Shocking but true, all movie theaters have been closed until further notice in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Large gatherings of people have been deemed unsafe and called off. People are urged to stay home, leading to many movie releases being postponed.
Investors have a hard choice to make right now. They have two options; either postpone all movie releases until the pandemic is over or make the new releases available via Video on Demand (VOD), also known as On Demand.
In order for the new movie releases to get an accurate revenue count, it would be wise to postpone all movie releases until the pandemic is over. The largest issue is that there has been no answer as to when the pandemic will end. Thus, leaving uncertainty on when theaters will be able to open, making it risky to choose a release date.
There are many things to take into consideration, mainly is the marketing that goes into movie releases. A four-month lead is necessary to build awareness for a film. There is a lot of money that is spent on marketing that leads to each new release. There are no reimbursements on marketing, so choosing a date during this time of uncertainty leads to a chance of wasted money.
Even when the “Safer at Home” order is removed, will people feel comfortable going to movie theaters and being around large groups of people right away? This makes the option of postponing new movie releases even until summer, very risky.
Deciding to postpone new movie releases until summer would be in the best interest for the investors of the movie industry. This would allow for better ticket sales and give viewers the option to still get the theatre experience.
On the other hand, releasing new movies with VOD will make it a lot easier on viewers. People will be able to download and stream the new movie in the comfort of their own home. Though adding up ticket sales would be out of the question, it would allow people going through hard times, to give their family the luxury of watching new movies and taking their mind off the pandemic for a moment.
If the industry chose VOD, they can still have lead marketing and potentially save money. Spending money on digital marketing, social media and TV commercials instead of billboards or outdoor marketing could have potential savings. The performance of each movie can be counted from the VOD streams to determine views.
There are movies that were previously released but still in theaters and are already taking the VOD route, such as “DownHill” and “The Call of The Wild.” Both movies were released on March 27, via VOD.
Movies like “Mulan,” which had an original release date of March 27, has been given a new release date if July 24. The “Jungle Cruise,” which was scheduled for July 24 theater release, has been moved July 30, 2021.
Both options are quite risky with all the uncertainty going on at the moment. It seems that choosing VOD would be the best option all around, considering the circumstances of the nation.