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Oscars 2022: Streaming platforms to get their ‘comeuppance,’ Box Office Guru editor says

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Box Office Guru Editor Gitesh Pandya joins Yahoo Finance Live to preview the 2022 Oscars and the battle for Academy Awards between major movie studios and streaming platforms.

Video Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING]

- Welcome back, everyone. The Oscars are upon us. But have they lost too much of their shine?

Last year's ceremony saw a 56% drop in viewership. So what will they do to get viewers back this year? Well, our guest Gitesh Pandya, boxofficeguru.com's editor, is here to help us discuss. So Gitesh, what are we looking at in terms of expectations and the films creating the most buzz this year?

GITESH PANDYA: Well, as far as ratings go, we should not be expecting too much. The ratings were very poor last year, not a lot of viewership. This year, if anything, it might have an incremental increase but not too much. You have to remember that as of the Oscar night, all of these films, there's 10 Best Picture nominees. And they haven't been seen by too many people.

In fact, the movie "Dune" has grossed more than all other nine films combined. That was the only one that had a really big push at the box office. It did over $100 million.

But you have a big comeuppance here of the streaming companies. Now, they've been on the sidelines. They've been trying to get into Hollywood.

They've been hoping for that big trophy, the big kahuna, which is the Best Picture Oscar. And this year, it does look like one of them will bring it home.

There are two front runners here. There's a lot of drama over which one is going to win. "The Power of the Dog" is from Netflix. That's with Benedict Cumberbatch. That had been the favorite for a while.

But now you have "CODA," which is from Apple TV Plus. And that one recently has been winning in some of the recent precursor awards as we say. And so that's been gaining momentum.

The voting on the Oscars took place just recently. It's about a six day period that ended a few days ago. So with "CODA" coming on late in the game, there's a thinking that it might have the right heat at the right time. So it'll come down to those two films I think. I'm giving a small edge to "Power of the Dog." But either way, one of the streaming companies is most likely going to win the Best Picture Oscar, and that could be a big blow to the big studios.

- Rachelle talked about the decline of the ratings. It's remarkable when you take it further back to 2010. 40 million people were watching the Oscars just over a decade ago, not that nine million is a terrible number. But how far it's fallen is amazing.

The headline in an opinion piece in the New York Times reads, we aren't just watching the decline of the Oscars. We're watching the end of movies. Those top 10 you mentioned, they combined for less than a quarter of what "Spider-Man" did. Are movies as we know it dying?

GITESH PANDYA: No, I don't think so. I think that part of this is the pandemic. And in the next couple of years, you'll see things normalize.

I think last year, you had a combination of two things. Number one, a lot of films that were small and people didn't see, therefore, not too much interest to tune in. And number two, the ceremony was pushed back by two months.

It was in late April. And that's not when people are used to watching the Oscars. So there was significantly less interest a year ago.

Now, this year you have late March. Again, it's about one month after it normally takes place. The movies are a little bit bigger.

But still, for the most part, this year's 10 nominees, a lot of them were not widely seen. So you have to move into the next couple of years to see them bounce back. And I think this year is also a bounce back year at the box office.

The pandemic really packed a punch in 2020 and 2021. Right now things are coming back. Certainly "Spider-Man," as you mentioned, has been a massive blockbuster. This movie has done pre-pandemic levels of business.

In fact, it's going to break $800 million in North America this weekend. Only the third movie in history to do that. So major numbers there.

Of course, now, "Batman," "the Batman" has been number one for three weeks in a row. And that film has done over $300 million domestic. By the end of this weekend, it'll be at about 330 million. It'll pass "the Batman versus Superman" movie from six years ago.

And so the right branded movies are going to do very well. And I think as we move forward, it is becoming a separated experience. People want the big screen experience for certain films. And other movies, the smaller films, they'll wait to see it at home on a smaller screen.

And so that's why Hollywood has lined up for the rest of this year, big superhero movies, sequels, action blockbusters, and so on. And so those will continue to lead the way. We've seen with "Spider-Man" and with "Batman" that currently in 2022, you can achieve those old box office numbers for the movies, which are events.

And the other movies, especially the high quality art films that win Oscars, it becomes a much trickier at the box office. Many people are choosing to watch those at home. And what's interesting is that all 10 nominees this year for Best Picture for this weekend, you can watch at home. So you can binge it all weekend right now.

- Right, well, Gitesh, I want to ask you, a bigger picture, when does the Academy blink and say, OK, we don't need to do three hours? Sometimes, it stretches to four hours. It seems like they're just throwing a bunch of stuff up against the wall and seeing what sticks. Amy Schumer, one of the three comedians who's going to be there, basically said flat out, she's going to rag on some of the a-list celebrities there.

So yeah, it'll generate some interest. But does this event even need to be live? You think live TV now, it's sports. It's news. Why not just break this thing up and make it more easily digestible for the audience?

GITESH PANDYA: Well, I think the live experience does make a difference. I think this one needs to be live. You have to remember that there's so much social media traction during the Oscars. But it's really a matter of how interesting the movies are, how interesting the broadcast is.

And here's a secret, Hollywood stars love themselves. And so they want a long broadcast where everybody gets to be on screen and have their moment and have their close ups. So I don't think they'll be cutting it down anytime soon. But they have been tinkering with it every year with a few ideas of how to condense it to a more manageable level.

They haven't really done that great of a job at that yet. They still need a lot of improvement. It doesn't need to be more than three hours. And there are parts that they can cut down. But there's still no formula that they've come up with yet. We'll see this year how they do it.

- And just quickly, I don't want us to run out of time. In terms of star power, you mentioned the host there. But you also have Beyonce, Billie Eilish, Reba McEntire, and of course, the Encanto cast with the first ever live ever rendition of "We Don't Talk about Bruno." Do you think perhaps their fan bases-- will that be enough to really sustain the Oscars this year?

GITESH PANDYA: Well, it's pretty interesting how they're just really stretching to get major stars at the ceremony so people will tune in. And I don't know if one star here or there is enough to really bring people in. That's one of the reasons why they have the "We Don't Talk about Bruno," which is not nominated by the way, being performed on stage. It's kind of odd.

But they do hope that a big family audience will come in to watch that. Hopefully, it'll be in the beginning part of the broadcast. So you won't have cranky kids staying up late at night.

But I think that moving forward, if they want bigger ratings, they have to have bigger movies with wider appealing stars be in the mix.

- All right, Gitesh, really appreciate you stopping by. Gitesh Pandya, boxofficeguru.com editor.