Hollywood has adopted a strict rule book on how to distribute films to the audience since the introduction of the blockbuster — place the film in as many theaters as possible, and grant theaters complete exclusivity until viewers can watch it at home. But the old methods have given way to a free-for-all exploration during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nobody knows that better than the independent film veteran Bob Berney, who owns Picturehouse, a production and distribution company located in Los Angeles. He had intended to give the faith-based drama “Fatima” a theatrical release backed by church sponsorship, but the business shifted gears with the pandemic already raging. Instead, Picturehouse will release the movie as a $20 video-on – demand release on Friday, on around 215 cinema screens the same day.
“The movie has an older demographic,” said Berney. “If they can’t go to mass. Church leaders have trouble suggesting that they go to a show.”
Hollywood will release several postponed films in the coming weeks, while eight of the top 20 theater markets in the U.S. — including Los Angeles and New York — remain closed to indoor theatres.
Walt Disney Co. held this weekend with a relatively conventional strategy for “The New Mutations” of the 20th Century and Searchlight’s “David Copperfield’s Personal Past.” The movie, however, pulled “Mulan” from the theatrical release schedule and decided to buy it on Disney+ as $30.
Warner Bros. ‘Christopher Nolan film “Tenet” hits worldwide cinemas before it opens in the United States. 3rd Sept. Universal, meanwhile, is overhauling the conventional industry with an arrangement with AMC Theaters. That allows it to shorten the theatrical cycle to just 17 days.
Every experiment represents the different studio and filmmaker’s divergent interests. Some observers expect the company to gradually return to its usual repertoire. Until the vaccination is universal and the satisfaction levels of patrons improve. If either of the latest approaches would carry lasting improvements of Hollywood remains to be seen.
“I think the pandemic has unleashed every chance”. Berney said. “It’s now a trial ground. In some way you can get a film out there. And it’s going to take a while until it’s put into any kind of sequence.”