The pandemic accelerated the disruption. Regular studios like Paramount, Common, Sony, Warner Bros. and Disney rerouted dozens of theatrical movies to streaming solutions or released them at the same time in theaters and on line. For the 2nd 12 months in a row, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, citing the coronavirus threat, allowed movies to skip a theatrical release completely and nevertheless be eligible for Oscars. The academy experienced previously demanded at minimum a perfunctory theatrical launch of at least a 7 days in Los Angeles.

This is about additional than Hollywood egotism. The be concerned is that, as streaming products and services proliferate — a lot more than 300 now work in the United States, in accordance to the consulting organization Parks Associates — theaters could come to be completely the land of superheroes, sequels and remakes. The venerable Warner Bros. has slashed once-a-year theatrical output by just about 50 percent and crafted a direct-to-streaming film assembly line. Very last week, Amazon boosted its Primary Video clip company by acquiring Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the aged-line studio powering “Licorice Pizza,” which is nominated for three Academy Awards, which include finest image.

In a year when Hollywood mainly unsuccessful to leap-start out theatrical moviegoing, streaming services solidified their keep on viewers. World wide ticket gross sales totaled $21.3 billion in 2021, down from $42.3 billion in 2019, in accordance to the Movement Photograph Association. (Theaters were being closed for much of 2020.) Some theater corporations have long gone out of small business, other individuals have merged the world’s major theater chain, AMC Enjoyment, racked up $6 billion in losses in excess of the past two a long time and its inventory has dropped 66 percent since June. At the exact same time, the range of subscriptions to on the web video products and services about the environment grew to 1.3 billion, up from 864 million in 2019, the team reported.

A single film that struggled at the box office was Mr. Spielberg’s “West Facet Story,” which gained an distinctive operate in theaters (for each his wishes) of about three months. It gathered about $75 million worldwide (in opposition to a output finances of $100 million and global marketing and advertising prices of about $50 million). “West Aspect Story” is now available on not one particular but two streaming expert services, Disney+ and HBO Max, exactly where it has just about assuredly been considered extra broadly than in theaters. But the film was under no circumstances ready to get better — amid Oscar voters — from becoming branded a box business misfire. It obtained seven nominations, and is poised to win in a person classification, for Ariana DeBose as most effective supporting actress.

Mr. Spielberg’s also-ran existence in the present-day Oscar race helps make the ascendance of streaming contenders all the more hanging: a lion in the fight to continue to keep the Academy Awards centered on theatrical movies is pushed aside.

However not likely, it is attainable that “West Side Story” could come from guiding and earn the ideal image trophy. So could Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast,” for that issue. Such an end result would be a bit like 2019, when academy voters, turned off by an over-the-best marketing campaign by Netflix to push “Roma” to best photograph glory, instead gave the prize to “Green Reserve,” a traditional film from Common Shots.


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