The current theatrical window is around 90 days. Look above at the current number of week new movies have been playing in the top 10 via Box Office Mojo. As of last weekend (10/11/2019) 7 of the top 20 movies with screening are making money.
I haven’t done a deep statistical analysis of the numbers, but it looks from casual observation that most movies drop somewhere between 30-60% in sales from week to week. Sure, there are some films that perform outside this window, so if we consider a movie opens with 20 million and has 50% loss of revenue the first four weeks, here would be the hypothetical performance:
Week #1: 20 million
Week #2: 10 million
Week #3: 5 million
Week #4: 2.5 million
= 37.5 million
Now if the theatrical window was reduced to four weeks, as being proposed, and streaming were allowed then what would be the impact if the theater continued to show the same movie? Would the dropoff increase to 60-70%? Or would it stay about the same roughly 50% dropoff?
That’s one question. The bigger question is how many movies even make it past the first four weeks still having screenings? 45 more movies out of the bottom 65 listed for a total of 52 out of 85 (61%) continue to have screenings beyond four weeks. What is the total revenue for the bottom 65 compared to the top 20? Movies ranked 21-85 only make $20 million versus the top 20 movies make $120 million.
The data is obvious: the top 20 movies make the most money and the freshest movies in release time make the most money. So, the amount of money a movie makes decays drastically — except in a small, few movies (like Lion King that has continued to make money over a couple months) — over the course of the first few weeks. After a month, the money most movies make from the box office is minimal.
While most sources we spoke to agree that a day-and-date release strategy is simply too drastic of a jump from this current system, they do think a three-to-four-week-after-release model could become a reality in the near future.Will Hollywood Ever Allow Us to Stream New Theatrical Releases at Home? | Observer
My wife and I really aren’t the average moviegoers. At least not since August 2019. I’ve seen over 31 movies in the last two months. That’s almost ten times the number of movies the average moviegoer in the US sees in a year. Prior to becoming Regal Unlimited Members, I still saw over 25 movies in the theater in 2018, which is still way more than the average of 3-4 movies per year.
We love seeing movies in the theater. I enjoy the movie theater experience and do not want to see it go away. I do want to see it evolve and change with the times. Waiting 90 days to stream movies doesn’t make any financial or logical sense any more. I’m going to see the movie the first four weeks, so it matters none to me personally whether or not the theatrical window is reduced, but it will allow people who don’t go to the movies very often to see a movie while there is still buzz through streaming.
Will some moviegoers wait for the streaming instead of going to the movie theater? This is Hollywood’s fear. I doubt the numbers will be significant. The people who want to see the movie as soon as it is released will still go to the theater. As long as there is some theatrical window — and I’m not advocating for same day in theater release to streaming — because I think that would hurt the movie theater traffic.
What do YOU think? Keep the theatrical window the way it already is (90 days)? Reduce to 30 days? Reduce to some other number of days? Or just leave it the way it is?