They’re testing it in the UK, it’s happened once already and the second release will be Matthew McConagaheee* in Serenity, however, I agree with you that it’s not necessarily a good idea. I my eyes a better idea would be a limited 1 day streaming preview a few weeks before the movie comes out. Something like that could really boost a film, especially as audience reviews and critic reviews are straying farther apart. If ten million people watched Bird Box on a limited release, imagine the hype for a cinema release two weeks after with the Bird Box challenge on the go. There’s a few films Ive watched streaming that I wish I could have went to see in the cinema but now it was too late. It’s something that could have really helped Alita for instance, and Spiderverse.
But he’s talking about films where it’s clear they won’t be selling tickets, and they’ll be pulled from screens anyway. Specifically Logan Lucky and Unsane.
Soderbergh said a debut of $15 million would be needed to be considered a success. The film grossed $2.8 million on its first day (including $525,000 from Thursday night previews). It went on to open to $7.6 million, finishing third at the box office, behind The Hitman’s Bodyguard and Annabelle: Creation . In its second weekend, the film took in $4.2 million, dropping 44.2% and finishing 5th, in what was the lowest combined grossing weekend (for the top 10 films) since September 2001.
Luckily Unsane was very cheap (filmed on iPhone, which he’s carried over to his new film), budget of $1.5m.
It probably wasn’t going to get much further unless there was a massive word of mouth boost in week 3.
I don’t think that’s what Jim was saying was the issue. It’s the psychological impact on the consumer of basically giving in, in term of releasing a film. If the distributor doesn’t value it enough to keep it in theaters, why should the audience?
Right, it’s a chicken and egg thing. At this point though it seems like this:
is already happening, has been happening for a while. At least this way the film can still benefit from relatively recent promotion instead of hitting smaller screens 3-6 months later. I can’t be the only person who hears of a film, sees the promo, takes a mental note of “I’d like to see that, but not at the movies” and then has forgotten about the film altogether by the time it’s made available as a download or on streaming services.
Okay so, here’s a formula I think would work.
Netflix bought the rights to the new Zac Efron Ted Bundy movie. Say they want to release it in theaters too, which they will, if very limited.
Step 1 - Schedule a ‘hype’ showing 2 weeks before in a 2 hour window. You miss that window you miss the showing.
Step 2 - Make a song and dance about it and make sure a huge amount of people tune in.
Step 3 - Make a Song and Dance about a huge amount of people watching it.
Step 4 - Release it in theaters.
Step 5 - Make it available for steaming 3-4 weeks later. Because of the hype wave people will not want to wait three to four weeks because you’ll already have hooked them in and they won’t want to wait. Make sure your promotion teams get on reddit snd release memes making fun of users who wait for Netflix releases rather than going to the cinema and lock the psychology of quick cinema to streaming in place without ruining the current system, but adding to it.
Promotion is everything here, but the idea is to promote a new system of how movies are watched then streamed not just promote a movie.
The same way they promoted engagement rings to sell diamonds. You’re not trying to sell one diamond, you’re trying to lock in a way of consumer thinking.
This would definitely work for this movie. And the next two or three they try. Then it wouldn’t.
Everyone seems to be missing that something that might be good for the studios will be terrible for the cinemas. And without healthy cinemas movies are screwed.
No, I agree there, but the fact of the matter is, for nearly every release over the last two years at least, consumers can screen a decent version extremely soon after initial cinema release on apps like Showbox. In my thinking, in order to keep the cinema strong you need to legitimise this and retain the positives of actively going to the cinema itself. The system isn’t broken, but it has a massive crack right down the middle for mid-grade movies and most people I know talk about waiting for “a decent copy,” yet the box office as a whole is doing very well world wide.
People will always want to go to the cinema, this isn’t about the big event films, more the strong smaller films that need a boost. With a 1 day release Bird Box would have been an absolute smash at the cinema based on word of mouth.
I think that the appeal of that is that it’s free and fairly easy to obtain and use. If piracy is so easy then some people will never pay. I bet that they wouldn’t buy a digital version of Aquaman if you released it before it went on Showbox.
My boss quite clearly has money, and though he will go to the cinema for a few things, he’ll stream things quasi-legally or whatever if he can’t find on whichever streaming services that he has.
