Axios Pro Exclusive Content

Streaming gives box office a $35M haircut

Tim Baysinger
Jun 6, 2022

The trend of blockbuster films going to streaming less than seven weeks after they debut in theaters could cost studios over $30 million in lost box office revenue.

Why it matters: Many studios are betting that it's better in the long run to sacrifice late-stage box office in order to prop up in-house streaming services.

Driving the news: Blockbuster films are spending a shorter time in theaters than ever before, with movies going to streaming after as little as 45 days.

  • "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" and "The Batman," the top two-grossing films this year, will each spend less than 50 days in theaters before being available on a streaming service.
  • Paramount's "Top Gun: Maverick" — which has already grossed more than $290 million in the U.S. during its first 10 days — is getting a more traditional theatrical run.

By the numbers: During the last pre-pandemic year, the five top-grossing movies earned an average of $35 million after their sixth week (42 days).

  • "Avengers: Endgame" and "Frozen II" each made more than $38 million after their six-week marks.
  • "The Batman," which was available on HBO Max 47 days after its release, has pulled in $8.1 million since its sixth week.

The bottom line: While the studios make the majority of their box office total during those first 45 days, theaters don't benefit from the push to streaming. They're hoping "Top Gun" has staying power.

Go deeper