In Crowded Entertainment Market, Movie Studios Wrestle With Release Dates

November 2019
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Amid intense competition for audiences, Hollywood is struggling to find the right release dates for new movies. 

Studios now jockey with one another and with streaming services that continue to rise in popularity, Variety reports. “You’re constantly trying to find the best date,” says Kyle Davies, Paramount’s president of domestic distribution. 

As streaming titans shoulder their way into the filmmaking market, releasing a movie in theaters requires complex strategy. “It’s more of a 3D chess game than it’s ever been before,” says Jeff Goldstein, president of domestic distribution for Warner Bros.

For studios that release movies in theaters, one problem is that technology has given consumers a glut of entertainment options. 

When choosing release dates, executives worry not only about films from other studios, but whether a new season of “Stranger Things” will premiere on Netflix that weekend — or the latest edition of a popular video game will debut. Traditional studios are battling digital giants that offer viewers vast troves of streaming content around the clock.

For movies in theaters, “Not too long ago there were two seasons, Christmas and summer,” says Adrian Smith, Sony’s president of domestic distribution. “Now we use the whole calendar. The marketplace has changed, and people’s habits have changed.” 

And Disney’s head of global distribution Cathleen Taff says, “You need urgency to get audiences out of their houses and [into] movie theaters, and then to go talk about it after.” 

photo credit: zeb andrews

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