Study Shows Moviegoers Split On Fight Between Universal & Theaters

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Kyle Brester
May 12, 2020
by Kyle Brester
Duke of York's Picturehouse, Brighton, United Kingdom
Jake Hills (unsplash.com)
Jake Hills (unsplash.com)

THR has revealed a new survey that shows audiences are split about the feud happening between theaters and Universal Pictures. The feud is in regards to Universal (and perhaps other studios) wanting to release new movies in theaters and on VOD simultaneously.

According to a Hollywood Reporter/Morning Consult poll, 53% of consumers agree that content with "digital premieres" are good to have during the Coronavirus pandemic, but would like things to go back to normal when it ends. 46% of people polled agree that movies should be released in theaters before being available to rent or buy digitally. However, 40% do support Universal wanting to release new movies in theaters and digitally, with 33% saying they should do it even if it hurts movie theaters.

When it comes to theaters reopening, about 22% of those polled say they would go to the theaters within a month of their state meeting the White House requirements to reopen. But, a poll from Screen Engine/ASI (one of the entertainment industry's leading research firms) suggest that the key for people to return to theaters soon is to take extra sanitizing and seating measure to make consumers feel safer. The poll also indicates that new content is very important to consumers and look forward to the escape the movie theater experience brings.

While all of these numbers are interesting, this research comes from the situation between Universal and theaters. As much as our industry may think this is a big deal for everyone, 61% of those being polled heard or read nothing about this issue. The research also indicated that 47% of people had no opinion about AMC's decision to no longer screen films by Universal, and 39% had no stance on Universal's release plans.

The simple fact is that the majority of audiences are not thinking about the drama between theaters and studios and are just wanting new movies to see. Numbers indicate that as much as people enjoy films on streaming services, they'd like things to go back to normal and see movies at a theater. Even if people prefer streaming services, there's research saying that consumers would rather see films that have had a theatrical release over films that directly get placed onto a streamer. My takeaway is that consumers will continue to come to see new movies as long as theaters can adjust to the times and make them more inviting, comfortable, and safe, to give audiences the best theater experience.


April-30-to-May-3-THR-Morning-Consult.pdf
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