The box office could see a 50 percent drop in ticket sales this year

The box office could see a 50 percent drop in ticket sales this year

The coronavirus will cut box office revenue in half this year, and the pandemic is now poised to weaken the status of theaters as destinations for premiere movies, according to an influential media analyst.

Ticket sales revenue will fall to $ 5.5 billion this year, more than 50 percent from $ 11.4 billion in 2019, MoffettNathanson analyst Michael Nathanson predicted on Tuesday. The drop could be more pronounced if theaters don’t reopen in July and if summer blockbusters like Warner Bros. ‘”Tenet” will debut on July 17, or Disney’s “Mulan” slated for July 24. , will be delayed later in the year.

The analyst predicted “a significant rebound” in 2021 at $ 9.7 billion in ticket sales, in part because a crop of better-looking movies is slated to premiere next year. But he also noted that movie theaters cannot count on their exclusive 90-day window for new releases to remain intact.

The pandemic has not only kept movie theaters closed since March, but has also pressured studios to overlook the theater window, giving movie theaters a 90-day period to exclusively show new releases. . In the past few weeks, Universal Pictures released “Trolls World Tour” directly to video streaming services rather than delaying it when theaters are reopened.

The children’s movie sequel reportedly generated more than $ 100 million in home rentals during its first three weeks, more than the original “Trolls” movie garnered in a five-month theatrical release.

“This unprecedented time, as theaters around the world have closed, has led to headline experiments in studio windows,” said Nathanson. “Before the closings, these tests would have been met with strenuous delays and possible blackouts by exhibitors.”

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After the pandemic, Nathanson hopes studios will shrink the window and, in some cases, skip them entirely as streaming services like Netflix, HBO Max, Disney +, and Amazon Prime Video have gained prominence.

“As long as multiple studios go ahead with premium video on demand or some other form of window change, the balance of power in favor of the studios shifts further in their favor and reduces the influence exhibitors have, as it is unlikely to boycott multiple upcoming studio releases, “he wrote.

Meanwhile, Nathanson said it will be difficult for Hollywood studios behind big-budget movies to move forward with summer release dates if major markets like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, which have not yet set a date for reopening, not ready to open.

“Given the uncertainty surrounding the key questions we mentioned earlier, including sticking to the July release dates when key markets reopen and the will of moviegoers to return before a shot, our estimates today are a I am working with a lot of volatility in the coming months, “said the analyst.

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Cory Weinberg

About the Author: Cory Weinberg

Cory Weinberg covers the intersection of tech and cities. That means digging into how startups and big tech companies are trying to reshape real estate, transportation, urban planning, and travel. Previously, he reported on Bay Area housing and commercial real estate for the San Francisco Business Times. He received a "best young journalist" award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

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