Cinemark has reached new agreements with the five major studios that could help formalize a shorter theatrical window.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it comes as COVID-19 has reshaped the amount of time that films show exclusively on the big screen before making their home entertainment debuts. The company signed a deal with Universal in November that enables the studio to put new movies on premium video-on-demand platforms 17 days after they open in theaters. Films that generate at least $50 million in opening weekend ticket sales, however, must play exclusively in theaters for 31 days, or five full weekends, the companies said at the time.
Cinemark said it now has agreements with Warner Bros. Picture Group, The Walt Disney Company, Paramount Pictures and Sony Pictures Entertainment.
“Cinemark is thrilled to have reached new agreements with our major studio partners, and we are eager to continue providing movie fans an immersive, larger-than-life cinematic environment to see major upcoming films, ranging from the biggest blockbusters to specialty fare to family-friendly content,” said Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi. “In our ongoing efforts to maximize attendance and box office during the pandemic and beyond, our goal is to provide the widest range of content with terms that are in the best long-term interests of Cinemark, our studio partners and moviegoers. We are pleased with these recent developments and are confident we are taking positive steps toward reigniting theatrical exhibition and evolving the industry for a post-pandemic landscape.”
It sounds as though the deals are somewhat bespoke, which jibes with how the various studios are approaching windowing, the industry term for the amount of time that movies show in cinemas. Paramount, for instance, has said that its films will debut on Paramount Plus, its streaming service, within 45 days of their theatrical release. Warner Bros. has tried a different strategy, simultaneously releasing its 2021 slate in theaters and on HBO Max, its in-house streaming service. Studios have long argued that the amount of time between a film’s theatrical launch and home entertainment debut is too long, with most box office revenues coming from the first few weeks of releases. The delay forces them to spend more money on advertising, they maintain.
Cinemark said that “each deal has unique attributes specific to the individual studio that mutually benefits both parties.”
The announcement comes on the heels of Cinemark’s quarterly earnings announcement. Revenue for the quarter dropped to $114.4 million, down from the $543.6 million that the company logged in the year-ago period. The company also reported a loss of $208.2 million or $1.75 per share.