Cinema won’t return to pre-pandemic levels, says Disney’s Bob Iger

Robert Iger attends Stella McCartney’s ‘Get Back’ Capsule Collection and Peter Jackson’s ‘Get Back’ Documentary Release at The Jim Henson Company on November 18, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.

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The coronavirus pandemic has left a “permanent scar” on the movie theater industry, says former Disney CEO Bob Iger.

“I don’t think movies will ever go back, cinema-wise, to where they were before the pandemic,” the media veteran said Wednesday during a panel at Vox Media’s Code conference in Beverly Hills, California. California.

Iger, who resigned as CEO of the Walt Disney Company in February 2020, handing over the reins to then-theme parks director Bob Chapek, said “choice” is the main reason moviegoers aren’t not returned to the cinema at the same pace. like before.

He noted that consumers have become more comfortable with streaming services during the lockdown and have come to appreciate the content on these platforms and the flexibility of being able to choose what to watch and when. Iger was quick to add that he doesn’t think the movie industry is a “dead business,” but that the pandemic has exacerbated and accelerated a shift in consumer habits.

Between January and the end of August, the domestic box office generated approximately $5.3 billion, down approximately 31% from 2019. It remains on course to generate approximately $7.5 billion in total sales tickets by the end of the year. For comparison, in 2019 the box office totaled $11.4 billion for the full year.

Other factors explain this decline in box office, including a significantly lower number of film releases. Only 46 films were widely released in the country in the first eight months of the year. During the same period in 2019, 75 films had been widely released.

On the positive side, moviegoers are now spending more when they go to the cinema, opting for more expensive tickets to see films on premium screens and buying more concessions.

Iger noted that movie theaters aren’t the only place audiences can see the birth of major franchises.

“I think the movie industry used to say that you couldn’t create cultural impact without everyone going to the movies on the weekends in every country in the world,” he said. declared. “And then I just couldn’t create franchises. I don’t agree anymore.”

Iger pointed to HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and Disney’s “The Mandalorian” as series that had a significant impact on the cultural zeitgeist without the help of theaters.

“That doesn’t mean cinema is going away,” Iger said. “I’m a big believer in movies. I love great movies…but it’s not coming back to where it was.”

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