Streaming services help keep some blockbusters locked on the movie calendar

Still from “Raya and the Last Dragon.”


The box-office calendar is shifting as soon as once more. In the final day greater than a dozen Hollywood titles have been displaced from the slate, transferring to later in the yr or into 2022, attributable to the Covid pandemic.

Cinema homeowners, who in December hoped to carry out till March for a slew of recent blockbuster options, are watching as Sony, Disney and MGM postpone main movies.

On Thursday, the newest James Bond flick, MGM’s “No Time to Die,” was pushed from April to October, Sony’s “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” was moved to November, and Sony’s “Morbius” and “Uncharted” exited to 2022. On Friday, Disney shifted a half-dozen movies, together with “The King’s Man,” later into the yr or eliminated them from the calendar totally.

The few movies that stay in February and March are tied to streaming releases. AT&T/Warner Bros.’ “Tom and Jerry” heads to HBO Max and theaters on Feb. 26, Disney’s “Raya and the Last Dragon” will debut in theaters and on Disney+ for $30 on March 5, and AT&T/Warner Bros.’ “Godzilla v. Kong” hits HBO Max and cinemas on March 26.

Lions Gate‘s “Chaos Walking” is the solely main movie launch with no day-and-date streaming plan.

“[Warner Bros.] made the right move all along,” mentioned Jeff Bock, senior analyst at Exhibitor Relations. “They may have not cleared it through the proper channels, and may have ruffled some feathers in the process, but make no mistake, WB is the only studio other than Disney that is really bolstering itself and theaters simultaneously in a way that is safe and responsible.”

The U.S. is recording a minimum of 187,500 new Covid-19 instances and a minimum of 3,050 virus-related deaths every day, primarily based on a seven-day common calculated by CNBC utilizing Johns Hopkins University knowledge.

While President Joe Biden has promised to expedite vaccines throughout the nation, solely round 17.5 million doses have been administered to date.

Studios are frightened that continued will increase in coronavirus instances will keep moviegoers away from cinemas even with new titles taking part in on huge screens. Many of those movies have massive manufacturing budgets and rely on sturdy ticket gross sales to interrupt even.

However, studios which have streaming services have a security web, Bock mentioned. For Warner Bros. the twin launch in theaters and on HBO Max permits it to bolster subscriber sign-ups and earn cash from ticket gross sales.

It’s unclear how profitable that technique has been, as “Wonder Woman 1984” is, to date, the solely Warner Bros. movie to be launched on this vogue. AT&T is about to report quarterly earnings subsequent week, so analysts will probably get a greater sense of how the movie carried out for the firm then.

Disney’s launch of “Raya and the Last Dragon” can also be a primary. Previously, the firm had launched “Mulan” on Disney+ for a $30 premium however didn’t launch it in theaters at the similar time. Disney has but to remark on how “Mulan” carried out for the firm.

“It’s going to be tough sledding for theaters,” Bock mentioned. “[They] will have to rely on indie distributors until at least May.”

Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the mother or father firm of Universal Studios and CNBC. Universal is releasing “No Time To Die” internationally, whereas MGM handles the home launch.

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