What that leaves studios reliant on is digital distribution methods such as Netflix and Amazon, as well as video on demand, Weitzner said. But, he feels these films — from a marketing perspective — may have been better off had they focused on these avenues instead of trying to push the films during Oscar season.
"Why place yourself under the pressure if we can take the film and do a deal with Netflix and promote that film aggressively through social media?" he said. "We don't have to worry about the Oscars. We don't have to worry about whatever. We can build the buzz about the film — this assumes that is a good film — and we can build word and have that work to our advantage."
Gillian Smith, senior account executive of digital at ID-PR, said there's also alternate places that arthouse films can go to to get an audience besides an Oscars run. Having a strong social media presence with original content like behind-the-scenes footage or memorable GIFs can promote the film. For example, she pointed out the viral image of Jacob Tremblay from "Room" having a lightsaber battle with Oscar Isaac from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" backstage at the Golden Globes.
There are also other publications besides the traditional industry trades that can build an audience for your movie, including Twitter and Reddit Q&As, she added. It's no longer limited to your traditional interview, Smith pointed out.
"I think there are different ways of reaching different audiences," she said. "I think for someone like me, I might respond to A24's 'Ex-Machina's' GIFS, but if they are running ads for 'Ex-Machina's' awards nominations, that's something that will get my dad. It's still effective for a certain audience, but it's not the be-all end-all for a more clued-in, digitally native cinefile."