In an interview with CNBC last Monday, IMAX’s CEO Rich Gelfond predicted a strong recovery in 2021 for his company and the film entertainment industry. 2020 was a brutal campaign for exhibition, stunned by the largest year-over-year declines in revenue and attendance in history. Gelfond’s optimism is founded on three factors:
(1) the near-term, widespread rollout of an effective COVID-19 vaccine
(2) a backlog of studio blockbusters scheduled to release in 2021, many of which were delayed from planned 2020 release dates, and
(3) the pent-up demand from consumers to emerge from lockdown and enjoy themselves once again by going to the movies. The Easter releases of the James Bond spy thriller No Time to Die and the animated family sequel Peter Rabbit 2 may herald the beginning of a significant recovery at the box office.
Comments from other Industry Leaders:
• Disney’s CEO Bob Chapek declared at the studio’s 12/10 Investor Day presentations: “We had a $13 billion box office [in 2019], and that’s not something to sneeze at. We built [our most valuable] franchises through the theatrical window.”
• Universal’s Vice Chairman Peter Levinsohn said, “We are very bullish on the prospects of the domestic box office once the cinemas are back up and running at full capacity; some level of exhibition consolidation is likely, but we believe ticket sales will be redistributed amongst the remaining theatres and have little impact on box office going forward.”
See also: How The Box Office Will Power Back In 2021 Despite Covid Woes & Streaming Obsessions (Deadline)