MCN Commentary & Analysis

The State of It: Post-Election

Phew.

The last time I wrote about the film and television industry, aside from Twitter, was three full weeks ago. Actions have taken place in the industry, but nothing foundational has really changed since then. That doesn’t mean that the losses haven’t hurt and the wins haven’t soothed all of us.

NATO still should get significant PPP support and the hope of vaccines makes Summer 2021 seem more than a mirage. How many theaters will survive? How many will use the situation, potentially including bankruptcies, to reposition their brick-and-mortar? What fights will be fought in the name of theatrical revenues, which far outstrip streaming revenues and will for years, and what concessions—not candy and popcorn—can be made by exhibitors?

Studios have had layoffs and sell-offs, some of which will flip in the coming months. Some of which will not. Everyone has time to strategize and consider what they want to do when things return to some form of normalcy. Companies that don’t strategize as well will suffer from their COVID epiphanies. Great strategists will get great returns on their patience in the coming year.

Streamers, new and old, have kept pace with internal expectations. Quibi died. It was dying before I stopped writing. Media is, as one expects, hysterical in covering every twitch along the way, overstating some comments, pretending others never happened. Disney+ is still Stage One, having not fully managed Hulu/Star (overseas) into the inevitable strategy that will allow them to have a two-tier product to work the same turf as Netflix worldwide. HBOMax has had a strong content effort, but a problematic effort to convert subscribers in bigger numbers, even after giving up on deference to DirecTV. Peacock hasn’t found its feet, but betting against Comcast and Universal and NBC figuring it out would be a stupid bet. Paramount and Sony can’t make up their minds about what they intend to be when they grow up, par for their courses. The longer they hedge and bounce between being content providers only and launching serious streaming presences (neither has a broadcast network), the more painful this will be.

Does anyone really know how AppleTV+ and Amazon Prime will evolve? I have guesses, but those are beyond irrelevant at the moment. Both will get to a tipping point. I doubt that both will be ongoing production and distribution engines in three years. But both companies are brilliant at pivoting to what is really needed by the public instead of stubbornly trying to make square pegs fit round holes.

Netflix is fine. And they are dealing with their own shit. The company is no longer the exciting new kid on the block. I say they are Sophomores. And there are growing pains and new challenges and a content strategy that is going to evolve as demands of profitability are taken more seriously by the stock market. No one is forcing this but gravity.

Disney has many balls in the air. Theatrical will return. Parks will return in earnest a few months later. But the balance between streaming and their broadcast and cable nets on cable and satellite remains a huge challenge of finesse, timing and luck.

The movement to make streaming a priority has been wildly misread by press and conmen. The studios spent five solid years treating streaming as a nice little revenue stream even as the numbers grew larger. In the last 18 months, there was the big step of getting in the game. Now that revenues from streaming are real, plans need to be longterm, and streaming must be, at every multiple-content-format-delivery company, every bit as big as DVD once was or theatrical or post-theatrical sales. But that is being mistaken for STREAMING IS EVERYTHING, which I understand, because media is a premature ejaculator, but is false.

For the first time, studios and other lesser content providers have allowed the opportunity of a wider array of choices. I am 100% good with that. It is needed. Do you launch High School Musical 5 on Disney+ or Disney Channel or do you see a surge of nostalgia that would make it viable as a theatrical or do you turn it into a limited series or a series or ship it to Asia for theatrical but launch it domestically on cable and on Star in Australia? Or take a series of choices that happened, as The Last Dance ran on ESPN, then ABC, and then Netflix. Each of those venues was a financial maximization decision. (A weird quirk is that media insists on killing the idea of studios when, even if you did kill distribution, those companies would remain the dominant content creators for every delivery system.)

THAT is the business change that we are walking into. A wider array of choices. It doesn’t shutter any option. Not any time in the next five years. Disney is not shifting the majority of its content spend to Disney+. They aren’t not spending on Marvel (which is heading into its own headwinds)o r Pixar or Star Wars. That would be idiotic. Disney made a decision that Soul would have more value to the company – which is sitting on a ton of high-budget/high-profile product – as a Disney+ giveaway in December. Not charging like Mulan. Not experimenting with a $10 add-on price. Not making other choices. This is smart. This is logical. And it doesn’t change the entire distribution thinking of the industry.

