Detailed Report : Hollywood's reaction on the Direct OTT Release
Jeya Suriya -
While the whole world is in distress with the COVID-19 Pandemic Situation, Hollywood Studios debate an important issue in the Film Industry.
No one has got an idea on Greyhound's release. Greyhound is a World War II epic starring Tom Hanks was ready to release before the Worldwide Shutdown. The public closures had stalled the release schedule for films that were ready to release in theatres for the next few months. So the most expected “Greyhound” is pushed from its planned June 2020 date. Now, the studio considered moving the war flick to 2021, presuming the pandemic situation to have evanesced by then.
Also, as reported earlier Sony opted to solicit proposals from streaming platforms, attracting multiple offers before selling the film to Apple.
The intricacy Sony faced isn’t novel. Hollywood Studios are more concerned about the dump of movies anticipated in 2021.
The competition will shirk their profit margins, and also the studios are ascertaining it difficult to spot attractive apertures on the calendar to launch a movie. An executive from a Popular Hollywood Studio stated: “We are like those oil tankers off Long Beach with all this oil and nowhere to offload it,”.
With theatres closed, the production companies are looking for funds. So, that's the reason for Paramount and STX to release “The Lovebirds” and “My Spy,” in OTTs as they got a good package from the streaming sites for both the films.
Eric Handler, an analyst at MKM Partners claimed: “They had low expectations for most of these films." He also added "Selling them gave studios a chance to recover their budgets sooner rather than later.”
The Lovebirds" which was released recently on Netflix is a romantic comedy starring Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani. Officials from Paramount believe that the film had got very limited commercial prospects and they consider the film as a Midrange Project. Whereas, in contrast, Netflix looked at the film with a movie which has well-known stars and insiders suggest that the film was sold at a whopping $16 Million. Now with that fund, Paramount has recovered the production and promotional cost of the film.
Hollywood Studios are not just bypassing theatrical releases, they are also not selling their films. Few films are released online with a Video-On-Demand structure. Universal Studios has inclined massively on that artifice. The studio debuted its children film “Trolls World Tour” on home entertainment platforms in April. It is reported that the film had grossed nearly $100 million in rental fees within the first three weeks of online release. It is to be noted that the budget for the film was $125 million.
Now, after the massive profit from the strategy, Universal is preparing to go the same route with the Judd Apatow and Pete Davidson comedy “King of Staten Island” later this month. The economics of the procedure holds one motivating agent. If a movie is released on theatre they split the profit with exhibitors whereas they get 80% of the revenue with VOD Plans.
So, it is the need of the money for the bankroller which decides the release. If the producer is in rush for funds he would go for a streaming platform else he can mint more money life long with VODs.
But with these creative release plans, it is the exhibitors who have erupted furiously with the release of “Trolls World Tour” in VOD. AMC threatened that it would stop screening the films of Universal Studios.
John Fithian, head of the National Assn. of Theatre Owners, warned that “We exhibitors won't disremember this.”
Peter Csathy, founder of Creative Media based in the USA stated to a media, “These reforms were occurring, but the pandemic situation stimulated the studios." He also appended, “These smaller movies will be clutched out of multiplexes, and all we all will be left with will be holiday films and Marvel movies.”
However, we all how to look forward to the situation to get better, so multiple industries would surge back and cinema would grow even bigger.
Here's a list of US Films which are supposed to debut in theatres but released directly digitally due to the COVID - 19 Pandemic.