Will upcoming films be on the move?
Last week we reported that 26% of filmgoers were less likely to see a movie in a theater due to the rise of the Delta variant. With the spike in COVID cases dominating headlines, we posed the question once again.
This time, just a few days later, that number jumped to 41%.
On top of that, we were curious to know how the Delta variant impacted the box office this past weekend. To find out, we identified people who watched JUNGLE CRUISE at home on Disney+ as opposed to in a theater. We wanted to know how much the rise in COVID cases factored into the decision to watch at home.
It turns out, COVID was a big factor. A huge 79% of respondents who watched JUNGLE at home said that the rise in cases factored into their decision to watch it at home. The other 21% said the spike in cases was not a factor.
These are alarming numbers that will add even more uncertainty to theatrical over the next few months. With 83% of theaters open, we were so close to establishing a new normal that approached the pre-pandemic box office. Now all bets are off. It is nearly impossible to define success in this environment.
And it looks like it will get worse before it gets better.
So, what does this all mean? There are a few big titles on the horizon, including THE SUICIDE SQUAD this weekend. That’s a Warner Bros. title, so it has some level of protection given that it will be debuting simultaneously in theaters and at home. But 20th has FREE GUY, United Artists has RESPECT and Universal has CANDYMAN. As of now, these three are all slated for theatrical-only releases.
Will that change? Will these movies get pushed? Will deals be struck to pivot them to streaming or some kind of hybrid? These conversations are no doubt happening as we speak. Stay tuned for some upheaval in the days ahead.