But this is how business works. I didn’t agree with everything Barry Diller said last week about the industry moving forward, but the thing he said and which has been affirmed by non-industry businesses forever… Business likes stability. The sums may be massive to regular humans. But if a business can see what is coming, good leadership can manage it, because it has a form… One can set targets.

With this election, there is, regardless of all the other politics, more stable ground from which to work. The announcement of the potentially effective Pfizer vaccine this morning is another pillar of stability, which we all hope will remai). Not knowing whether we all can start digging out in earnest, in five months, or in a year or longer is dangerous in comparison to where we were just a week ago.

Production has ramped up on television shows. The film production story is more a tale of the biggest and the smallest… but content is being produced. We have a massive backlog of theatrical movies waiting to roll out just as soon as the math makes sense. (I believe Christmas is pushing it… but March or April may start to look like a worldwide release can do 75% or more of its expected pre-virus business. and that is what the standard really is to give a green light to the industry. Also, if there are people who get the virus in a movie theater – which hasn’t happened, but surely will if weekly domestic box office gets back up over $40 million – it will not destroy the industry if a true opening-up feels months away.)

As a movie fan, I am conscious of the many powerful films about the period between the Allies seeming to have defeated Germany and the complete end of the Third Reich. I am reminded that D-Day was on July 6, 1944 and Anne Frank was taken into custody and shipped to Auschwitz on the last train that would go to the death camp in August-September 1944. She died of typhus four months later, weeks before the camp was liberated. We know “the troops” are coming, but the times are still dangerous.

But today is better than last week. The course to a future of “normalcy” and then growth is within reach. We will lose companies. We will lose friends. But we are, finally, able to see land through the periscope. We just have to get there.

64 Responses to “The State of It: Post-Election”

  1. Bob Burns says:

    I want the theatrical experience to be better, more interesting, especially here in the middle of the country. And I don’t mean cocktails. Imagine being able to go to a Netflix theater, free to suscribers, perhaps, to watch a full season of, say, Sense8, or House of Cards, or The Crown, on a big screen, and then come back to see the opening night of one of their prestige films. It is such a dispiriting experience to go to an Oscar film in a theater with 6 people. What a pleasure to see films in big cities with audiences that get the jokes

  2. Bob Burns says:

    Just as a reality check on the societal effects of a 90% effective vaccine… setting aside that we don’t know what that means, yet. Masks are 90% effective at preventing transmission, and 60% effevtive at preventing infection. We have this tool, masks, now and, nonetheless, had 130,000 new cases detected yesterday. It will be a long time before we get as many people vaccinated, as are currently wearing masks. This won’t get fixed until we have massive public health campaigns, which, weirdly, we have not seen yet.

  3. Sam E. says:

    @Bob Burns

    I’m not going to spell out the difference between a preventive measure and a cure expect to say there is a difference and if people are really confused about this I would suggest doing a few quick google searches on the topic.

  4. amblinman says:

    “The movement to make streaming a priority has been wildly misread by press and conmen. The studios spent five solid years treating streaming as a nice little revenue stream even as the numbers grew larger. In the last 18 months, there was the big step of getting in the game. Now that revenues from streaming are real, plans need to be longterm, and streaming must be, at every multiple-content-format-delivery company, every bit as big as DVD once was or theatrical or post-theatrical sales. But that is being mistaken for STREAMING IS EVERYTHING, which I understand, because media is a premature ejaculator, but is false.“

    You have literally gotten everything wrong since the pandemic. And you’re *still* refusing to learn a damn thing.

    You’re the monorail salesman from the Simpsons at this point.

