Hollywood has been going to drastic measure in the wake of coronavirus to find new ways to bring in revenue with movie theaters closed. This has resulted in a lot of theatrical films being delayed, while those that had been released prior to the outbreak being released for home viewing months before we otherwise would have seen them. It's a drastic response to a drastic situation, but Jason Blum of Blumhouse productions thinks that it's quite likely things won't simply go back to normal once the current crisis has come to a close.
In an interview with Ben Shapiro, that was clearly recorded prior to some of the boldest studio moves being made, Jason Blum says that the traditional theatrical window was going to need to see a change even before the coronavirus. The popularity of streaming services was ultimately going to lead studios to make changes to release schedules out of necessity. According to Blum...
I think it’s not realistic to think all the studios are going to wait four months before they put a movie at home. They just can’t compete, they’re going to have to compete with Amazon and Netflix and Apple in a different way. So I think that's changing.
There have occasionally been rumblings from studios considering shrinking the theatrical window, even releasing movies at home on the same day they hit theaters, though in most scenarios the rental would cost significantly more than your average movie ticket. In the end, theaters always come out against these ideas and they've never received much traction.
When this interview was recorded, theaters were seeing declining attendance but they weren't closed. The decision to release The Hunt, and other films, digitally had not yet been made. At the same time, the writing was on the wall and it was clear that coronavirus would be impacting Hollywood, and Jason Blum did believe that, however the studios reacted to the situation, would lead to much more long term changes...
There’re going to be shifts. The consumer is going to be more used to staying at home. Something is going to give, there has to be something that’s going to happen post-corona...The movie business will look different after the coronavirus.
It will be interesting to see how the public accepts movies like The Hunt and Bloodshot, being available for a $20 rental at a point when, under other circumstances, they would be in theaters. The waters will be tested further next month when Trolls World Tour is released directly to digital storefronts. The film will see a simultaneous theatrical release, assuming, of course, that theaters are open by then.
Jason Blum is speaking during a time of change in the industry and we don't know how things will look after coronavirus. With various movies pushed back to unknown dates and movie sets shut down, it's unclear what the future looks like. This also includes the television world, as seasons are being cut and sets are shut down.