Predicting the Movie Hits & Bombs of 2020

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Vidiot, Dec 4, 2019.

  1. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    Last edited: Oct 3, 2020
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  2. Deuce66

    Deuce66 Forum Resident

    Press the nuke button on 2020 and let's call it a day, more bad news this time from Cineworld.

    Cineworld, the world's second-biggest cinema operator, will close all its screens in the United States, Britain and Ireland this week after studios pulled major releases such as the latest James Bond film, a person familiar with the situation said.

    The Regal cinema owner, which began reopening in July after COVID-19 lockdown restrictions started to ease, employs 37,482 people across 787 venues in the U.S., Britain and central Europe, with 546 sites in the U.S.

    The release of the new James Bond movie, No Time To Die, was pushed into next year on Friday, crushing hopes for a 2020 industry rebound as rising rates of the coronavirus prompt new restrictions and keep viewers away.

    Britain's Sunday Times said the London-listed company had written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Culture Minister Oliver Dowden to warn that the industry was becoming unviable.

    It warned investors on Sept. 24 that it might need to raise more money if its sites were forced to shut again, after it swung to a $1.64 billion US first-half loss. Its shares have fallen 82 per cent this year.

    Efforts to get audiences back into theatres have proved disappointing. While bigger chains like Cineworld, AMC Entertainment and others have reopened many locations, crowds have been thin. Small and mid-size theatre companies have said they may not survive the impact of the pandemic.

    Cineworld had said viewers returned to watch Tenet, a Christopher Nolan spy thriller that became a test case for the wider industry when it became the biggest release to open in cinemas in late August since schedules were torn up in March.

    But the postponement of Bond, plus delays to other big releases such as superhero movie Black Widow and Steven Spielberg's West Side Story give cinema lovers little reason to return. Cineworld declined to comment.
  3. Jord

    Jord Forum Resident

    The Netherlands
    So , with Bond and F9 delayed, are there any big movies left this year?
    I guess Wonder Woman but I wouldn't be surprised to see that one get moved as well.
  4. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits and Abbie: Best Dogs Ever

    Alexandria VA
    Next potential big hit on the schedule is Pixar's "Soul" in late November.

    Still a few on track for December - like "WW84" and "Dune" - but it's anyone's guess if they come out at that time.

    I've felt Hollywood needed to throw theaters a bone and release at least 1 potential big hit a month just to keep the lights on.

    They won't do that, which is why Regal apparently will now shutter until regular big releases do re-emerge, and I suspect AMC will follow.

    Hollywood seems to want to hold all their big movies until things are "normal" and theaters are at regular capacity, but how can that happen when they've all gone out of business?
  5. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    Really can’t see Soul coming to a theatre near you now! Either stream or hold back. Especially with the theatre closings.
  6. Deuce66

    Deuce66 Forum Resident

    Regals's CEO stated that they need the blockbusters to survive, it's really that simple.

    Regal Cinemas closing all U.S. theaters because it really needs the blockbusters, CEO says

    • Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger told CNBC the lack of blockbuster movie releases is why the company is temporarily shuttering its U.S. and U.K. theaters.
    • “We are now like a kind of a grocery shop that have no food to sell,” Greidinger said.
    • It might be a few months, he said, “but at the end of the day, we must have a clear lineup of movies before we reopen.”
    Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger told CNBC on Monday the theater chain made the decision to close its U.S. and U.K. locations because there are not enough blockbuster movies being released to attract attendees during the pandemic.

    “We are now like a kind of a grocery shop that have no food to sell,” Greidinger said on “Squawk Alley.”

    The parent of Regal Cinemas will temporarily shutter its more than 500 U.S. theaters Thursday, as well as its 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse locations in the U.K. Greidinger did not say when the locations will reopen, but right now, he said, “It’s better for us to wait.”

    “Might be a month, might be two months, until the ... Covid-19 situation will be clearer. Maybe there will already be a vaccination,” he said. “It might take another month, but at the end of the day, we must have a clear lineup of movies before we reopen.”

    Cineworld’s decision comes days after the release of the newest James Bond movie was again pushed back, this time to April 2021. It had initially been scheduled to debut in April of this year before the coronavirus pandemic upended the entertainment industry, leading to theater closures, production shutdowns and a host of release delays.

    Shares of Cineworld, which trade on the London Stock Exchange, were down more than 30% Monday. The decision by the world’s second-largest theater chain put pressure on the stock of its chief rival, AMC Entertainment, which saw its shares fall by about 10% intraday.

