The Reel Buzz: Disney CEO says there’s no 'going back' to the old way of watching movies


Disney CEO Bob Chapek spoke on how the pandemic has likely permanently pushed all movies from theaters to streaming services.

Prior to the pandemic, movie theaters had a 90-day window to screen movies before they hit various direct distribution channels, NY Post reported. Since viewing behaviors have changed, theaters are now either shortening that time frame, or getting rid of it all together.

“The consumer is probably more impatient than they’ve ever been before, particularly since now they’ve had the luxury of an entire year of getting titles at home pretty much when they want them,” Chapek said late Monday at a virtual conference hosted by Morgan Stanley.

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“I’m not sure there’s going back,” he continued. “But we certainly don’t want to do anything like cut the legs off a theatrical exhibition run.”

Chapek noted that people don’t have the “tolerance” to wait months to watch a movie at home after it has been released in theaters.

“It’s just sort of sitting there, gathering dust,” he said.

Paramount and Universal have either shrunk or announced plans to shrink the 74 day window to 30 or 45, and Warner Bros. decided to stream its full slate of 2021 films on HBO Max for one month after hitting theaters.

Disney has recently released new movies on streaming platform Disney+ “Premier Access”, which costs viewers an additional $30. The CEO however noted that in 2019, Disney grossed $11 billion in box office appeal.

“That is a big deal to us, and that will continue to be a big deal to us,” he said, but added that at the same time, “we realize that this is a very fluid situation.”

“What we didn’t realize was the non-family appeal that a service like Disney+ would have,” he said. “That is the big difference.”

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