Global box office sales are bouncing back, reaching $1.8bn in Q1 2023 in North America (CNBC, 2023), and seeing a 70% uptick from 2021-22 in Europe (EAO, 2023). As people prove their eagerness for in-person experiences post-pandemic, and the streaming market looks increasingly saturated, over-the-top platforms are seeking to retain both relevance and subscribers by incorporating support for theatrical cinema in their offering.
- Apple Embraces In-Person Demand: In March, Apple announced its plans to invest $1bn annually in the production of movies set for theatrical release to capture the growing potential of box office sales. It launched this strategy at Cannes, debuting Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. A partnership with Paramount will see the film released in theatres across North America in October, followed by exclusive global streaming on Apple TV+. A similar deal has been struck for new epic Napoleon, out in theatres in November.
- Arthouse Cinema & Streamers Couple Up: Sony Pictures Classics, a Sony Pictures division specialising in distributing arthouse and independent films, has partnered with British streamer Mubi, which hosts cult classics and indie cinema. At Cannes, they debuted renowned director Pedro Almodóvar’s Spanish Western drama Strange Way of Life, starring actors Pedro Pascal and Ethan Hawke.
- Warner & Amazon Prime’s Success Story: The festival showcased a burgeoning strategy pioneered by Amazon’s collaboration with Warner Bros. Air, directed by Ben Affleck and featuring himself and Matt Damon, premiered in theatres, grossing over $90m at the box office before transitioning to Amazon Prime Video two months later.
For further insights, see our upcoming report, The Next Act for Entertainment Streaming, publishing June 1.