  5. Hcat says:

    Bob, not sure how that Netflix theater would work. Letting people in free with a subscription they already pay for won’t generate anything and takes away real estate from films that would produce revenue. Places have been trying to figure out discount and subscription viewing for awhile (such as the disappointment with MoviePass). But the problem is the people who are most likely to jump on the savings are the ones who were driving up all your profits in the first place. It would be like a bar offering a monthly 100 dollar charge for all you can drink drafts.

  6. Dr Wally Rises says:

    Netflix theaters would work on the same apparently counter-intuitive but actually quite smart principle as those Amazon brick and mortar bookstores.

    David, I’m going to say this ever time you post something long-form about the movies or the business from now on. Thank you. Thank you for your time, energy, and insight. Whether the other posters agree with the substance of your opinions is beside the point. The point Is that you’re doing it anyway. And if anything good comes out of this pestilential pox and shitshow of a year, maybe it’ll be people being a bit more appreciative of the little things in life.

  7. Bob Burns says:

    SamE, I understand the differences very well, and ran my comments about the impacts of a vaccine by a prevention scientist at the CDC, before posting. If anything, my comments above are optimistic. The one thing we can be very happy about is that health care workers coud be less vulnerable in a few months, but I would not be surprised if they are required to wear masks for some time until we know more about vaccines.

  8. Stella's Boy says:

    The only reason there hasn’t been an outbreak connected to a movie theater is because no one is going to movie theaters. Just read that at least 80% of recent Covid cases are directly connected to indoor gatherings: gyms, bars, restaurants. Summer ends, more people gather indoors, and cases go up and up. And it’s going to get worse before it gets better. News of a vaccine is great (Fauci said one should be ready in April), but it’s going to be a while before it’s safe for movie theater crowds.

    Is the entire media saying STREAMING IS EVERYTHING? It’s like when DP said the media was collectively cheering for or predicting the death of movie theaters. I don’t see evidence of that and he doesn’t provide any. He presents himself as this wise contrarian who is able to burst the bubble of conventional wisdom and see the truth, but he never presents any supporting evidence when he makes these sweeping claims. Streaming might not be everything but it’s pretty damn significant and that won’t change whenever theaters are normal again.

  9. Sam E. says:

    @BobBurns
    Okay I’ll play along yes COVID is going to be around for awhile never said anything different. Is a vaccine more effective as a way to cure, prevent and slow the spread of COVID than purely cautionary measures such as masks and social distancing?

  10. Sam E. says:

    If ticket prices are nine dollars on average there’s been approximately 180,000,000 in BO since which accounts for about 20 million admissions.

  11. Stella's Boy says:

    20 million nationwide over 8 months. Right so as I said empty or near-empty theaters. Thank you for agreeing with me. With crowded indoor spaces like bars, restaurants, and gyms causing Covid outbreaks across the country, if movie theaters get more crowded we can expect the same result. This isn’t rocket science.

  12. Sam E. says:

    3 and 1/2 months* Interpret the data however you want those are the numbers.

  13. Sam E. says:

    The numbers were since August I realize there was a word omission there.

  14. Stella's Boy says:

    Doesn’t matter Sam. It doesn’t change the fact that hardly anyone is going to movie theaters right now. They are entirely or mostly empty. This is common knowledge. People are very worried about this. Big chains have locations closed and are worried about their future. Not sure what your point is. Just being pedantic? Obviously I didn’t mean no one has stepped foot in a movie theater since the pandemic started. You know what I meant.

  15. Sam E. says:

    Yes there are far less people going to theaters than there was a year ago at this time. If you think 6-7 million admissions a month is effectively ‘no one’ you’re welcome to your opinion. I’m just posting the data.

  16. Stella's Boy says:

    Your numbers are off, according to The Numbers. They have total domestic box office since August 1 as about $145 million. They have a nice breakdown on their website. That includes drive-ins too, right? So that’s even less people in movie theaters. Again, not my opinion. Read the room Sam. Movie theaters are all but empty. The data and the industry’s reaction and concern prove that. You are delusional and wrong if you believe otherwise.

