INDUSTRY NEWS ROUND UP
Disney on Thursday moved its bit Pixar movie Soul to Disney+, where it will now be released on December 25. It had been set for a November 20 release in domestic theaters. Disney will not charge its streaming subscribers an extra $29.99 to see Soul, rather the movie will simply become available on the service to its 60 million subscribers, just like the studio did with Artemis Fowl and Hamilton over the summer…Soul will get a theatrical release in those foreign territories where Disney+ isn’t available.
AMC Theatres Will Remain Open
In the wake of Cineworld’s decision to shutter its UK venues and Regal U.S. theaters, AMC, the No. 1 exhibitor in the world, will remain open. AMC joins No. 3 exhibitor Cinemark in staying open during the pandemic, despite Cineworld and Regal’s plans to close this Thursday. More than 80% of AMC’s U.S. circuit is open and an even higher share of the chain’s international theatres across Europe and the Middle East are open, with more than 90% of its Odeon Cinemas Group across Europe and 100% of the chain’s locations in the Middle East in operation.
Vue International Chief Tim Richards Says Chain Wants To Avoid “Nuclear Option” Of Temporarily Closing Cinemas
“it’s hard to understand when 75%-80% of box office is generated outside of the U.S. and we are experiencing this huge pent-up demand from our customers. Why wouldn’t studios want to monetize when they can, where they can?…Roughly 75%-80% of screens globally are now open. China’s open, Asia is pretty much open, Europe is open, Central and South America are opening… Our plea is ‘We’re ready to go, we need movies."
“We will be flexible with windows” says Vue Cinemas’ Tim Richards
“We are willing to consider reducing windows… don’t think we will ever see a time when we are going to have a day-and-date [VoD and theatrical] release of a major film. Equally, I don’t think we will adopt what AMC has done [screen Universal films with a theatrical window of just 17 days in the US], which we don’t really agree with.”“The one positive to come out from all of this,” Richards continued, “is that local film producers, directors and distributors have seen an opportunity that has never risen before when there are no Hollywood films. In Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, even in Poland and Italy, we are seeing the independent sector scrambling to finish films to get them onto our screens because they know they are going to have them to themselves. That has actually helped us immensely."
Cineworld Confirms “Temporary Suspension” Of Theatres In U.S. & UK From Thursday
Cineworld has confirmed that it is closing 536 Regal theatres in the U.S. and 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse theatres in the UK from Thursday as coronavirus continues to ravage the exhibition market….In an update on Monday, Cineworld Group said 45,000 employees will be affected by the closure, which it said follows the reluctance on the part of the studios to “release their pipeline of new films” at a time when many theatres are unable to welcome customers.
Cineworld CEO Interview
Deadline: You’re staying open in your other markets?
Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger: At this stage yes, as long as we have product. The advantage in Central Europe is that we have local product — currently. The reason in the UK is that the U.S. and UK products are very similar. We show here and there foreign movies, but on a very low scale. So if in Poland, a Polish movie can keep us open, or if in Hungary, a big Hungarian movie can keep us open, it’s one thing. But in the U.S. and the UK, what we call local product is Hollywood product. Without movies, it simply isn’t feasible to operate.
Comment: Has Cineworld really got no option but to close all its UK and Ireland cinemas?
In January 2019, Picturehouse (owned by Cineworld) clarified and firmed up its policy on theatrical windows, and ever since has declined to play films that do not offer cinemas 16 weeks of exclusivity before transferring to ancillary platforms…But the unprecedented situation of Covid-19 surely calls for a flexible approach …for multiplex chains willing to be flexible, mainstream-friendly titles with short or non-existent windows are on offer. They need not be totally reliant on the whims of the stakeholders in No Time To Die.
BOX OFFICE NEWS
China’s National Day holiday officially ended last Thursday, with takings for the October 1-8 period at an estimated RMB 3.95B ($589M) as the market continues to close the 2020 gap with domestic...Both films helped IMAX score a record-breaking National Day holiday week in the market with its box office up 23% versus the same period in 2019, and despite 75% capacity restrictions in theaters throughout the country. Jiang Ziya has grossed $13M in IMAX through today while My Country, My Homeland has a $7.5M cume in the format.