    The James Bond film delay was not the only reason Cineworld decided to roll back its reopening in the U.S. and U.K., Greidinger said. One factor weighing on the entire movie industry — from the studios to the theater operators — are the operating restrictions in New York state and California, he said.

    In California, whether theaters can be open for indoor showings depends on the severity of coronavirus transmission on a county-by-county basis. As of Monday, indoor movies are not allowed in Los Angeles County, home to Hollywood.

    In New York, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sept. 16 the state would continue to keep theaters and concert venues closed, citing concerns of an uptick in Covid-19 cases, according to the Albany Business Review.

    New York and California are the two biggest movie markets in the U.S., Greidinger said. He added he doesn’t really blame the studios for waiting to release blockbuster films with those markets entirely, or even partially, closed.

    The challenge facing movie theater operators in the U.S. right now is a “classic” the-chicken-or-the-egg scenario, Greidinger said. “But here, the chicken and the egg have one trigger, and we need to have back the big states that are still not open,” he said, wondering why New York has allowed partial indoor dining but not movie theaters.

    Greidinger contended there has been strong attendance in some European markets where big movies were released, such as in Poland and Hungary. In August, he told CNBC there was initially strong demand — relatively speaking, due to capacity restrictions — when U.S. theaters reopened.

    “People really missed the cinemas and wanted to go back into the big screen,” the chief executive said Aug. 27.

    On Monday, however, Greidinger stressed the difficulty of attracting people to the theater without a blockbuster film on the marquee. “The oldies are nice,” he said. But “we need to have back the big movies and the new movies.”
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  7. PhilBorder

    PhilBorder Forum Resident

    Sheboygan, WI
    Maybe if Studios and Theater Chains had a less adversarial relationship they could have worked out a more feasible compromise for seating and ticket prices. I'm speculating here, but assume that when things were going well a few years ago studios demanded a large slice of the pie, while theaters were left to 'upgrade' at their own expense. A strange business: at the end of the day theaters are selling a product they have no control over.
  8. Johnny66

    Johnny66 Laird of Boleskine

    Which is effectively how it has been since the days of the studio system. Even with the Paramount rulings in the late 1940s, where studios were forced to divest themselves of their theatre holdings (as an antitrust measure), under Reagan in the 1980s the studios began to reassert control akin to the glory days. With tentpole features now fully situated as driving the economics of the business, theatre chains are once again at the mercy of the studios like never before. I wouldn't be surprised if, following the decimation wrought by Covid-19, we see the American studios actively pursue theatre holdings again, akin to what happened across Europe post-WWII - where previously national cinemas resistant to US influence were bought up or co-opted ultimately to their detriment.
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  9. mBen989

    mBen989 Forum Resident

    Scranton, PA
  10. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits and Abbie: Best Dogs Ever

    Alexandria VA
    For theaters to succeed - or just get by - they need a consistent stream of new movies that appeal to a decent audience.

    AMC and Regal still have new releases, but they're movies that don't have true mass appeal. "New Mutants" and "Tenet" are really the only movies we've gotten since The Big Reopen in August that could be seen as potential hits.

    They underperformed and that scared the studios. They lost money - especially on "Tenet", as "New Mutants" was always likely to be a semi-flop - and the suits in Hollywood didn't want to take a chance again.

    This is winning the battle - ie, not suffering from a second expensive money-losing movie in fairly rapid succession - but losing the war. What good is it to hold onto all these expensive movies if theaters won't exist in 2021?

    With Regal shuttered again, I suspect AMC will follow fairly soon. If Regal can't make a financial go of it, neither can they, I assume.

    For them to reopen, I think they need studios to guarantee they won't jerk them around again.

    If you'd told the heads at Regal and AMC that they'd get two movies with decent mass appeal and that's it, I seriously doubt they would've reopened in August.

    They reopened because they thought "New Mutants" and "Tenet" were just the start. They figured that they'd get more blockbuster fare to keep them afloat.

    As noted, "Tenet" disappointed, Hollywood got scared, and theaters now have little to draw audiences.

    I can't imagine AMC/Regal will reopen again if they're afraid Hollywood will pull the same act again. They can't say "hopefully 'Soul' (or whatever) will be a hit and open the floodgates" just to find out "Soul" (or whatever) doesn't do as well as planned and Hollywood postpones more movies again.

