With Space Jam, Warner Brothers did something brilliant. It can change the movie industry forever
Over the past few weeks my son begged me to watch Space Jam: A New Legacy. Typically that wouldn’t be a big request as I am a huge basketball fan and have fond memories of watching the original. Space jam with Michael Jordan almost 25 years ago.
I say typically, however, because my family – like many other families I know – haven’t been to the movies for over a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
So you might be surprised to learn that we actually watched Space jam with the family this weekend. It was really big news for us, but not because we put on masks and braved the cinema.
It’s news because we’ve done something we’ve never done before: watch a potential blockbuster movie on its opening weekend – from the comfort of our living room.
With this movie, I think Warner Brothers and HBO Max just cracked a code. They revealed a basic truth that could potentially change the movie industry as we know it:
When it comes to blockbuster, family-friendly films, there isn’t just one target audience.
How Warner Brothers and HBO changed the game
Space Jam: a new legacy is not the first Warner Brothers film to hit theaters and HBO Max on the same day. But he has the potential to be the biggest and to make the most money for a number of reasons.
Besides its family appeal, Space jam comes at a time when more Americans are being vaccinated than ever. This means that after more than a year of avoiding crowds, more and more people are braving public spaces like cinemas, in an attempt to get back to normal.
However, this does not describe everyone. Other families, like mine, are more comfortable playing it safe. Despite the start of the vaccination process, it will be a long time before I’m ready to go back to the movies.
In fact, even before the pandemic, I was hesitant to go to the movies, just because of the costs. As a budget-conscious dad, I’d much rather watch a movie in the comfort of my own home, rather than spend $ 50- $ 100 on tickets, popcorn, nachos, and soda.
Of course, there are tons of people who are pperfectly willing to spend that money, people who think a $ 10 jar of popcorn is worth it because it contributes to the “movie experience” – something you just can’t get at home. home, regardless of the size of your home theater.
And that’s what Warner Brothers understood, before any other production company.
Space Jam actually has two target audiences:
- Movie lovers
- The crowd of viewers
You might think that’s a simple conclusion, but it’s not.
We know this because other film producers have been reluctant to follow the same strategy, fearing that they will cannibalize sales or somehow destroy the traditional box office. For this reason, they have put countless film releases on hold, pending the end of the pandemic, so things can get back to “normal”.
But these producers failed to understand that by staying frozen in time, they missed a major opportunity. They could have gone ahead, using their strengths to take advantage of new offerings, ones that target both audiences.
In contrast, Warner Brothers put themselves in a position to profit from a “perfect storm” – the launch of a family movie at a time that would maximize both ticket sales and HBO Max (streaming) signups. In addition, they can return to a (semi) normal production schedule, which allows them to continue producing new content that consumers crave.
The interesting thing is, until Space Jam, I had no interest in HBO Max. We’re already subscribed to Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney Plus … and most of the content on HBO Max really doesn’t appeal to me.
But because HBO Max was the only place we could watch the movie my son was craving, I was happy to sign up for a month – with the firm intention of canceling my subscription once that month passed. After all, $ 14.99 is a small price to pay for a family of five to first-air at home, which I would prefer anyway – and it’s tiny compared to what we’d get. paid at the cinema.
So, with this strategy, Warner Brothers and HBO didn’t just get business from everyone who would have gone to the movies anyway. They also got clients like me: people who wouldn’t have been to the theater and never signed up for HBO Max.
Courses for every company
Regardless of the size of your business, there is an important lesson to be learned from this strategy.
When faced with unusual circumstances, you cannot stop for too long. You can’t just wait, hoping that things will go back to how they were before.
You have to come up with new ideas.
You have to experiment.
Because when you “do the experiment” you will discover things that few people would ever have predicted.
I guess it’s true what they say after all:
You miss 100% of the photos you don’t take.