This week on the Boxoffice Podcast, Boxoffice Chief Analyst Shawn Robbins—along with co-hosts Russ Fischer and Daniel Loria—break down the latest wave of release date shifts, which has seen a bevy of titles (starting with No Time to Die) vacate the first half of 2021 for the ever-more-crowded latter part of the year.
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The Inevitability of No Time To Die‘s Release Date Change
It was really pretty clear by the holidays that [No Time to Die sticking to April] was very unlikely to happen. It’s not our job to discuss politics, but I think it’s hard to deny the fact that within 24 hours of every major media outlet reporting that there had been virtually no vaccine rollout plan, this film is officially delayed, followed by a slew of others. It really underscores how much Hollywood is waiting on that rollout to become more effective and for audiences to be more comfortable going back out and doing things like going to the movies. So the writing had been on the wall for a while. This was not a shocking move. And I think for it to go back into October probably puts it in a safer position. But, as we all know, we’ll have to reassess in a few months. Hopefully, things are a little bit closer to normal by then.
The Pandemic-Era Box Office Earnings Power of Family Movies
I think most family movies are relatively safe on the slate, because we’ve seen films like The Croods: A New Age and The War with Grandpa be pillars of the reopening during the pandemic so far. They’re not drawing the usual large audiences, but they are proving to be the movies that people are wanting to go out and see. Because, where it’s safe and possible to do so, parents want to get their kids out of the house. And I think [the untitled Addams Family sequel, which moved forward one week to October 1, is] going to be one of those early titles—worst case scenario, if we don’t get the summer or at least half of the summer we’re hoping for in terms of going to theaters, by the fall there is this general expectation that this is when we can really start things somewhat being back to normal. Maybe not 100%. But, if that’s the case, I think this is one of those movies that will be really attractive for those audiences.
On Warner Bros. and Universal’s Shifting Windows Policies
Ironically, it looks like no matter how controversial this HBO Max deal is, Warner Bros.—along with Universal and their dynamic window—are really the only two studios that we can safely trust to release movies for the entire first half of this year. I know it’s a it’s a very controversial stance the studios have taken, but they’ve shown at least a willingness to take a risk by releasing these movies when they would make a fraction of what they would have made in the second half of 2021.