The release of streaming movies at the same time as cinemas is a dead business model. It was to declare it John Fithian, CEO of the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO), the association that brings together US movie theater owners. In the frame of CinemaCon in Las Vegas, Fithian stated that simultaneous release cannot be considered a serious model for the film market and that piracy decreed its end:
When analyzing releases one title after another, it becomes clear that the spikes in piracy are more drastic when a film is first available for viewing at home – it doesn’t matter if it’s video-on-demand. premium or video-on-demand subscription. Solid cinema-exclusive windows protect against piracy. If a major title that people are clamoring to see in theaters gets released too quickly into homes and then pirated, the temptation to stay home and watch pirated movies becomes greater for many potential viewers.
What Fithiam and NATO are referring to is the cancellation of the so-called exclusivity window, a period of time in which film studios only allow titles to be viewed in cinemas. During the pandemic, this distribution model, already seriously questioned by streaming giants like Netflix, was practically upset by many big names. Warner has released all the releases of 2021 at the same time as the cinema and streaming on HBO Max. Disney has also contributed by creating the formula of theVIP accesswhich for an extra price compared to the subscription to Disney + has granted the vision of previews such as “Mulan” and “Black Widow”.
Before the pandemic, the exclusivity of cinemas materialized in a window of between 74 and 90 days. After the experiments that took place in the Covid period, the Hollywood majors have made a partial backtrack: Warner has abandoned the simultaneous releases for 2022 and even Disney is no longer proposing the formula of VIP access, while maintaining a hybrid approach that provides the streaming release for some feature films such as “Red”. The window was then reset but reduced to 45 daysa time considered more than enough since, according to the data provided by the film studios, most films generate most of the proceeds during the first month of viewing.