院线票房:为好莱坞不断萎缩的片场系统做好准备

文章转载自:UniFi影视完片担保 

全球票房达到创纪录的400亿美元,但北美影院的观影人数降至22年来的最低点。在迪士尼试图吞下21世纪福克斯大部分股票的同一时间,电影业必须面对更高的、更薄的利润、以及更多的合并。

过去的十年北美电影界发生了巨大的变化。2007年,派拉蒙在美国国内票房赢得了令人垂涎的市场份额竞争,但好莱坞六大电影公司的权力平衡是相对平等的。派拉蒙的15.5%的市场份额领先了第二名的华纳兄弟一个百分点,比排名第六的福克斯多了仅五个百分点。

到了2017年,六大片场之间的差距成长为17个百分点,其中迪士尼占据了美国国内票房总收入的近22%(2016年为26%)。更令人担忧的是,出席人数可能是22年来的最低水平。

并购正在业界蔓延。脆弱的片场系统需要重新整合,因为过去依赖标杆性大电影为核心业务的模式已经越来越难获利。公司现在必须花费数亿美元来制作和营销这类型的电影,以便说服消费者暂停他们正在看的Netflix或其他串流媒体服务,动身前往电影院观影。2017年12月14日,沃尔特迪斯尼公司首席执行官鲍勃·伊格尔(Bob Iger)宣布以524亿美元收购21世纪福克斯(21st Century Fox)的大部分股票,包括传奇电影制片厂,引发了象征性的海啸。

在征服了票房(2017年为64.6亿美元)后,迪士尼正积极进军串流媒体业务。要做到这一点,它需要原创内容,其中一些可能来自精简版的福克斯Fox,包括Fox Searchlight和Fox 2000制作的优质作品。迪士尼进军OTT市场或许终于可以推动其他片场缩短电影的院线放映窗口,提早将影片放上优质VOD平台。

“消费者热爱随需随看的世界,”华纳兄弟影业公司总裁兼首席内容官Toby Emmerich说。 “我们的挑战在于如何激励人们投入时间和精力去观看所谓的院线电影。电影必须是一个特别的活动,或者它必须是令人惊叹的好才有可能办到。稍有误差及会以失败告终。“

几乎没有人预料到福克斯会被抛售,因为它没有受到席卷索尼和派拉蒙的困扰。默多克家族做出这样做的决定凸显了院线业务所面临的挑战。确实,2017年全球票房收入同比增长3%至399亿美元,但北美地区的收入下降2.3%至111.2亿美元。

在2007年,六大电影公司发行了150部电影,接着中端电影开始从它们的片单里消失。在2017年,它们一共发布了93部电影。如果迪士尼-福克斯的合并获得美国联邦监管机构的批准,一些福克斯电影-包括阿凡达,X战警和死侍等系列-毫无疑问将继续在大银幕上亮相,但迪士尼不太可能会将它们每年电影发行量作出显著的增长。迪士尼在2017年发布了八部电影,其中包括漫威影视、卢卡斯电影、皮克斯,迪士尼动画和迪士尼的电影。

预计将监督福克斯电影及旗下其他电影公司运作的沃尔特迪斯尼影业集团主席艾伦霍恩,拒绝评论这样的整合将如何发挥作用。然而,他的整体主旨保持不变。“现在看起来似乎已成定局,但是当你的电影不仅可以广泛吸引观众且可以让他们肯定的回答两个关键问题-‘我现在必须看到它吗?’和’我是否必须在剧院看到它?’时,这将使你的电影成为人们希望能获得的东西,而电影院是唯一能真正获得这东西的地方。“霍恩告诉美国娱乐界的行业日报好莱坞报道。

索尼影业集团董事长汤姆·罗斯曼表示,片场合并或是一个危险的做法。“巨大的企业间进行整合时,很少会增加对创新风险的承担。而且长远来看,与如此高度垄断的力量竞争将会是一个艰巨的挑战,”,他说。

但迪斯尼-福克斯联盟可能意味着其他影视公司将有更多的机会。 “对于我们来说,在短期内,它会有所帮助,因为我们可以成为一个独特的,有冒险精神的电影公司,这是我们认为观众想要的,”罗斯曼说。“市场需要不同类型的新电影,而不仅仅是几部超级续集,才能将观众再次吸引回影院。”

美国全国剧院所有者协会主席约翰·费西安(John Fithian)长期以来一直认为市场需要多样化的产品。 他拒绝接受消费者因为Netflix和其他串流平台而对电影失去兴趣的论点,并表示美国的任何低迷都是因为影视公司的质量问题。例如,夏季的票房数据被一个安排欠佳的八月份降下来。 “随着北美票房连续第三年达到110亿美元,”费西安说,“全球回归敲响400亿美元票房的大门,显然人们继续寻求只能在电影院中找到的情感体验。“

 

Worldwide grosses hit a record $40 billion, but attendance in North America sinks to a 22-year low as the movie industry makes do with higher costs, slimmer profits and consolidation amid Disney’s bid to swallow much of 21st Century Fox.

