Brad Byrd InDEPTH: Movies during COVID-19

In Depth with Brad Byrd

(WEHT) – This is InDepth with Brad Byrd: A dinner and a date. That’s tough now in the conventional sense. COVID-19 has kept us home with our flat screens. Do you miss going to the theatre, and will going to the silver screen ever be the same after COVID-19?

Joining me tonight is our movie analyst and friend and expert Jim Hunter. The majority of the summer tentpole films have been moved to November. Tell me about that.

Jim Hunter: Yes, so November is the new summer in 2020. Black Widow which was supposed to open last weekend, which is the new MCU film, that’s been moved to November. No Time to Die, which was the 25th James Bond film, that was one of the first big films to move that has been moved to November the live action Mulan and and A Quiet Place 2 had to have also moved to later in the year. Fast 9 has moved to 2021. So basically studios were relatively proactive in the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, announcing most of these changes relatively early. And it sort of cleared this this two month window for the lockdowns, the first big film to open we’ll be in July and that will be Tenant. So yeah, most most films have moved to much later in the year.

Brad Byrd: And Jim studios still value movie theaters. So did some movies end up immediately on streaming services, because that had really entered the picture before COVID-19 got on the radar?

Jim Hunter: Right. I mean, what this crisis has done has exacerbated some of the moves that were already in progress. So the move to VOD, the move to streaming services and bypassing the theaters that had already kind of started yet as it stands, you can still make more money from theatrical releases than you can from VODS. So, The Invisible Man had a limited theatrical release, and that was cut short due to the lockdowns. Onward moved to Disney Plus relatively fast after its theatrical release, and Trolls World Tour, the second Trolls film, by going strictly directly to VOD, the studio estimated that it got about $80 to 100 million out of Trolls World Tours’ VOD release so much of the things that we’ve been talking about in previous InDEPTH segments about the move to streaming that’s been exacerbated by COVID-19.

Brad Byrd: AMC is in a huge dispute with Universal right now because of some of these releases and what have you. How is that going to have a local impact because AMC does have an operating theater here in the Evansville area?

Jim Hunter: Right so AMC, I mean, who would have thought that Trolls 2 would be the epicenter of a big studio battle. But these are weird times, AMC has basically boycotted Universal or any Universal Studios film that fails to respect the theatrical window. What universal tried to do was have its cake and eat it too, reverse release in the theaters. And then when that didn’t work, release on VOD and they were saying that they’re going to do this in the future. AMC said that if you’re going to do that, you’re cutting out our business. You’re cutting out the theatrical window and so they basically played politics in public relations and press releases.

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(This story was originally published on May 24, 2020)

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