    This is why I think Hollywood should commit to at least one "big movie" a month. Might those lose money? Perhaps, but ya know what? Hollywood has bankrolled plenty of super-expensive flops over the decades and weathered those just fine.

    Who's gonna show all those delayed movies if AMC and Regal no longer exist? :sigh:
  11. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    I figured this is what would be the minimum necessary to keep the theaters in operation.

    That is the big question. Why are they doing this?

    Because, as you say, it makes no sense.

    This was a comment that I made early on at the beginning of all this when the theaters were being shut down.

    I realized that just a physically reopening was not going to get a stopped freight train rolling again.

    I did comment that the studios would have to give serious concessions to the theaters that would allow them to reopen with greatly reduced percentages with the studios that would allow greatly reduced prices, that would be needed to get people back in the theaters again.

    This would allow theaters to sell a bucket of popcorn and a soda for $5, along with a $5 movie ticket.

    This would bring people back into the theaters.

    As I am understanding it, that the protections that had been in place that prohibited studios from owning theaters has now been dissolved?

    So could it be that this is part of the studios strategy of not releasing movies?

    Because it is sure looking like something is going on here.

    Studio's holding on to films indefinitely is not sustainable for studios either. There is interest accruing on production costs, that must be paid.

    Cash flow is an amazing economic tool. As long as cash flow can be sustained, then many things are possible. When cash flow is cut off, everything comes to a screeching halt.

    In order to restart the engine, the cash needs to start flowing once again. No movies released to theaters, no cash flow.

    If no movies are leaving the pipeline, then there will be no new movies in production to enter the pipeline.

    Movie production is not a centralized operation like a large factory that has been shut down.

    The many tens of thousands of people that are integral to the production are behind the scenes and remain invisible but still unemployed.

    It seems to me that this inaction by the studios to take a more actively aggressive posture is an indication of their complicity in all of this.
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  12. Johnny66

    Johnny66 Laird of Boleskine

    It slowly began happening under Reagan (with his movie biz associations) - because the ruling has little effect unless someone is willing (and able) to actively prosecute those who violate it. Conservative politics has effectively recast historical antitrust actions as anti-business.

    Case in point: Assistant Attorney General (for DOJ Antitrust Division) Makan Delrahim, who was close to Bush II and now Trump (i.e. Deputy White House Counsel), has stated that "a monopoly is legal as long as it does not abuse its monopoly power." Under Delrahim, the following has occurred:

    United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc. - Wikipedia .

    Termination of the Paramount decrees:

    "The United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division began a review of antitrust decrees that did not have expiration dates. On November 18, 2019, the DOJ announced it would seek to terminate the Paramount Decrees, which would include a two-year sunset period as to the practices of block booking and circuit dealing to allow theatre chains to adjust. The Department stated it was "unlikely that the remaining defendants can reinstate their cartel" as reasoning for terminating the decrees. The DOJ formally filed its motion for a court order to terminate the decrees on November 22, 2019. The move was opposed by independent movie theatre owners, including the Independent Cinema Alliance, and independent filmmakers.

    The court granted the DOJ's motion to lift the decrees on August 7, 2020, starting a two-year sunset termination period of the decrees.

    Note: Unbelievably, Makan Delrahim actually quoted Martin Scorsese when announcing the effective termination of the Paramount decrees in a speech to the American Bar Association. A mere 2 weeks before, Scorsese had published the following article in the NY Times:

    Opinion | Martin Scorsese: I Said Marvel Movies Aren’t Cinema. Let Me Explain.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2020
  13. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

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  14. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    That’s actually a good point and an angle I hadn’t thought of. I guess they aren’t technically supposed to, but the studio heads should get together and figure out whether or not the theatre's are crucial going forward, or if it’s time to start cranking out 10-15 million dollar films and go the way of discs and streaming only. Plenty of fine movies can be made for that, and there would be much less risk. If they want to keep sinking 200 million in films, they better quickly make that decision and prop up the theatres. Pretty soon the choice will be made for them.
  15. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR! Thread Starter

    Hollywood, USA
    This analyst agrees with you, and makes a case that the studios should try to help movie theaters stay in business, since each wins if the other succeeds:

    Studios "Must Be Willing to Take a Hit" to Keep Cinema Chains From "Falling Apart": Analyst | Hollywood Reporter
  16. Deuce66

    Deuce66 Forum Resident

    or studios will wait for the chains to tumble into bankruptcy, pick up the pieces for pennies on the $$ and form a new "theatre" company and yes they can now do that if the opportunity arrises.

