20th Century Studios Will Primarily Release Streaming Films In The Future

There was an updated theatrical release slate from Disney circulating earlier in the week and one of the puzzling things that stood out was that 20th Century Studios is mainly pushing out four “Avatar” sequels between 2022-2028. Giving the impression that the studio would be scaling-back 20th Century titles for the big screen as Disney can only secure only so many dates per year and likely won’t want to see Disney-owned pics going head-to-head against each other.

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The Hollywood Reporter spoke to Steve Asbell of 20th Century Studios, as the studio president paints a grim future for their theatrical release lineup for the next couple of years. When asked about the number of theatrical releases the audience can look forward to in 2023 and 2024, Asbell had a rather depressing answer.

“It goes like the other divisions, two or three theatrical movies a year. We’re navigating the marketplace like everyone else.”

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He also highlighted upcoming installments from established franchises like “Avatar,” “Free Guy,” and “Planet of The Apes” will continue to be released in theaters.

For some context, the studio released 10-plus films theatrically in 2019 and Asbell goes on to suggest the bulk of their work could be funneled to Disney’s various streaming services as part of a new “streaming mandate.”

“We have this explosive new streaming mandate to pursue, yet we also have titles that we can make …In order to meet the volume that we are looking at — which is, by 2023, 10-plus movies just for streaming — it’s going to be a combination of originals in those genres,” Asbell said of the studio’s new push to make movies for streaming.

This is a sign of the times, as entertainment shifts towards subscription models over the traditional box office, and corporations attempt to chase the billions attributed to successful streaming services. “No Exit” and the summer release of “Prey,” a new “Predator” film set in 1719, are two recent examples of exclusives the studio has provided to Hulu.

It’s certainly not a good thing when a major studio is drastically cutting down on its theatrical output.