CinemaCon: Disney Exec Dave Hollis Talks Exhibition and Distribution

Dave Hollis - H 2015
AP Images

Dave Hollis - H 2015

Exhibition and distribution will have "limited success" if they don't work together and stay focused on the consumer, warned Dave Hollis, Walt Disney Studios' executive vp theatrical distribution, during his International Day keynote on Monday at CinemaCon.

Hollis reviewed the 2014 box office, which hit $36.4 billion globally, with a whopping 72 percent coming from international markets, driven largely by Asia and Latin America, and notably "powerhouse" China.

But he also pointed to declining audiences, down in the important 18-24 and 25-39 age groups. He warned that technical advances, notably mobile screens, are connected to this trend.

"This has been a transactional relationship [between exhibition and distribution], but our shared goal that we need focus on is to make theatrical the first choice for consumers," asserted Hollis. "It will be about growing the overall pie, not shifting shares."

With the huge potential of the international box office, the exec emphasized that focus needs to be on localization. "We need to make [each] market feel like [a movie] was made especially for them," he said, adding that this can include elements in the films themselves.

He related that this also involves acknowledging that distribution strategies are changing, and for each movie, "looking at which markets they should open in first. ... And, it means tailoring a film's marketing to speak to an individual market.

"Much of this is made possible by our tapping into technology and changing the way we do business," Hollis said. "There's noting like going to the movies, and it's up to us to keep that a truism."