Pious wish, Coué method or tangible beginning of a modification of the present forces? During the CinemaCon festival, the great mass of American cinema, which was held from April 25 to 28 in Las Vegas, John Fithian, the head of the National Association of American Darkroom Owners (NATO), clearly shook hands with Netflix. “The doors of the cinema have been open to Netflix movies for years”he said, just as movie theaters are slowly beginning to emerge from the terrible slump they sank into during the pandemic, while Netflix has just suffered its first loss of subscribers in a decade, and is about to go through a phase of stagnation.
Despite its 221 million subscribers worldwide, will the streaming giant, whose price on Wall Street has fallen by 43.3% since this April 20 announcement, finally need the big screen? John Fithian claims to have had “lots of talks” with Ted Sarandos, co-CEO of Netflix, trying to show him that he could “Make more money by releasing your best movies first in theaters.”
The world’s leading streaming platform, which lost 200,000 subscribers in the first three months of 2022 and anticipates a drop of two million subscribers in the second quarter, is reportedly considering changing its model a bit. Either to offer cheaper offers to consumers – even if that means resorting to advertising – or, John Fithian hopes, to be more present in theaters. Today, Netflix is limited to releasing in a few cinemas the films it presents in the race for the Oscars or at certain festivals – without this, these feature films would not qualify for it under the regulations. “A Theatrical Premiere” lets a movie “be more noticeable”while “those who go directly to streaming are lost”pleaded the president of this organization, which represents some 35,000 screens in the United States.
Also during CinemaCon, Adam Aron, CEO of AMC, the largest theater circuit in the United States, wanted to be cautiously optimistic about the recovery. According to him, box office receipts will not return before 2024 to their 2019 level (11.4 billion dollars or 10.85 billion euros). However, according to IBOE (International Box-Office Essentials), revenues experienced a very strong rebound between 1Ahem on January 15 and April 15, earning $1.5 billion, five times more than during the dark period of 2021, marked by the closure of theaters in New York and Los Angeles. But this result is still in sharp decline, down 40% compared to 2019. Adam Aron also deplored the permanent closure of 800 screens, or 2% of US operations, due to the pandemic.