Following in the tracks of many other releases this year, Antebellum took the path of releasing simultaneously on-demand and in cinema. Alongside other major films like Da 5 Bloods and Miss Juneteenth, this move proved immensely popular for audiences. With many other upcoming films looking to take a similar route, the question of whether this could remain a permanent system is an important one for both sides of the industry.
How Have Movies and Their Makers Fared?
When looking at going to an on-demand release for movies, the complexities for major studios are immense. For a hundred years, major motion pictures have relied on the established economics of putting people in theatre seats. This sort of funding was effective and easy to measure, and while it could still end up in failure, at least the mechanisms were well-understood.
Traditionally, it was only cheaper movies which made the jump straight to home-release. This was best illustrated by the former dreaded label of ‘direct-to-video’, which generally came with the stigma of lower quality. This also meant that, due to lower visibility and appeal than cinema releases, these tended to bring in much less.
In a more contemporary sense, older funding models have been challenged by the arrival of streaming services. Bird Box and Extraction have been the standouts here, bringing the big-budget quality formerly relegated to theatres straight into viewer homes. These also were massively popular socially, encouraging word of mouth far beyond what older home-release media ever could.
The question then becomes, how could movie studios benefit from these systems? Bird Box was watched by 45 million accounts in its opening week, which would in theory translate to $411 million in traditional ticket sales. However, how the earning for these movies works is nebulous at best, raising questions as to how viable bigger-budget releases are on streaming systems.
Entertainment Genres Like Gaming Show Fans’ Preference for Mobile
For fans, the idea of home-streaming is a much simpler one. Like so many other forms of entertainment, fans are extremely appreciative of being able to experience media how and where they like. This was a big part of what made systems like Netflix hits, no longer holding viewers to particular television sets or timetables. Mobile systems for entertainment have also seen significant success through these more convenient means. Online casino games are one such example of this, where the popularity of former desktop-only access has been massively boosted by mobile connectivity. Today, the best online casino bonuses and websites all run perfectly on smartphones. Whether collecting free spins and deposit matches to accessing any one of dozens of casinos, the advantage of accessibility has been king. Bring this to more movies, fans say, and we’ll be better for it.
As a new development in how movies are now released, it could be some time before we see a final answer in how modern viewing methods are settled. For the movie industry, this could require a major overhaul of how systems are run, potentially leaning into the more diverse approach of multiple release formats. For fans of Antebellum and movies in general, we know what we’re about, where having the choice of watching at home or on the silver screen is something we all can hope for. Either way, this will be something to watch in 2021 and beyond, as big things are undoubtedly coming.