There is no doubt that life, as we know it, has changed. The pandemic has disrupted all sorts of business structures. Eat-in restaurants have added curbside pick-up. More people are working from home than ever before. And brick and mortars are forced to become digital.
In the movie world, you may have noticed Trolls World Tour went straight to streaming back in April, skipping the theaters. This direct-to-video did not sit lightly with AMC and others as they watched their potential profits go down the drain. However, the bet paid off for Universal, who made nearly $100 million without the theaters, breaking digital records.
Striking back, AMC Theaters chair-CEO Adam Aron wrote, “effective immediately AMC will no longer play any of Universal movies in any of our theaters in the United States, Europe or the Middle East.” AMC is the largest US cinema chain, and a protest of this magnitude could hurt Universal’s new upcoming films if theaters reopen.
But wait, there’s more to this battle between companies.
This week the movie arm of Comcast, Universal, struck a deal with AMC. Instead of the standard waiting period, which can be up to 90 days, before films move to streaming, AMC will only have 17 days or three weekends before released to the home.
At first, it seems that AMC is the big loser in this dispute, yet this deal is not as bad as it first seems. You see, movies make a bulk of their money over the first three weekends. This deal allows AMC to hold on to that chunk, which they desperately need, for AMC has not made a dollar since March.
According to The Motley Fool, “Comcast films will be offered only as a premium video-on-demand – the $19.99 digital rentals we’ve been seeing since the pandemic. It will still abide by the 90-day window before digital rentals and sales in the $3 to $6 range that consumers typically see.”
Twenty dollars for a rental may seem steep during a time when so many are out of work, but it is quite a deal compared to bringing your family to the movies. No overpriced popcorn, candy, and sweet beverages. No concerns about safety.
It is undoubtedly a win for homeowners, and now is the perfect time to remind them of the importance of great sound to match those big-screen TVs they’ve probably already purchased. As I’ve always advised my clients, turn off the sound during a scary scene, and it is no longer frightening. Turn off the video, and great audio can still make you jump.
And while the building of dedicated home theaters is down, and more multi-purpose rooms are on the rise, the difficulty of adding surround sound has been reduced. Developments like Sonos’ surround sound capabilities allow consumers to grow their home theater over time. Start with a Beam or Arc soundbar, add the subwoofer, then later add your rear speakers. While this may not be the audiophile’s option, it is pretty darn impressive and allows homeowner’s flexibility. It is also a quicker install, which makes it more cost-effective for the client. That, combined with larger, most cost-effective TV options, can give homeowners a theater-like experience in the comfort of their own home.
Perhaps if this becomes a trend and suit, we could see a home theater reinvigoration.
I love going to a movie theater, and we make it a family event a few times a year. Yet, I also love watching movies at home and can’t imagine the experience without the glory of my beautiful picture and surround sound. With families staying home more now than ever before and if more theater companies follow AMC’s lead, perhaps it’s time to give your clients a call.