Blockbuster movies have returned, this week, F9, the latest installment in the Fast and Furious franchise, smashed all box office records by collecting over $70 million in its opening weekend, the highest-grossing movie since Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker released in December of 2019. The earlier box office record set during the pandemic was by A Quiet Place Part II, which grossed $48.3 million over its opening weekend in May. Importantly, A Quiet Place Part II and F9 were both released solely in cinemas instead of jointly in theatres and online.
The performance of these films appears to indicate that viewers are eager to be able to visit cinemas again and that the method used by certain companies, such as Warner Bros. and Disney, etc., with respect to distributing a film in theatres and through Video-On-Demand (VOD) services simultaneously, might altogether be unnecessary. Entertainment industries across the world took a substantial hit when the pandemic broke out in early 2020. Numerous highly anticipated movies have had to be shelved, of which many are still unreleased. Several media houses announced that they have shifted the release of their post-production flicks to their respective Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms. Certain films are to be released on OTT platforms and at the box office simultaneously.
Such a change in plans has raised serious questions concerning the future of conventional multiplexes as a viable distribution method. However, the release of F9 which continues to garner revenue success solely at the box office, has led to a further reassurance concerning the future of cinema halls. Even before the pandemic, the industry had developed a trend of releasing films on the basis of their anticipated commercial value. Franchise movies or big-budget action flicks were largely being released in cinema halls/movie theatres, whereas small-scale art films were increasingly being released on OTT platforms.