As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, movie theaters and studios are facing an unprecedented setback: how to show movies when movie theaters are no longer safe to visit. Now, Warner Brother’s is reportedly ‘rethinking’ their upcoming release strategy with theatrical releases.
John Stankey, the CEO of Warner Bros. parent company WarnerMedia, cited not only current theatrical shutdowns, but future consumer behaviors that will be further impacted for months in regards to future theatrical releases. “This experience will change many things, including customer behaviors and expectations,” he stated, “We’re evaluating our product distribution strategy, re-looking at volumes and the required support levels we need in a down economy. We’re rethinking our theatrical model and looking for ways to accelerate efforts that are consistent with the rapid changes in consumer behavior from the pandemic.”
This statement comes not soon after the company decided to move their animated Scooby-Doo comedy Scoob! to VOD, skipping theaters all together. Stankey went on to say that he doesn’t expect movie theaters to go back to normal anytime soon, “The theatrical business is obviously a stressed business right now. When theaters are closed, it’s hard to generate revenue. And don’t expect that that’s going to be a snap-back.”
With the company already moving one high profile release to VOD, it’s not a stretch to suggest that Warner Bros. will continue to rely on this Digital model for success, especially with the company already committing to launch it’s own digital content through new streaming service HBO MAX.