Just to refresh: This is a place where entertainment consumers could be found sitting shoulder-to-shoulder in big venues while watching large screens filled with new movies — hopefully not sneezing or coughing on each other, as we are now warned against.
Movie theaters have been virtually shut down in many states for the last four months — with many strongly considering bankruptcy proceedings. All that means the price could be right for digital media companies.
Such moves by Amazon and Netflix could extend those mostly at-home digital video services, expanding offline, into live entertainment. Amazon has been doing this with other businesses, such as buying Whole Foods.
Netflix has been partnering with movie theaters when it comes to films it produces — mostly to qualify for Oscar- and other award nominations and hardware. In turn, all this promotes its subscription VOD service, where those movies also play.
Nat Schindler, entertainment analyst at Bank of America, says this is a good move, since both Netflix and Amazon are reaching “scale in movie output.”
Netflix produced 60 English-language movies last year -- versus 131 total wide movie Hollywood releases. The major six studios released 87 movies, with mid-size/smaller studios releasing 44.
BofA says mostly streamed movies like Netflix’s “The Irishman” or “Extraction” would have been big U.S. box-office revenue blockbusters in theaters.
Finally, the consumer proposition comes by packaging movie theater access with a streaming premium video membership — a potential industry changer.
The negatives around all of this could be testy partnerships from competing studios.
Longtime movie marketers — Walt Disney, Fox Corp, Warner Bros. and Universal Studios — might see these digital media-owned movie chains as a possible hindrance on their in-theater growth when the pandemic strain eases.
One positive, at least from possible Amazon-owned theaters: Gourmet popcorn and a exotic salad bar from Whole Foods.