Movie releases undergoing a shift with a post-pandemic increase in streaming

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As people continue to want to watch movies from the comfort of their home, the future of movie releases is starting to shift.

According to the Morning Consult, “U.S. consumers say they feel increasingly comfortable returning to theaters following the pandemic.” Yet, consumers are still not going to theaters as much, and the pandemic is not the primary reason. Morning Consult found that “roughly 4 in 5 consumers cited a preference for watching films at home and the high cost of seeing movies in theaters as reasons they don’t venture out to theaters.”

While consumers watch movies from the comfort of their home, that trend isn’t necessarily slowing down box office revenues. With movies no longer seeing dual releases in both theaters and streaming services, theaters are still bringing in crowds for a certain genre of film. “Top Gun: Maverick,” for instance, has made more than $1 billion in its time in theaters, according to Box Office Mojo.

While “Top Gun: Maverick” crushed the box office as the biggest movie of the year so far, Pixar’s “Lightyear” was considered a disappointment, bringing in only $158 million worldwide.  “Lightyear” is the first movie that Pixar has released to theaters since the pandemic. “Turning Red,” the last Pixar film to still release on streaming, “managed 1.675 billion minutes of streaming from March 14 to 20” according to Deadline. This huge difference in performance between the two releases is causing questions in which films should be released straight to streaming and which go to theaters.

A new shift in the thought process of movie making is starting to take place along the way. Movies that are high budget, action-heavy and exciting are going to continue to dominate movie theaters. Smaller budget movies and animated films will begin to be released exclusively on streaming sites.

While this doesn’t sound like a positive thing for movies, overall, people are watching more and more from their homes. These smaller films will actually be able to reach larger audiences through streaming platforms. With this huge shift to streaming, smaller filmmakers will have to fight big-budget films less and can go straight to streaming sites, where they can now reach a huge audience they never could have without being overshadowed by the next franchise movie.

Christopher Rodriguez was born and raised in Miami and is a Digital journalism major and a senior at FIU. Rodriguez loves film and entertainment in Miami and hopes to pursue those passions through journalism.