Imaxs Rich Gelfond, Megan Colligan Discuss Release Windows, China, MoviePass Echoes And More

Imax CEO Rich Gelfond and the companys entertainment chief Megan Colligan both see dramatic changes coming to traditional release windows, though it may take a while.

“I do think its inevitable over time that the windows get shorter in some way,” Gelfond said. “Around town, although people dont talk about it a lot, there have been discussions going on. … At some point theyre going to reach an accommodation.”

Colligan, who had a lengthy executive tenure at Paramount, gained additional insight while working as a consultant for streaming services before joining Imax in 2018. “Well see a change at some point,” she said. “Change is probably inevitable. All parties are trying to just figure out what the right change is. The belief thats commonly held is that you cant put the toothpaste back in the tube.” Aside from Netflix, she continued, “theres a much bigger industry thats supported by ancillary revenue that supports pay television and other revenues. Its not just about Netflix, its a bigger question than that.”

The pair spoke at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Communications & Entertainment Conference in LA.

Gelfond offered the caveat that there wont likely be separate windows for studios and streamers. He noted Disney, as the dominant player in theatrical and also a company with robust theme park and merchandising operations, “thinks about things differently.” With its blockbuster films, he added, “its in their interest and to have longer time in theaters.”

Subscription moviegoing plans have had an increasing impact on the marketplace, Gelfond acknowledged. Over several decades of operating in dozens of countries, the company has already gotten acquainted with popular fixed-price plans in several territories.

In the U.S., Gelfond said, “most” subscription business will follow the “Regal/Cinemark model,” meaning a set monthly price covering only basic 2D movies, with extra charges applying to Imax or 3D showings. AMC, by contrast, granted access to all types of screenings with its Stubs A-List subscription program, but the company “did that largely because MoviePass came on the landscape,” Gelfond said. “I think it was largely a defensive move on their part.” For Imax, the exec said, the AMC approach has been a boost.

As for dynamic pricing, a long-debated scheme to help stabilize revenues and smooth out the hit/bomb variability of the movie business, Gelfond said its “complicated” in the U.S. due to industry politics. It would be hard to foresee studios and exhibitors, let alone other stakeholders like agents or IP oRead More – Source

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