Malaysian cinema operators have said that the “indefinite” postponement of Thor: Love and Thunder will impact the recovery of cinemas from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement to Malay Mail, GSC chief executive officer Koh Mei Lee said that Malaysian cinema-goers will find alternative ways, “legal or illegal”, to watch the movie anyway, leaving the cinemas with a “major” revenue loss when the industry is trying to recover from two years of pandemic public health lockdowns. Koh explained that cinemas also bear additional costs to screen movies as it is, explaining, “Cinemas are also not a level playing field as other entertainment forms; for instance, we still have to pay a 25 per cent entertainment tax that streaming platforms are not subjected to.
“The window period [for cinemas to exclusively screen films] has also been shortened – it used to be at least 90 days, but now it’s 45 days or less before a film goes from cinemas to other platforms.”
The newspaper reported that the shortening of the window period for cinemas has already led to losses, with Malaysian film authority FINAS finding that Malaysian cinemas saw 77.7 million admissions worth MYR1.08 billion in revenue in 2019, but more recent statistics from 2021 say the numbers drop drastically to only 3.75 million admissions worth MYR22 million in revenue.
The release of Thor: Love and Thunder in Malaysia was postponed “indefinitely” yesterday (July 14). This was the second postponement of the film in the country after an initial announcement that set the release date on July 21, two weeks after the international release date on July 7.
Disney Malaysia has yet to set a new release date or comment on the postponement, which some netizens have speculated is due to censorship requests from Malaysian film authorities. The studio’s animated film Buzz Lightyear was also postponed in Malaysian cinemas earlier this year after the studio refused to cut a same-sex kissing scene, leading to the movie eventually being banned in the country.
NME writer James Mottram praised the film for managing to reach for “something more profound than simply another hero/villain showdown” in a four-out-of-five star review, as Thor confronts issues of “parenthood, relationships, responsibility, and mortality” in what amounts to a coming of age tale for the Asgardian.