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A lot has changed since Hollywood studios and theater owners gathered together for a smaller-than-usual CinemaCon in late August of Y 2021. The box office was still in the early stages of recovery, and most media and entertainment analysts questioned whether the theatrical experience would ever return to normal because of the streaming gold rush.
In the time since, Sony and Marvel’s Spider-Man: No Way Home earned north of $1.8-B at the worldwide box office to become 1 of the Top-grossing films of all time, while in more recent wks families are finally returning in earnest to the multiplex, hence the success of Sonic: The Hedgehog 2 and The Bad Guys, same for older females, The Lost City. Now there’s reason for optimism on the part of cinema operators as they head to Las Vegas.
Last wk when Netflix saw its value drop $54-B in a day after announcing it had lost 200-K subscribers in Q-1, a cautionary happening.
Netflix has long been a thorn in the side of theater owners. In Y 2017, Sony film chief Tom Rothman drew cheers at CinemaCon when declaring, “Netflix, my ass.”
It remains to be seen whether Mr. Rothman will have any choice words for Netflix this wk, but the issue of streaming Vs theatrical is sure to be referenced throughout the conference. Sony is the only one of the 5 major studios which doesn’t have a sister streaming service, so it is in a different position.
“The mythology has been taken out of streaming. Maybe it isn’t the future that everyone thought it was,” said a Top theater executive. “Theatrical wasn’t in the game during the pandemic, and streamers had the playing field all to themselves.”
Officially, summer films and other upcoming event pics are billed as the main focus of CinemaCon. All 5 major Hollywood studios are touting their slates, with Paramount even treating exhibitors to the 1st full public screening of Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick, it makes its world premiere the following week in San Diego, followed by a screening at the Cannes Film Festival. Lionsgate and Neon are also hosting presentations.
Expect teasers and footage for Avatar 2, Jurassic World Dominion and Black Adam. Family highlights could include Toy Story spinoff Lightyear and Minions: The Rise of Gru.
Studios, and especially Warner Bros. and Universal, are expected to populate their CinemaCon sessions with filmmakers and stars as they did in pre-VirusCasedemic times.
CinemaCon runs April 25-28
Have some fun this week, see a movie in a theater, the chaos is over, Keep the Faith!