IMAX has also had a strong run with Tenet with a $30.1M offshore cume, representing 11% of the total on the Christopher Nolan time-twister. Japan, which is now the No. 4 overseas market on Tenet, has reached $5M in the format to become the 2nd biggest WB IMAX release ever there, behind only Gravity. It is also Nolan’s highest-grossing IMAX title in Japan, surpassing Dunkirk….The Top 5 offshore hubs are now China ($66.2M), UK ($21.8M), France ($21.4M), Japan ($19.2M) and Germany ($17.2M).
Voltage Pictures’ After We Collided has crossed $40M internationally with $42.5M ahead of its domestic October 23 release. The current weekend was good for $1.5M in 34 markets. Germany leads all play with $8.5M to date, followed by Italy ($4.9M), UK ($4.7M), Russia ($3.8M) and Spain ($3.8M).
‘Tenet’ Tops $300 Million Globally, but Domestic Box Office Is in Crisis Mode
Audiences seem hesitant to return to cinemas when coronavirus infection rates remain stubbornly high in the U.S., but the weak results are also attributable to the fact that major markets such as Los Angeles and New York haven’t allowed theaters to reopen due to the pandemic.“Tenet” has fared much better overseas, grossing $14.2 million globally this weekend from 59 markets. That pushed the international total to $262 million and the worldwide haul to $307 million...Warner Bros., the studio behind “Tenet,” believes the film will make more money by launching in theaters than it would have if it had debuted on video-on-demand or on HBO Max. That strategy would have been a tough, likely impossible sell for Nolan, who is a vociferous champion of the theatrical experience, but it also would have impacted the studio’s ability to maximize ancillary revenues such as digital rentals, sales and television licensing deals.
‘No Time To Die’ Delayed To Easter Weekend 2021 As Pandemic Takes Grip At Box Office
No Time to Die stands to make $1 billion worldwide. Given that, it makes sense to release what is expected to be Craig’s final 007 film in an optimum, vibrant global marketplace. The decision comes at a time when the pandemic has gripped, not only New York City theaters (which it’s still unclear when they reopen), and Los Angeles (which could get the go-head to open in a couple of weeks), but also the United Kingdom, a prime 007 market that traditionally opens prior to domestic and grossed $125M on the last film Spectre and over $161M on 2012’s Skyfall. UK faces a possible lockdown, and that’s bad for Bond. This despite the fact that business is back to normal at the China box office.
Gerard Butler Thriller ‘Greenland’ Skipping U.S. Theatrical Release For PVOD Gerard Butler’s latest action thriller Greenland will not be playing at U.S. movie theaters as the pic’s studio ErosSTX pivots the feature for a Premium Video On-Demand release sometime in the fourth quarter...HBO has shelled out a whopping $20M-$30M for Greenland‘s pay TV and streaming in the U.S. where the movie will debut on the pay-cable TV network and stream on HBO Max in early 2021. Greenland will in fact get a release on Amazon Prime in Canada, the UK and Australia …Greenland will continue to roll-out theatrically in those overseas territories which have returned during the pandemic https://deadline.com/2020/10/gerard-butler-greenland-pvod-hbo-hbo-max-movie-theaters-coronavirus-1234588617/
Anne Hathaway-Robert Zemeckis Movie ‘Roald Dahl’s The Witches’ Heads To HBO Max This Month Originally set for an October theatrical release, the Robert Zemeckis-directed Warner Bros. feature Roald Dahl’s The Witches is heading to the studio’s streaming service HBO Max on Oct. 22…The Witches was scheduled to open on Oct. 16, before being moved a week to Oct. 9. Then, back in June, Warner Bros. undated the film from the theatrical release schedule.studios need to monetize these finished films during the pandemic and turn them into revenue events. https://deadline.com/2020/10/anne-hathaway-robert-zemeckis-movie-roald-dahls-the-witches-heads-to-hbo-max-this-month-1234590081/
UK launches digital rental chart amid increased VOD demand
The UK’s Official Charts Company is launching a new digital rental chart and data service. Digital retailers providing data for the new chart include Amazon, Apple, Rakuten, Sky Store and Talk Talk TV. …The launch follows a period of rapid growth in VOD activity during the COVID-19 lockdown, with data for the first half of 2020 showing an average of 600,000 rentals per week before lockdown, rising to more than 1m rentals a week after lockdown was implemented. More than 21m rental transactions were made in the six months to June 30.