As streaming movies has become more popular and easily available, there has been pressure from studios and customers, to make movies available quicker to fans at home. However, unsurprisingly there is push back from cinemas, who want customers to come to their theatres, rather than staying at home and watching from the comfort of their own homes.
At the moment, there is a general 90 day window from a movie being released, before customers can rent or purchase movies. Studios want to help reduce piracy by letting fans get movies legally quickly.
Back in 2017, movie studios and cinema chains started to work on a new deal, to help reduce the wait to a few weeks, however every major studio except for Disney was interested, since Disney was just starting negotiations to purchase 21st Century Fox and CEO Bob Iger was very open about how successful the current system was for Disney and wasn’t looking to change anything.
However, while companies like Warner Brothers and Universal want to reduce the time between cinemas and home release, Disney have announced some changes to their own upcoming movies schedule, moving titles like a new version of Lady and the Tramp, Noelle and others from cinema releases, to their new streaming service, Disney+.
Which has left some studios feel Disney has been somewhat disingenuous, by changing the system when it suits. Especially as these new original movies coming to their own streaming network, will help increase subscribers.
Disney will no doubt continue to push movies through the well established network, from cinema to home and then onto their streaming platform. Maximising profits along the way, but Disney are aware of changing habits. Technology is making it easier for people to watch at home, especially as TV’s are so much bigger than they used to be.
Will Disney want to push all of their big cinema hits to Disney+ straight away? No. There simply isn’t enough money in it, Disney makes billions of dollars a year at the box office and then again through rents and purchases on digital or Blu-Ray. But pushing some movies straight to Disney+ will have some advantages, it offers something original and exclusive, making subscribers much more likely to watch them.
Recently Disney had a flop with its new Nutcracker and the Four Realms movie at the box office, but had this been delayed and put straight onto the Disney+ network, it would have been a different kind of hit. Millions of people will have seen it within the first week and it would have driven subscriptions.
But Disney can’t just push any movie that doesn’t look to be performing well at the box office or is just low budget to its streaming service either. That also sends a wrong message. Netflix and Amazon have both been picking up lots of smaller movies to show exclusively on its streaming network, rather than going through the cinemas. Because this new system does work. Only last week I watched a movie called “The Outlaw King” starring Chris Pine, on Netflix, along with millions of others. And I did the same for the new “The Christmas Chronicles” movie.
However these movies cannot have huge budgets like many of the big Disney movies do. Losing out on the box office income just doesn’t make it profitable to do so, but smaller movies could be a good way of driving Disney+ subscriptions up.
Will cinemas like it? No, but Disney will be releasing so many movies at cinemas, including massive blockbusters from Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars, plus they will soon have the added bonus of having indie movies from Fox Spotlight and a wider selection of movies from Fox.
Disney certainly look to be putting themselves into a place where they can continue to dominate the box office, but also start making waves into going straight to streaming, similar to how they used to deliver straight to video movies, however tastes have changed and Disney can no longer just give cheaper alternatives like Bambi 2 or Cinderella 2.
What do you think about Disney+ offering new movies straight away?