L.A, 2022-08-11 17:52:03. Cineplex CEO says rom-com is set to make a theatrical comeback with Top Gun in a big way
While moviegoers flocked to the testosterone saga “Top Gun: Maverick” and the latest “Doctor Strange” movie over the summer, the president of Cineplex Inc. He is sure that romantic comedies will make a comeback on the big screen.
Ellis Jacob, CEO of Canada’s biggest movie showrunner, said he’s expecting a brighter look for biopics, Oscar-worthy dramas and oral comedies — all kinds of mid-budget films. This is despite competition from the streaming giants pumping out exactly those kinds of movies to watch on TV.
“I’ve had discussions with studios and a lot of them say this will be a focus,” he said of the mid-tier films, as Cineplex announced its first quarterly profit since the pandemic began.
Jacob pointed to Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis” popularity as a sign of what he hopes to come. The film’s budget was around $85 million, relatively conservative by current Hollywood standards for a major release, and it has attracted older viewers who have been reluctant to come out in recent months.
So did “Top Gun,” a blockbuster with a huge budget and mass appeal, which became Cineplex’s most popular title in the second quarter. It helped lift earnings to $1.3 million, or two cents per share, for the three months ended June 30.
Compare the results with a sharp deficit a year earlier when the company was $103.7 million in the red, at a loss of $1.64 per share, as it dealt with widespread theater closings.
In the similar period last year, Ontario and Manitoba reported no ticket sales because they were closed, while other provinces that were gradually reopening theaters faced patrons who were reluctant to visit.
Jacob said that the attitudes of moviegoers have changed since then, which has proven itself in the results. Revenue also increased to $349.9 million from $64.9 million in the previous year.
Overall, theater attendance rose to 11.1 million from 1.1 million in the same quarter last year, driven by Marvel’s “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”, “Jurassic World Dominion” and “Sonic the Hedgehog 2”.
Bigger movies meant more profitable ticket sales as people upgraded to Imax and VIP theater experiences, boosting box office revenue to $12.29 per recipient compared to $10.89 per recipient a year earlier.
Franchise revenue also jumped to $8.84 per visitor, compared to $7.86 last year.
It’s not just about throwing the biggest movies on all screens, Jacob said. The company found that programming more international fares selectively also sold more tickets than it had in years past.
“We played a Bollywood movie in Sudbury and it worked,” he said.
“But that was because we were able to identify the population in certain markets and meet the product for them.”
Jacob said that in emerging from the pandemic lockdowns, it is “hard to predict” what lies ahead as new variables continue to emerge. Movie theaters are also at the mercy of movie studios that still play with abridged theatrical windows and live-streams featuring silent Canadian theatrical releases.
Until recently, Wall Street investors were focused on streaming companies like Netflix and Disney Plus being the future of entertainment most filmed, while sentiment indicated that movie theaters were on their way out.
But investor attitudes have shifted in recent months as the biggest broadcasters see their growth plateau and production budgets spinning out of control.
Earlier this month, David Zaslav, CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery took the unusual step of canceling the $90 million DC Comics movie “Batgirl” while it was in post-production, a decision that came when he was limiting spending on US channel HBO Max. Services.
Meanwhile, Cineplex has been looking for other sources of revenue. A new reservation fee was introduced late in the quarter that charged an additional fee of $1.50 on each ticket purchased through the mobile app and website.
“That’s really nothing compared to some of the other fees I charge when I buy something online,” Jacob said.
He said the money from this additional cost will go towards building its digital infrastructure, which will eventually give moviegoers the option to buy snacks before they hit the theater.
This report was first published by The Canadian Press on August 11, 2022.
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