Do you miss blockbusters

After Corona: No more movie premieres in streaming?

WarnerMedia Studios CEO Ann Sarnoff wants to first show productions in cinemas again from 2022
Photo: WarnerMedia Streaming cinema premieres is a hot topic. While many film fans are happy to stream the brand new blockbuster straight into their living room, the disappointment among other film buffs is great: They miss the big screen experience with cola and popcorn.

Of course, the decisive question is how the major studios will behave after the pandemic. Are blockbuster premieres coming back to the cinema or is it really the first time they are exploited in streaming? Some evidence already suggests that the swan song for the cinema could be a clear fallacy.

Good margins on the canvas

WarnerMedia Studios CEO Ann Sarnoff wants to first show productions in cinemas again from 2022
Photo: WarnerMedia Bringing a blockbuster to the big screen first is still very good business for studios. The margins are better than streaming and viewers there are willing to pay more. Example Premier Access to Disney +: Here access costs 22 euros per film premiere. At such prices, however, it is worth doing the math. On a cheap day at the cinema, you can possibly see the film including popcorn and cola for the same price on the big screen. Then why should you still stream in the living room?

The decisive factor is that cinema-goers not only pay for the film, but above all for the cinema experience. In addition, streaming viewers are, as the industry says so beautifully, "less valuable". Specifically, this means: Many streaming subscribers are more of a bargain hunter who is looking for a monthly film and series flat rate for less than ten euros. And it is precisely these customers who are difficult to convince to spend 20 euros or more in addition to the monthly price for a film premiere.

Warner wants to return to the cinema for the first time from 2022

When WarnerMedia announced the first evaluation of its productions on HBO Max in December 2020, the industry was not very pleased with this decision. Star directors such as Christopher Nolan (Inception) and Dennis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049) publicly criticized the studio's decision, but there was no alternative for WarnerMedia studio boss Ann Sarnoff: "We know that new content is the elixir of life for cinemas. But we need to balance this with the reality that most theaters in the US are likely to operate on reduced capacity by 2021. "

However, at Warner you can already see light at the end of the tunnel. From 2022, Warner Bros. films will celebrate their regular cinema premieres again, and this certainly applies to the world's second largest cinema chain, Cineworld. This company recently signed an initial exploitation contract with Warner in the USA and can therefore show all Warner films up to 45 days before streaming on HBO Max. In particular, competitor AMC Theaters (UCI Kinowelt) had also heavily criticized the initial streaming evaluation and should also be interested in corresponding contracts.

How does the competition react?

At Disney, the current decision by Warner is unlikely to change much. As part of Premier Access, titles are currently being offered at the same time as the theatrical exploitation, but as I said, the streaming prices are not attractive enough to rub the cinemas away. ViacomCBS wants to offer its blockbusters free of charge to Paramount + subscribers for up to 45 days after the cinema premiere.

However, whether this will become permanent after the pandemic is at least very doubtful, because ViacomCBS would not only harm the cinemas, but also itself. This is probably more of a marketing campaign to attract as many new subscribers as possible to the streamer. In the medium term, the US media group will want to see money at the box office again with the productions of its subsidiary Paramount Pictures, but will at least collect additional money for blockbuster premieres on Paramount +. Anything else would be a big surprise, because in the end, as with all companies, it's not about the movie fun of the audience, but about (as much) sales.

Hollywood relies fully on streaming: coffin nail for the cinemas?