Will the coronavirus make movie theaters go extinct?

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  1. profile image0
    Stevennix2001posted 4 years ago

    According to various sources, Universal Studios has decided to forgo the theatrical release of "Troll World Tour", in light of the current coronavirus situation, and they're instead opting for a VOD (video on demand) option instead, where you may have to pay around 20 dollars for example to rent the movie online like many are having to do now with such films like "The Invisible Man", "The Hunt" and etc.  No, you won't get to own these digital copies but for twenty dollars, you can rent these movies online.  Needless to say, this has angered theatrical chains like AMC, who said they wouldn't forget about Universal pulling this stunt. 

    After reading various articles about this topic, there's a lot of people who feel this could be the end of movie theater chains as we know it considering if this model is successful, then why even release films in theaters at all when you can do it digitally and cut out the middle man?  And others also go onto to say that given how long this epidemic could last, people could get so used to seeing movies online that seeing movies in theaters will become impractical once the coronavirus has ended.

    Heck, even Wonder Woman 1984 is being rumored to go straight to streaming on HBO Max because of the coronavirus situation.   Granted, Warner Bros. has definitively denied these claims, and insist that the new Wonder Woman film will get a theatrical release, and won't be premiering on HBO Max like rumors are suggesting.  However, that hasn't stopped several writers and youtube critics from speculating, and citing anonymous inside sources, saying how WB is lying, and how they are considering releasing Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max, but don't want the public to know just yet until they made their decision. 

    Grace Randolph from beyond the trailer brought up some interesting points about this situation that I had not considered until she brought it up.   She points out that given the situation, HBO Max coming out in May of this year is arguably the worst timing for a streaming service to come out given the epidemic, and it may make Warner Bros. look bad asking people who are forced to be quarantined and losing their jobs and whatnot to have to pay them money for a streaming service that hasn't been established yet; especially since Hulu, Disney Plus, Netflix and Amazon Prime has already been the comfort streaming services people go to for content, so why should people either add HBO Max or switch to them?  She also brought up how one of the biggest selling points to get HBO Max was to see the highly anticipated "Friends Reunion", but production on that has been put on hold due to the coronavirus, so that may not be available at launch for WB.  She also brought up how another selling point for the service was that it would be the only streaming service to have exclusive access to the Snyder Cut of "Justice League."

    For those of you who don't know.  When Justice League was originally in production, it was set to be directed by Zach Snyder, whom also directed such DC films like "Man of Steel" and "Batman v Superman:  Dawn of Justice."   Regardless of whatever your opinions of those films are, the point is Zach Snyder was originally tasked to direct the Justice League film.  However, due to his daughter committing suicide during post production, he was forced to step away from the project for obvious reasons.  According to Snyder, he was going to take time off to be with his family, and then finish production on Justice League himself.

    However, the problem was that the CEO of WB at the time needed that movie to come out at a certain date, or else he wouldn't get his bonus.  I'm not joking.   Anyways, while Snyder was mourning the loss of his daughter, WB quickly hired Joss Whedon to make the Justice League film more jokey and light hearted in the same vein of Marvel's Avengers film, while using Zach's loss as an excuse saying he left the project because his daughter died, even though that's not actually the case.  Needless to say, the Justice League film was a complete mess that was a huge flop at the box office, and it was universally panned by both audiences and critics.  In fact, Zach Snyder himself has not been shy about voicing his complaints about the Justice League film, and cited how it was drastically different in terms of story and tone that he wanted for the project.  Needless to say, Zach and his many legions of fans have been DEMANDING a Snyder cut of the Justice League film.

    Keep in mind, the Snyder cut of Justice League does exist, and it's finished, BUT the studio would still have to implement the special effects in various blue screen shots, according to various sources.   Now that wouldn't be too hard to do right away before launch of HBO Max right?  Nope because apparently Zach not only wants to finish the CGI for some of the various blue screen shots that he was originally going to use in justice league that weren't used in the theatrical release, but he also wants to shoot a few extra scenes as well.  And given the coronavirus situation, all film studios can't really do that right now for obvious reasons.  Therefore, HBO Max might be dead on arrival given the situation, which is why Grace feels that WB releasing Wonder Woman 1984 on that service at launch might be the best thing for the company overall.

    My thoughts on this situation is this.  While I'm not going to deny any of the arguments that feel this could be the end of movie theaters as we know it, but I will say this.  Part of the reason why streaming has not taken out film theaters is because once you upload a movie online, it becomes very easy to  pirate it.  And according to most programmers and coders, they'll tell you that eliminating piracy is next to impossible.  You can't really stop a person  from pirating a movie these days. 

    And the thing is even though YOU might say you'd be willing to pay say like 20 to 50 dollars to rent a movie online, the problem is you don't speak for everyone in the world.  Seriously, let's look at this logically for a minute.  If you had the opportunity to see for example "Black Widow" on VOD for 50 dollars online, but you also knew of a piracy website that allows you to see the same movie in the same level of quality for FREE, then would you seriously pay money vs seeing the movie for free if you had that option?  You see that's why I personally don't agree with a lot of movie writers and vloggers on this subject, but I could be wrong.

    Heck, I even said this myself to various people that at the end of the day, everything will be clear once "Trolls World Tour" comes out, as I'm going to make a prediction right now.   If "Trolls World Tour" makes a substantial profit...not a billion dollars mind you, but just enough to where it's considered profitable, then yes I do think that will be the end of film theater chains dying out.  But if it's not, then I predict nothing will change and the status quo will be restored once the coronavirus situation settles.  But what are your thoughts? 

    Do you agree with me that film theaters won't go away because of piracy?  Or do you think that Trolls World Tour will be a game changer, and studios will see that releasing films VOD and streaming is way more profitable in the long run for them?  Please discuss.

