Top Gun Maverick

Source: Scott Garfield / Paramount Pictures

‘Top Gun: Maverick’

Paramount’s president of international theatrical distribution Mark Viane struck a typically upbeat note for CinemaCon’s International Day keynote address on Monday, although he urged studios and exhibitors to avoid complacency and continue to work together.

Highlighting returning global box office – the three pandemic releases Avatar: The Way Of Water, Top Gun: Maverick and Spider-Man: No Way Home rank among the all-time top 15 global releases, while Gower Street Analytics just upgraded its 2023 global forecast to $32bn – Viane said there was work to be done.

The executive urged studios and exhibitor executives to work together on sharing data, grow existing and younger audiences, and continue to fine-tune windows.

“The last year has clearly demonstrated there is no one-size-fits-all,” Viane said, adding: “Studios need to continue to determine the optimal length of exclusive theatrical runs.”

He reminded attendees that global box office in 2022 reached $26bn, 22% above 2021 but lagging 39% behind the $42.5bn in 2019.

The executive emphasised box office rebounds in Western European markets like the UK, Germany, France, Netherlands, as well as in Australia, India and Japan.

Viane also talked up the local-language market and said it was gaining market share across the world. He cited the likes of One Piece Film: Red ($138m), Jujutsu Kaisen 0 ($101m) and Suzume ($105m and counting) in Japan; South Korea’s The Roundup on $96m and both Hansan: Rising Dragon and Confidential Assignment 2 on more than $50m each; Mat Kilau on $20m in Malaysia; and KGF ($127m), RRR ($115m), and Pathann ($130m) in India.

The Paramount executive noted there will be 24 franchise sequels this year, and name-checked “original” titles on the 2023 docket like Cocaine Bear, Barbie, The Flash, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, Wonka, and Killers Of The Flower Moon – all of which are based on existing property or actual events.

“To the naysayers who doubted our industry once again, we are here to stay and will continue to bring theatrical entertainment to audiences the world over,” Viane said, noting that latest research from NRG showed some 90% of US audiences feel comfortable returning to cinemas as the world comes out of the pandemic.

Viane also said there should be urgency around releases which studios and exhibitors should “eventise” to engage new and young audiences. As examples he showed pictures of how Paramount promoted horror release Smile with “smilers” inserted at public events, and did in-theatre promotion for Scream VI.

Jeffrey Cole, director of the Center For The Digital Future, University Of Southern California, spoke after Viane and told attendees: “You’re not screwed… but streaming has not fared so well.”