Killing the Box Office
Knives Out sequel Glass Onion debuted on a limited release over the Thanksgiving weekend, appearing on just 600 screens across the US. Despite the small opening, the comedic whodunit made a killing (pun intended), bringing in $9.2 million total – an average of $13,200 per screen.
The Knives Out franchise is owned by Netflix (NFLX). Up until now, the streaming giant has largely avoided playing its films on the big screen. It usually prefers to exclusively stream all of its content on its own platform, eliminating the need to share profits.
That mindset might be set to change.
Testing the Waters
In the past, most major movies would stay in theaters for weeks before they became available to rent or stream. But the movie industry has been shaken up in the past few years.
Major streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime (AMZN), and Disney+ (DIS) now have the resources to produce in-house hits. This has shifted the balance of power in the streamers’ favor, as they now own both the content and the distribution channel, giving them the final say in how their original films are released.
But based on this past weekend, there is evidently still money to be made by sending major films to theaters first.
Coming Soon to Theaters
The success of Glass Onion may lessen streamers’ reliance on exclusive access to content. It suggests that theatrical releases are not only more profitable for theaters, but streamers, too. With the precipitous decline in moviegoing since the pandemic, theater execs are sure to make the argument in favor of this apparent win-win.
Streaming offers convenience, but moviegoing is an experience. And if audiences are still willing to buy tickets at the box office, studios and streamers alike will surely follow the money. It looks like we’ll have to put the pause on puzzling out who killed the Big Screen — for one more movie, at least.
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