Fast-track releases offer affordable entertainment
By Aaron Reynolds
Disney+ made headlines recently when it announced that it was fast-tracking a movie version of the immensely popular Broadway musical “Hamilton.” It was a significant announcement from the streaming service, which is relatively new compared to Netflix and Hulu, and therefore is competing for viewership.
When you think about the announcement, it carries significant weight. The average “Hamilton” ticket went on Broadway for close to $300 and could reach extremes of nearly $1,000 on holiday weekends. Now, thanks to a Disney+ subscription that starts at $6.99 per month, viewers will soon have “Hamilton” presented directly from their living room.
The entertainment industry is witnessing more fast-track releases in response to the coronavirus pandemic. “Trolls World Tour” had a fast-track release in April at the height of the lockdowns and went on to break digital viewing records. Musicians are offering shows for free or close to free, which is refreshing for concert goers that were getting accustomed to forking over hundreds for a single ticket at a traditional venue.
While we all miss conventional entertainment venues like sports arenas, concert halls and movie theaters, the movement toward fast-track releases is something that will help the regular Joe afford and digest entertainment, which was starting to become reserved for the wealthy elite.
The tremendous popularity of streaming services like Netflix have proved to corporate America that audiences are becoming increasingly comfortable with engaging in entertainment from the luxury of a home. It is also way more affordable and cuts out greedy middlemen like Ticketmaster, AEG and Live Nation, who continue to delay refunds to folks that purchased tickets for postponed events.
The entertainment industry will need to adjust to a new abnormal, which will make enjoying live entertainment more of a hassle with health and safety measures in place. Fast-track releases may eventually replace old-school venues like movie theaters as lots of homes have their own form of a theater system. Certain industries may never recover financially from the pandemic. In contrast, other avenues for public consumption have not even been conceived yet could emerge as future norms for spending a Friday night together with loved ones.
Regardless of the future, it is refreshing to see the entertainment industry accommodating the working class more than they have done in the past. The pandemic has allowed people to become more compassionate and understanding, including the entertainment industry, which can give back uniquely.
“Hamilton” arrives this July 4 weekend on Disney+ and is the only way many will ever have a chance to witness a production of the famed show. It is a good start, and hopefully, more productions will follow its example in the coming months.
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