Gal Gadot plays Wonder Woman in Warner Bros. "Wonder Woman 1984".
The cinema industry is in trouble.
"Tenet" was supposed to restart the US box office to prove that Americans are convinced of the coronavirus security measures and are ready to return to theaters. It was not like that.
The Warner Bros. movie's muted opening weekend, valued at $ 10 million to $ 12 million after removing the previews from the reported $ 20 million, didn't give the studio enough optimism to deliver its next big blockbuster " Wonder "Keeping Ms. 1984" in October.
Instead, the studio announced on Friday that the Gal Gadot-led superhero film would be relocated for Christmas.
"I think Warner Bros. saw that the 'tenet' numbers in the US are okay but not great," said Eric Handler, chief executive of media and entertainment stocks research at MKM Partners. "By the time New York City and Los Angeles open, it will be difficult to put up big box office numbers."
Handler noted that the remaining 30% of theaters that will remain closed during the pandemic have above-average ticket prices, which would usually have a positive impact on revenue.
With "Wonder Woman" in winter, the next Hollywood blockbuster won't hit theaters until "Black Widow" arrives in November.
"The lack of another mainstream blockbuster for the next eight weeks extends the exhibition's path to recreation," said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Boxoffice.com.
While moviegoers enjoy lower budget movies, it is the big budget features that bring the most traffic to theaters. During the pandemic, these must-see blockbusters are even more important as consumers need more incentives to get out of the safety of their homes.
Movie theater chains like AMC, Regal, and Cinemark have changed their operations to improve plumbing, install state-of-the-art air filtration systems, and retrain staff to interact with guests. Still, these guidelines aren't always enough to convince couch-sitters to become moviegoers.
"This may not be what the theaters envisioned after being asked to improve all of their facilities," said Jeff Bock, senior analyst, Exhibitor Relations. "Playing little ball for two months just won't work for most smaller movie theaters."
Larger cinema chains are also dependent on these films. Instead, the months of September and October will be filled with lower budget horror films, a number of low budget dramas, and a handful of romantic comedies.
"Simply put, this fall constellation is a fumble," said Bock. "I'm not sure how the theaters can even function anywhere near normal with these lackluster titles."
Large cinema chains were able to secure enough capital to remain solvent for the rest of the year and through to 2021. AMC in particular was at risk of bankruptcy before entering into a new debt deal. Smaller, independent theaters may not have the same resources.
On Friday, AMC shares closed at $ 5.79, up 2.5%, Cinemark shares at $ 12.04, 5.5%, and Marcus Theaters at 7.4%, closing at $ 13.25.
"If 'Wonder Woman 1984' isn't on the agenda, some smaller films might get people's attention," said MKM's handler. "Notable new films are definitely going to be sparse over the next six to seven weeks." Candyman "and" Death on the Nile "will be mid-budget titles in October."
"Rebooting the industry is challenging and will have both good and bad moments," he said. "It will take a while to normalize."