Perhaps you’ve noticed this is the second week in a row that you’ve been forced to hear from me at the top of the CJ Marquee rather than our editor, Patrick von Sychowski. Have no fear, Patrick hasn’t gone anywhere. We’re just in the midst of launching our new newsletter platform. It’s been two years in the making and would not have been possible without the support of Dolby, which has been generously sponsoring The Marquee as we experimented with formats, styles and user interfaces since June of last year.
We’re still putting the finishing touches on certain design and functional elements of The Marquee so you may see a few differences in upcoming weeks. (Click on any of the headlines in this newsletter and see what happens.). Our goal was always to create a content management solution for our newsletters with a robust backend that would allow us to create newsletters focused on specific areas of the motion picture industry. While The Marquee is centered on exhibition, we have a newsletter in the planning stages that spotlights distribution. Little did we realize that in the time it took our very small team to create our modest platform, newsletters would become a hot media trend. All the cool kids seem to have one (or are about to launch one).
Newsletters are kind of like this year’s streaming service. Remember back in 2020 when no studio, television network or distributor would be taken seriously unless it operated or would soon launch a streaming service? If the last week is any indication, then streaming services are arguably still the must-have accoutrement for any well respecting entertainment conglomerate.
Disney and Warner Bros. seem to be the examples everyone uses when discussing this industry trend. Likely because both studios keep sending titles that were slated for theatrical release to their respective streaming services. Last week Disney announced that Pixar’s “Turning Red” would premiere on Disney+ rather than in theatres this spring. We’re not sure who was more upset at this development, exhibitors or Pixar employees.
If there was any question which direction Disney was headed in regards to its longterm distribution strategy, it was put to rest on Monday when Bob Chapek, the CEO of the Walt Disney Company, sent out a new year memo to employees that outlined the organizations priorities. Amidst phrases such as “franchise ecosystem,” “storytelling engine” and even “metaverse,” was the following paragraph:
We are a big company with many constituents and stakeholders, all of whom have a place in our decision-making. But at the end of the day, our most important guide—our North Star—is the consumer. Right now, their behavior tells us and our industry that the way they want to experience entertainment is changing—and changing fast thanks to technology and the pandemic. We must evolve with our audience, not work against them. And so we will put them at the center of every decision we make.
While Chapek provided little in the way of details it’s easy to read between the lines. Chapek is reiterating what everyone already knows; that the future success of Disney is directly tied to its streaming platform. To that end, it’s safe to say everyone within the exhibition community wishes Chapek to triumph, just not at the expense of cinema operators. After all, a prosperous Disney should theoretically mean more theatrical releases from the company; titles which can, in turn, be made even more valuable after a healthy run in cinemas before heading over to Disney+.
For studios to hit their streaming service revenue goals while also banking some decent theatrical box office along the way doesn’t have to be a zero sum game. It just feels that way sometimes.
Smart solutions for the best performance
Dolby Auditorium Packages are engineered exclusively for the best cinema performance. Our products are quality tested in multiple configurations in our own engineering labs to ensure the highest quality and reliability.
Celluloid Junkie is the leading online resource dedicated to the global film and cinema business. The Marquee is our newsletter focused on motion picture exhibition; keeping industry professionals informed of important news, the latest trends and insightful analysis