How TV and VOD Became the Ultimate Companion to Theater Mega Franchises – Deadline


As streaming encroaches on the cinema window, the notion crushed by the media during the pandemic has been that the cinema is dead.

When it comes to streamers, however, the truth is, they still can’t live without the movie theater.

As new streaming services make waves in the fiercely competitive space, it’s the big-screen IP that is the eye-catcher. Disney announced on its Investor Day in December that the studio plans to invest up to $ 16 billion worldwide in consumer content for Disney +, Hulu, and ESPN through 2024. And those are the franchises. of features and the recently acquired 20th Century Studios library that the studio plans to leverage to amass premium content and meet the demands of frenzy consumers. And it’s not just Disney seeing future revenue in the franchises that the big screen has seen emerge, but WarnerMedia’s HBO Max as well.

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Lucasfilm Ltd.

“We had a $ 13 billion box office [in 2019], and it’s not something to sneeze at. We built these franchises through the cinema window, ”said Bob Chapek, CEO of Disney, at the studio’s Investor Day in December 2020 about the grease that runs his Disney + treadmill.

“It was much more of an opportunity and something that excited [me] when [Disney executive chairman and former CEO] Bob Iger asked us to start working on shows for Disney +, ”Marvel boss Kevin Feige said during the TCA Winter Tour in February.

Apart from his news The Mighty Ducks: game changers series based on the popular film from the 1990s, and series such as Turner & Hooch, Based on the 1989 Tom Hanks canine comedy film Touchstone, the aorta of Disney + caps on legacy cinematic material is as follows: about 10 Marvel series, 10 Star wars series and 15 live animations and Pixar series will be launched over the next few years. It was another piece of Disney Investor Day news, according to a statement from Kareem Daniel, president of Disney’s Media and Entertainment Distribution.

On the contrary, Disney + didn’t bury the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but rather improved it. The streaming service has become an outlet where Feige and his team can expand the plots of side characters they normally couldn’t focus on primarily in comic book movies, like Wanda Maximoff and Vision in the first MCU Disney + series. WandaVision; Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier; and Thor‘s Loki, whose eponymous series was discontinued on June 9. Feige uses these Disney + MCU shows to get in and out of the label’s big screen movies. The cliffhanger of WandaVision will be part of the continuation of the feature film by Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which hits theaters on March 25, 2022, while The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will form a bridge to Wilson’s turn as Black Captain America in a new film sequel to this superhero from creator Malcolm Spellman. The next Black Widow July 9, tips for the next one Hawk Eye series with Yelena Belova by Florence Pugh.


As for concerns about whether the Disney + MCU shows will cannibalize the brand’s future box office of superhero films, which have grossed more than $ 22.5 billion, Feige isn’t worried. He told Deadline in January: “As long as [the series] are different, as long as they are unique and some of the characters can intersect and the Marvel logo is on the front, if these are unique and interesting stories, it doesn’t go out of style.

Beyond Loki in the interconnected MCU Disney + and cinema, and the upcoming Black Widow, there is Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings, which will play exclusively in theaters starting Labor Day weekend; and Eternal, which only debuts on the big screen on November 5. Sprinkled on and not yet dated on Disney +, for the rest of the year are MCU series such as Hawk Eye, Ms. Marvel, Moon knight and eventually She-Hulk. End of 2021 will be Marvel / Sony’s theatrical release Spider-Man: No Path Home on December 17 in theaters, another film in which WandaVision is widespread for food.


And how is the MCU doing on Disney +? Although the studio does not report audience figures, Disney said the weekend premiere of Falcon and the Winter Soldier was his most watched series. The third-party streaming statistics service Samba TV, which only monitors terrestrial smart TVs, confirmed this claim at the time, reporting that 1.7 million US households listened to the Spellman-created series for at least five minutes, surpassing the 1.6 million who listened WandaVisionopens. While Disney has remained silent on the success of Loki, SambaTV exclaimed that the first day of the 890,000 US household series is the best audience ever for Disney + on top of the show’s first 5-day draw of 2.5 million.



