Cinemas post Corona - what will have changed?

Cinemas post Corona what will have changed
Ben Johnson
Updated on 05/12/2023

Recently Universal pioneered debuting a major release on Premium Video On Demand when they launched “Trolls World Tour” before Easter. With no official sales data available it has been down to Universal to reveal how well the film has done. The studio hasn’t released any official numbers, but according to off-the-record industry sources it seems likely the film generated as much as $50M in revenue, similar to the amount that rival studios estimated it would have taken at the Box Office had it opened theatrically.

However, it seems unlikely that the studios and leading independent distributors will continue to use PVOD to launch their key titles once cinemas are up & running once again. The on-going importance of the Box Office dollar in maximising subsequent revenues downstream is well known: a recent study commissioned by NATO showed that “home sales benefit proportionally even more than theatrical when a movie runs longer in theatres”, and European distributors recently confirmed once again that "online success is still heavily linked to successful physical release".

If research from China and France can be believed over 70% of regular cinema goers are eager to return to their local cinemas once they re-open, although there were shockingly low audience numbers in China when cinemas briefly re-opened there for less than a week in late March.

What’s not known is when US and European cinemas are likely to open their doors once again, and what their immediate offering to cinemagoers will be. It seems likely that cinemas won’t be running at full capacity for some time, with studios unlikely to schedule a global blockbuster release until cinemas have re-opened world wide. With so many key theatrical releases already pushed back to later this year or sometime in 2021 there will be a short term opportunity for independent distributors to book their films into cinemas when they do re-open, with some exhibitors believing that titles which have recently debuted On Demand will then become available to watch on the big screen, along with select catalogue titles from the studios. However, in the longer term, independent distributors’ ongoing struggle to secure and hold onto cinema screens is set to become even harder, with more studio titles than ever looking to find their audience in cinemas.

The only answer for those of you currently forced to skip the theatrical window is to treat your On Demand releases like theatrical ones. An On Demand campaign with Gruvi offers three key benefits:

The unique data we can supply on your actual consumers will have value downstream

Our ability to track that specific target audience can translate into sales, with a cost per conversion rate as low as €0.13

Our ability to drive significant numbers of new customers to key VOD platforms

Would you like a free consultation on your digital release strategy? Click here to be contacted by a representative from Gruvi.

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Cinemas post Corona what will have changed