What a difference a decade makes. In 2007, Paramount won the coveted market share race at the domestic box office, but the balance of power among the six major Hollywood studios was one of relative equality. Paramount’s 15.5 percent share was less than a percentage point ahead of Warner Bros. and five points ahead of the sixth-ranking studio, Fox.

In 2017, there was a 17 percent spread between the six majors, with Disney commanding nearly 22 percent of all domestic box-office revenue (it was 26 percent in 2016). More alarming, attendance is likely at its lowest level in 22 years.

Now consolidation is looming. The frayed studio system is headed for reinvention as box-office fortunes become ever harder to find under the canopy of a tentpole-centric business. Companies now must spend hundreds of millions of dollars to produce and market the sort of event film that will persuade consumers to hit the pause button on Netflix and other streaming services to visit an actual cinema. On Dec. 14, Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger set off a symbolic tsunami when unveiling a $52.4 billion bid to buy much of 21st Century Fox, including the storied film studio.

After conquering the box office ($6.46 billion in 2017), Disney is aggressively moving into the streaming business. To do so, it needs original content, some of which could come from a pared-down Fox, including prestige titles produced by Fox Searchlight and Fox 2000. Disney’s foray into the OTT galaxy could finally open the floodgates and push the other studios to shorten the theatrical window and offer premium VOD titles.

“Consumers are loving the on-demand world,” says Toby Emmerich, president and chief content officer of Warner Bros. Pictures. “The challenge is how to motivate people to commit their time and energy to go to a movie that starts when the movie theater says it does. A movie has to be an event, or it has to be breathtakingly good. There’s never been a smaller margin of error.”

Few expected Fox’s film studio to be sold off since it hasn’t been plagued by the same tumult that’s engulfing Sony and Paramount. The decision to do so by the Murdoch family underscores the challenges facing the theatrical business. It’s true that worldwide box-office revenue for 2017 rose 3 percent year-over-year to $39.9 billion in 2017, but revenue in North America was down 2.3 percent at $11.12 billion.

Back in 2007, the six major studios released 150 titles, then midrange movies began falling off their slates. In 2017, they released 93. Should the Disney-Fox merger win approval from federal regulators, some Fox movies — including the Avatar, X-Men and Deadpool franchises — no doubt would debut on the big screen, but it is unlikely that Disney would grow its annual theatrical release calendar significantly. Disney released just eight films in 2017 from across its empire, which includes Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, Pixar, Disney Animation and Disney’s live-action studio.

Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn, who is expected to oversee the Fox film operation in addition to the other silos, won’t comment on how the integration might work. However, his overall mantra remains the same. “It may seem like a foregone conclusion now, but when you have a film that not only can appeal broadly but can answer two key questions — ‘Do I have to see it now?’ and ‘Do I have to see it in a theater?’ — with a definitive yes, it makes for something people want to be a part of that they can’t get anywhere else,” Horn tells THR.

Sony Pictures Motion Pictures Group chairman Tom Rothman says studio mergers can be a dangerous proposition. “Consolidation under giant corporate mandates rarely promotes creative risk-taking. And in the long run, it is always a challenge to compete against horizontal monopolistic power,” he says.

But the Disney-Fox union could mean more opportunity for other studios. “For us, in the near term, it helps because we can be a stable for distinctive, adventurous filmmaking, which is what we believe the audience wants,” says Rothman. “The business needs different and new films, not just a few mega-sequels, to make for an urgent moviegoing experience.”

John Fithian, president of the National Association of Theatre Owners, has long argued that a diversity of product is needed. He rejects the notion that consumers have lost interest in going to the movies because of Netflix and other digital platforms and says any downturn in the U.S. was because of the quality of studio products. The summer season was brought down, for example, by a poorly programmed August. “With North American box office hitting $11 billion for the third straight year,” says Fithian, “and global returns knocking on the door of $40 billion, it’s clear that people continue to seek out the emotional experience that can only be found in movie theaters.”

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