Most Hollywood studios are still willing to wait to release their films in theaters. Despite repeated delays, most producers are hoping that theaters will soon be reopened as the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out expands across the country.

During the pandemic, most big-budget films releases have been pushed back amid ongoing theater closures in major markets. Although some studios have opted to release their films on streaming services, many have opted to postpone openings for up to a year.

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Most films with a $200 million budget are only able to earn $1 billion at the global box office with theatrical release. Last week, a number of high-profile spring and early summer films were once again delayed. The release of MGM’s No Time to Die was moved from April to early October, Sony’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife was moved from June to November, and Paramount’s A Quiet Place Part II was moved from April to September.

“The studios have delayed the vast majority of their major releases until movie theaters are back in business for a very simple reason. A theatrical release is their biggest source of revenue on these titles, and they cannot be profitable without such a release,” says John Fithian, president-CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners. “The tunnel of this pandemic for exhibitors has been long, but the light at the end of that tunnel looks very bright indeed.”

Wall Street analyst Eric Wold of B. Riley Securities agrees that it’s a positive sign that films like No Time to Die and Ghostbusters are still planning a theatrical release rather than moving to a streaming platform. “Now, as long as you can make it to July, then you can participate in the recovery,” he said.

Big-budget films still scheduled for release this spring/summer include Black Widow (May 7), F9 (May 28), Venom: Let There Be Carnage (June 25) and Top Gun: Maverick (July 2). “We have no plans to move our theatrical release of Top Gun,” says Paramount president of distribution Chris Aronson. “I think the next two months are critical, and whether the new administration can implement a robust vaccination plan. If Biden’s 100 million vaccines in 100 days works, then I think we’ll be in good shape.”

Source: Hollywood Reporter

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