This August, Las Vegas is hosting the 10th annual CinemaCon event, which is where Hollywood Studios meet with cinema owners to lay out plans for the future releases. At previous events, Studios have flown executives and stars in for their presentations. However, Walt Disney Studios will not be taking part in this year’s event.
While it is a requirement that all of those attending CinemaCon 2021 have to be fully vaccinated against Covid, Disney feels the threat of the Delta variant is too high for the comfort and safety of their employees, as there has been a spike in Covid cases in Clark County, NV. They’ve been monitoring the situation in Las Vegas and mulling plans for several weeks.
Disney will be screening a movie at the event, which they have done in the past, and there could be a virtual presentation to make up for not being there.
In a statement to Deadline, Mitch Neuhauser, Managing Director of CinemaCon, said:
“We have the full support of the original nine studios which are attending. Our schedule has not changed. We have great studio participation, and the support from exhibition is unwavered. It’s the excitement about gathering to celebrate the moviegoing experience at CinemaCon. It’s been too long,”
Disney not taking part in the event comes hot off the heels of cinema chains blaming the drop off in second-weekend numbers for “Black Widow” on Disney+ Premier Access. As cinema chains don’t like films being available day and date with digital or streaming services, since it cuts into their potential audience.
Earlier this month, Disney announced it had made over $60 million worldwide on its opening weekend of “Black widow”. Disney will be releasing its next big blockbuster “Jungle Cruise” in cinemas and on Disney+ Premier Access next Friday.
With Disney pulling out of CinemaCon, many are speculating that with concerns being raised about the new variant, Disney will continue with its experiment with day and date digital releases on Disney+ Premier Access. Especially if “Jungle Cruise” is also successful on Disney+ Premier Access. As there is still great fear within the film industry that Disney will continue to grow its streaming services, which Wall Street is pushing for.
Every movie released in cinemas this year has so far had a strong opening weekend, following by a swift decline in attendance, as consumers are still wary of heading back to crowded indoor theatres.
Disney’s 20th Century Studios is releasing “Free Guy” exclusively in theatres in August. However, due to previous contracts with HBO, 20th Century Studios titles are much more restrictive to do a Disney+ Premier Access.
While Disney not attending CinemaCon might not be any more than health and safety issues, not attending also shows how Disney isn’t playing by the same rules it used to.
Would you like to see Disney+ Premier Access continue?