Could Movie Theatres Go Away?
This pandemic will change the landscape of America. The combination of the economic, confidence, and health blows to American culture; the pandemic will have had a significant psychological impact on how we spend money, how we invest, go about our way of life, entertainment, etc. One of these game-changers might just be a movie on-demand format vs. the movie theater.
AMC announced that they would no longer show Universal Studios produced movies in their 1000 plus theaters. Universal Studios has decided to simultaneously show newly released films in a movie on-demand format in the comfort of one's home and release their movies at movie theaters. In a statement, AMC said:
"AMC believes that with this proposed action to go to the home and theaters simultaneously, Universal is breaking the business model and dealings between our two companies. It assumes that we will meekly accept a reshaped view of how studios and exhibitors should interact, with zero concern on Universal's part as to how its actions affect us."
They are not only breaking the model; they are giving the consumer what they want - an economical way to safely watch new movies....and this might not be just temporary. If a giant like Universal Studios is moving in this direction, who is to say others will not follow eliminating the need for 1000's of movie theaters nationwide. Disney has already set up its Disney on demand. They could quickly adapt to this model.
Remember Drive-in movie theaters? They started their decline in the '70s as the VCR technology came on the scene, and people were looking to save money because of the oil crisis and inflated cost of gas. Now there is less than 300 still in existence.
Let's face it - between tickets and popcorn/drinks, a family of 4 is going to drop 100 bucks to see a movie. It will be a long time before people are going to be that confident, spending money in that manner by the masses. Plus, there is the safety/psychological aspect of a pandemic and going to a public place. It is a little tough to eat popcorn through a mask.
My point is this - Movie Theaters and Hollywood can't survive the time it is going to take to get back to the new normal. Also, the new normal probably is not going to look like the old normal. Universal Studios is just changing and surviving with the times. However, like a lot the things with the new normal, consumers might only find that they prefer watching newly released movies at home. It looks like movie theaters are going to be a trend of the past at this rate and another casualty of Covid-19.