Warner Bros worldwide distribution and marketing chief Sue Kroll, while praising how successful the theatrical business is during Warner Bros’ CinemaCon session, spoke about what’s been on everyone’s minds here at the confab: The future of changing windows and the means by which people consume content.
“Everyone in this room is facing challenges and opportunities — it’s being talked about in the hallways and meeting rooms this week,” said Kroll, without calling out premium-video-on-demand by name. The Burbank-based studio has been one of the more aggressive majors lobbying exhibition on a new PVOD window, soon after theatrical, that would provide titles as low as $30 per rental. Many say that WB’s urgency stems from its looming merger with AT&T which has DirecTV and cable systems.
“Consumer tastes are changing … They want more choices and want the option in engaging in the process in a different way,” Kroll told exhibitors.
“Wherever the demand is, someone else will step in and address the void,” warned Kroll. “We need to address the challenges of the marketplace.”
“We are consistent and long-time partners. Together is the way to move toward the future that will be beneficial and profitable for all of us,” the executive added.
Last year at this time when filmmakers and executives were verbally stomping on The Screening Room’s day-and-date PVOD concept for theatrical releases, Warner Bros chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara seemed to be on exhibitors’ side regarding the concept: “I assure you we are not going to let a third party or middle man come between us. … We will explore them with each of you.”
Kroll said Tsujihara couldn’t be at CinemaCon this week because he’s in China.
Meanwhile, Kroll opened Warner Bros’ presentation with remarks about the studio’s success: It grossed $4.9 billion worldwide last year and have been the No. 1 or No. 2 studio in the past 10 years at the box office.