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No, streaming isn’t stopping people from going to the cinema

A new survey has revealed that the short timespan before movies appear on streaming isn't putting people off going to cinemas to see movies on the big screen.

Glass Onion

An interesting new survey has revealed that movies going to streaming services quickly after their theatrical release has not stopped audiences from going to cinemas. The report (shared via Deadline) entitled The Symbiotic Future of Theatrical & Streaming analysed results from a survey of 2000 US consumers taken in January 2023.

The report found that two-thirds of moviegoers are not concerned about the length of a film’s release window when they visit a theatre, and theatrical titles still enjoy a vast advantage in terms of awareness over original movies made for streaming. Movies that have had a theatrical release (and the associated marketing that comes with that) have far more success once they become available on streaming vs streaming originals.

Revealingly, when asked to name the most recent streaming original movie they watched, only one-quarter of consumers correctly listed one. The remaining 75% either couldn’t remember the last streaming original movie they watched or answered with the name of a theatrically released movie that they watched at home.

Three of Netflix’s five top-viewed film releases of 2022 had theatrical windows first. About 73% of respondents said they plan to maintain or increase their theatrical movie-going pace in 2023. Overall theatrical output, which declined dramatically the height of the pandemic, is climbing again, though there were only 103 theatrical releases in 2022. That was up just two films from 2021 and well below the prior levels of 140-150 a year before the pandemic.

Netflix famously tried a new strategy with Knives Out sequel Glass Onion, giving it a one-week Thanksgiving theatrical window before streaming it at Christmas. Apple TV made history at the 2022 Oscars by being the first streaming service to win Best Picture (for Coda), beating Netflix to the honour.

Streaming originals have passed the 200 annual mark, doubling over the past five years. Among those who have yet to return to theatres at pre-pandemic levels, fewer than a third (28%) say it’s due to the abundance of movie access at home, with pricing being the main factor.

Check out our guides to the best Disney Plus movies and everything new on Apple TV Plus.