Updated: May 2
The coronavirus pandemic has altered our daily lives in countless ways, this is due to closures of movie theaters to help prevent the spread of the disease. However, Netflix is using its platform to stream movies that would have otherwise been in theaters. (The movie starring Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani, ‘Lovebirds’ will now be released on Netflix May 22nd.) The coronavirus may have changed the way movies are released forever instead of viewers leaving their houses to watch the latest film they can now watch it with a click of a button in their own homes.
After President Donald Trump urged the public to not gather in groups of over 10 people, major movie theaters like AMC began to close. The movie theater company explained how they would remain closed between six to 12 weeks in their guidelines. As movie theaters began to close across the nation film production companies began to compose a plan of action.
NBC Universal Pictures was the first major production company to put their plan into practice in March. Universal Pictures debuted “Trolls World Tour” in movie theaters as well as on on-demand services. While Netflix plans to release films on the streaming platform for free, Universal Pictures consumers are able to access the film for 48 hours for a one time fee of $19.99. Nonetheless, the consumer now has more access to the titles at a much sooner time than ever before.
Netflix gained a plethora of new consumers during the first 3 months of the year. The total global number of consumers reached 182.9 million in March. The streaming service did not miss a beat when it came to finances. Many shelter-in-place mandates worked in their favor. The platform has a competitive edge when releasing new content. They release entire seasons versus episode by episode like their many competitors. Now with the releasing of movies that would have otherwise been in theaters due to the pandemic, the streaming service has changed the way movies are released.
Netflix could potentially put movie theaters like AMC and Cinemark out of business even after the pandemic passes. Netflix members have the ability to access new series and films. The future for movie theaters remains uncertain during this time while streaming platforms are taking advantage of current circumstances. Companies like AMC, Cinemark, etc. simply cannot keep up with their consumer demands, while many states are still in phase 1 of reopening the country.