Not since early 2020 have you been able to see a Pixar movie in theaters. But while Disney has made different choices for different films, Pixar are the only ones that have all gone to streaming. Considering the films are pretty much guaranteed be successful, it may seem odd that even the newest, Turning Red, will be going straight to streaming.
But according to this article, this is all part of a broader strategy:
Box office revenues matter, but Disney is equally concerned with sustaining and growing the number of people who pay to use Disney Plus. That’s not to say Disney’s other movies aren’t helpful in bringing eyeballs, and credit cards, to the streaming service.
But Disney sees value in Pixar for its generation-spanning appeal. It’s not only for parents with kids; there’s a fanbase of young adults who were raised on the adventures of Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Nemo and Dory.
Disney is calculating that whatever they’re losing in ticket sales they will make up with user growth and retention on Disney+.
Will it work? It very well could, but to make it work better and not just for Disney, but for other companies, AI can help quite a bit.
By tracking the viewer engagement with the content a streamer has, it can get a much better sense of what kind of films would score a big enough hit in the theater to make it worth the cost and effort, versus those that, when compared to the predicted theater success, may end up having a bigger impact for subscription concerns.
And with enough data, decisions can be made at these films earlier and earlier, to the point where strategies can be shaped even before the film begins production.
We’re probably never going back to how it used to be with movie theaters. But by using AI, films will have a much better chance of finding the best venue for the best audience.