    Studios can now own movie theaters after a federal judge approved the Justice Department's effort to do away with the Paramount Consent Decrees of 1948. Those antitrust laws were put in place to prevent studios from having a stranglehold on both production and distribution.Aug 7, 2020
  17. I watched a movie with my son in a local AMC theater -some flick called "The Empire Strikes Back". What a turkey! No wonder they waited till this bleak period to give it a token theatrical release. There were only 4 people in the theater for this dud. Oh well, at least I got out of the house for a bit. I predict it's a huge bomb. ;)
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2020
  18. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR! Thread Starter

    Hollywood, USA
    That thought was in the back of my mind.
  19. Jord

    Jord Forum Resident

    The Netherlands
    Well, talking about that.....

    BREAKING: Disney and Pixar's "Soul" Streaming Exclusively on Disney+ December 25 - WDW News Today

    So they'll be giving it away for basically 6,99? That is weird.
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  20. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR! Thread Starter

    Hollywood, USA
    When it was announced that Pixar's Soul would be streaming at Xmas, I said, "well, I ain't gonna pay $29.99 to see it [like Mulan], but I'd consider five bucks." And that's pretty much what they're doing. I think everything has been thrown up in the air and everybody's guessing at this point.

    If you price a new movie at $29.99 and 100,000 people see it, that's not as good as a $6.99 movie seen by a million people. I think they're trying to figure out how to approach this new market of "movies we thought would be in theaters, but can't be in a COVID world."

    I don't see No Time to Die making $200 million in pay per view in America. But it definitely could have made that in a pre-pandemic world.
  21. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    This might mean $29.99 didn’t work out very well. I don’t think any of us thought it would. But was it so bad they are thinking giving it away as part of the subscription is a better approach? Really interesting. And it’s over for movie theatres imo.
  22. Jord

    Jord Forum Resident

    The Netherlands
    Still, I really find it strange how they thought that pricing Mulan at $29.99 was a good idea. I don't recall there being much hype for the this movie, even if you take the negative political backlash out of the equation. Soul meanwhile looks fresh and from the looks of it people would indeed be willing to pay for that one. I would as well.

    Giving Soul away (Yes you do need D+) however is a move to the complete opposite of the spectrum and could set a dangerous precedent for Disney. I don't know Disney's release schedule for the first quarter of 2021 but having to pay for a VOD Disney movie after getting Soul "for free" could be a hard sell towards consumers, especially if Soul is as good as I've heard it is.
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  23. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    I think Disney is just experimenting right now. It’s a good time imo for them to do it. But, had the $30 gone well for Mulan you have to believe there is no way they would walk away from that and include it in the subscription. And how many more people are left to sign up? Seems like they have an incredible install base already.
  24. Jord

    Jord Forum Resident

    The Netherlands
    I can see that and I agree with all your points. That being said, I would have expected Disney to lower the price of their VOD releases instead of just straight going to releasing it for "free". I think a price point of around $10 would work very well. If you price it at $10 you can experiment with the price for future VOD releases. Let's say Black Widow gets a VOD release. Going from $10 to $20 would be much more acceptable than going from "free" to $20.
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  25. PH416156

    PH416156 Alea Iacta Est

    Disney is probably the only company that can afford a few giant losses; they sure know that it's only a matter of hours before "Soul" is available for free in HD or even 4K after its Disney+ premiere, courtesy of torrent sites. They "sacrificed" Mulan already, a $200M film.

    It should be noted that starting from 12/4, Mulan will be added to the Disney+ library for no extra charge. A customer could have a one month subscription, pay $7 and watch "Mulan" and "Soul" at home.

    By the way, it will interesting to see if they experiment with something that would be a bona fide hit like Black Widow.

    I don't know anything about "Soul", but the fact that they're giving it away a $155M movie might mean they think it's as good as "The good dinosaur".

    As I said some months ago, Tenet was a huge gamble. It didn't make any profit at the theater. I could have seen it in a relatively safe environment, and in late summer most people prefer going to the beach, but even a movie buff like me had to pass because of the pandemic. I was, and still am, too scared to enter a theater.

    Usually a I wait a bit and some discounts to buy a movie, but Tenet will be a day one BD purchase; I somewhat feel I owe it to Noland and WB for their will to try to help movie theaters, the real places where movies should be seen.
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