An Early End for the Streamed Box Office?

Throughout 2020 and 2021, most online platforms found their form and had a surge in new users, Disney+ announced its record-breaking growth with 100 million users in just sixteen months, online gaming platforms reported record users as players found new favorites when searching for some options like these games of chance, and online media through music and podcasting had grown too. One space that had promised to be just as exciting would be bringing the box office to the sofa, as major releases had hoped for just as much success on different online streaming platforms, but less than a year on it seems this change is dead in the water. 


(Image from screenrant.com)

One of the major studios that had committed to this change had been Warner Bros with the announcement of a partnership with HBO Max to see some of its biggest releases of the year go straight to streaming, and particularly early on it look like a very successful change as viewer numbers were very promising and other services like Disney+ that would charge for premiere access were also breaking records with some sales numbers too, but wasn’t entirely designed to last for a longer period of time as the Christmas releases for the year were still scheduled to go straight to cinema. 

Following the Christmas period it had been hoped that the same approach would remain, some important titles would still go straight to streaming with the big blockbusters instead going to theatre, but a changing climate for the global health crisis and the re-opening of many theatres as a whole quickly put an end to that notion as major releases are once again all slated for direct theatrical release, and without direct announcement essentially bringing an end to the hopes that streaming would lead the way forward.

That isn’t to say the streaming platforms don’t have an exciting roster of series and movies still to release in 2022, as there are some much anticipated options coming throughout, but for those hoping to see their favorite upcoming movie in a more comfortable setting on release, many will be met with disappointment, and without anything to prevent theatre attendance now too, there’s little reason to change. 

There is still a potential in the future for the box office to turn streaming once again, but it’s unlikely to be for quite some time yet, and as cinema and theatre enter a period of impressive recovery, it will remain for now the home of new blockbusters once again.

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