Here’s the thing: even though everyone is doubling down on streaming right now, movie theaters are still a gigantic part of the equation and they will continue to be for some time to come. The fact is, streaming has actually taken out several other revenue streams or drastically reduced them, with Blu-ray sales down, overseas sales of movie rights, and even cable starting to pull back. However, the box office remains an extremely important tool for recovering the money spent on films. Not everyone can be Netflix, and maybe not everyone should try to be.
What we’ve definitely seen is that great superhero movies like “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “The Batman” will draw crowds pretty much no matter what. Even “Morbius” did pretty well on its first weekend despite lousy reviews before hitting its stride on weekend two. But movie theaters need more to survive than just comic book movies and horror franchises (again, look how well “Scream” has done with “Scream 6” already on the way). And, based on what we’ve seen in 2022 so far, it looks like Paramount is well-equipped to deliver counter-programming that extends beyond superheroes and horror movies.
“Jackass Forever” was a tough adult comedy. “The Lost City” was the type of old-school, star-driven romantic comedy that we all thought had been relegated to Netflix and was no longer theatrically viable. “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” was the first movie sequel to turn a video game into a franchise since “Resident Evil: Apocalypse” in 2004. The fact that audiences showed up every time indicates that Paramount is onto something here.
The other thing to consider is that these movies always benefit Paramount+ in the end. “Scream” and “Jackass Forever” debuted on the streaming service just weeks after hitting theaters. These were new titles that could further help attract subscribers and bolster the streamer’s library. ViacomCBS can have its cake and eat it too – earn your money selling tickets, then make people happy from the comfort of their homes. It can be a win-win and Paramount seems well positioned to continue to do so.