Why Low-Budget Movies May Dominate Cinemas When Reopened

A line of cinema seats
Credit: Unplash

One of the first industries to change, the movie world was sent into chaos when theatres and cinemas around the world were one of the first to close its doors. But the problems didn’t end there. With many movies scheduled for a certain date, instead of pushing the release back they instead headed straight to digital. While this has been extremely successful for many production companies, with streaming services such as Netflix even cashing in, cinemas have now had to adapt to a new world…

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a war between studios and theatres. Many movies that were meant to hit cinema screens were instead shown on other alternative platforms. Trolls World Tour was one of the first films to head straight to digital, earning nearly $100 million in rental fees alone. While this is amazing news for studios, cinemas have been left out in the cold. Theatres have now pushed back, with some of the largest cinema chains in the world boycotting studios. AMC was one of the first to declare that they are refusing to show movies by Hollywood studio Universal. But what does that mean for the consumer?

A troll screaming
Credit: Universal Pictures

It’s understandable why dynamics have changed…

It looks like there could be a huge shift in ratio, with fewer blockbuster movies shown in cinemas. Franchise movies usually make up 80% of theatrical releases, but this is predicted to decrease dramatically. This means films that cost less than $100 million to shoot will instead be shown more frequently at cinema screens. Because of the success of premium video-on-demand, studios are likely to release certain movies on other platforms, shying away from cinemas. The uncertainty of people turning up to large events has changed the world of cinema forever.

From a financial point of view, it also makes more sense to show low-budget movies when cinemas reopen. Theatres will eventually need to open due to the economy,. But many people’s anxiety will be at an all-time high when life resumes. Studios and theatres may market high budget films, but people may still not turn up due to the impact of COVID-19. Millions will then be wasted on both sides of the industry. For the time being, it seems big-budget titles will be pushed back to ensure the audience’s safety, as well as keeping marketing costs low.

A picture of popcorn
Credit: Unsplash

So what does the future hold?

For now, it seems we may have to continue enjoying streaming movies from the comfort of our homes until we feel safe enough to head to the cinema. Even if the pandemic did not occur, consumer behavior was more than likely going to change anyway. Disney+, along with other streaming competitors, has been a huge success already in the streaming market. It’s sad to see the demise of movie chains. But for now, it makes sense to put people’s safety first while ensuring the economy doesn’t collapse completely. We already can’t wait till things go back to normal…

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