  17. Sam E. says:

    Maybe November’s were not accounted for yet which explains discrepancy but I believe Boxofficemojo is generally considered a more thorough site fwiw:

    https://www.boxofficemojo.com/month/by-year/?grossesOption=calendarGrosses

  18. Stella's Boy says:

    It doesn’t matter. It makes no difference here. Your “but actually” here is pointless and misguided. Crowded indoor places are experiencing outbreaks. Movie theaters are not crowded. If they get crowded we can expect them to generate outbreaks just as gyms, bars, and restaurants are generating outbreaks now. End of story.

  19. Sam E. says:

    There’s been 6-7 million admissions a month for the period between August till interpret that how you like; I’m not making any point other than to clarify what the data is. FWIW if you could possibly find about how much of that came from Drive-ins I would be interested in seeing that. I’m not aware of any sites though that keep track of that information at least for the general public.

  20. Stella's Boy says:

    OK then. Seems pretty irrelevant and pointless but if it makes you feel better you do you. The point is movie theaters are not crowded and haven’t been since early March.

    No idea if drive-in numbers are tracked regularly anywhere. I do know they count though (one weekend in April a drive-in accounted for the only domestic box office numbers), and drive-ins were pretty busy for many months this year.

  21. David Poland says:

    Amblinman… what do you think I have gotten wrong? I know it’s not every single thing. But I would ask you to be specific so I can check my work.

  22. David Poland says:

    Stella’s Boy – How about this for a challenge? Cite a single story in the mainstream media that doesn’t continue to assume that streaming is the primary future and that theatrical will be marginalized to big movies? Will be happy to read and celebrate that piece.

    Meanwhile, my story is old. 20 years old. NYT and the majority that follow have been selling the end of theatrical that entire time. Read Movies & Money and you will see that this posture has found supporters for 100 years.

    I am not a genius to see the functional reality. I just open my eyes. Media tends to want to provide answers. But we don’t have answers. We have a multi-layered set of financial opportunities that have a wide variety of options for every piece of content. That is what Disney is leaning into. The mathematical value of a movie that grosses over $500 million in theatrical before making every bit as much in post-theatrical revenues as it would with a direct release does not change. It is still just math. And same for a movie that costs $20 million and makes $40 million in theatrical before post-theatrical revenues.

    There have been 6 – 10 expensive experiments since March and the answers are not very different.

    If you can find a single piece I have ever written in the last 5 years that suggests that streaming is not coming and will not become as dominant as a new form of television, replacing slowly but steadily cable/satellite, let me know.

    Your issues with my ego mean nothing. You don’t know me or my ego. You know what I write. Disagree if you like. But making it personal is a weak game.

  23. David Poland says:

    As for box office these last 6 months… we are running at roughly 10% to 20% of normal business. How that breaks down is not relevant to me in this situation.

  24. Stella's Boy says:

    LOL. So I need to use Google and find the answers? As I said, you can’t cite anything and have no supporting evidence. You make broad statements over and over again with nothing to back them up, and it serves to present you as a wise contrarian willing to buck conventional wisdom. Just like I said. Your post does absolutely nothing to refute that. I do disagree with you and I stated why. And you basically said “Google it if you disagree.” Sad.

  25. David Poland says:

    Jesus, Stella… I’m not a librarian. You aren’t either. But while you seem really anxious to argue that all I am is a contrarian, you’re just wrong about the stories I dispute and continue to dispute. For that matter, I have pushed away from NATO’s public take a bit too.

    Pretty much every story I have read in the last few months lean into the death of theatrical and if they give any hope, it’s buried in the bottom half of the story. Here is the first story that came up when I Googled “movie theaters” under news. This is relatively upbeat, as things are leaning a bit more this way after the Pfizer announcement a few days ago.

    “Instead, three publicly traded movie theater chains reported more than $1 billion in losses in the third quarter, and there doesn’t appear to be an immediate end in sight.

    Once again, the companies’ fates rest in the hands of movie studios, which they hope will release new films, and in audiences, who they hope will come back even as Covid-19 cases begin to surge again. And even the welcome news of progress on a vaccine, which drove up the group’s stocks Monday, won’t bring instant relief.

