Spider-Man: No Way Home, Piracy, and the End of the Box Office

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Almost every movie that releases in 2021 comes with a whisper from fans: “I hope it doesn’t tank.” In some ways, it was just a desperate wish that the film should not go to waste. But it was also a hope for something else: that, amid the sometimes volatile Covid-19 pandemic scene, the film should succeed, make money, find audiences. Movie watchers are now smart enough to know that if a particular franchise/director/star doesn’t perform well, the chances of more films from that franchise/director/star getting reduced. Success gives opportunities for more success.

But in this, 2022, the year of the coronavirus, what Is Success? Traditionally, this is measured by box office receipts (for movies) and viewership (for TV). But in the age of streaming, and especially in this pandemic-induced time of theater-streaming hybrids, there is no single metric to determine whether a film has done well, barring all—especially Hollywood. Slightly worried about execution-future. Or, at least, that was the case before Spider-Man went home.

on holiday weekend, Spider-Man: No Way Home went face to face with the long anticipated Matrix Resurrection And absolutely crushed it. Or so it would seem. resurrection grossed about $12 million domestically in its opening weekend, while Spider Man Make over $81 million, even though it was in its second week of release. It would seem pretty bleak for Neo and co, unless you remember that the film was released on HBO Max on the same day it hit theaters, while Spidey was a strictly theatrical release. Still, streaming viewership wasn’t that impressive either. Lana Wachowski’s only 2.8 million smart-TV families watched matrix sequel/reboot thing, According to streaming viewership firm Samba TV, But wait, there’s more! In contrast to those low numbers, TorrentFreak told that on monday resurrection The first week of the new year was the most pirated film.

What does all this say? Much and nothing. In any case, it says that the parameters of success and popularity in filmmaking are changing. rapidly. There is no longer an isolated place—movie theater, streaming service, VOD platform—to consume a single movie. Determining how much an audience is going to appreciate any of them feels like doing third year algebra. Streaming numbers, box office totals, torrents, hell, Rotten Tomatoes scores and trending on Twitter – they all tell us something, but less than a shock, it’s hard to say that anything is a true hit. it would have been easy to chalk up resurrection‘ Theatrical performance for the fast-spreading Omicron version of Covid, if it weren’t for the fact no way home So well done It would also be easy to call it a flop, if it weren’t for the fact that so many people are torrenting it. Both films have received good critical reception, but as Eternal perfect, even rotten Tomatoes can do do well at the box office in an epidemic.

Perhaps, then, it’s time to reevaluate which films succeed. Hollywood studios will always look at the bottom line, and will always decide what to flag based on money they have earned in the past. A few weeks ago, I speculated that HBO Max might have beaten the streaming wars with its 2021 plan to keep Warner Bros. Theatrical release on the streaming service. looking at what happened to Matrix Resurrection, it would be easy to say that this hypothesis was misguided. But I don’t think so, not entirely. If anything, WarnerMedia (home of Warner Bros. and HBO Max) is just acknowledging the changes that are happening and trying to innovate the ways of working with them—grabbing some new customers here. Are getting some money from theaters there. this can not be happening the answer is but it is One Answer. Maybe everyone should think the same way about the movie business. Maybe it’s time to consider breaking the box office.

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