The future of movie theaters and their impact on toy sales continues to roil. Another studio has chosen to premier a film through streaming rather than through theaters. That movie, “Sponge On The Run,” is the third animated feature over the last few months to choose the small screen route rather than wait for theaters to reopen.
“Trolls World Tour” had a record-breaking streaming launch on April 10, followed by “Scoob!” which premiered on May 15. The Walt Disney Company got into the streaming action with the launch of its “Artemis Fowl” movie via its Disney+ service.
The jury is very much still out about the effectiveness of streaming launches and their impact on toy tie-in sales. Movies still set to open in theaters include Mulan (July 24), The New Mutants, Tenet (July 31), Bill and Ted Face the Music (August 21), The New Mutants (August 28), and Wonder Woman 1984 (October 2).
With Coronavirus flaring up in states like Florida, Texas, and California, some of these dates look questionable. How long will the major studios be willing to wait? Streaming premiers may start to look better if Coronavirus continues to stay with us.
The toy industry will continue to watch closely how the major studios make their decisions around movie launches. The future of movie theaters and their close relationship with the toy industry may well depend upon what happens over the next few months.