Turns out going to theaters is the better business after all

Putting your movie in theaters before streaming is the move if you want to milk every potential dollar of revenue.

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The Future. It’s official, putting your movie in theaters before streaming is the move if you want to milk every potential dollar of revenue you can get out of it… or even just to make sure people know it exists. That’s a major vibe shift from the narrative of the streaming wars and may lead to a renaissance at cinemas, which have been hungry for more films to show so they can keep the lights on.

Communal marketing
Roth Capital Partners analyst Eric Handler says studios have “come to recognize that having an exclusive theatrical window is the best way to maximize profits instead of releasing everything simultaneously on demand.” 

Here’s why:

  • Hollywood’s shift to streaming has cost a lot of money (like billions in debt money), just as Wall Street became unimpressed with subscriber growth.
  • When a movie goes to streaming, the only value it creates is more subscribers. But when a film opens in theaters, it brings in theatrical revenue, on-demand rentals, and then goes to streaming to bring in subscribers.

And with the box office up 36.8% from last year (and 589.5% from 2021!), the audience is slowly returning to pre-pandemic levels.

Big tech hits the big screen
Considering all the benefits of releasing a movie in theaters, Amazon and Apple have decided to invest a billion dollars per year in theatrical films. Amazon started that experiment last week with Ben Affleck’s Air, which opened to a solid $20 million.

Neither company needs the box office revenue, but it’s proven that movies get a huge marketing bump just by being in theaters, even if they don’t make much money. The awareness is sticky enough to make people check it out when it hits streaming. That’s what each company is after.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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