    1. firstcookbooklady profile image83
      firstcookbookladyposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      Personally, I don't stream...we live in the land of 10,000 lakes, which includes a lot of trees and signal interference. Which means buffering. Poohhh! When I watch a movie at the theater, it's big. There is popcorn and a large drink. We also rent movies from Family Video, and we get our discount by spending an extra couple dollars for the privilege. Sometimes we buy a DVD at Walmart... I guess I compare to George of the Jungle...

      1. profile image0
        Stevennix2001posted 4 years agoin reply to this

        Hey I live in a big city and kind of the same way honestly.  I don't have a streaming service at the moment, but probably will get a subscription once this coronavirus situation is settled.  Also I love George of the Jungle.  Brendan Frasier was awesome in that movie.  smile

  2. FatFreddysCat profile image92
    FatFreddysCatposted 4 years ago

    I doubt this will spell the end of movie theaters. This too shall pass.

    The studios may be jumping the gun by sending their first wave of summer blockbusters direct to streaming. For all we know, these closures could be over with by Memorial Day weekend, and then what have they got to draw people back to the theater? 
    It doesn't make much diff to me personally as I haven't seen a movie in a theater in a couple of years, I am pretty much all streaming all the time nowadays.

    That said, I doubt I would ever pay $20 to "rent" a new release. I'd wait till its price dropped considerably, or till it was offered on one of the streaming services I already pay for. I grew out of the "I have to see the hot new movies as soon as they're released" mindset a long time ago.

    1. Randy Godwin profile image60
      Randy Godwinposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      I heard on the radio there are still almost 400 drive-in movies still in operation today. Their ticket sales have skyrocketed many owners report.

      The last drive-in I visited was back in the 70's and it was an air conditioned drive-in.  Cold or warm air was piped to each vehicle along with the speaker via a window mount.

      No more steamed up windows!  smile

      1. profile image0
        Stevennix2001posted 4 years agoin reply to this

        I always wanted to try a drive in movie theater, but I've never been to one ironically.  lol

    2. profile image0
      Stevennix2001posted 4 years agoin reply to this

      I don't think they're necessarily jumping the gun. I just think they're desperate to save their asses, and get at least SOMETHING during these harsh economic times as a lot of movies were pushed back indefinitely.  Heck, Disney is accumulating a lot of debt right now as well because of the coronavirus, as they're taking a huge hit financially since they had to close down their theme parks across the globe, and halt production on their movies and TV shows.  Yea, you can cite they still have sales from DVDs, Blue Rays and various other merchandise; along with the income they get from Disney plus, but it's not as much to cover their costs there, so I can definitely see why a lot of studios are considering this option if they actually are. 

      I still maintain what I said before, but I seriously doubt theaters will go away.  One thing that a lot of these vloggers and writers kept mentioning was that they kept comparing theaters to old style arcades, Blockbuster video and comic book shops saying how theaters are outdated concepts like those other mentioned examples, and while they present interesting arguments, but those are basically apples and oranges though.

      I could go more into why I think that's not the case for movie theaters, but I don't want to bore you with that.  I just think everyone is desperate right now to make some form of money given the situation.  That's what I think but I do agree with you that most likely once the coronavirus situation is settled, then the status quo, at least when it comes to movie theaters, will slowly go back to the way it was, as I can't see streaming services ever replacing it especially with piracy around.

  3. FatFreddysCat profile image92
    FatFreddysCatposted 4 years ago

    I've never been to a drive-in theater. My major movie-going years coincided with their decline and near-total disappearance (the 1980s).

    There is still a drive-in about 20 minutes from me, over the border in Upstate New York. I've lived in this area for more than 20 years, have driven past it often, and though I have said "We really should check out a movie there sometime," many times, I have yet to actually do so.

    1. Randy Godwin profile image60
      Randy Godwinposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      the only drawback is it's kinda late when it gets dark enough in the summer to start showing a movie. Drive-ins were once a dating couples dream. Ergo the steamed up windows...

    2. profile image0
      Stevennix2001posted 4 years agoin reply to this

      Plus, we also have to keep in mind that companies like Disney are still paying their employees in spite not having much revenue coming in.  All their theme parks are closed, and ESPN barely has anything to talk about because of the coronavirus situation.  Heck, I heard supposedly Disney had to raise 6 billion dollars just to pay off some of their debts and this is only like two weeks going into the shut down, so I don't think it's a matter of jumping the gun per say. I  just think movie studios like Universal are getting desperate like Disney is getting desperate.  That's why I said it'll depend largely how well Trolls World Tour does to be honest.  Granted, I do agree with you that VOD and streaming will not replace movie theaters, but we'll see.  "Trolls World Tour" is going to tell us a lot of things; unless Universal backs out of it, which is possible because they haven't even announced where it'll be available on VOD if at all, which gives them plenty of time to change their minds.

  4. Sherry Hewins profile image92
    Sherry Hewinsposted 4 years ago

    We used to go to the drive-in all the time. I remember watching the first Superman with Christopher Reeves at a drive-in with my husband and kids. If they do away with theaters, that would be a nice alternative to watching on the TV at home.

    1. Randy Godwin profile image60
      Randy Godwinposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      We used to hide two or three people in the trunk so we all didn't have to pay admission. We'd use the extra money to buy snacks at the concession stand.

      Of course, sometimes the people in the trunk would be laughing and we'd get caught.  DOH! yikes

    2. profile image0
      Stevennix2001posted 4 years agoin reply to this

      Well as i said before, I always wanted to try a drive in theater.  Never been to one of those honestly.  lol


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