Former Disney CEO Bob Iger sounds warning over the future of cinema

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In a rather grim move, ex-Disney boss Bob Iger is predicting that cinemas will never fully recover from the effects of the pandemic.

As the Disney CEO who is credited with transforming Disney into the sector-leading, franchise-led powerhouse it is today, there are many out there who open up their ears when Bob Iger makes a prediction or two about the future of the industry. And predict he has, but his thoughts won’t make happy listening for cinemas.

Whilst speaking at the Code Conference in Los Angeles, Iger said that he believes cinemas will never again be “going to the level they were at pre-pandemic”. That’s a pretty stark claim, and Iger would go on to briefly explain why, arguing that the world has changed: “The movie industry used to argue that you couldn’t create cultural impact without people going to the movie theatre around the globe that same weekend. I don’t agree anymore. I probably made that argument at some point.”

The former Disney CEO also predicted the death-knell for traditional TV and satellite services, adding: “Linear TV and satellite is marching towards a great precipice, and it will be pushed off. If you’re just in the channels business, you have a world of hurt. I can’t tell you when, but it goes away.”

None of that will make happy reading for more traditional quarters of the screen industry.

It’s certainly true that the post-pandemic recovery for cinemas continues to be rocky with successes like Top Gun: Maverick offset by weaker than expected audience numbers for other big event films. Cineworld’s financial woes clearly indicate a struggle to return to the previous state of normality, although again, this is debatable given that some have argued that the company’s aggressive expansion has left it vulnerable to market fluctuations, rather than it being a sign that the wider cinema industry is doomed.

What do you think? Will cinemas ever completely return to pre-pandemic levels? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


Image: BigStock

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