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Same-day theatrical and streaming releases are dead, says NATO’s John Fithian


President & CEO of NATO John Fithian speaks onstage during CinemaCon 2021 The State of the Industry and MGM/UAR Presentation at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace during CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners, on August 24, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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LAS VEGAS – The death of cinema has been greatly exaggerated — that’s the theme of this year’s CinemaCon.

John Fithian (President and CEO of National Association of Theatre Owners) says that it is the same-day streaming and theater release model that have sparked the popcorn boom.

Fithian stated Tuesday that simultaneous release was dead and piratery is the reason why. The internet can spread piracy by distributing a digital copy of a movie online. This has devastating effects for our industry.

Fithian spoke after Charles Rivkin’s lengthy address about the dangers that digital piracy poses to the theatre industry. Rivkin also discussed how the MPA fights illegal uploads, downloads, and other forms of piracy.

“On average pre-release piracy can take away as much as 20% of box office revenue — your revenue,” he told theater owners Tuesday. “And with the right efforts to build awareness with consumers, lawmakers, and the media, we can continue to build a culture that recognizes piracy for what it is — theft, pure and simple, and a direct threat to creators, the creative workforce, and the creative community everywhere.”

Day-and-date release became an integral part of box office recovery after the Covid pandemic. As more people return to cinemas, their need for such releases has diminished. The theater owners are optimistic that crowds will keep coming backThis is especially true after the box office success of “Spider-Man: The Way Home”, “The Batman”, and “Sonic the Hedgehog 2”.

Industry executives and studios are acutely aware of the importance of a dedicated window at the box office for films and how damaging piracy can have on potential profits. That’s why DisneyThe release of Avengers: Endgame was planned to occur in North America and China on the exact same day to make sure that most people could view the movie in theatres.

Although some studios might occasionally publish day-and -day releases of movies that have low- to medium-sized budgets, or films that are slow to return, the majority have pledged to show their films for at most 45 days before they release them to home market.

Actually, President of Sony’sJosh Greenstein of Motion Picture Group stated that the movie “Spider-Man: The Way Home”, which released December 1, stayed in theaters for an astonishing 88 days, before being made available online. “No Way Home,” which was released in December, generated $1.9 billion worldwide box office revenue.

Fithian stated, “When looking at title after title, it is very obvious that spikes in piratery are most severe when a movie’s first availability in the home: It doesn’t even matter whether it’s available via premium or subscription video-on-demand.” Robust theatrical windows are a protection against piracy. A major movie that is popular in the cinemas becomes too fast to be available at home, and the risk of it being pirated makes it more tempting for potential moviegoers to watch the pirated film.