In a bid to boost Peacock, Universal sends 3 movies straight to streaming

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“What you’ll see with these films is that they’re broadly appealing, but they also appeal to that young, diverse audience that represents today’s streaming audience, the generation of consumers who choose streaming as their primary source of entertainment,” Ms. Campbell said in an interview.

Despite falling behind some of its streaming rivals, Peacock has seen success this year. February was a high point, when viewers got to see the 2022 Winter Olympics, the Super Bowl, the simultaneous release of the movie “Marry Me” starring Jennifer Lopez in theaters and on the service, and the debut of “Bel Air”. a dramatic reimagining of the hit 1990s TV series “The Prince of Bel-Air” starring Will Smith. (Season two is in development.)

“The retention on our service after delivering all of this special content in such a concentrated time frame was way above our expectations,” Comcast chief executive Brian Roberts said in an earnings call the week. last. “We’ve seen a 25% increase in hours of engagement year-over-year.”

When the pandemic upended the movie business, Universal Pictures experimented with various distribution methods for its films. There was the purely theatrical like “Fast 9: The Fast Saga,” which grossed $173 million when it was released last summer when coronavirus cases were lower. And there was “Sing 2,” which grossed over $160 million domestically after its December release, before jumping to premium video-on-demand just 17 days after its theatrical debut. The company also experimented with simultaneous release, releasing “Halloween Kills” and the sequel to “Boss Baby” in theaters and on Peacock during the height of the pandemic. The company will do it again in two weeks with the remake of Stephen King’s horror film “Firestarter.”

“There is no one size fits all,” Ms Langley said. “It’s really about looking at the individual films on the one hand, and then also our growth engine Peacock, and doing what’s best at any given time, based on what’s happening in the market. Hopefully this will stabilize over time as the theatrical landscape stabilizes. But until then, we have that option.

Like every other studio executive, Ms. Langley is involved in the complicated math of figuring out which movies sit in a world where the theatrical box office is down 45% from where it was in 2019. is “a box office that is in decline,” Ms Langley said, with theater still expected to drop at least 15% from its pre-pandemic level in 2023.

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