Legendary Entertainment CEO Teases Shorter Theatrical Window Is Here to Stay
The pandemic saw some major shifts in the entertainment industry, especially in terms of the distribution of new movies. With theaters closed, streaming, premium VOD, and other avenues became extremely important and now, even with theaters open and the box office coming back, it seems like some shifts will be here to stay. Legendary Entertainment CEO Joshua Grode says that they will not be returning to the old 90-day theatrical exclusivity window.
"We're not going back to 90 days," Grode said at the Variety Power of Law breakfast. Grode also noted that studios such as Universal and Paramount Pictures are also experimenting with varying theatrical release windows that include everything from 45 days to 17 days to day-and-date streaming and theatrical release.
However, a shortened theatrical exclusivity window doesn't mean throwing out that window altogether. Grode also noted that "if you pull that theatrical window out completely, it's going to be different, and I think it's going to be a little bit muted" and noted that the success of The Lost City showed that there is hope for theatrical release.
"A romantic comedy that exceeded everybody's box office projections — that tells me there's health in the theatrical system beyond huge superheroes and tentpoles that get everyone excited," Grode said.
It will be interesting to see how theaters adapt to a shift to shorter theatrical windows. When Warner Bros. had its entire 2021 theatrical slate debut day and date in theaters and on HBO Max, it didn't go over particularly well with AMC Theatres, though it was later announced that Warner Bros. and AMC Theatres
agreed to a 445-day window for Warner Bros. 2022 slate.
"It's especially gratifying that Warner Bros is yet again embracing a theatrical window," AMC CEO Adam Aron said at the time. "For us at AMC, it's especially pleasing to be working so harmoniously with Warner Bros. once again.... We're in active dialog with every major studio on this topic. We're hearing considerable support that an exclusive theatrical window is an important way to build a successful movie franchise."
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