The Theatrical Release Window: Will the Changes Last?

Streaming services and the pandemic are threatening to permanently change the basic economics and mechanics of the movie industry.

The "theatrical release window" — that period of time in which new movies are available only in theaters — has long been the defining factor for how and when audiences view feature films. For decades, you would have to wait three months after a movie was released in theaters before you could watch it at home.


With COVID-19, a traditional theatrical run has been nearly impossible. Because of this, studios have pursued other release avenues in an effort to recoup the cost of a film and test different direct to consumer strategies. Starting with "Wonder Woman 1984" last Friday, Warner Bros. will release all of its 2021 films simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters. Disney has also made aggressive moves in the streaming world by releasing "Mulan" exclusively on Disney Plus, as well as announcing a slew of feature film titles that will live solely on their streaming platform. And with everything from revenue sharing economics to consumer data at play, the theatrical release window may see permanent changes.

So why is the traditional release window under attack -- and what do you really need to know about it? On this installment from our "dot.LA Explains" series, host Kelly O'Grady runs through the key factors that may impact whether this shift lasts.Watch to learn more about the theatrical release window, and follow us on Instagram for daily video content.

https://www.instagram.com/kfogrady/
https://www.linkedin.com/in/kelly-o-grady-61714248/
kelly@dot.la

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

Despite — or in many cases because of — the raging pandemic, 2020 was a great year for many tech startups. It turned out to be an ideal time to be in the video game business, developing a streaming ecommerce platform for Gen Z, or helping restaurants with their online ordering.

But which companies in Southern California had the best year? That is highly subjective of course. But in an attempt to highlight who's hot, we asked dozens of the region's top VCs to weigh in.

We wanted to know what companies they wish they would have invested in if they could go back and do it all over again.

Read more Show less
Ben Bergman

Ben Bergman is the newsroom's senior finance reporter. Previously he was a senior business reporter and host at KPCC, a senior producer at Gimlet Media, a producer at NPR's Morning Edition, and produced two investigative documentaries for KCET. He has been a frequent on-air contributor to business coverage on NPR and Marketplace and has written for The New York Times and Columbia Journalism Review. Ben was a 2017-2018 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economic and Business Journalism at Columbia Business School. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, playing poker, and cheering on The Seattle Seahawks.

Thanks to a sizzling startup scene and a receding pandemic, Los Angeles investors are feeling more optimistic this spring than they did at the end of last year.

They are expecting robust hiring, increasing valuations and a quick recovery of the U.S. economy, according to the dot.LA VC Sentiment Survey, a quarterly poll of the top VCs in Los Angeles.

Read more Show less
Ben Bergman

Ben Bergman is the newsroom's senior finance reporter. Previously he was a senior business reporter and host at KPCC, a senior producer at Gimlet Media, a producer at NPR's Morning Edition, and produced two investigative documentaries for KCET. He has been a frequent on-air contributor to business coverage on NPR and Marketplace and has written for The New York Times and Columbia Journalism Review. Ben was a 2017-2018 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economic and Business Journalism at Columbia Business School. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, playing poker, and cheering on The Seattle Seahawks.

RELATEDTRENDING