First, it was No Time To Die.
Then it was Fast and The Furious 9. Then came A Quiet Place 2. Following that was Mulan, then Antlers, The New Mutants, Peter Rabbit 2 and The Lovebirds.
And according to our sources, Black Widow is next.
The problem, of course, is the studios are simply delaying, pushing, removing from the release calendar, putting back into the vault and “holding a beat” instead of doing the one thing they should be doing. Doing the one thing Netflix is doing, and will continue to do.
They should be making these films available on their streaming platforms.
Over the coming months, the coronavirus will have nothing on Netflix. They’ll be releasing big budgeted, star-driven studio-esque movies directly to their consumers, holed up in the privacy of their own homes, watching them on big flat screen televisions with amazing sound and frozen ice cream treats just a few feet away.
And it will be the death knell of the studio system once and for all if some studio…any studio, doesn’t try something instead of just shoving their movies down the field to fight another day.
Someone’s gotta take a chance.
Yes, we understand the concept of how much money the theatrical release would have made. We know that many of the ancillary deals for these movies (along with international release patterns) depend on a certain theatrical release. We know. We know we know we know. But we are living in a time where what we know is no longer doing us any favors. Now we’re in uncharted territory where we should start testing out the things where we don’t know what will happen, so we can gain new insights and traverse new pathways.
The real question of course…as is always the case… Is who will go first?
There are only a handful of companies who would risk it. Who could risk it. Companies who either have a huge multi-faceted business that covers theme parks, merchandising, technology, a streaming service, television and so much more. Or…they have so little of those things, that they have the flexibility to test, try, risk, fail and rebound.
We took a look at the movies still scheduled this year, including one we mentioned above, and want to call them out for you (much like we called out Parasite winning it all before it happened), so we can tell you who we think just may have the balls to take a swing at that unknown ball in the air.
Disney. If they do it, they’re going to go huge, as we suggested, and take Black Widow to a place no Marvel movie has gone before. They’ll not only release in theaters but give Disney Plus consumers a chance to watch it either day-and-date with theaters (they won’t get rid of the theatrical component) or make it available on streaming just a mere 2-4 weeks from release date. If they want to play it a little more conservative, they’ll do it instead with The New Mutants, something with far lower expectations, but something that still has a theatrical feel to it. Chances of Happening? 67%
A24. Their May release of The Green Knight, is planned to go WIDE this summer. And when we say wide, we mean studio wide. That being the case, A24 has the aforementioned balls to try something different. And as they’re already in bed with Apple in many ways, don’t be surprised if they try something unique by either going day-and-date with Apple exclusively, or going wide in theaters and on every digital platform at once. My spies at Jobs’ old haunt tell me that they may very well give Apple TV Plus a two week exclusive window while in theaters, then segue to digital everywhere soon thereafter. Chances of Happening? 78%
Lionsgate. Their May release Run, from the filmmakers behind the Screen Gems’ success Searching, is a genre release with a big theatrical plan, and it’s the kind of film that could miss out like A Quiet Place 2 was expected to. But Lionsgate isn’t Paramount, and they’re well-familiar with the digital space and could very well find May’s Run as an opportunity to go big on day-and-date and theatrical all at the same time. We can hope that by May this virus is no longer keeping everyone in their homes, but in the event it’s still lingering, this is a perfect candidate and ball-worthy studio for the opportunity. Chances of Happening? 84%
We could go on. But we’d like to be one of those blogs-half-full kind of places where we imagine the coronavirus’ curve has flattened by the time May comes along. We’d like to think that everything we’re doing will get us there sooner rather than later.
But in the event we don’t, someone’s going to have to step up and give in first to that streaming levee. Because if they don’t, the flood of Netflix is going to drown everyone else in their wake.
And nobody wants that.
Which is why someone‘s gotta step up.