Sunday, January 3, 2021

Why Covid Won’t Kill Movie Theaters

 Hollywood producer Ben Everard writes in The Wall Street Journal:

[M]any filmmakers prefer to bet on themselves—in industry parlance, “putting the money on the screen.” That is, filmmakers take substantially reduced upfront payments in exchange for potentially lucrative “backend” points, granting filmmakers contractual rights to a portion of theatrical revenues. When the planets align, massive hits such as “Get Out” and “Magic Mike” can offer incredible paydays to the talent involved. But without the upside of theatrical release, these lower-budgeted backend plays would disappear and the films would likely not be produced. Every filmmaker dreams of creating the next breakout hit, and ownership of gross points is a powerful motivator that helps shepherd these films. (While streamers offer backend buyouts—i.e., paying more than the standard fee for a filmmaker in recognition of the lack of theatrical earnings—to lure high-end talent, the deals can never replicate the financial windfall from a breakout theatrical hit.)...

[T]op filmmakers and actors not only desire but in some cases demand a theatrical release. Sitting at the top of the totem pole, they have the collective power to continue such demands. Christopher Nolan recently criticized Warner Bros.’ decision regarding its 2021 slate, and if enough A-list talent sides with him, they can bring about change on their own. Martin Scorsese’s ability to demand a theatrical release for “The Irishman” is a recent example of a power player throwing his weight into the fight. Creative Artists Agency president Richard Lovett, one of the most powerful talent representatives in Hollywood, recently submitted a letter to Warner Bros. noting that the HBO Max decision is “entirely unacceptable” to its clients, calling it a “self interested” move. There are a limited number of true movie stars and directors who can move the needle internally at studios, and their ability to defend the theatrical model is as significant as any financial metric.

I expect Hollywood's megastars to eventually launch a campaign to attempt to drive people to get back in theatres. Word is out that lefty Hollywood stars, who love the big box office paydays, are no longer calling those who go to theatres "selfish," they are now calling them "warriors."



  1. Our "frontline moviegoer heroes." Let's all stand up and clap for them every evening at 7:00 pm.

  2. Lol. My my have the tables changed when Money gets tight. These commies turn out to love money much more then their anti covid 19 dictatorships.

  3. Being a 50 year + cinephile, that has seen the evolution of a cinema going experience, I hate to tell you Ben but you are fool.

    There used to always be value proposition in investing time and money going to a theater. However there no longer is one.

    I used to LOVE to go to the theater. But its been 2 years now and nothing is generating the desire in one that was easily stirred.

    Theater needs to become something different before it can be reborn

  4. What will kill movie theaters is wokesterism. New movies are mostly unwatchable PC pap.

    1. directors not nearly as woke as the studios that employ them