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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » Here's A Couple of Scary Thoughts. . . . (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Here's A Couple of Scary Thoughts. . . .
Jonathan M. Crist
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 522
From: Hershey, PA, USA
Registered: Apr 2000


 - posted 08-22-2000 09:51 PM      Profile for Jonathan M. Crist   Email Jonathan M. Crist   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
1.) With virtually all of the majors near bankruptcy or in financial trouble, they are all going to have to divest themselves of theatres in an attempt to stay afloat. So who is going to buy? Independents....not hardly. Given the recent state of the industry, what bank will lend them the money. So who does that leave? Why the STUDIOS OF COURSE!

Judge Palmieri the chief architect and watchdog of the 1948 Paramount decrees (which divested studio ownership of theatres) died last year. With the exception of the Microsoft case, the Justice Department has all but abandoned enforcement of anti-trust laws in this counrty a long time ago. So who's to stop the studios?

After all, it is really a classic battle tactic....let the combatants beat each other to a bloody pulp on the field and then swoop down and pick up the pieces.

2) Once they have a foothold in exhibition the studios will equip all of their own theatres with digital.....at the same time refusing digital product to the rest of us. Why not? Who's going to stop them. The financially strapped majors and the independents won't have the cash for major re-equipment. Do you know any theatre owners with the guts to take on a major studio in court? Pretty soon the studios will reestablish their theatre ownership control....and it wiil be just like it was in the the 20's and 30's.

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Everything old is new again!

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Kevin Crawford
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 207
From: Sacramento, CA, USA
Registered: May 2000


 - posted 08-23-2000 01:29 AM      Profile for Kevin Crawford   Email Kevin Crawford   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Correct me if I am wrong but isn't Loews partly owned by Sony? So, this downward spiral has already begun.

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Frank Rapisardi
Film Handler

Posts: 96
From: Methuen, MA, USA
Registered: Apr 2000


 - posted 08-23-2000 06:24 AM      Profile for Frank Rapisardi   Email Frank Rapisardi   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Don't forget National Amusements.They own Viacom and Viacom owns Paramount! You are absolutely correct.Sony owns Loews.Fox and Warner Bros.already own theaters overseas.It's just a matter of time.With the case of studios owning theaters;way back then;there were no mutiplexes.So if you went to a Warner Theater;you saw Warner Bros.product.At a Paramount Theater;you saw Paramount product.This was seen as unfair business practice(MONOPOLY).Now however in this day with mutiplexes Warners,Fox,Paramount and so forth,could never fill 20 screens or more with there product only.So the studios may indeed once again own all the first run theaters in the U.S.

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Jonathan M. Crist
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 522
From: Hershey, PA, USA
Registered: Apr 2000


 - posted 08-23-2000 08:54 AM      Profile for Jonathan M. Crist   Email Jonathan M. Crist   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Adding to the problem for all theatre owners nationwide is the recent decision in the case of Orcon, Inc. v. Miramax which was decided last year by the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals.

The case arose from a small independent twin art house in Philadelphia which was basically refused service by Miramax in favor of a more upscale competitor. Orcon went out of business and sued in Federal Court. They claimed violations of both the federal antitrust laws and the Pennsylvnaia Feature Motion Pictures Trade Practices Act.

The federal court dismissed the anti-trust claims - basically on the theory that there was no significant impact on commerce. The case proceeded to trial under the Pennsylvania Act which required studios to make a picture available to anyone who wanted it after 42 days of release in a given market. (This section of the Pennsylvania law was routinely ignored by several of the distributors). The jury found found for the theatre owner and awarded substantial damages.

On appeal the third circuit held that the area of feature motion picture licensing was pre-empted by the Copyright Act. Under the Copyright Act the court held the studios were free to license to whom they want, when they want or not all if they so choose. The broad language of the opinion in essence make the studios law unto themselves.

Earlier this spring the US Supreme Court denied a futher appeal in the case.


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Be afraid.....Be very afraid

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Dave Williams
Wet nipple scene

Posts: 1836
From: Salt Lake City, UT, USA
Registered: Jan 2000


 - posted 08-24-2000 05:40 PM      Profile for Dave Williams   Author's Homepage   Email Dave Williams   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hollywood is only preparing to shoot itself in the foot.