As Disney + subscribers reached 103.6 million worldwide as of April 6, fell below the 109 million and more expected by Wall Street analysts, Disney chose to put up its next summer masts – Marvel’s Black Widow and Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt’s Jungle cruise – on its PVOD portion of the service (Premier) for an additional $ 29.99 to subscribers, a move that could help the studio to further inflate its subbase over the summer. Again, Disney said nothing about Cruel, their other theatrical title — Disney + Premier which dropped on Memorial Day weekend. Samba TV reported that 686,000 American households watched the film Emma Stone. That translates to almost $ 21 million in additional revenue, which Disney keeps and doesn’t share with theaters. Sunday, for four weekends, Cruel will have made $ 64.4 million at the domestic soundtrack

The other opportunity for studios when it comes to developing streaming cinema IP is that they can tell deeper stories without damaging a box office franchise. Following Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm for $ 4.05 billion, there was a plan to develop the Star wars films in a similar fashion to the MCU, with standalone character films such as Obi-wan and Boba fett. The first of these character films, Solo: A Star Wars Story, bombarded at the global box office with $ 392.9 million out of a production cost of $ 275 million and marketing fees. This created a lot of worry among the brass at Disney and Lucasfilm as to whether they were hurting the goose that laid the golden eggs. It was then that Disney decided to pivot: Obi-wan became a Disney + series with Ewan McGregor reprising his classic role as Episodes I-III, and Boba fett transformed into two seasons of The Mandalorian, plus his own upcoming TV show, Boba Fett’s book, hitting the service this fall. The famous bounty character made his Disney + debut in season 2 of The Mandalorian, played by Temuera Morrison, the same actor who played her father, Jango, in Attack of the Clones.

Ollie Upton / HBO

WarnerMedia also has films in mind and emulates a similar plan to Disney’s by adapting feature films into spinoff series, albeit in a less aggressive manner. A Harry potter The series is reportedly in development for its HBO Max streaming service, despite the fact that there are no writers attached yet.

Casey Bloys, head of content at HBO and HBO Max, told Deadline earlier this year: “There’s nothing in development, but I think it’s fair to say through Game of thrones, Harry potter and DC, these are franchises that WarnerMedia values ​​and that’s a big advantage for us, so there will always be an interest in doing something quality out of these properties.

Two great DC series coming to HBO Max include The peacemaker, based on the mercenary character of John Cena from the upcoming film directed by James Gunn The suicide squad, released on August 6. There’s also a new series in the works, a prequel to Matt Reeves’ upcoming 2022 The batman film, which the 6th & Idaho filmmaker is producing with Joe Barton in showrunning. The series will focus on corruption in Gotham that stretches back several years and is told from the perspective of a crooked cop.

Recently, HBO Max saw a pop in viewers, via Samba TV, starting with the release of the over four hour version of Justice League: the Snyder Cup, with 1.8 million American households watching in its first five days; that number ranked behind the studio’s drop in Wonder Woman 1984 during the Christmas weekend 2020, which drew 2.2 million U.S. households. The DC ensemble led by Snyder, unlike Wonder Woman 1984, did not receive a theatrical release.

Even Netflix wants its own franchises, but alas, much of it for its streaming service. Long before Snyder’s zombie busting movie Army of the dead Dropped out of the service on May 21, Netflix had previously given the green light for an animated series spinoff from the film and a future prequel film directed by and starring Matthias Schweighöfer who follows his character Ludwig Dieter. Army of the dead, which had an exclusive week-long theatrical release in limited theaters and grossed around $ 800,000, tied with George Clooney’s Midnight sky as the ninth most-watched movie on Netflix with 72 million households worldwide.


The cinema window experimentation gained momentum during the pandemic, primarily due to the shutdown of cinemas around the world for the majority of 2020. WarnerMedia has relegated its theatrical feature film day to day in theaters and on HBO Max for this year only. Meanwhile, Disney picked out titles that went straight to the service (like Pixar’s Luca and Soul) or became available on the day and date of their Premier PVOD level.

Chapek mentioned that Disney’s response to this was strictly a matter of flexibility to meet ongoing and ever-changing consumer demands.

“When we publish new content, people line up at midnight to watch it as soon as it goes live on the streaming service; I don’t think people have that much patience, ”he said recently at the JP Morgan Global Technology, Media and Communications Conference.

Warner Bros. has announced it will meet a 45-day movie window for releases in 2022 and beyond, however, it remains to be seen whether Disney will continue to practice a Disney + Premier movie day and date strategy. next year. While this continues to arouse the ire of exhibitors, it is evident that cinema, and its support for franchises, is the engine that is effectively driving streaming through the nose. The two, no doubt, cannot live without the other.

Chapek said on a February earnings call about Disney +: “The best insulation we have is to keep the price / value relationship very high, and there’s no better way to do that than powerful franchises that regularly release new versions on a monthly basis. “


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