Is Streaming Preventing Theatrical Recovery?
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Is Streaming Preventing Theatrical Recovery?

Despite theaters reopening, things haven't fully gone back to normal; is "same day" streaming to blame?

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Is Streaming Preventing Theatrical Recovery?

Theaters have been reopening despite the fact that Covid still lingers and continues to mutate into more contagious variants. The film industry has been trying to return to normal since this spring. While things have improved slightly we are still a far cry from being "back to normal". One problem might be the "same day" digital release on streaming services that most film companies have implemented during the pandemic. While this model kept the film industry alive during quarantine, it's beginning to hurt theatrical releases now.

Many film companies (Warner Brothers and Disney) have been releasing their films both in theaters and on streaming sites at the same time. In many ways it makes sense. People who are vaccinated can go out and see movies as they did before the pandemic struck, or if they are still unsure about going out they can watch it from the safety of their homes. It's good that people are given more options during these hard times, but it has had a negative impact on the theatrical performance of many films.

The best example I can give is that of "The Suicide Squad". This film was one of the most anticipated films of August and theaters were expecting large crowds for it, but when it was released the theatrical attendance was quite underwhelming. The film was also released on the streaming service HBO Max at the same time and effected the theatrical performance of that film. This has been a problem with Warner Brothers' films since they've been releasing them for free on HBO Max, but they aren't the only ones.

Disney has been doing something similar with their streaming service Disney Plus. They release a film simultaneously in theaters and on streaming, but with a noticeable difference. These films are accessible on Disney Plus if you pay 30 dollars for them. This high price does actually make the idea of seeing it in theaters more appealing and has allowed Disney's films to perform slightly better at the box office. However, these films still unperformed compared to the pre-pandemic box office. It's hard to say when theaters will fully recover, if at all.

The specter of Covid still hovers over much of the world and even after vaccinations a lot of people are not ready for the world to go back to normal. The only hope theaters really have is to get control of the pandemic. However, a question remains; after Covid is gone will film companies go back to a "theaters only" model. These streaming services have been making a lot of money from "same day" releases and many film companies probably don't want to give up that money. Although, they have to be seeing that these streaming releases are hurting their films theatrical profit. In an optimistic view of the world maybe both could find a way to exist simultaneously, but right now we need people to want to go to the theaters in order to keep them alive. These theaters have given us so much joy and I would hate to see them disappear forever.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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