The COVID-19 pandemic has affected nearly all aspects of life, including the entertainment industry and how consumers view the latest and greatest movies. With theaters either closed or at limited capacity, films are now being released via online streaming platforms such as HBO Max, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Disney+. Gone are the traditional movie premieres with the build up and excitement of an opening night. Due to the pandemic, here to stay are the opening of blockbuster movies streaming into the comforts of your home.
During the past few months, highly anticipated films have been released online. On December 25, 2020, Wonder Woman 1984 was released on HBO Max, Amazon Prime, and Disney+. Tom Hank’s News of the World also premiered on December 25 on Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime. Yet to come in 2021 are some of the most exciting movies, which are also going to air online before hitting theaters nationwide. Scarlett Johansson’s long-awaited and well deserved Black Widow standalone movie will premiere on Disney+ on May 7. Set to debut on both HBO Max and in theaters on May 21, Godzilla vs. Kong is the foreseen action-packed sequel to Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Kong: Skull Island.
Online versus Theaters
With the evolution of movie-watching from public theaters to living rooms comes pros and cons for each. According to statista.com, Americans paid an average of $9.16 per movie ticket in 2019. This price tag doesn’t include popcorn, beverages, or other concession snacks. Compare the cost of attending a movie to streaming it online from the comfort of your home. Netflix’s basic subscription starts at $9 a month for standard definition streaming using one device at a time, and Netflix premium is priced at $18 a month for “ultra high definition” streaming on up to four devices at the same time. HBO Max offers $15 a month for ad-free access to the full HBO Max library while Amazon Prime boasts a $13 a month subscription for members, with access to the Prime Video library and all of Amazon Prime’s shopping perks. Amazon also offers $9 a month for access to the Prime Video library on its own. Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ merged into one, so customers can snag all three subscriptions for $13 a month. With access to innumerable movies and TV shows, choosing an online streaming platform for entertainment certainly provides a better bang for your buck.
In addition to a lighter wallet, streaming platforms allow one to watch from practically anywhere, anyhow. Portable devices such as phones, iPads, and computers allow customers to travel the world, bringing their favorite bingeable shows along with them. Hungry? Microwave yourself a bag of popcorn and there you have it: freshly popped popcorn made to your own satisfaction. Still hungry? Gather around the television with your family and enjoy a TV dinner. Save on wait times, avoid distracting neighbors, and you never have to skip another action-packed scene to visit the restroom again, just press pause. In the midst of a pandemic, it is also wiser to enjoy entertainment from the coziness of your home to avoid indoor public spaces.
Despite these perks, most can admit that watching a movie on the giant screen in a darkened theater easily outmatches streaming a movie online. Whether it’s a night out with friends or a date with that special someone, there’s just something about grabbing a bucket (or two) of buttery popcorn, finding the perfect seats, watching previews, and feeling the thrill of viewing a newly-released movie with a greater audience.
Like most businesses, the movie industry has not escaped the wrath of COVID-19, and although the future is uncertain, there’s hope for getting back into theaters at some point. At that time, theaters can exist in harmony with online streaming platforms, as both have benefits. With the evolution of technology and ever-changing circumstances, consumers can decide which entertainment option is best for them.