Bob Iger Comments on the Future of the Movie Theater Experience

From the Walt Disney World News and written by: Sean Sposato

Following the massive success of “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” it goes without saying that the movie theaters are by no means dead, which was a fear for many studios following the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Bob Iger, the former CEO of the Walt Disney Company, thinks there will be a change in the industry.

“This is real versus digital, versus virtual. I’m not suggesting that digital/virtual won’t grow,” Iger recently told CNBC’s David Faber in an interview before his chairmanship of Disney ends on Dec. 31. But he added, “People like to go out. That’s not going away. They love experiencing things in physical form.”

Iger doesn’t think the issue is so much that people will no longer see value in seeing a movie in the theaters. But, he does also realize that streaming services have grown to become quite compelling for many.

“There’s just more to watch at home,” Iger said.

Additionally, Iger also noted the idea that that streaming services, whether it’s Netflix or Disney+ or Hulu, or some of the competitors, are all pretty well priced given all what consumers get in return. “You’re getting a lotta quality, a lotta volume for a relatively inexpensive price,” Iger said.

He continued: “It is becoming more of a problem for people, particularly in inflationary times, which we’ve been experiencing. When you compare that cost of going to a movie with the cost of staying home and watching a subscription service, I think it’s starting to get … a little too … it’s starting to get too high.”

Even with Iger’s understanding of the fact that costs have been off-balanced given the times, he still doesn’t think studios should pull out of big box office releases.

“Migrating completely away from the big screen experience would not be something I would necessarily advise. But you know, that won’t be my decision,” the outgoing Disney chairman said.

He continued: “The world going out to a movie, experiencing larger-than-life characters on that big screen, with other people. I think there’s something very, very powerful about that that probably has an impact, that does have an impact, not probably, on how that resonates.”

What do you think about movies moving to digital platforms in place of movie theaters? Do you prefer the movie theater experience yourself? Let us know in the comments!

Sean Sposato
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