ABNewswire – Dec 22, 2016
The biggest movie theaters operator is a Chinese conglomerate, monster franchises rule the box office as the latest ‘Star Wars’ installment debuts with over $290 million worldwide, Netflix will have almost 118 million paying subscribers by 2021 or 27.5% of the global total. Big players, big content, bigger and bigger.
But according to Alessandro Masi, international film sales and distribution professional based in Los Angeles with recent experiences at leading independent financing and sales outlets Sierra/Affinity, Carnaby International, Myriad Pictures, where he played a critical role in monetizing and marketing successfully breakthrough successes like ‘Margin Call’, ‘Jeepers Creepers’, ‘Barney Thomson’, ‘Kids in Love’, ‘Rise of the Footsoldier’, ‘Hell or High Water’, ‘Captain Fantastic’, ‘Manchester by the Sea’, and a film business strategist with his brand FlexyMovies™, “people will want to see movies like ‘Captain Fantastic’ or ‘Manchester by the Sea’ even in 100 years from now. Festivals will continue to play a key role in the game. But the industry has the duty to be less risk-averse, experiment, perhaps fail badly, but get those stories on some kind of – large, small, 5.5-inch, or VR headsets – screen and then find smart ways to reach those audiences. Everything is changing so quickly and flexibility is key. It’s a very exciting time to be in entertainment”.
However doing so “they forgot about the mid-budget exceptional stories and here come the independents that have to keep distributing high quality filmed content ensuring that art makes sense financially, providing people around the world with great entertainment and empowering the work of exceptional creatives who are able to make that people have fun, dream, fall in love, and think about society, sometimes, as it happens in ‘Captain Fantastic’, for instance” says Masi.
It’s an increasingly global industry. The exploding Chinese internal market grew by 49% in 2015 and will overcome the United States in 2-3 years, and everyone is trying to enter also through co-productions. More financing is coming from developing markets such as China which are eager to be a relevant part of the game: companies like IM Global and STX are strongly tied to Chinese financing, while Wanda after the purchase of UCI-Odeon and Carmike is the biggest theater operator in the world and is looking at taking over one of the studios after acquiring Legendary.
The new global digital players are disrupting the traditional financing models and causing windows to shrink further, so that “a new window for super premium consumption of movies at home while still in theaters will make its debut replacing the so-called black window when the movie is practically dead in its theatrical run but still unavailable in premium VOD or cable” according to Masi.
Consolidation in exhibition is inevitable as it offers great economies of scale but “with variable movie ticket pricing, smaller movies could compete with blockbusters – and eventually sleeper movies like ‘Hell or High Water’, $27 million gross box office in the US on $12 million production budget could have even higher profits – when they can’t benefit from massive marketing budgets, while cinemas could increase headcounts and reduce risk as they would be able to discount low demand and profit more from high demand. Price is the primary determining factor for moviegoing choices, according to many researches. All in all, there is no reason why very different products shall be initially priced equally and also regardless of their demand. Generally, imposing timing, products and prices is a mistake the industry is perpetuating”.
Another interesting innovation is the theatrical on demand model, where distribution is crowdsourced and goes to meet demand of niche audiences who reserve their seats in advance for specific content in specific dates and time, and “will spread further because is moviegoer-oriented and at the same makes theatres happy as it fills seats in low-demand times of the week” concludes Masi.