I do hear plenty of people say that they will wait for something to pop up on Netflix rather than go to the cinema for it, and we always talk about spectacle getting people to the cinema. I just wonder if there’s anything else?
Overall, a decent idea but this would have to change:
It has to be a 24 hour window. Many people’s schedules would never accommodate that narrow of a window.
But this is piracy and literally everybody I know has kodi and downloaded Showbox yet Cinema going was up yet again last year. This issue here is small to mid-range movies, not blockbusters. If your film costs 10-50 million you have everything to gain from a digital preview and quick release after a cinema run as long as that cycle feels right to the consumer. People like going to the cinema and are increasingly disagreeing with critics, yet, in smaller releases critics or shit trailers can hurt a movie. Even larger films stand to gain from a change up. Alita for instance seems to be recommended as a movie worth watching by everyone here and we are the hardest people to please on the planet. Imagine they dropped Alita to stream for one day without even saying and then promoted the fuck out of it. If things aren’t an event film, make them one… change the system to help cinema from the ground up in terms of smaller movies.
I think cinema is about blockbusters now. I think the future of sub $50 mil movies is streaming. With the cost of marketing to get any awareness about cinema releases it makes sense to go to streaming and remove that need. A good third of a budget can be just marketing. Small movies can’t make a dent when Disney are spending $150 million on whatever new monster they’re releasing.
That’s in line with Soderbergh’s take. While he’s had his big films, your Erik Brokovich and Ocean’s trilogy, they’re outliers. Most of his films would do better under the model he proposes. It’s not all that different to “waiting for trade” in comics.
There is room for a few strong ones though, in between the big blockbusters. There’s few smaller movies I’ve waited for and wished I’d went to see them on the big screen. There’s maybe 5 smaller movies last year I would have went to a cinema showing of, just to see it in that setting.
It has been discussed here that some movies may work better when viewed at home in a more intimate setting instead of being plastered on a big screen.
I think some of what would be mid range budget movies ($50-100M) are being turned into TV series. Instead of 2 hours, you’re now getting 10 hours for roughly the same price or even less. Does every concept need 10 hours or multiple seasons to tell its story? No, but some would benefit from having the breathing room.
Would that make the movie even easier to upload on piracy sites?
Surely you’d be spending a similar amount of money to market it no matter where it was released?
Streaming doesn’t need to market. It’s not part of their strategy. They’re not trying to sell tickets, they’re trying to grow subscriptions. It’s a very different dynamic (basically people need to think of streamers as the 21 st century library).
They already are easy to upload as pirate streams. Whilst we are continually told piracy hurts film and TV we have more TV than ever and box office worldwide is doing fantastically. The issue here is what can be done to maximize impact of some movies that may perhaps struggle to find a cinema audience. There’s a reason episodes of TV have been ‘leaked,’ it creates a greater illusion of demand. What the point here is, is to work out a way of creating demand for certain movies. People love paying for stuff no matter what they think, it’s a psychological reaction. The issue is when people don’t get their money’s worth, and that happens often in cinema going. So people stick to stuff they know they will enjoy, but that knowing increases revenue in general. Hence event movies doing so well. Like in the leaking of TV episodes, you create an event by creating fomo (fear of missing out). Yes, people will watch pirated streams, but many will be sucked into the event by missing out on the initial preveiw streamings. It would be canny marketing. As Jim says, streaming is like a library, but you still have book shops despite the advent of libraries simply because, as I said, people want to and enjoy spending money. You making seeing something in the cinema a badge of honour with some good industry wide marketing - in terms of memes, not James Cameron vids telling us why we should pay for cinema tickets - and you strengthen cinema going for the whole industry.
By some quick head math (as I’m in cell because it’s Sunday night dammit) 20 movies accounted for half the box office last year. 50 made up 80% of the box office. There were 800 movies released last year. 700 got less than $20 million in ticket sales. Parker taking a shit should be able to get $20 million in sales. You have to make something really repellant to make less than $20 mil in cinema.
The future of small movies simply isn’t in cinema. They should be singing the praises of streaming, where a shitty movie like Bird Box can get 50 million viewers and ensure no one lost money in the production.
Movies are like comics - only the tip of the spear is making any money. The bulk is a loss.
Maybe all art is like this.