The pandemic has forced studios to release some of their films on streaming platforms rather than in theaters, but this trend already existed before the health crisis according to the annual report of the Motion Picture Association.
Exclusive movies online, a phenomenon that is accelerating
Netflix's rapid expansion is one of the reasons why the number of films released exclusively online increased as early as 2017, then in 2018 and 2019. And the pandemic has only accelerated the trend. So in 2020 for the first time, Disney moved movie releases like Hamilton, Mulan and Soul to its Disney+ online platform. In all, the number of exclusive films online almost doubled between 2017 and 2020, going from 93 to 179. In 2021, this figure remained stable at 179. Note that this data concerns releases in the USA on the following services: Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, Paramount+, Peacock, Roku, Showtime and Starz. But the trend will inevitably affect the rest of the world soon.
Theatrical cinema threatened
However, the crease seems taken. While the pandemic is becoming a bad memory, Disney has already released several films this year exclusively on Disney+. For its part, Netflix will provide at least one new film per week in 2022. And Amazon has already begun to experiment with exclusive releases, for example with Hotel Transylvania 4. Cinema, the real thing with its network of dark rooms synonymous with experiences common audiovisual networks, is more threatened than ever.