Probably one of the industries that have been hit hardest by COVID-19 is the box office, and studios have been trying to find different ways in earning a profit while theaters are closed. While WB is slowly trying to get people back to theaters with Tenet, Sony is saying they will hold all their huge films back until the pandemic is finally gone.
According to The Wrap, Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman Tony Vinciquerra said during the Bandk of America’s 2020 Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference:
“What we won’t do is make the mistake of putting a very, very expensive $200 million movie out in the market unless we’re sure that theaters are open and operating at significant capacity. You’ll see a lot of strange things happen over the next six months in how films are released, how they’re scheduled, how they’re marketed, but once we get back to normal, we will have learned a lot I think and found ways to do things that are somewhat different and hopefully better.”
Admittedly, it feels like studios are playing a game of chicken when it comes to their releases, and they are waiting to see what works when it comes to the pandemic. Disney had attempted to release blockbuster Mulan for an added price tag on Disney+, and some movies just went straight to streaming. If anything, Netflix is the only platform which doesn’t seem to be hindered, but even then, they will eventually run out of content if they run out of finished content to publish.
Going back to Sony though, a lot of people have been mocking their way of doing business since before the pandemic, but this move to hold all huge films until cinemas are fully operational is definitely the most sensible one. While it may be frustrating that we’ll have to wait longer for Ghostbusters: Afterlife or Morbius, opening theaters at the wrong time could just keep us dealing with this virus for longer.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife and Morbius are set for a release in March 2021.