EAST AURORA, N.Y. (WBEN) – Will locally-owned movie theatres be impacted by the success of on-demand releases of new movies?
According to CNBC, “Trolls: World Tour” made more money for Universal in three weeks using an on-demand release than “Trolls” did in five months in theatres. The new movie distributed by Universal has made about $100 million with a release on demand compared to about $154 million in theatres, though revenues are about the same because theatres take in about 50 percent of box office sales.
Lynn Kinsella, the owner of the Aurora Theatre, said it may be too soon to make an assumption.
“Releasing as they did Trolls under the circumstances that we’re currently living in is definitely going to give different results than normal times when theatres are open,” Kinsella said. “I think we have to be careful that’s going to be a trend. The reality is the movie-going experience truly is an experience that can’t be recreated at home, the laughter, the clapping, and having the ability to share that moment on the big screen. I do think people are missing that.”
Kinsella suggested that because people, especially young children, have been home for an extended time, they are looking for something new to watch.
“There’s not a lot of things to watch right now and people are looking for anything to see on demand,” she said. “They don’t have the other opportunity of doing so many other things. You really have to be careful in judging the results based upon when they did a theatrical view to today’s world where everyone is staying in place at home and having else to do at home.”
AMC Movie Theatres said that Universal broke the “business model” and announced they will no longer play Universal films in their movie theatres once they reopen in June or July. Universal said they believe in the theatrical experience and will continue to release movies in theatres.
For local theatres like Kinsella’s in East Aurora, she expects her relationship to stay the same with distributors. She hopes to have her theatre open in July and she hopes to have Tenet, a thriller directed by Christopher Nolan and distributed by Warner Brothers. She also plans to have Disney’s remake of Mulan show at her theatre when they reopen.
“Mulan was supposed to open in March so Disney has held off its opening for the theatrical experience,” Kinsella said. “We’re very appreciative of that.”
In the meantime, Aurora Theatre is coming up with creative ways to connect with the community. They are having people come up with clever, movie-related puns to place on their marquee to make light of the pandemic. Some of their phrases include: “No Close Encounters of Any Kind”, “Fifty Shades of Grey Sweatpants”, and “Saturday Night Fever…with a Dry Cough”
Kinsella also said that Aurora Theatre’s popcorn shop will have curbside popcorn this Friday and Saturday and will offer their movie popcorn and selected flavors of their gourmet popcorn.