It was small independants that originally won our rights to get prints anytime, anywhere. And yes it is getting harder to get prints. The bigger your corporation or the closer your ties, the more likely it is that you will be able to prevent your competition from getting product.

And yes boys and girls, it is completely legal. A violation of anti-trust law would only exist if a studio refused to allow you prints unless you refuse to carry other studio prints. In the case where a studio chooses one theater over another, there is no anti-trust law.

The anti-trust laws are there to prevent organizations or individuals from cornering a market. If a studio denies you a print because they want it at this other place, its thier perogative. If you can prove you can deliver grosses and your theater is state of the art, it would be to thier advantage to allow you the print.

Then there is good ol georgy porgy lucas. The man was as close to anti-trust as you can get with episode one. Requiring so many prints carried depending on how many screens you had, and for a guaranteed time frame. I am sorry but THAT is trying to corner the market. He offered no guarantee that the film would perform, he did not allow theaters to pull prints from thier best auditoriums, he did not allow the number of shows and screen to diminish UNTIL 12 WEEKS HAD PASSED.

The industry will NOT fall for that again. IF you ask me, lucas may have been the final straw in the dead camels back.

Do I hear any arguments to the contrary?

Dave

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Greg Anderson
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 766
From: Ogden Valley, Utah
Registered: Nov 1999


 - posted 08-24-2000 09:57 PM      Profile for Greg Anderson   Author's Homepage   Email Greg Anderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Okay, Dave... I'll take a crack at it.

I worked at a theatre in 1983 showing a 70mm print of Return of the Jedi for at least 12 weeks. At the time, we only had one screen equipped for stereo sound and it played nothing but that 70mm print. All the other summer blockbusters were stuck in our good, old, analog, mono houses. But nobody seemed to complain. That was the only movie people seemed to want to see in stereo anyway.

So... fast-forward to 1999 and George Lucas believes that his new Star Wars movie can manage to play to large crowds for an entire summer. And he knows a little something about how megaplexes are run in the 1990s and he doesn't like it. So he uses his influence to set up ground rules. His intention is consumer protection and he's not afraid to offend theatre operators in order to make sure his fans get the best presentations they can.

So... if The Phantom Menace had been as great as we all wanted it to be (and if we'd all enjoyed it as much as Mr. Lucas' children enjoyed it) would we be complaining about those ground rules? I like to believe that Episode 2 will be a truly great movie... but it looks like nobody will be able to show it because a) nobody wants to agree to those ground rules again and b) nobody wants to buy DLP equipment.

And... while we're at it, why are we singling out George Lucas? Essentially, he's just an independent filmmaker. Meanwhile, all the major studios are causing far more trouble than George Lucas... producing crappy movie after crappy movie each week and taking big percentages from the exhibitors. It's no wonder Carmike can't fill seats in 15 auditoriums every night when all they can offer us is Hollywood's overpriced rubbish.

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Mike Spaeth
Phenomenal Film Handler

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From: Hampton, GA
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 - posted 08-25-2000 01:51 AM      Profile for Mike Spaeth   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Spaeth   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes, but he did overstep his bounds w/ his initial request for a cut of concession sales. After chain after chain told him to go you know what, he pulled that demand (I don't have confirmation that this happened - just rumor)

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Jim Ziegler
Jedi Master Film Handler

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From: West Hollywood, CA
Registered: Jul 99


 - posted 08-25-2000 04:09 AM      Profile for Jim Ziegler   Email Jim Ziegler   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Mark my words: Episode 2 will be released on film... Lucas may love DLP, but he loves money more... Since no chains will be able to afford DLP for the next dozen or so years, poor George will have to settle for film..

Something that has me confused.. If Lucas is such a big digital fan, why isn't Episode 1 on DVD?

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Greg Anderson
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 766
From: Ogden Valley, Utah
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 - posted 08-25-2000 05:55 AM      Profile for Greg Anderson   Author's Homepage   Email Greg Anderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Now, Jim, I hope you're not one of those people who are saying "Episode One sucked... and I want it on DVD."

