[2020 is finally over but before we send it off to the trash heap it deserves to be in, it’s time for the Golden Cages 2020 edition, Flixist’s extremely coveted prize! Each year the Flixist staff gets together to vote on the best and worst films of the year and gives you lovely readers our true and honest thoughts. Plus since there are no other awards shows this winter (suck it, Academy!) we’re now the de facto voice of truth in the film industry. So read on dear viewer and see which films win our lovely little award!]
Prior to 2020, the debate between theaters and streaming each had its own merits. Streaming lets you enjoy movies from the comfort of your own home, but there’s just something wonderful about mega-huge screens and booming audio the theater provides. With the former, more and more people were willing to wait for a movie to come to a streaming service rather than spend money on opening weekend.
2020 brought an escalation. With the pandemic forcing theaters to either shut down completely or limit their capacity, studios looked to streaming services as an alternative to get their movies out to the masses. Some, like Disney, offered their big movie for a premium price (which won its own Golden Cage this year) and wasn’t exactly well-received. Others, like Warner Bros., announced they would be making their movies available on HBO Max the day the film is released in theaters. More than any moment in a 2020 movie, this made all of us at Flixist stop and say “oh shit.”
This news, so unexpected in what for decades was a peaceful understanding between studios and theaters, created a nervous shift in the uncertain future of movie theaters. With the inability to fill seats, theaters were already bleeding money, and now one of the biggest studios in the business is stripping away potential viewers for 2021, and potentially beyond. Movies that people would typically rush out to see can now be viewed on day one with a subscription that costs only a few dollars more than the average ticket price.
It started with Wonder Woman 1984, and Warner Bros. has sixteen movies planned for 2021 that will be available on HBO Max via a same-day release. Beyond 2021 Warner Bros. has yet to decide on how it will premiere its titles, but one thing they didn’t want was to have to continue delaying releases as the uncertainty around COVID-19 continued. No one expected 2020 to be what it was, and no one expected a major studio to do what Warner Bros. did. Because of that, they’ve earned our illustrious Golden Cage for Best “Oh Shit” moment.