times ran an article titled "Movie Theaters Returned, The Audience Didn't, Now What?" which found its way into my Facebook feed. However, it's behind a paywall so I can't access it. I thought I'd post it here in case anyone who does subscribe there could tell us generally what it says, because it is something that sounds interesting.
It's more or less the same as this:
 

Josh Steinberg

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I am not remotely surprised that Mulan could potentially have pulled in well in excess of $200 million domestically. And given the lower distribution costs from using their own platform, $200 million from PVOD is probably worth $300 million from theaters since they have to share far less of the gross, didn’t have to send out thousands of hard drives and didn’t have to spend hundreds of millions on advertising.

Hey Warner, I got $30 for you if you can get me Tenet by the end of the month.
 

Sean Bryan

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The New York Times ran an article titled "Movie Theaters Returned, The Audience Didn't, Now What?" which found its way into my Facebook feed. However, it's behind a paywall so I can't access it. I thought I'd post it here in case anyone who does subscribe there could tell us generally what it says, because it is something that sounds interesting.

When you see articles like this that are behind an access wall, if you are using an iPad select “show reader view” and a good number of times it bypasses that restriction and you can read the article. It works with this one.
 

Jake Lipson

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if you are using an iPad select “show reader view"
Thanks for the suggestion, but I don't have an iPad. I just use my laptop.

On another note, I checked the seating chart for a few movies at my local Cinemark today. Although there's no way I'm going to go, I was curious to see how they were doing, and reserved seating makes that possible.

One screening of Tenet that I checked had 4 tickets sold in the entire auditorium, in two groups of two who were seated several rows apart from each other.

Several other screenings I checked had zero seats sold.

There were no screenings of anything listed to start prior to 4:00 in the afternoon. Prior to the pandemic, they would show movies all day long during the week even if it was a workday. The last movie I saw there was Onward on March 6, and it started in the 11:00am hour.

Maybe things will be a little better tomorrow because it's the weekend. However, nothing has been sold in advance for the showtimes I checked tomorrow, when they are open all afternoon and evening. My parents pointed out that people could just walk up and get tickets before the showtime, which is what we normally did pre-COVID, but obviously purchasing online reduces contact with box office personnel. I know the chains are encouraging this now.

I don't see how this is sustainable. I'm not sure if it's worse to be closed and still having to pay rent when they can't legally make any money, or being open to paltry attendance. Their staff has to be paid the same to work there whether people come in or not. If they're closed, there are a lot of expenses they don't need to pay, like employee salaries and for the food items they bring in to sell.

My independently owned arthouse, which is about five minutes away from the Cinemark has not yet announced any plans to reopen, even though they would be allowed to do so. I bet they are looking at the sales for Cinemark too and might not feel it is worth reopening at this time. They have had a few outdoor screenings on a large portable projector screen which have apparently done well, but no timetable for a reopening of the indoor physical theater has been announced.
 
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