Here's why straight-to-streaming blockbusters might never work
New York (CNN Business)Streaming vs. movie theaters: It’s a conflict that has dominated the Hollywood narrative over the last few years.
However, two of the biggest hits this summer have shown that the two sides can get along.
A Quiet Place, Part II
Paramount announced that “A Quiet Place, Part II,” the horror sequel starring Emily Blunt, would be available on the company’s rebranded streaming service, Paramount+, starting on Tuesday. That announcement is part of ViacomCBS’ strategy to stream certain Paramount Picture films on Paramount+ just 30 to 45 days after being released in theaters.
The film kicked off the summer in a significant way, making roughly $48 million for its opening in North America over Memorial Day weekend. That blew past expectations and the box office’s momentum has continued throughout the summer.
“A Quiet Place, Part II” has made roughly $280 million worldwide so far. That’s not too far off from the original, which brought in $341 million globally in 2018, according to Comscore (SCOR). And the sequel could easily get there, because it’s not being pulled from theaters for streaming. Instead, it’ll be available in both places.
The film was a big, and somewhat surprising, hit at the ticket booth. So, Paramount gets to make a load of cash at the box office over the past two months and now gets to use the film’s buzz to help entice consumers to sign up for Paramount+.
Whether or not “A Quiet Place, Part II” gives a boost to Paramount+’s subscriber base is yet to be seen, but ViacomCBS (VIACA) already has millions of dollars in the bank from the film, so at this point, it’s a win-win.
Marvel’s “Black Widow” had a great weekend both in theaters and on streaming. Talk about a win-win.
“Black Widow,” the latest film from Disney’s blockbuster Marvel Studios, made $80 million in its North America opening this weekend and $78 million internationally. The film, which stars Scarlett Johansson as the avenging super-spy, brought in the biggest domestic opening weekend since 2019.
That’s not surprising since Marvel is the biggest blockbuster brand in all of film. However, what was newsworthy was how well the movie did on Disney+.
“Black Widow” made $60 million globally via Disney’s Premier Access function. The film was available to Disney+’s more than 100 million subscribers on the same day it was in theaters for an extra charge of $29.99.
The film made more than $215 million globally this weekend, including streaming and theater showings.
You couldn’t ask for a better modern-day opening in Hollywood than that. The movie did well in theaters, it did well on streaming and Disney gets to flaunt its success as a bit of a victory lap.
Questions remain about how movies will be released in the future. Two blockbuster films are not enough of a sample size for all of Hollywood.
Will Disney and Paramount keep their release plans the same going forward? Will success in theaters and streaming be the case for films that aren’t Marvel or sequels? And most importantly, how will audiences — as well as studios — react once theaters are back at full strength, if that ever happens?
These are the questions that Hollywood is still pondering. However, the last few days have shown that with the right film and the right release strategy, theaters and streaming can not only coexist but also make a lot of money.
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