Illumination’s founder and CEO Chris Meledandri spoke about the importance of releasing movies on the big screen at CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners. He pointed out the important relationship between streaming and big-screen releases and noted that without the big screen, there would be no streaming to speak of. Meldandri’s remarks on moviegoing preceded MPAA CEO and chairman Charles Rivkin’s own opening remarks at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Meledandri, whose upcoming feature Sing 2 is slated for a December theatrical release, opened with some remarks on the impact of the pandemic and theatrical distribution. He noted, “We discover, yet again, that we laugh harder, feel deeper, and when scared, jump higher when we are all watching together! And, I suspect I can speak for all of us when I say, ‘Boy, did I miss going to the movies!’ Don’t get me wrong—during the pandemic, our smaller screens have been lifesavers.”
The Oscar-nominated producer of the Despicable Me, The Grinch and Ice Age movies commented on how streaming has been used during the pandemic: “We’ve all spent countless hours watching content at home. We’ve caught up on old movies. We’ve binged the latest series from around the world. We got mad at HBO for making us wait a week for the next episode of The White Lotus. And we did all of this while texting and Zooming and Instagramming—and often all at once. But we’re here today—because there is simply no other experience in the world like going to the movies!”
Meledandri’s speech looked to the future as well: “In the years ahead, we will surely see even more ways to experience content – more devices, more platforms, more services.”
The Illumination boss closed by connecting moviegoing and streaming together. He noted, “But I am here to tell you that a vibrant theatrical business is not only critical for the filmmaking community, for exhibition, for our global cultural heritage and certainly for our audiences… A vibrant theatrical business is important for the streamers as well! For without it, the very notion of a movie may begin to slip away. In this moment of change, our industry cannot rest. All of us—from content creators to exhibition—must challenge ourselves to reach higher, to be better than we ever thought we could be. We must write the next act of our story. And when we truly meet this moment, I am confident that: Just as we have, for more than a century—through good times and bad, peace and war, prosperity and pandemics… people all over the world will come together… join with family and friends… and go to the movies!”
Here is the trailer for Sing 2: