Take it from an actor that happens to have his toes dipped in both worlds. Ben Affleck, who has made mid-budget films like THE TOWN, ARGO, and THE WAY BACK and blockbusters like BATMAN V. SUPERMAN and JUSTICE LEAGUE, thinks that when things go back to normal for moviegoing, it will be a brand new normal. The actor believes that most mid-budget movies will skip theaters and go straight to streaming post-pandemic and that only big tentpole films like STAR WARS or anything made by Marvel will hit the big screen.
During a recent interview with “Entertainment Weekly“, Affleck made it clear that he believes only very franchise-friendly titles will be the films getting major distribution when the pandemic subsides:
“Movies like The Town, movies like Argo, all the movies I made would effectively end up on streamers. There will probably be like 20 to 25 movies a year that are distributed and they’ll all be big IP movies, whether it’s the type of movies that Disney makes like Aladdin or Star Wars or Avengers, something where you can count on the low-end being half a billion dollars worth of business. And I think it’s going to be very, very difficult for dramas and sort of mid-budget movies like [The Town] to get theatrical distriubtion. You’ll either see massive, massive movies getting huge wide-scale distribution or small movies doing little prestige releases in a few theaters but mostly being shown on streamers. I think that’s for better or worse, and you can draw your own conclusions, but that would be my best guess about the direction of the movie business just based on what I’m seeing now and experiences I’m having trying to get stuff made.”
Affleck’s THE WAY BACK opened right before the movie theater shut down and the drama debuted to modest business during its opening weekend before the world came to a halt and forced the film to an early VOD release. Despite this, Affleck believes that the film benefitted from its early VOD debut:
“Who knows what the theatrical business will be like. What I think has happened is that people have grown accustomed during this time to watching from home. It benefited The Way Back, for sure. It had just come out so I think the ability to see a new movie at home enabled us to get many more viewers than would have come out to a theater to pay money to see a sad movie about an alcoholic dealing with the death of his child. People have now been acculturated to streaming and watching movies at home in ways they weren’t before, which probably accelerated a trend that was already taking place.”
I haven’t heard a lot of actors speak on this so it’s interesting to hear his opinion on the matter. He’s also speaking from the lens of a director as well and given what he said about THE WAY BACK and how the early VOD release likely benefitted the film, it may show that he supports the straight to streaming platform if it’s warranted for certain releases. The way things are going, I’d have to agree with him that this may very well be the new normal, even after the pandemic.
Do YOU agree with Ben Affleck‘s assessment?