Here's some equally confusing logic: "Why isn't George Lucas releasing Episode One on DVD? He wants to force us to buy it twice, of course, by waiting until he has time to produce the DVD the way he wants it to be. Instead of doing a plain DVD now and a Collectors Edition later, he's forcing us to buy the movie twice by waiting to release only ONE version on DVD."

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Dave Williams
Wet nipple scene

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From: Salt Lake City, UT, USA
Registered: Jan 2000


 - posted 08-25-2000 11:49 AM      Profile for Dave Williams   Author's Homepage   Email Dave Williams   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
When the original trio of star wars films came out, there were far fewer screens. Far fewer. It was easy to pack houses for 12 weeks or longer. It took that long to get the grosses in anyway. Now with 200 THOUSAND screens available, and print costs at an all time low, the studios can flood us. George REQUIRED the flood. He was able to get away with REQUIRING a minimum number of prints, effectively taking operational control away from the theater owner. Sure they did complain right away, long before the grosses did NOT produce what he had promised. By week three, theaters were operating those auditoriums in the loss category, and Lucas refused to allow the prints to come down. He forced theater owners to sign contracts that they could not afford. And he knew that he could not afford them, and he knew that they could not afford to NOT sign either. It was the largest gamble in movie history, and the only winner was georges kids.

At least Microsoft gave us some slighty useful software. George gave us Jar Jar Binks. That should be a crime in and of itself.

Dave

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Rory Burke
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 181
From: Burbank, CA, USA
Registered: Jun 2000


 - posted 08-25-2000 12:19 PM      Profile for Rory Burke   Email Rory Burke   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Jim Z quote "Mark my words: Episode 2 will be released on film... Lucas may love DLP, but he loves money more... Since no chains will be able to afford DLP for the next dozen or so years, poor George will have to settle for film.."

Jim Z: No one said that Episode II would only be in DLP! In fact I believe that all that was said is that the movie would be filmed...er digitized with DLP technology meaning that the original master is in a historically(drum roll) first time digital format. I am positvie that they will still strike "film" prints for its exhibition to the public. However, by that time there should be more than a just a handful of Dig cinema screens out there.
http://www.quvis.com/trade_shows.html

Episdoe I on DVD??? WHY???? When you can get the Japanese subtitled version in far superior quality(I know i know ...subtitles) for laser disc. I'd rather watch a laser disc with japanese subtitles than a typical DVD although DVDs are getting quite good nowadays too.

Not to bring past arguments to light but...
(Some of these titles were QCd by DMP at THX)

The 3rd Annual Divi Awards Cermony was held recently and Artisan Home
Entertainment won the following awards:

Best Authoring
Terminator 2: Ultimate Edition - Artisan Home Entertainment

Best Special Edition
Terminator 2: Ultimate Edition - Artisan Home Entertainment

Here's a list of the nominees for the DiVi Awards in all categories.

Best Video Compression
Fight Club - 20th Century Fox
Men In Black - Columbia TriStar
Prince Of Egypt - Dreamworks
Saving Private Ryan - Dreamworks
The Thin Red Line - 20th Century Fox

Best Audio Compression
Fight Club - 20th Century Fox
Independence Day - 20th Century Fox
Men In Black - Columbia TriStar
Saving Private Ryan - Dreamworks
Terminator 2: Ultimate Edition - Artisan Home Entertainment

Best Packaging/Presentation
Fight Club - 20th Century Fox
Repo Man: Limited Edition - Anchor Bay Entertainment
Terminator 2: Ultimate Edition - Artisan Home Entertainment
The Nightmare Collection - New Line Home Video
X-Files - 20th Century Fox

Best Authoring
Fight Club - 20th Century Fox
Live And Let Die - Laser Pacific
Men In Black - Columbia TriStar
Terminator 2: Ultimate Edition - Artisan Home Entertainment
The Abyss - 20th Century Fox

Best DVD-ROM
Austin Powers 2 - New Line Home Video
Stuart Little - Columbia TriStar
Terminator 2: Ultimate Edition - Artisan Home Entertainment
The Abyss - 20th Century Fox
The Matrix - Warner Home Video

Best Special Features
Antz - Dreamworks
Fight Club - 20th Century Fox
Men In Black - Columbia TriStar
Terminator 2: Ultimate Edition - Artisan Home Entertainment
The Matrix - Warner Home Video

