Documentaries trending up?
Over the last five years, documentaries have been green lit by broadcasters and streaming partners more than ever before. There is a hunger for authentic, real storytelling. With fewer Hollywood/narrative products being shot because of COVID, we could see an acceleration of this trend of unscripted content being funded.
Many studios have delayed releases of highly anticipated films, such as Disney’s live-action Mulan
, which was scheduled to be released on March 27th, but has now been delayed indefinitely. Also
Candyman, A Quiet Place Part II, Wonder Woman 1984
West Side Story
have been pushed back. Currently, only 15 pilots have been picked up for the fall TV schedule across NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox and The CW, a decline of 58 percent from the 36 new shows ordered in 2019 and 2018.
Also, some films that were supposed to be released in theaters have been released as VOD or on streaming platforms instead of in theatres, starting with Trolls 2 World Tour
, which reportedly generated over $100 million in online rental revenue. Other films like
Emma, The Invisible Man
Birds of Prey
have followed suit. Tribeca darling
The Half of It
was set to have a theatrical release, but was picked up for Netflix release on May 1st, along with
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
, which was picked up by Hulu to stream months ahead of its scheduled release.
This is an unprecedented shift for the film industry; we’ll have to keep an eye on how this will affect box-office proceedings and revenues in the future, as well as how films are released. Will audiences continue the trend of demanding premium experiences in a luxury theater that has food and drinks brought to their seats? Will they want the best seats and the best experience money can buy? I believe the pandemic (and a post-pandemic world) will accelerate this trend of premium theatrical experiences, or watching at home. And the theater windows will continue to be experimented with as more titles are brought to SVOD (Subscription Video on Demand) closer to the release date.
We may also see SVOD services, like Amazon, have exclusive screenings where only Prime customers are allowed to watch them in theater. Would a theater chain be sold to Amazon? If the price is right (or if a portion of locations that were too strategic for Amazon were up for sale) we could see them make that buy. This would serve as an additional benefit to their members, while also providing a location for other avenues of service. No matter what, the future will be very interesting and exciting to see.