The Boxoffice Podcast enters its second year with a full house, as co-hosts Russ Fischer, Daniel Loria, Rebecca Pahle, and Shawn Robbins break down some major news: the reopening of Regal locations in the U.S., Cineworld/Regal’s agreement with Warner Bros. on a reduced theatrical exclusivity window, and Disney pushing Black Widow and Cruella day-and-date and removing Pixar’s Luca from the domestic theatrical release calendar entirely.
In podcast’s the feature segment, co-hosts Rebecca and Daniel discuss the highlights and key takeaways of Boxoffice PRO’s Giants of Exhibition LIVE session, which welcomed executives from four major circuits to share their thoughts on the exhibition industry.
On Possible Calendar Changes Following Disney’s Most Recent Schedule Shake-Up
Now we’re left with very little in the way of major studio wide releases, not just in May before Memorial Day, but also in April. I think that will probably factor into some theater reopening decisions. But that also opens up the opportunity for other studios to move into that window, which is not unprecedented. We’ve seen films like A Quiet Place Part II from Paramount move up several months to that Memorial Day slot, as they’ve seen the trends improve with regard to the pandemic and reopenings. … You could have something like Hotel Transylvania 4, if it’s finished, [move forward]. It’s currently slated to open in July. It now has a wide open runway in May in June, because there aren’t any animated family films opening, with Luca being absent. I think those are just a few examples. Who knows what else can move up? If anything does.
On Black Widow‘s Box Office Potential
Looking at this from the perspective of [Black Widow] having remained on May 7, exclusive to theaters—that was the potential jolt to bring back a wide swath of movie goers. Opening numbers would have depended on capacities, but let’s say for the sake of argument they were back up to 50 percent or higher in major markets. And let’s also presume that marketing was pre-pandemic levels. Maybe it looks at a $75 to $100 million opening… There are so many scenarios we have to consider. Because this movie, like the rest of the industry, has been at the mercy of vaccine rollouts and every other possible tangential connection with the pandemic. Looking at it from a day-and-date perspective, I think this now looks maybe more like a $40 to $50 million opener. This is very early speculation. I think models will change. They have about three months to change. And we honestly just don’t have a lot of comparison points to look at.
On Disney’s Decision Not to Release Luca in Theaters Domestically
On paper, [Luca] looked like a home run, all things considered, with the news we’ve had for the past month of reopenings. And a lot of speculation that seating capacities can increase from 25 to 50 percent in major markets by June, if not before. I think there’s going to be a lot to unpack with Luca. Maybe one of their considerations—which will also relate to Black Widow and virtually all of their films—is that they’re looking at the trends of the pandemic in overseas markets. Because Pixar brands do tend to play very well in certain areas, like Latin America. And Black Widow is a movie that will play everywhere. There are so many moving parts to these decisions. But [the Luca decision is] the most surprising out of the announcements today.