With the leading circuits bleeding dollars as theatres remain shut in NYC & LA, there’s speculation that studios or streamers should snap up the struggling chains. It seems to make sense initially.
After all, these companies all have very deep pockets and the distressed circuits certainly aren’t in the best negotiating position. But do studios & streamers really need to own cinemas?
For studios, the answer seems to be “no.” Buying one theatre circuit wouldn’t provide the full national geographic reach to recreate pre-pandemic distribution patterns. A studio/exhibitor could add the missing markets by buying local indie theatres or partnering with another big circuit. Then it could establish its own window to play its films on its own streaming channel. But with exhibition so weakened now, shorter theatrical windows are already a safe bet.
Streamers, however, could play their big films – like Netflix’s THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 (pictured – Frank Langella) – using theatrical marketing to create awareness and quickly enhance their value for streaming. Not being in every big market wouldn’t matter to streamers the way it would to studios.