COVID causing the death of cinema has been speculated on for two years. We wrote about it as a possibility several times here at Last Movie Outpost. Well, launching an online movie community just a few short months before the entire industry was closed down by the pandemic left us with a gap in our content! However despite 45 day windows, and general cynicism from Outposters, there is talk that rumors of its death may have been exaggerated. The IMAX CEO is positively bombastic.

IMAX… big

In an interview with Yahoo Finance Live, as reported by Dark Horizons, IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond said the theatrical window has always been important and even the streamers are now starting to realise this. He sees them as symbiotic, and not exclusive of each other:

“The debate is over. The argument that you can skip a theatrical window and make up for it on streaming just isn’t true. The theatrical window is more essential than ever to get the streaming revenue.”

Top Gun: Maverick is always held up as the trailblazer here. It was held back from home release for a long time and it just grew legs and kept delivering in theatres as that was the only way to see it. This delay then built anticipation among people who saw it once but were waiting for the home release. Top Gun: Maverick has done huge numbers on home rental and PVOD. Gelfond holds this up as an example of the big theatrical run adding value to the eventual streaming rewards.

Disney, one of the prime movers of shorter windows and synergy with a native streaming platform in Disney+, seems to reflect this. They were way, way over analysts forecasts for Disney+ with over 12 million new subscribers. And yet their earnings for the quarter fell short. Big plays for them such as Thor: Love And Thunder arrived on the streamer very quickly, potentially driving subscribers but harming the potential income from theaters.

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