CinemaCon Hot Topics: Summer Movies, Box Office Recovery (and Netflix) – Hollywood Reporter

Subscribe for full access to The Hollywood Reporter
Subscribe for full access to The Hollywood Reporter
Paramount is treating theater owners to the first public screening of ‘Top Gun: Maverick,’ one of numerous films delayed by the pandemic.
By Pamela McClintock
Senior Film Writer
Much has changed since Hollywood studios and theater owners gathered together for a smaller-than-usual CinemaCon in late August of 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 amid the streaming gold rush.
In the time since, Sony and Marvel’s Spider-Man: No Way Home earned north of $1.8 billion at the worldwide box office to become one of the top-grossing films of all time, while in more recent weeks families are finally returning in earnest to the multiplex (hence the success of Sonic: The Hedgehog 2 and The Bad Guys). Ditto for older females (The Lost City). Put another way, there’s reason for optimism on the part of cinema operators as they pack for Vegas.

Related Stories

But the biggest zinger came last week when Netflix saw its value drop $54 billion in one day after announcing it had lost 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter. The unprecedented dip is a cautionary tale.
Netflix  — which has never been willing to give their films a traditional theatrical release — has long been a thorn in the side of theater owners. In 2017, Sony film chief Tom Rothman drew cheers at CinemaCon when declaring, “Netflix, my ass.”
It remains to be seen whether Rothman will have any choice words for Netflix when he helps presents Sony’s slate Monday night inside the cavernous Colosseum at Caesars Palace, but the issue of streaming versus theatrical is sure to be referenced throughout the week. (Sony is the only one of the five 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,” says one top theater executive. “Theatrical wasn’t in the game during the pandemic, and streamers had the playing field all to themselves.”
Some are even speculating as to whether Netflix will begin giving its films a conventional wide release in cinemas. “Netflix is a clearly trying to think about a second revenue stream. Putting their movies into a brief, exclusive theatrical window, could be a possible option,” says Wall Street analyst Eric Handler of MKM Partners.
On the issue of windows — an evergreen subject at CinemaCon  — the new post-pandemic window is 45 days, versus 74 days to 90 days previously. Smaller titles can hit PVOD as early as 17 days.

Officially, summer films and other upcoming event pics are billed as the main focus of CinemaCon. All five major Hollywood studios are touting their slates, with Paramount even treating exhibitors to the first 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 (yes, it’s really happening), 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-pandemic times.
CinemaCon runs April 25-28.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day
Subscribe for full access to The Hollywood Reporter
Send us a tip using our anonymous form.


Leave a Comment