Boxoffice Podcast: The Biggest Questions Facing Theatrical Exhibition Leading Into CinemaCon 2023

Photo by David Becker/Getty Images for CinemaCon

With CinemaCon kicking off today and running through Thursday, April 27, Boxoffice Pro takes a look at some of the issues that look to be key discussion points among cinema executives at this year’s show.

1) Mergers, Acquisitions, and Consolidation

A wave of post-pandemic M&A has already begun, with—for example—PVR and INOX, the two largest chains in India, merging to form the 5th largest global chain; PVR CEO Jay Bijli kicks off International Day at this year’s CinemaCon with the International Exhibitor Keynote address. Other potential changes to the global cinema ecosystem wait in the wings, with the highest-profile being the current situation with Cineworld. The second largest exhibitor in the world, Cineworld is engaged in a legal battle with Cineplex and is currently restructuring finances in a move to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. None of this will be wrapped up within the next four days, of course; still, it remains a looming topic for all interested in the future of the exhibition industry.

2) Technological Players Enter the Game

Rumors have abounded over the last few years of a technology company—like Amazon, Apple, or Netflix—potential buying a cinema chain. While none of those rumors have yet to come to fruition, technology companies have increasingly entered into the exhibition space, releasing select streaming titles in theaters—like Glass Onion from Netflix, Air from Amazon, and the upcoming Killers of the Flower Moon from Apple+. Though none of the streamers have product presentations on this year’s schedule, doubtless their involvement in the cinema industry will be a prominent topic of discussion.

3) What Milestones Will We Hit in 2023?

2019 was a record year at the box office—and, though the last year has seen the release of several record-breaking films, the industry has not yet reached pre-pandemic box office levels. Thus, what milestones can the global and domestic industry hit at the box office in 2023? A major factor, as noted in the recent State of the Industry Report from The Cinema Foundation, is the lack of titles—particularly mid-range titles—compared to pre-pandemic. Throughout the studio presentations a this year’s CinemaCon, attendees will doubtlessly be looking for a range of titles across a diverse spectrum of budgets, topics, and intended audiences.

4) The Evolution of Labor Issues

With waves of unionization hitting other industries and companies—including Starbucks, Amazon, and Chipotle—the topic of labor will doubtless be top of mind for many CinemaCon attendees. It’s a complicated issue, and one that will likely be unpacked at CinemaCons across subsequent years.

5) What Will NATO Look Like Under New Leadership?

This year marks the final CinemaCon with NATO under the leadership of John Fithian, whose retirement makes way for incoming CEO and President Michael P. O’Leary. In today’s episode of the Boxoffice Podcast, Editorial Director Daniel Loria speaks to O’Leary about his vision and priorities as he enters his new role.

Photo by David Becker/Getty Images for CinemaCon
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