    A vaccine isn’t likely to be widely available to the public until mid-2021, at best. So, while the news is promising, it does not fix the near-term issues that movie theaters are facing: A lack of revenue.”

    Your anger seems to be much more about me than about the actual news. If you think I am “just a contrarian,” I guess you will have to show me how I flipped or flopped in these last 20 years. The facts have changed over time, obviously. But the revenue structure for theatrical hasn’t changed very much. The future of home television delivery, which is what streaming is really challenging, has changed quite a bit. And I continue to follow each step and write about it pretty accurately, imo.

  26. Pete B. says:

    People are not going to the theaters because there’s minimal new content to see. If you release it, more will come. Looking forward to Freaky this weekend.

  27. Stella's Boy says:

    At least we have a president-elect who isn’t determined to ignore a pandemic and kill people. Theaters will be shut down again soon the way things are going in this country. Too many stupid, selfish people out there unfortunately.

  28. Stella's Boy says:

    New movies have been coming out. People haven’t been going. They didn’t flock to theaters even when Tenet was released. Apparently people will stop going to movie theaters but not bars, gyms, or restaurants.

  29. Pete B. says:

    I said “minimal new content” not NO new content, but then you seem to be in antagonistic mood Stella as you’re arguing with multiple folks, Dave included.

    And the election isn’t certified… yet.

  30. Sam E says:

    FWIW there was a Yahoo finance article where based on their survey about fifth of the people said they would go to the theaters if there was more new content. As for Tenet it was an interesting situation even though it had a blockbuster budget there weren’t a lot of big names associated with it, audiences apparently didn’t especially like it and it wasn’t based on any pre-existing material making all combined it was a hard sell even if there was no pandemic. I realize WW1984 wouldn’t have made 300-million if it had Tenet‘s release date but it doesn’t seem unthinkable the former film could’ve made over 100-million if it was released in the same slot.

  31. David Poland says:

    A fifth of who-did-they-survey? I don’t dispute the survey, but realize that frequent moviegoers (more than 10 times a year) are only a bit more than 10% of the population.

    And if Wonder Woman 1984 did $100m domestic, it would lose money.

    We are currently operating at just under than 20% of the audience levels, broadly. But it isn’t enough to pay the bills for a studio movie.

    God bless the films in release… but the vast majority are movies that would have played on fewer screens in “normal” situation and are setting up VOD and streamer sales.

    The next experiment will be Croods 2 – Universal being the most experimental studio – and it will surely make more on VOD than theatrically in the end. That would not be the case in “normal” times. But how it does – which could be numbers or just never confirmed guesses, like Trolls 2 – will affect WW1984 and other titles. Soul didn’t wait for the news.

  32. David Poland says:

    A much larger percentage of people frequently go to bars, gyms, and restaurants than movies.

    I have been calling for a shutdown of theaters until at least the spring for months. The biggest interference is PPP, which continues to be dragged out. For theaters to get PPP money, they will likely need to be open (they are hoping for $20b or so), so they keep staying open, losing money (drive-ins excluded). They will get it from Biden at the end of January, but should have had it last month, which would have allowed NATO theaters to create a hibernation period that made sense for themselves and consumer expectations.

  33. Sam E. says:

    The Yahoo article simply identified the poll as online poll conducted with Harris. There wasn’t too much in the article about who the people surveyed were. https://finance.yahoo.com/news/covid-19-is-not-the-only-thing-keeping-americans-out-of-movie-theaters-202950305.html

  34. Bob Burns says:

    Sam, a vaccine is not a treatment, it is a prevention measure. The effectiveness we can receive from masks, 90 percent protecting from transmission, 70% protecting from infection, is at the high end of the effectiveness of many vaccines. Flu vaccines are typically 50% effective, and quite worthwhile at that. It could be that the vaccines are not effective with people who are most likely to contract COVID anyway. Moreover, the virus is mutating; will a vaccine work against all mutations? We don’t know. And gettin a large percentage of the population vaccinated is very difficult. Are people any more likely to get a vaccine than to wear a mask?
    Additionally, because of poor political leadership, few people understand the damage caused by COVID, other than death, even among people who have apparently asymptomatic cases.

