Sony Pictures has reaffirmed its commitment to theatrical releases while also leaving the door open for video-on-demand launches for select titles.
During an earnings call concerning its 2019 revenue, Sony commented on its position regarding theatrical releases of their movies. While some studios, like Universal, have embraced premium-video-on-demand debuts, Sony reinforced its commitment to movie theaters.
“Theatrical release is always very important and because of the coronavirus impact, once the situation settles and we restart theatrical operations people may not come to theaters to view pictures so it may take some time,” Sony stated. “If that happens, we have to discuss new ways of releasing pictures and also we can use online and more technologies for live performances going forward.”
Sony’s comments come on the heels of movie studios exploring new release patterns for their films in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down movie theaters. Universal used this epidemic as a chance to change theatrical releases like Trolls World Tour and The King of Staten Island to premium video-on-demand instead.
Sony, as indicated by its earnings call comments, has kept to traditional release methods. Aside from sending An American Pickle to HBO Max, Sony has committed to releasing its delayed movies theatrically. This has resulted in delaying Venom: Let There be Carnage and Morbius to 2021, when it’s hoped that movie theaters will be on more stable ground.
However, Sony’s comments also reflect that the studio isn’t inherently opposed to the premium video-on-demand. If circumstances call for it, Sony appears poised to embrace the same release format as Universal.
Comments from Sony have reinforced the company's commitment to theatrical releases, but it's leaving the door open for video on demand if need be.