Sony Pictures had some choice words to say about studios that are participating in the increasingly popular day and date release model.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced studios to pivot their release strategy to ensure maximum profits all across the board. While some studios chose to sell their films to the likes of Netflix or Amazon Prime, others have pivoted to releasing their films in both theatres and on streaming services on the same day. Warner Bros. notoriously sent its entire 2021 slate to HBO Max at no extra cost, while also releasing their films in theatres. Disney, on the other hand, went for a more premium approach, sending films like Black Widow and Jungle Cruise to theatres, as well as Disney Plus via Premier Access, which costs $30 USD.
The move to day and date release has become increasingly popular amongst studios but many are doubtful at its practicality and longevity. Just prior to Sony Pictures’ CinemaCon presentation, bosses Josh Greenstein and Tom Rothman (via ComicBookMovie) emphasized how their studio is committed to “protecting and preserving the theatrical window”. Greenstein made a point by saying how Sony is taking a long-term view of the theatrical approach.
“Debuting movies simultaneously in theaters and in the home is devastating to our collective business. Our movies will be seen exclusive first in our movie theaters. Movie theaters and the theatrical movie experience will triumph.”
“Over the last 19 months there’s been a lot of doom and gloom. Without dismissing the very real challenges, we at Sony take a long-term view of the movie business.”
Rothman then went on to discuss how Fox’s Free Guy was a box office success because it was released in cinemas.
“I saw Free Guy on Cape Cod. That film has done great business because, number one it’s terrific and number two, you actually can’t watch it at home on television! Go f***ing figure. You remember Bill Clinton and it’s ‘the economy stupid?’ It’s the window stupid! Yeah, we’re not too bright out in Hollywood but we’ll figure it out.”
It should be noted that Sony is one of the few major studios that doesn’t have a streaming service, so it’s clear that the studio needs movie theatres to be profitable. Of course, Rothman is correct in suggesting that Free Guy was a success, but one can only imagine how much more successful it would have been if it was released in pre-pandemic times that didn’t necessarily need a day and date release model. The first trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home emphasized that the film would exclusively release in theatres which means that Sony is sticking to its guns.