    Yes, I look forward to a vaccine, and hope I will be able to get one as soon as possible. I will still wear a mask, and isolate as much as possible. And I question whether a vaccine will bring down the caseload any time soon.

    This is a movie site, not a health site. I just question whether theatrical will open up this spring. When it does, I have no doubt the publicity wizards will be able to rustle up big audiences. We will just have to see whether the audiences are as large. COVID won’t dissappear, and people like me, with cancer and heart disease might never return to theaters.

  35. Dr Wally Rises says:

    Bob, I have every sympathy with your conditions and understand your reticence, but please be careful with doom-mongering speculation, most especially when it comes to scientific conjecture.

  36. Stella's Boy says:

    How exactly is he doom-mongering? By stating facts? He’s right that Covid isn’t going to go away and we’re a long way from knowing how effective vaccines will be and who knows how many people will actually get it (I have conservative relatives who constantly talk about how they will never get a Covid vaccine). I mean sorry if you don’t like hearing the truth but I don’t see where Bob is wrong and he certainly shouldn’t be scolded like he’s a child.

  37. Pete B. says:

    Pot meet kettle.

  38. Stella's Boy says:

    LOL right because sharing factual information is the same as being a Trumper who ignores public health experts and endangers other people. Nice try Pete! Go back to being a selfish tool while Covid ravages the country.

  39. leahnz says:

    stella’s in here doing all the heavy lifting, kudos

  40. Amblinman says:

    @Dave you continually treat/have treated covid like a blip because you want to go back to lecturing on box ofifice from theatrical, which does not exist. You got the early pandemic wrong when you kept writing piece after piece condescendingly explaining how this movie or that cannot go to streaming as one movie after another goes to streaming. WB is thisclose to putting WW 1984 on HBO Max. Where did that movie sit on your list of “untouchables” this week, Dave?

    Yeah yeah yeah for 20 years they’ve predicted the death of theater yada yada and got it wrong. Was there an infectious pandemic that closed movie theaters globally for about a year heading into a second one? Was there instant digital access to these films on giant OLED TVs with soundbars? After what will be probably another year of no movies, if you can’t imagine consumer habits changing, then *you* just aren’t familiar with capitalism and human psychology. We get used to what we get used to.

    You will not speak to or account for any of this because like legacy media on the movie industry 20 years ago, you don’t have the vocabulary. You understand what transpired, how it used to work. It don’t work that way anymore. Studio X needs Y to justify the cost of movie, thus they have to open on every screen across the globe. Because there is no other way to make profits on movies because this is still 20 years ago; right? Right.

    To anyone still arguing about opening stuff while we head towards 300k Americans dead: fuck you and yours. Especially the latter. Maybe you’ll care about those folks since other Americans aren’t on your list.

  41. Stella's Boy says:

    Thanks leah. Amen amblinman, on all accounts.

  42. Pete B. says:

    Not sure Dr. Wally Rises considers himself a Trumper, Stella. I was pointing out the hypocrisy of you calling out someone for scolding, when that’s all you seem to do anymore.

    Covid-19 has a mortality rate of 2.6% in the USA, and a 2.43% worldwide. I’d say “doom-mongering” is entirely accurate.

  43. Stella's Boy says:

    I was talking to you Pete. You’re the Trumper. Scolding someone stating facts is foolish. Scolding the likes of you is necessary. That’s a very high mortality rate for a virus. You’re proving my point whether you realize it or not. People like you diminishing 245K (and rising fast) dead is fucked up and sad.

  44. Amblinman says:

    Covid was originally stated to have a 1% mortality rate when we shut down.

    2-3%, 100’s of 1000’s of dead Americans, and garbage people like Pete are still telling everyone it’s not a big deal.

