Sony Boss Says They Won't Release Big Budget Movies Until Theaters Get Back to Normal

With Tenet in theaters now and at least a few more major releases still on the schedule for the coming months -- Wonder Woman 1984 in October and Black Widow in November to name a couple -- it may feel like things are slowly working their way back to normal when it comes to theatrical releases and the moviegoing experience. However, when it comes to Sony films, movie fans might not want to get too attached to some of their big budget films heading into theaters just yet. According to Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman Tony Vinciquerra, isn't going to make the "mistake" of releasing their big budget films until more theaters are open and at higher capacity.

"What we won't do is make the mistake of putting a very, very expensive $200 million movie out in the market unless we're sure that theaters are open and operating at significant capacity," Vinciquerra said during Bank of America’s 2020 Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference (via The Wrap).

Vinciquerra's comment comes at a time when Hollywood is trying to figure out how to navigate this "new normal" that's emerged thanks to COVID-19. After being closed since mid-March, theaters are starting to open back up again across the country, albeit at reduced capacities and with social distancing measures in place. Warner Bros' Tenet led that charge and pulled off a $20 million opening weekend in the United States. It's a number that would certainly been higher before the pandemic -- and would have been larger had New York and Los Angeles theaters been open, but it's not clear if that number is a "good" one given the situation. That story is very much still being written and Sony wants to wait and see where it goes.

"You'll see a lot of strange things happen over the next six months in how films are released, how they're scheduled, how they're marketed, but once we get back to normal, we will have learned a lot I think and found ways to do things that are somewhat different and hopefully better," Vinciquerra said. "We have a film opening this weekend, a small film [Broken Hearts Gallery], which I think will do pretty well."

And as for changing how some movies are delivered -- meaning going straight to VOD services, Vinciquerra said that while the studio is a "big supporter of the theater distribution model," they have sold a handful of films to streamers.

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"We have sold three movies to streamers... because we couldn't find a place to date them, so we sold them for a profit."

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