The "stupid" comment is addressed by other theater-minded executives, who may be going in a different direction, trying to grab new revenues by offering streaming access to movies at the same time those movies are running in theaters.
Specifically, he points to the box-office success of 20th Century Studio’s “Free Guy,” a theatrical exclusive release. For him, that means the health of the business is good.
Sony hated the idea of a simultaneous release of movies in theaters and on streaming platforms -- although other movie studios agreed.
But has it missed any long-term transition -- even in a small way? "Stupid" might apply to a different situation.
Four years ago, Rothman had another comment, which went something like this: “Netflix, my ass.” How did that business work out?
Monday-morning quarterbacking is easy. And yes, it's easy to talk about the “window.” Sure, streaming windows might not be replacing movie cinema. But could it take a sizable piece of business? Ten percent? Twenty percent?
In the early 1990s, some thought small cable TV networks were a waste of time. All major media companies ended up owning them.
National Association of Theater Owners president-CEO John Fithian said: “We thought we were going to lose half of [our screens] and we didn’t. … We may lose 1,000.” Well, Fifhian is a movie cinema proponent/lobbyist. He looks to the upside.
Doubt that he predicted the movie theater business in 2020 would lose 80% of its revenue from 2019. This year, the difference is trending to be better -- maybe down just 50% from 2019. Rough estimates are that in five years time, according to Fithian, it will get back to that record $12 billion box office level in 2019.
What lessons have cinemas learned from this experience? And what happens when the next big Netflix-like streaming disruption hits?