Even before the global pandemic shifted a lot of movies to streaming services, they were becoming a big part of the production pipeline for companies like Disney and Warner Bros. However, when the pandemic started, we saw streaming become absolutely vital to film releases. Even though theaters are open again now, streaming’s importance has not diminished. It feels like the movie-making game may have changed for good, and in some ways it already has. With that knowledge, it looks like maybe Disney has made the wrong move by releasing some recent films in theaters instead of on a streaming platform.
A couple of recent Fox properties released in theaters have struggled at the box office. Of course, at this point, a lot of movies are struggling at the box office. The decision over whether to go to the theaters or not is one with a high hurdle to clear, and as a result, movies that might otherwise have done quite well have experienced some real difficulty. Knowing that this is likely to continue for the foreseeable future, and may honestly become the new normal, Disney should consider continuing the following franchises, but on streaming instead.
The first two Kingsman movies were solid hits, but they came out in another era. The King’s Man, the prequel movie that expanded the franchise, made less money at the global box office than the first movie did domestically. While there are clearly people who like this franchise, they were not willing to head off to the theaters to see it.
While the future of this series is less than perfectly clear, there have previously been plans for a Kingsman 3, i.e. a direct sequel to the Taron Egerton-led story, as well as for other spinoff films like The King’s Man. If we are going to get a full “Kingsman Universe” having all of it one place, like Hulu, would help draw an audience, old and new, to watch all of it.
Kenneth Branugh’s Hercule Poirot
Death on the Nile did technically win the domestic box office this past weekend. Having said that, it didn’t exactly do it in an impressive fashion. Murder on the Orient Express was a big enough hit that Death on the Nile was given the greenlight quickly. However, due to many delays (not all of them related to the pandemic), it took the sequel quite some time to make it out to audiences.
But it’s not surprising that when it finally came out, Death on the Nile didn’t find its old audience. A lot of people looking forward to Kenneth Branagh playing Hercule Poirot were likely older viewers, who are even more sensitive to pandemic issues. These movies are quite good and it would be nice to see more of them. They’d work just as well as streaming productions, and a lot more people would be able to see them.
Planet Of The Apes
Unlike the first two entries on this list, Planet of the Apes isn’t a franchise with a recent film that struggled in theaters. However, it is a franchise that will get a new movie before long, and when it does, it will likely work much better on streaming than in theaters.
While Planet of the Apes is an existing franchise, whatever the next movie is will probably be the beginning of a new story, whether or not is technically connected to previous film universe. For that reason, the movie won’t be guaranteed a built-in audience, and if the audience is still apprehensive about going to the movies anyway, they likely won’t give a new Planet of the Apes movie a chance. Throw it on Disney+ or Hulu, however (depending on how mature you want to make it), and people will absolutely give it a look. If they like it, they’ll watch more.
Even before the global pandemic made nearly every theatrical release a tough sell, audiences made it clear that they weren't going to the theater to see a legacy sequel of the Independence Day franchise. But at the same time, the franchise has name recognition, and while it might be some time before we see more from this title, it's only a matter of time before Disney figures out some way to use it.
While Independence Day, with its massive set pieces of global destruction, feels like it belongs on the big screen only, we're seeing budgets for streaming series rival those of blockbuster movies now, and watching a landmark get blown up on your 70" 4K television is still going to look pretty damn amazing. Roland Emmerich's own idea for a third movie would work just as well on Hulu.
Master And Commander
Much like the previously mentioned Planet of the Apes, Master and Commander is a franchise that we already know has a future. Unfortunately, while many fans have continued to hold out hope that we might actually get a sequel to Russell Crowe's 2003 film, Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World, the most recent news is that won't be happening. Instead, the future of Master & Commander will be through a reboot.
However, we do not know what form that reboot will take. Is it going to be a series or a movie? If it's a movie, is it looking at theaters or streaming. While many people loved the original Master & Commander, it struggled to find an audience, which is why a sequel was never made. A big screen follow-up is likely to have many of the exact same issues for all the same reasons. A streaming series is probably the best bet, as it would give these characters room to live and breathe, but even if we get a series of movies, they're more likely to find an audience on streaming.
There are some strong franchises owned by Fox, but some of them are clearly already struggling for survival on the big screen. It seems likely that the only way these franchises will be able to survive is by finding a different outlet. Big screen success is going to be harder to achieve for a long time to come, and possibly permanently. If that’s the case, it doesn’t mean these franchises need to end, it just means they need a new home.
CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.
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