As the coronavirus pandemic begins to wind down, Disney CEO Bob Chapek is suggesting some things won’t be returning to the way they were, such as how long we wait for movies to come home.
Throughout the pandemic, studios have been fighting with movie theaters over theatrical windows. Now that movie theaters are reopening around the country, it won’t be surprising that exhibition companies will expect to return to the 90-day release window. Chapek is suggesting that just isn’t possible now while speaking at a Morgan Stanley event.
“The consumer is probably more impatient than they’ve ever been before,” Chapek said, “particularly since now they’ve had the luxury of an entire year of getting titles at home pretty much when they want them. So, I’m not sure there’s going back. But we certainly don’t want to do anything like cut the legs off a theatrical exhibition run.” He went on to add that consumers won’t “have much of a tolerance for a title, say, being out of theatrical for months” and “just sort of sitting there, gathering dust” before being available at home.
Chapek said that “Premiere Access” – films being released to Disney Plus for a fee the same day they hit theaters – will remain an option for the foreseeable future. The next film to take this route will be Raya and the Last Dragon on March 5.
As to Disney Plus, Chapek revealed a surprising statistic that 50% of its nearly 100 million subscribers are homes without children in them. This has directly contributed to the meteoric rise of the service as it was unexpected. “What we didn’t realize was the non-family appeal that a service like Disney Plus would have,” he said. “That is the big difference.”
While the coronavirus may be retreating finally, it’s clear that its effects will linger in various parts of our lives for years to come.