Butting Heads

Online Platforms, Movie Theaters Compete for Viewership


Photo Courtesy of Penelope Moreno

Over the past year, the pandemic has changed the movie industry, which has shifted popularity towards online platforms. As movie theaters begin to open again, viewers are able to decide which platform they want to watch movies on, ultimately creating competition between platforms and the movie industry.

Penny Moreno, Reporter

As COVID-19 continues to impact companies globally,  more people have been leaning towards online platforms. At the same time, more restrictions and regulations have been lifted, allowing movie theaters to reopen. As new movies have been released on both online platforms and in movie theaters, these companies begin to clash. 

Movie theaters have been around since 1905, they have continuously grown more popular. Recently, more movies have been released, which required people to come to the movie theater to watch any new movie. In the past, most people, when looking for something to do in their free time, chose to go to the movie theaters to watch movies. Whether it was with a friend or a loved one, going to the movies was an activity that everyone could enjoy. The pandemic then forced all movie theaters to shut down, leaving the movie theater industry in shambles.

Online platforms have gained popularity due to the pandemic, allowing all families to enjoy their favorite movies from the comfort of their own homes. As a result, movie theaters seemed to disappear from existence, while online platforms became a new and improved way to watch movies easily. This also permitted companies to continue making money off of the current movies. I think that this is a beneficial way to continue the business in a safe way, as people still get to keep their jobs in the movie industry. Especially because there were not many activities families were able to partake in, especially during quarantine, so watching newly released movies was definitely needed. Who wouldn’t want to relax and watch a movie with their own blankets, pillows, and snacks? 

Now that restrictions are loosening up, Movies are now being released on both online platforms and movie theaters, giving the opportunity for viewers to decide which platform they want to watch movies on. Due to this, many movies are not making the same amount of profit as they would have on one platform. Disney’s Marvel movieBlack Widow,’ for example, recently settled a lawsuit. According to the ‘Washington Post,’Black Widow’ profited $380 million around the world. Usually, Disney movies make up about a billion dollars, but because it was shown on Disney Plus and in movie theaters, this affected the profit of the actors and people involved in the making of the movie. Scarlet Johansson claimed that because of the ‘premier access’ feature, which allows viewers to watch the movie before it launches in movie theaters and on Disney plus, people only needed to pay an extra fee of $30 to watch the movie early. Johansson stated that her bonuses made from the movie solely depend on the revenue in theaters. The terms of the settlement have not been disclosed, but they have been resolved.

Similarly, HBO Max’s “Wonder Woman 1984,” came out in late 2020 and also did poorly in revenue. According to ‘Variety,’ a newspaper for theater, the movie was broadcasted to promote the new release of HBO Max. The release on HBO Max has directly affected how the movie was doing in theaters, leading the movie to do poorly. HBO Max also continues to release new movies meaning more conflict will arise. When will the next lawsuit occur? Movies are making less profits because of online platforms, and people are realizing that they can just stay home and watch their favorite movies. This ultimately affects the actors, producers, or anyone in the movie industry. 

Viewership has become more of a competition, even for the classic movie theater. Movie theaters and online platforms will continue to clash until one reigns victorious, and I am very certain that it will be online platforms. The pandemic definitely made it clear that watching new movies and shows can be as easy as clicking a button on your TV remote.