With the box office in shambles as government-mandated quarantines prevent theaters from opening across the globe, audiences have already witnessed the unprecedented postponements of major blockbusters like Furious 9, Black Widow and Wonder Woman 1984. In an effort to recoup losses that industry experts already claim could be as high as $20 billion, studios have been frantically upping digital release dates in the hopes that audiences will be willing to drop $20 on titles that were in theaters as recently as two weeks ago. In a similar vein, Universal is already experimenting with a VOD rental schedule that will see its first big test when Trolls World Tour becomes available on the same days as its theatrical release.
In short, the way audiences consume movies has drastically changed in the past few weeks, and Blumhouse CEO and founder Jason Blum has a strong feeling that the studios are going to have a hard time closing Pandora’s box now that folks have had a taste of streaming theatrical releases from their couch. Blum recently sat down with The Ben Shapiro Show to discuss his latest release, The Hunt, which saw its box office kneecapped by the coronavirus and became one of the first titles that Universal pushed to VOD under its new rental model. Via JoBlo:
“I think it’s not realistic to think all the studios are going to wait four months before they put a movie at home. They just can’t compete, they’re going to have to compete with Amazon and Netflix and Apple in a different way. There’s going to be shifts. The consumer is going to be more used to staying at home. Something is going to give, there has to be something that’s going to happen post-corona. The movie business will look different after the coronavirus.”
Blum has a very valid point. While there is a communal experience in going to the movies, once audiences have spent months having the option to actually pause a film for a bathroom break or to get a snack, it will be hard to entice them back into an environment where they’ll potentially have to deal with talking strangers, cellphones going off, or nature calling in the middle of a three-hour-long epic.
However, while discussing the horror genre, which thrives on that communal experience, Blum made it clear that movies will still be shown in theaters again once the pandemic ends, but he predicts that the window will be drastically shorter when the dust finally settles.
“I don’t think theaters are ever going to go away. The collective experience of going to a theater and taking in a movie, I think that’s going to be around for a long time. I think there’ll be less movies in theaters, there’ll be less of a selection, or I should say, there’ll be many many fewer movies in theaters with the window, and I think there’ll be many many more movies in theaters, but they only last for a week or two.”
You can watch the full interview with Blum below: