Jeff Shell, CEO of NBCU, on Theatrical Releases, Peacock and Mergers and Acquisitions – Deadline


NBCUniveral chief Jeff Shell plugged the studio into talent and called theatrical releases crucial to the business. He also said films could be more profitable after the pandemic and that Peacock is “misunderstood” because he was really designed to complement existing businesses.

Cinema is “really important to the film industry, not only as a source of income, but because what makes a film a film is the ability to create an event. The ability to wake up and see your box office, not “we have given up on a streaming service”. Shell said at a Credit Suisse virtual press conference.

(The “event” factor also helps keep linear TV afloat, he said, especially with news and sports.)

Universal, he said, has navigated “through this disruptive time in cinema in a way that has allowed us to come out to the other side with good relationships with the show partners and in a way that , if you’re a creator and want a big theatrical launch… a traditional release, we are the best place to be. He called F9 the first post-Covid “big blockbuster”. It opens in the United States on June 25 but is already pushing $ 300 million with its international debut, he said.

Warner Bros. ‘ Hollywood’s decision to institute a global release on HBO Max this year pissed off. (There is a bit of debate right now as to whether opening weekend revenue lower than forecast for In the heights were due at least in part to its streaming availability.)

In the case of PVOD, Shell said, it has been “a real success for us” and “early data” shows that it does not appear to cannibalize windows of cinema or home entertainment. “We are entering a new market. PVOD is very cost effective for a film studio. You make a higher division. Right now, it seems to be an additional source of income for us and for others. “

Universal was a pioneer in bringing Troll world tour on PVOD last summer at the start of the pandemic and the first to strike a deal for shorter widows with AMC Entertainment. The cinema economy remains on the move, Shell acknowledged, but reiterated that he thought the old model of windows made no sense. “We don’t know how that will evolve… but the windows will certainly be shorter and more flexible than in the past. “

He thinks the cinema business will become more profitable with more cinema “different new windows”.

“Personally, I think the box office for big movies could be the same or almost the same, but that will change as you go down the chain.”

“I sympathize with people like you who try to model because the economy is changing,” he told Credit Suisse media and entertainment analyst Doug Mitchelson. Studios have the same problem. “We’re trying to maximize our cash flow at the end of the day and things change at the top. “

Asked about Comcast’s recent mergers and acquisitions media frenzy, he said it was a “curious question for a company of our size” whether it was able to compete in transactions. He’s been with parent company Comcast for 17 years and “there hasn’t been a single instance where we didn’t have the size in any company[to[dosomethingWemightnothavewantedtodosomething[to[dosomethingWemightnothavewantedtodosomething”)[pour[fairequelquechoseNousn’aurionspeut-êtrepasvoulufairequelquechose[to[dosomethingWemightnothavewantedtodosomething”

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