The theatrical exhibition business is at least functioning today. Only a few months ago it was basically at a standstill but now if you want to go to the movies, you can. Having said that, a lot of people still aren’t doing that and the industry is still struggling in a big way. But there is strong support for theatrical exhibition and so many in Hollywood are doing what they can to help promote that business. That includes Brad Pitt and George Clooney whose new movie was sold to Apple on the promise of a theatrical release.
George Clooney’s most recent film is The Tender Bar, which he directed. It can be found on Amazon, but Clooney’s next big project, in which he’ll co-star with Brad Pitt in a movie directed by Spider-Man: No Way Home’s Jon Watts, will end up on Apple TV+. However, before it goes there, the new film will get a theatrical release, which, Clooney tells Deadline, was a condition of the deal. The actor explains…
George Clooney certainly doesn’t have a problem with movies on streaming services. He’s willing to make these deals with Amazon and Apple in the first place, after all. He also made The Midnight Sky with Netflix, so he’s willing to work with basically everybody.
He also acknowledges that movies that go to streaming get seen by a lot more people than the movies that are only available in theaters. There has been a clear shift toward streaming in the last two years. Having said that, he also believes there’s value in the theatrical model and he wants to continue to support that, especially for, as he calls them “grownup films,” that may not be quite as easy a sell on the big screen.
Most people would likely agree that theatrical distribution has value, many big names have been very vocal in support of it, but a system like what George Clooney has been doing, where a movie gets a release in theaters but is then made available soon after, may be the best of all worlds. Theaters have issues of their own, not the least of which is accessibility. It doesn’t matter what theaters have to offer to the viewing experience for those who are unable to take part in it.
At the same time, by ensuring that a theatrical release happens, the industry is helped, and those that love the experience still get to have it. At this point it seems clear that the movie theater business will survive, though perhaps not quite in the same way it once did.