Hollywood Studios’ Post-COVID Plans Should Spur Home Theater Business

Disney, Warner Bros. and Universal plan to continue with shortened windows for in-home viewing (or no window at all!)


Get ready for even more demand for home theater installations. Three of the big Hollywood movies studios have revealed their post-COVID-19 theatrical release strategies and it is all good news for integrators.

The biggest news comes from Disney, which announced it will simultaneously release films in commercial theaters as well as in-home via Disney+. Of course (it’s Disney!), there will be an Premiere Access additional fee on top of the $6.99 monthly Disney+ subscription fee to view the movies. The new policy came to light yesterday when Disney announced its upcoming “Cruella” and “Black Widow” movies would both be in theaters and on Disney+ simultaneously.

Moreover, its new Pixar release, entitled “Luca”, will stream on Disney+ on June 18 and not in commercial theaters at all. It will not have a Premiere Access fee.

  •  “Free Guy” (Aug. 13, 2021)
  • “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” (Sept. 3, 2021)
  • “The King’s Man” (Dec. 22, 2021)
  • “Deep Water” (Jan. 14, 2022)
  • “Death on the Nile” (Feb. 11, 2022).

In the official release, Kareem Daniel, Chairman, Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, says, “Today’s announcement reflects our focus on providing consumer choice and serving the evolving preferences of audiences. By leveraging a flexible distribution strategy in a dynamic marketplace that is beginning to recover from the global pandemic, we will continue to employ the best options to deliver The Walt Disney Company’s unparalleled storytelling to fans and families around the world.”

Meanwhile, AT&T-owned Warner Bros, which also owns HBO Max, is going to release certain films simultaneously but is sticking to a shortened 45-day window for in-home release for others, compared to the 90-day window that it used pre-pandemic.

Lastly, Universal has announced it will shorten its window to 31 days for big films, and just 17 days for low-grossing films ($50 million and under domestically).

While each of these strategies differ, it should feed even more home theater business in 2021 and beyond for integrators. Last fall, Kaleidescape‘s Cheena Srinivasan iterated this trend would continue in a one-on-one conversation with CE Pro. He noted that integrators’ home theater business should already be booming if it isn’t yet.

About the Author

Jason Knott
Jason Knott:

Jason Knott is Chief Content Officer for Emerald's Connected Brands. Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990, serving as editor and publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He joined CE Pro in 2000 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of that brand. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He has been a member of the CEDIA Business Working Group since 2010. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California.


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