Now that moviegoing’s snapped back to life, media doomsayers will claim shorter theatrical windows will kill exhibition.
WB/Legendary’s record setting $48.5M pandemic launch of GODZILLA VS. KONG (pictured) shows that’s not so since there’s no window at all with GVK. It’s playing great despite going day & date with HBO Max. Clearly, moviegoers would rather see tentpoles on the BIG screen than at home with phones ringing and kids running wild.
Price isn’t the issue. What matters is the fun of moviegoing – getting out of the house, IMAX, Dolby, hot buttered popcorn, and hanging out with friends.
As for shorter theatrical windows, the concept of 90 days was to allow for long theatrical runs so word of mouth could spread and audiences could “find” films. That made sense in the ’80s when it took much longer for people to find out about new movies. Today, WOM spreads instantly via social media and ticket sales are front-loaded. There’s nothing to discover. After 3 weeks, most films have done nearly all their theatrical business — and 45 days more than covers it. Exhibitors may prefer 75-90 day windows, but they really don’t need them today.