Imax Boss Says “Cannibalization” Hurt ‘Black Widow’, Thinks Disney Will Return To Theatrical Window Releases

Despite Disney's experiment with releasing films like Black Widow and Jungle Cruise Day and Date in theaters and at home at the PVOD level of its Disney + premier, Imax CEO Rich Gelfond doesn't believe the model will be the new normal for the future will.
“Every studio saw the same dates as Disney did. What Disney has been doing is experimenting with what they announced during the pandemic, "the CEO said during the large-format exhibitor's conference call for the second quarter of 2021 on Tuesday.
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"I remember [Disney CEO] Bob Chapek saying on one of his investor days that in normal times he thinks theater is important, exclusivity is important," said Gelfond, "and I think if he looks at his dates and the pandemic looks, it is "in the rearview mirror that he comes to the same conclusion as everyone else: the way to maximize value is through a theater window."
Imax CEO Rich Gelfond - Image Credit: IMAX
“They used to sell the same property five times and now they are selling it once. They may bring in some sales, but there is no evidence that it is a better model. ”He added that“ a lot of the same people will come to the same conclusion ”.
Regarding the impact of Black Widow, which reportedly hit a combined global box office and PVOD opening of $ 218 million (but only $ 316.3 million worldwide in box office-only), Gelfond said, "It stands Really out of the question to me that the combination of PVOD and a lot of piracy - people haven't really talked about it much - obviously there is a lot of piracy to be responsible for the cannibalization and it had a huge box office impact at the end of the day . "
"It's hard to quantify, but some stats I find interesting are that F9, the more traditional sales model, will bring in about $ 700 million worldwide at the end of its run, and Black Widow will cash in half of that." , the Imax Chef said. "Black Widow was a great movie so when I think about it there was no doubt a lot of money on the table."
At the domestic box office, Black Widow lost 68% on its second weekend, the highest value for any Disney + Marvel Cinematic Universe title; The result sparked the ire of the National Association of Theater Owners, which criticized the Burbank, California studio for using piracy and cutting windows to mow down the superhero title.
Gelfond was optimistic about the future of cinema, predicting we'd be in upcoming films like Venom: Let There Be Carnage, No Time to Die, Top Gun: Maverick, and even Disney / Marvel's Shang. soon will see the return of the global theater window -Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
"Every studio has a 45-day window next year," Gelfond said, but noted that "lower-cost releases will be put on streaming". In the meantime, Imax will continue to benefit from large studio tent poles.
On whether the Delta variant will affect the box office, Gelfond said "It's too early to say" as he watched the box office boom in China and Japan among an unvaccinated population.
"There is not much reluctance to go to the theater among the vaccinated, there is no evidence of it," he said.
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