Best Menu Design
Antz - Dreamworks
Detroit Rock City - New Line Home Video
Prince Of Egypt - Dreamworks
Terminator 2: Ultimate Edition - Artisan Home Entertainment
The Abyss - 20th Century Fox

Best Educational/Documentary
Bob Dylan: Don't Look Back - New Video
Mr. Death - Universal Home Video
Rome: Power & Glory - Questar
Super Speedway - Image Entertainment
The Rainbow Fish - Sony Music

Best Standard Release
Alien - 20th Century Fox
Dracula - Universal Home Video
Patton - 20th Century Fox
The Green Mile - Warner Home Video
Titanic - Paramount Home Entertainment

Best Special Edition
Apocalypse Now - Paramount Home Entertainment
Fight Club - 20th Century Fox
Terminator 2: Ultimate Edition - Artisan Home Entertainment
The Matrix - Warner Home Video
The Wizard Of Oz - Warner Home Video

Best Music Release
Bob Dylan: Don't Look Back - New Video
Peter Frampton - Image Entertainment
Pink Floyd: The Wall - Sony Music
U2: Rattle & Hum - Paramount Home Entertainment
Whitney Houston - BMG Entertainment

Best Overall DVD
Fight Club - 20th Century Fox
Men In Black - Columbia TriStar
Terminator 2: Ultimate Edition - Artisan Home Entertainment
The Matrix - Warner Home Video
The Nightmare Collection - New Line Home Video

---
T2 - 8 nominations
ABYSS - 3 nominations
ID4 - 1 nomination
MIB - 5 nominations
Fight Club - 7 nominations
Matrix - 4 nominations


Rory

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Ky Boyd
Hey I'm #23

Posts: 314
From: Santa Rosa, CA, USA
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 08-26-2000 12:52 AM      Profile for Ky Boyd   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Dave,

Not only were there far fewer screens when Star Wars came out in 1977, there were less films in release and far fewer prints made of each title. If I'm not mistaken Star Wars only had about 800 prints in 1977. Films in 1977 were allowed to have legs. With the multiplexing of America and the increase in # of prints released, run times became shorter. Who in 1977 knew what the top ten grossing films for the nation were on Monday morning outside of those in the industry? Box office stats today are like sports stats, people follow them. It's sad that some people choose to go see a film just cause it's #1 at the box office. This is what Speilberg and Lucas have brought to the industry - a film is a blockbuster or a flop - it has fundamentally changed the way the business is done and how it is perceived. Today a film with legs like 6th Sense or Titanic is a total surprise, its outside the norm. My market for instance is considered a 4 week town by the industry - most pictures play 4 weeks and disappear.

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Jim Ziegler
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 753
From: West Hollywood, CA
Registered: Jul 99


 - posted 08-26-2000 01:57 AM      Profile for Jim Ziegler   Email Jim Ziegler   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
To answer the question above.. NO I DONT WANT THE DVD... If Jar Jar popped up on my tv, I would have to shoot it..

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Brad Miller
Administrator

Posts: 17662
From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99


 - posted 08-26-2000 02:32 AM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
The Lucas thing is actually pretty funny.

Fact #1 George LOVES money.
Fact #2 The vast majority of everyone on the planet wants to see Jar Jar die a horrible death.

If George killed that damn thing in Episode 2, he very well might beat Titanic's record! Just think of how many more people would come to enjoy "Star Wars" without that bumbling schmuck. Add to that all of the people who would come over and over just to see the shit die...I know I would.


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Greg Anderson
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 766
From: Ogden Valley, Utah
Registered: Nov 1999


 - posted 08-26-2000 09:03 AM      Profile for Greg Anderson   Author's Homepage   Email Greg Anderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Oh, boo hoo! So, George Lucas decided to aim his movie at ages 6-11. How old were you in 1977? (Does anybody here have kids or spend time with people who do?)

Don't worry, fellas. They'll still make more Terminator and Matrix movies to satisfy your sophisticated taste for violence, nudity, swearing, etc.

Yep... George Lucas just loves money, doesn't he? That must be why he's making movies we hate to watch and ignoring the Jar Jar focus groups. What a greedy rascal.


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