  45. Stella's Boy says:

    Highest death rate in the world! More deaths than many 20th century wars! Rapid rise in cases and a death rate climbing fast! But you downplay it. Just boggles the mind. Your mentality is why we are where we are in this country. It’s so fucked.

    https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/10/us-leads-19-nations-covid-19-all-cause-death-rates

  46. Pete B. says:

    79% of the deaths in the US are for those 65 and over. That’s a fact. But please shut the whole country down for everyone!

  47. leahnz says:

    (the only good thing about c-19 is that it’s a handy ‘asshole-revealer’: people lacking empathy for others show who they are and man it’s ugly)

    – ‘average’ c19 death rates are quite deceptive because the death rate depends on situation treatment. in places where spread is out of control hospitals are overwhelmed and reach capacity, triage becomes necessary and death rates routinely top 10% — in every area/country where the virus has spread unchecked.

    – it’s not just death: those with other medical conditions are left untreated in an overwhelmed medical system, with serious consequences. and the virus, originally treated as respiratory, has turned out to be a blood pathogen with a few pesky ebola-like traits leaving lasting damage to the brain, heart, blood vessels/etc in a material portion of survivors, even young people. how much damage is wrought will become more clear as research continues but clearly this pathogen is an insidious little fucker causing serious consequences for people’s lives and the the health system.

  48. Gary deBrown says:

    Pete, you think so two dimensionally. Imagine walking through Anaheim, Birmingham, Scottsdale or Anchorage and *every one is gone*; Only you. Like an old Romero movie. No one in any apartments, stores, houses. Use your somatic memory and Imagine walking through one of those cities and its just you.

    That is what we’re talking about when it comes to dead.

    Btw, excellent display of EQ; your parents must be so proud.

  49. Pete B. says:

    Leah, you’ve thought I was an asshole long before Covid-19. We’re talking YEARS.

  50. leahnz says:

    well i was talking about way more peeps than just you, pete

  51. Stella's Boy says:

    Indeed it’s a plethora of assholes causing the massive rise in Covid and accompanying spike in deaths. Hardly just one asshole. Pro-lifers and right-wingers revealing their true colors.

  52. amblinman says:

    Leah responds to PEte’s factoid with facts, PEte responds with a warmed over “joke”.

    PEte, seriously: why do you bother? You’re like every con, you’re not interested in engagement. Just mockery and then running off to beat your wife or praise hitler or whatever ya’ll do on weekends. What’s the point? You don’t care, you aren’t interested, and you’re probably kinda rooting for as much death as possible so long as you and yours are fine.

    It’s not like we respect your movie opinions either, dude. You’re IO without the attempts at charisma.

  53. Stella's Boy says:

    Good questions. The answer might be just to troll us. That’s the MO of so many Trumpers like Pete. They feast on liberal tears or whatever. When he’s not posting here he can’t get enough Andy Ngo.

  54. Pete B. says:

    Did IO attempt charisma? I must have missed it. And so many negative stereotypes! Do you work at MSNBC?

    Never said Covid was “no big deal”, and not “rooting for death” – just pointing out there are other options beside total lockdown. Does everyone need to do their part? Yes! Wear a mask, maintain 6 feet distance, and wash your hands. If you have pre-existing conditions stay home as much as possible.

    This is a website about movies. I will continue going to movies until I can’t, whether by govt restrictions or no more theaters in business.

  55. Amblinman says:

    Yeah, but Pete? You’re stupid about movies too. You’re just a dumb guy. Dunno what else to tell ya.

  56. Bob Burns says:

    The vaccine news is better than we might have expected. What we don’t know is their longevity. We also don’t know whether people can be infectious of others after vaccination…… if not we might acrually move toward herd immunity.

    I have been involved in disease prevention for thirty years. The first 50% are easy, the last 25% are ridiculously hard. When I was a kid you were not allowed in school without your immunizations. I am a big fan of mandatory.

  57. David Poland says:

    Amblinman… I know you wanted me to leap to “it’s all over for 18 months” from Day One. But that is not how I work… on any subject. I never denied that we could see a shut down and I called for theaters to shut down for 6 months or more back in October. You seem to be angry about anything other than absolutism. I look at what is happening and work from there… what might be possible… what is proven wrong.

