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Streaming and Movie Theaters Can Get Along Just Fine According to CNN Analysis

Jeff Kotuby

CNN is doing its part to show that the streaming and movie theater industries can indeed co-exist.

CNN Business reporter Frank Pallotta examined two of 2021’s biggest films, A Quiet Place, Part II and Black Widow, and saw that the films’ availability on streaming didn’t deter consumers from heading to the theaters.

A Quiet Place, Part II brought in about $280 million globally, about $60 million less than the original, but can still get there as it’s not being pulled for streaming — the film will live in both places simultaneously.

Black Widow, by comparison, brought in $80 million domestically during its opening weekend and made $78 million internationally, making it the largest domestic opening weekend since 2019. This is in addition to the $60 million the film made via Disney+’s Premier Access function. For $29.99, Disney+ users can “unlock” Black Widow to watch as many times as they wish.

A Quiet Place Part II

21 May 2021

Following the events at home, the Abbott family now face the terrors of the outside world. Forced to venture into the unknown, they realize that the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats that lurk beyond the sand path.

Even a film like Godzilla vs. Kong, a movie that’s definitely better viewed on a movie theater screen, performed well on both platforms. WarnerMedia announced that “Godzilla vs. Kong” received HBO Max’s largest streaming audience ever, while its opening weekend at the theaters achieved the highest gross since the pandemic began with $32.2 million from Friday-Sunday and around $52 million for the Wednesday-Monday Easter weekend — during a period where there were more stringent lockdown requirements than at present.

So yes, on the surface, the successes shown here look like a victory for the pro-“streaming and theater” crowd — but is this concept sustainable? Under the right conditions, it looks like it could be possible for tentpole franchises to make pre-pandemic levels of money while they’re available in both theaters and on streaming services. But will movie studios take that gamble? And what of smaller studios — will they allow their films to exist in both places simultaneously, knowing the majority of their film’s gross comes from the box office? They may not, especially when looking at other Disney+ properties that didn’t perform as well as expectedMulan and Raya and the Last Dragon.

Black Widow

7 July 2021

Natasha Romanoff, also known as Black Widow, confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must deal with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger.

According to an analysis by Samba TV, 1.12 million US households watch the movie over the four-day span, giving a projected $33.5 million domestic opening for Mulan. Raya pulled in 20% fewer PVOD purchases than Mulan in its opening weekend, according to figures provided by Antenna. Granted, Mulan never got a theatrical run, while Raya opened in theaters on the same date it was available on Disney+. Raya also didn’t benefit the service with a boost to regular Disney+ subscriptions, which fell 30% from the week prior. With films that don’t have the name recognition of a Black Widow, it seems users are willing to wait a few months in order to watch it at no additional cost.

So while this new co-habiting future looks to work for the biggest of big films, media companies will need to come up with something new for smaller franchises.

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