There's Still Tomorrow

Source: Rome International Film Festival

‘There’s Still Tomorrow’

Distributors who adhere to longer exclusive theatrical windows can mitigate against digital piracy, the CinemaCon panel ‘Changing Tastes And Changing Landscapes’ head on Monday.

Cinepolis COO Miguel Mier said digital content was an easier target for criminals, concluding: “The longer the window, the better our business and the less pirated it is.”

Rebecca Kearey, EVP/head of business operations and international at Searchlight Pictures agreed. “If you’re a studio and you control global distribution, you can mitigate some of this because you’re working on windows. If you’re an independent, it’s much harder.”

The panel also addressed the success of local-language cinema. Toho Yamasaki, CEO and president of Toho-Towa, noted how Japanese box office has bounced back to 85% of 2019 levels due to a robust local industry.

The shortfall hails from a diminished supply of Hollywood films in the wake of Covid, Yamasaki said, whereas the local industry barely missed a beat as cinemas in Japan only closed for two months during the pandemic – in stark contrast to much of the rest of the world.

The Toho-Towa executive noted whereas the split between local language and non-Japanese films in 2019 was 55-45, in 2023 it was 70-30. She said it was important for the health of the industry to have Hollywood films back to restore a “good balance” between local and foreign films.

Kearey, who later in the day received the CinemaCon Passepartout Award at the International Day award ceremony, referenced the recent success of Vision Distribution’s Italian hit There’s Still Tomorrow, which grossed more than $39m since its October release and played a large part in the country’s box office expanding by 62% over 2022.

“Local content has always been important,” she said. “Covid shutdowns gave space for local content to really command screens and so it’s been harder for Hollywood to box back in, combined with the fact that we’ve had a inconsistent product flow.”

The panel heard that distributors and exhibitors need to cultivate a sense of FOMO around theatrical releases to entice audiences.

Helen Moss, SVP of international distribution at Paramount Pictures, spoke of the need to lure crowds back with a variety of strategies and tools including the 4DX technology, which in the case of the studio’s 2023 summer release Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem included piping the aroma of pizza into auditoriums.

Data was also cited as a way of reaching audiences effectively, while marketing, piracy, and the success of local-language cinema also cropped up in the conversation.

The group emphasised the importance of marketing and in-house promotions as ways of encouraging audiences to adopt the film-going habit.