    And I am afraid that it is your position of industry change that is antiquated. Same old same old. There is a new threat to theatrical and THIS IS THE ONE.

    I am in no way in denial about streaming. But you need to look at where the money is coming from. Of my July list of 19 untouchables, 4 have been “touched.” Two were much written about experiments (Tenet and Mulan), neither of which succeeded. Paramount sold Coming 2 America. And Disney decided to push Soul to Disney+. Maybe WB will idiotically throw Wonder Woman 1984 to the stream… but I don’t think it will… but they are itching to seem relevant, so they may spend $200 million+ towards that end.

    Money is money. I don’t really care if the end of theatrical makes you hot. Leaving your house to do something is still leaving your house to do something, even if you have access to every movie and TV show ever made. Will that part of the business be marginalized by streaming. No question. But it certainly can remain a $30 billion+ business for 5 years+ after this pandemic allows theatrical and there is no reason for it to ever dip below $25b a year worldwide.

    How do you value content on streaming? By subscribers. Disney+ is already competitive with Netflix, in a year, without even utilizing the $50 billion library they just acquired. Netflix spends over $15b a year on new content. Disney+ does not and won’t. Nor will HBO Max or Peacock. They don’t need to. They will all try different paths.

    But the part you seem not to get at all is that the money that the streamers will cannibalize is cable/satellite, which also happens to be a much deeper pocket than theatrical and streaming combined at this point. Endless content will affect theatrical numbers. But the opportunity to actually make money on a movie will be ONLY through theatrical soon. There is no direct correlative connection in streaming subs and money. Disney has taken the Big Event Every Two Months path. Okay. We’ll see how that works. Netflix is endless new content. The rest are still Keystone Kops.

    Your obsessive need to pigeon hole me is weird. When I started this, DVD was still king. Spider-Man changed the math and it has kept changing. Then international theatrical became critical and DVD committed suicide. Then the studios stupidly let Netflix run with streaming for more than 5 years before being stupidly content with the relative small amounts from licensing.

    Things keep changing. I keep writing about change. I have been right about theatrical through multiple attacks on windows. But I have always said – literally for decades – that the studios can kill theatrical. And the new deals with Universal may be the tool they don’t know will hurt them too.

    Streaming is a $30b a year business per major, max. Disney broadcasting and cable makes more than that. Streaming is happening. But it will be displacing other parts of the business. And it will make the overall industry smaller in time. $5b a year in revenue is nothing to sneeze at… and as I keep saying, once it streams, it streams forever… there will be no more money or benefit. So what kind of idiot throws away money when there is no direct benefit?

    We shall see.

    Thanks for your rage. It forces me to reconsider my positions. And honestly, this exchange has made me feel smarter than I probably am.

  58. Amblinman says:

    “And I am afraid that it is your position of industry change that is antiquated. Same old same old.“

    “No puppet, you’re the puppet” – Donald Trump Poland

    Learn a new vocabulary, Dave. Or get used to writing “Remember when” columns about Matrix DVD sales.

  59. Amblinman says:

    WW 1984 streaming on HBO Max on Christmas.

    No one could have seen this coming! Back even last April!

  60. David Poland says:

    Oh, Amblinman… so crabby.

    I don’t know who you are, so I don’t know if you are a puppet. But you are a shit debater.

    Did you guess that? I’m so impressed. You are so very smart. Everything you say must be true. How may I grovel?

  61. Amblinman says:

    It was on your list of “untouchables for streaming”. All anyone has to do is review it and that’s usually the next movie that goes streaming.

    Listen, it’s like Sick Boy’s speech about some folks just losing it as they age, Dave. 🙁

  62. David Poland says:

    You like to make things up, Amblinman. But that makes you impossible to engage.

    I don’t know who you are, but apparently you are hung up on age. Sad for you. I’m 56, not 86.

    4 movies on the “untouchable list” I posted in July have shifted or are shifting to streaming.

    Why are you so desperate to be right about something?

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