Streamers May Be Real Home For Adult-Targeted Films

What if theaters become just a narrow targeted medium -- not just with a rising share of increasing younger viewers -- but with specific types of films?

Film director Martin Scorsese recently said at the BFI London Film Festival: "Theaters have become amusement parks. That is all fine and good, but don’t invade everything else in that sense.”

Scorsese is talking about the decreasing emphasis of adult films -- those with a “narrative” -- and increasing efforts by big comic-book franchise names: “Avengers,” “Spider-Man,” you name it.

So what happens to those neglected movies that Scorsese and other directors make? In part, they go to future streaming platforms, where they find adults comfortably watching movies on their big-screen TVs.

But all is not lost. For decades, so-called art-house movies have been slowly growing -- adult viewers looking to avoid the big multiplex theaters. It isn’t only for independent, studio films, but for niche division films of big movie studios' parent companies.



Scorsese's remarks come as his new, highly touted movie “The Irishman” -- in a deal with Netflix -- will soon have a limited theater opening. After that, the movie will make its way to the streaming service.

Now, not all director/producers can get major Netflix streaming deals. But think about future new streaming services vying for all kinds of new TV and movie content.

Here are some big TV producers that Netflix, and others streamers, have signed up over the last few years: Shonda Rhimes (Netflix), Ryan Murphy (Netflix), Kenya Barris (Netflix), Greg Berlanti (WarnerMedia); Sam Esmail (NBCUniversal); Jason Katims (Apple TV+).

The biggest in-theater movie customers are adults 25-39 -- that's 24% of all moviegoers. Those customers go to the movies more times than other groups, comprising 26% of all tickets sold. In large part, they go to see those big action-fantasy films.

Scorsese added: "It's not cinema, it’s something else...  "We shouldn’t be invaded by it. We need cinemas to step up and show films that are narrative films."

Maybe that’s a different type of theater relationship -- a new type of theater chain-streaming partnership. Or something else.

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