Barry Diller: Movie Business 'Is Finished.' Define Finished.

"The movie business as before is finished and will never come back."

These are the words of the always controversial former Paramount and Fox executive Barry Diller, now chairman of internet media company, IAC/InterActiveCorp. Diller has emitted this sentiment previously.

But lets dig deeper this time.

Will streaming kill movies eventually? While Diller might agree, there’s other stuff. For example, he thinks Amazon’s $8.5 billion deal to buy MGM is a typical sign of things to come. For Amazon, movies are just a tool to sell tons of consumer products on its ecommerce site.

Looking more closely at streaming, he says tens of billions of dollars in TV and movie production headed to streaming platforms means an obvious supply and demand and quality scenario gone wrong.

In other words: How can all this video/entertainment content be “quality”?



"These streaming services have been making something that they call 'movies.’ They ain't movies. They are some weird algorithmic process that has created things that last 100 minutes or so."

We get it. There is only so much talent to go around, by some estimation, and quality suffers. In turn, Diller is also talking about the health of the basic theatrical movie business where films run exclusively in cinemas for 60 days or so.

That business may not be exactly finished. But we wonder if it will ever get back to that $11 billion in U.S. box-office revenue level again. Not this year. And 2022 still looks to be a recovery year, at best.

Also -- as has been mentioned before -- figure that a huge number of expected and planned mid-level releases by studios will find an exclusive home on streamers. Those historical prized “four-quadrant” movies -- films appealing to four wide-ranging consumer groups -- may be “three” or “two” quadrant movies at best. Perhaps just one.

What remains are those fanatical moviegoers needing all that big screen emotional blast -- especially for those young male and female viewers attending big, live action franchises brand debut, such as “The Avengers,” “Star Wars,” etc/ Those movies will still be around.

But other consumer segments, the more occasional, slightly older moviegoers, may just disappear -- or re-appear in front of their even bigger 80-inch 8K smart TV screens to watch “Sex and the City 10.”

Analysts have complained major movie chains -- like AMC Entertainment and others -- should have been more aggressive in shifting their business models to streaming, or associated streaming businesses -- before the pandemic. Last year, AMC and movie chains struck marketing agreements with studios where they would see some revenue-sharing from streaming platforms. Too little, too late?

Look two years from now. Maybe the movie business gets to $6 billion or so in U.S. box-office revenues -- about half the level it was in 2019. Then I’d say Diller is wrong. The movie business isn’t finished. But it isn’t healthy, either.

2 comments about "Barry Diller: Movie Business 'Is Finished.' Define Finished.".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, July 13, 2021 at 11:59 a.m.

    Wayne, they said the same thing back in the 1950s when TV caused millions of Americans to drastically reduce their movie attendance or stop going entirely. Then The movie folks adapted---first, by joinng TV and producing many programs for TV network runs, and later by using TV to promote their theatrical movies---which soon began to earn big bucks via HBO and the TV networks and in syndication as reruns. Why does Barry assume that the movie moguls wont find a new formula that leads to future success?

  2. Robert Marich from, July 13, 2021 at 3:04 p.m.

    Glad to see someone called out the illogic of Diller’s assertion (he’s a smart guy but perhaps a bit impulsive on that one). Note that all the sizeable video streaming services are all including original movies in their program mix, so for the foreseeable future movies will be fixtures on the media landscape. Actually, I’d argue the streamers will eventually generate more thoughtful and sophisticated movies because their ambition is to simply get adults to continue pay the monthly streaming bill.

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