• DisneyExaminer
  • Posts
  • Disney Studios exec believes that strong theatrical partnerships lead to streaming success

Disney Studios exec believes that strong theatrical partnerships lead to streaming success

Cathleen Taff, the president of Distribution, Franchise & Audience Insights spoke on a panel at CinemaCon 2024

Cathleen Taff, president of distribution, franchise & audience insights (second from right) speaks at a panel at CinemaCon held in Las Vegas in April 2024.

It’s a ‘meet cute’ between Disney and movie theaters.

A few weeks ago during CinemaCon in Las Vegas, a panel was convened with a Disney Studios executive, the CEO of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and the chief executive of AMC Theatres there for a think tank about moviegoing today and thoughts about it for tomorrow.

Cathleen Taff, who is the president of distribution, franchise, and audience insights for the Walt Disney Studios, was asked about Disney’s relationship with movie theaters like AMC given their own streaming service and content strategy. Taff doubled down on the Mouse House's commitment to the moviegoing experience, but for an interesting reason.

We love the relationship we have with the theaters like AMC because we believe in the theatrical experience and its future,” said Taff, adding “It also helps push our streaming service brand and subscribers.”

It’s a very appropriate answer from Taff given the fact that her role at Disney has less to do with the theatrical experience (with her colleague Tony Chambers now overseeing theatrical distribution at the studio) and more to do with interpreting the sales and demographic data that movie theaters and Disney+ offer when it comes to viewership.

Since the launch of Disney+ right before the COVID-19 pandemic which shuttered theaters for an extended amount of time over the past few years, millions of people around the globe have subscribed to the streaming service. However, data shows that audiences have not fully returned to movie theaters to the degree they were going before the pandemic.

When asked why Disney still believes in the theatrical experience given that statistic, Taff cited this past year’s lift in movie ticket sales and pushed movie theater owners to continue their partnership with the studios. “We’ll still need a few more years before we all get to having a slate (or yearly list of movies that a studio will be releasing) that will match those pre-COVID numbers, but we’re going to get there,” Taff said, who then challenged those exhibitors (or theater owners in industry-speak) to do what they do best.

“When that happens, we still need to work closely together on marketing and that customer experience. You provide the best, cleanest, and highest quality movie houses. We’ll provide the movies, marketing, and streaming synergy that will bring audiences to your theaters. Mark my words!,” Taff concluded.

Love DisneyExaminer? Remember to tell your circles about us, too!


or to participate.