The End of the Movie Theater? – Podcast Ep. 30

The End of the Movie Theater? – Podcast Ep. 30

Movie theaters have been around for over 100 years. But like all things, times change and the pandemic has certainly been no friend to cinemas. First, AMC reported they may run out of cash by year-end. Then Cineworld and Regal made similar statements.

Attendance at AMC theaters is down about 85% on a same-theater basis from last year since reopening began. 

On this episode of the NerdBrand podcast, we break down the long history of the movie theater, what challenges they’ve faced both pre-COVID and in the midst of COVID, and what movies are being pushed as a result of the pandemic.

Cinema Advertising

If you like arriving early to the theater before the trailers, you’re familiar with the ads that are shown. Whether they’re pre-roll entertainment or from your local university, the cinema advertising industry is not a small one.

Despite the rise of streaming services in recent years, cinema audience numbers had remained fairly resilient. Global box office revenue reached $42.5 billion in 2019, up from the $41.7 million reported the prior year, according to Comscore. Global cinema ad revenue rose 15% between 2018 and 2019 to $4.7 billion, according to media agency Zenith.

Cinema advertising expenditures have been rapidly increasing. Spending was expected to grow from $2.18 to $3.34 billion through 2020. Now that’s hit a bit of a wall, but theaters are expecting a resurgence.

Zenith forecasts that cinema ad spend will shrink some 51% this year. The media agency predicts the cinema advertising sector will post 65% annual growth in 2021 — though that’s still 19% below its 2019 level.

Time will tell if cinemas will thwart online streaming services and if cinema advertising will hold its weight against OTT streaming ads.

Let’s talk about what got pushed and delayed.

So far, only one potential blockbuster comic book movie is still scheduled for 2020: Wonder Woman 1984.

Depending on HBO Max’s success, we may see other DC Movies with Zack Snyder’s casting, as many of the actors have moved on to other projects.

WandaVision, Loki, may tie into Dr. Strange 2, and Spiderman 3 cast Dr. Strange in it’s new film. The next phase of world-building has started, while DC seems to still be figuring it out.

Here’s their list:

  1. Green Lantern Series
  2. Aquaman 2
  3. The Batman
  4. Man of Steel 2 – trended on Twitter, but no sign of being in development
  5. The Flash – everyone but your kid will be in it! The casting is insane!

Ben Affleck, Michael Keaton, and Ezra Miller. Yup, you read that correct.


So are we in the phase of shock, not quality? I like nostalgia, but I want a good story. It’s getting more rare.

I'm the Co-founder and CEO at NerdBrand. I've spent over 12 years in digital advertising providing strategic direction for businesses to build better websites, brands, and messaging, with an eye for improving online presences and laying a foundation for future growth.