Oscar-hopeful films feel a little hopeless in today’s theatrical landscape
The Future. Prestige movies from Hollywood specialty labels are not doing the business they used to, barely making a blip at the box office — and then disappearing by the time you’ve heard of them. While no one expects these films to be blockbusters (and they are racking up awards)… the lack of revenue may make Hollywood reconsider how to platform these kinds of movies in the post-COVID age.
Are these all the receipts?
The fall movie season has seen a precipitous fall at the box office, reports NYT.
- Several high-profile dramas — including Armageddon Time, Tár, She Said, and even Steven Spielberg’s The Fablemans — have fallen short of $10 million at the box office since their debuts several weeks ago.
- By any measure, that’s not great… especially as many of these films cost anywhere from $30 million to $60 million to make and market.
And it’s not that these films aren’t good — reviews across the board are great, and many will receive Oscar nominations (which hopefully will juice viewership).
So, the multi-million dollar question is: “why aren’t people showing up?
- There’s no single reason, but one take is that people “have grown comfortable watching these movies at home,” according to film consultant David A. Gross.
- That could be true, but also where these movies debut could play a role, with many tastemaker chains (ArcLight, Landmark) either gone, or downsized.
- And how they’re released has also transformed, with films barely having enough time to register at the box office before migrating to PVOD or streaming.
In previous years, movies would play at a few theaters and then slowly expand screen count as word of mouth grows — going wide as award nominations accrue. It was the classic watercooler effect… before people started working remotely, and Twitter became the new watercooler.
But maybe tastes have changed, and people want to experience something unmissable and eventized in theaters, like the surprise A24 phenomenon, Everything Everywhere All at Once, or Top Gun: Maverick — both of which played for a long time, made a bunch of money, and are now getting nominated for awards. They’ll probably play great at home too