Moviegoing won’t return to pre-pandemic ranges, says Disney’s Bob Iger

Robert Iger attends the Stella McCartney “Get Back” Capsule Collection and documentary launch of Peter Jackson’s “Get Back” at The Jim Henson Company on November 18, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.

Rich Fury | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

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

“I don’t think movies ever return, in terms of moviegoing, to the level that they were at pre-pandemic,” the veteran media govt mentioned throughout a panel at Vox Media’s Code Conference in Beverly Hills, California, Wednesday.

Iger, who stepped down from his submit as CEO of the Walt Disney Company in February 2020, handing the reins to then-head of theme parks Bob Chapek, mentioned “choice” is the primary cause moviegoers haven’t returned to cinemas on the identical tempo as earlier than.

He famous that buyers turned extra comfy with streaming providers whereas in lockdown and grew to benefit from the content material on these platforms and the pliability of having the ability to select what to watch and when. Iger was fast to add that he would not assume the movie show business is a “dead business,” however that the pandemic exacerbated and hastened a change in shopper habits.

Between January and the top of August, the home field workplace generated round $5.3 billion, down round 31% in contrast to 2019. It stays on tempo to ship round $7.5 billion in complete ticket gross sales by the top of the yr. For comparability, in 2019 the field workplace tallied $11.4 billion for the complete yr.

There are different elements main to this decline in field workplace, together with a considerably smaller variety of movie releases. Only 46 movies have been extensively launched domestically throughout the first eight months of the yr. During the identical interval in 2019, 75 movies had been launched extensively.

On the plus facet, moviegoers are actually spending extra once they go to cinemas, choosing larger priced tickets to see movies on premium screens and shopping for extra concessions.

Iger famous that cinemas aren’t the one place for audiences to see the delivery of main franchises.

“I think the movie industry used to argue that you could not create cultural impact without having everybody go to a movie theater on the weekend in every country in the world,” he mentioned. “And then just couldn’t create franchises. I don’t agree anymore.”

Iger pointed to HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and Disney’s personal “The Mandalorian” as sequence which have made important impacts on the cultural zeitgeist with out help from cinemas.

“It doesn’t mean moviegoing goes away,” Iger mentioned. “I’m a big believer in movies. I love big movies … but it doesn’t come back to where it was.”

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