Hollywood gears up for a volatile year – The Hollywood Reporter
Hollywood studio executives breathed a sigh of relief in October and November when the overall comfort level for the cinema averaged 76%, the best of the COVID-19 era. While consumers aged 35 and over were even more nervous than their younger counterparts, progress was being made. Yet those comfort levels fell 10 points to 66% over Christmas – the lowest since August, during the Delta Wave – as COVID-19 cases rose again due to the omicron variant, according to the National. Research Group, which polls moviegoers every week.
The box office resumption was again in jeopardy. Of course, the December superhero blockbuster Spider-Man: No Path Home did huge business – the box office is now owned by men aged 18-34 – and families have come forward for Sing 2. But adult rates like West Side Story, Matrix resurrections and The king’s man blocked.
Omicron capped a year of financial and existential crisis for Hollywood as other adult films languished. Studios rushed to get their movies home early, starting with Universal, which made landmark deals with theater owners to make the studio’s movies available on premium VOD for $ 19.99 as early as 17 days after the start. openness, a practice that others quickly followed. And the chaos continued as WarnerMedia implemented its plan to make all of its 2021 available simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max. Disney tried out various designs, including the opening Black Widow and Jungle cruise, among other titles, in theaters and on Disney + Premier Access ($ 29.99). Warners has pledged to return to an exclusive 45-day theatrical release in 2022, while Disney holds its cards closer to the chest.
NRG Executive Vice President Ethan Titelman said: “We were all hoping 2021 would be a major comeback year for the theater industry, but like so many other aspects of our lives, it has been a year full of beginnings and successes. ‘stops and we are all still assessing the lasting damage the pandemic has caused. There have certainly been some bright spots, like in October when the box office hit 88% of average levels from 2015 to 2019. It showed that we can get back to something close to normal with the right content and the right publication strategies. “
He adds: “There is also a realization that the world has changed forever. The bar for what kind of film is worth it in theaters is getting higher and higher; 2022 will be a pivotal year in bringing all audiences, especially older moviegoers, back into the habit of seeing [films] on the big screen in a common setting.
Sony was the ultimate winner at the end of the year, thanks to fans flocking to see Venom: let there be carnage and Christmas blockbuster Spider-Man: No Path Home, which grossed nearly $ 1.4 billion and is the first film to do business at the pre-pandemic level.
It’s never good when a demo – in this case, of males between the ages of 18 and 34 – leads the box office. “Yes, it has been more difficult in these times to maximize a diverse range of films,” said Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, director of international distribution for Universal. “Audiences tend to come for that particular movie or that special experience, but they haven’t completely changed their ways yet. I think that will change over time.
A glimmer of good news apart Spidey: Now that children over 5 can be vaccinated, more and more families. Animation of Universal and Illumination Sing 2 earned $ 145 million to date. “It could become a leaner, meaner business with fewer theaters chasing the same dollars,” says Paul Dergarabedian of Comscore. “It’s a conundrum for the industry. They have to bring the old people back. It is a problem.”
“2021 has been a transitional period of experimentation,” said Chris Aronson, chief national distribution for Paramount. His studio released far fewer films than its rivals but released on one of the highest grossing films of the year, A Quiet Place, Part II, and also recorded strong results with the release of two family films, Clifford the big red dog and Paw Patrol: The Movie on theaters and on Paramount +.
This story first appeared in the January 5 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.