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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » Film releases to DVD during the release engagement (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Film releases to DVD during the release engagement
Monte L Fullmer
Film God

Posts: 8290
From: Nampa, Idaho, USA
Registered: Nov 2004


 - posted 08-28-2005 06:00 PM      Profile for Monte L Fullmer   Email Monte L Fullmer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Saw this in this mornings paper and wonder if anyone in any of the circuits, indie or national, have heard any more buzz about this issue here. I've heard of this before, but it seems like this could be the going trend for the film industry.

Also, this could easily knock out the existance of the sub-run and discount theatre.

thx - Monte

Aug 28, 2:11 PM EDT

Newspaper link

Studios Mull Changes to Movie 'Windows'
By GARY GENTILE
AP Business Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Someday the phrase "Coming soon to a theater near you" could be replaced with "Coming soon to a Wal-Mart near you." The tradition of major films debuting first in theaters, then across staggered release "windows," including pay-per-view, home video, cable and, finally, broadcast TV, is being openly questioned.

Robert Iger, CEO-elect of The Walt Disney Co., recently suggested the day could come when a DVD is released while the movie is still in theaters. The millions of dollars that studios spend marketing first-run movies would serve double duty promoting the more profitable DVDs, making for a faster and more efficient return on investment.

"Consumers have a lot more authority these days and they know that by using technology they can gain access to content and they want to use the power that they have..." Iger told financial analysts earlier this month. "We can't stand in the way and we can't allow tradition to stand in the way of where the consumer can go or wants to go."

Iger's remarks are heresy to theater owners who fear people with flat screen, high-definition, surround sound systems in their living rooms will abandon the megaplex.

"Mr. Iger knows better than to tell consumers - or Wall Street analysts - that they can have it all, everywhere, at the same time," said John Fithian, president of the National Association of Theater Owners. "He knows there would be no viable movie theater industry in that new world - at least not a theater industry devoted to the entertainment products of Hollywood."

Theaters have already seen profits shrink as movies move more quickly to home video. Studios and theaters split profits in the early weeks of a movie's run, with the theater making most of its money from concessions. The theater's split gets larger the longer the movie plays, giving studios an incentive to release films on DVD even earlier.

Studios make the majority of their profits from home video sales, with theatrical runs serving largely as marketing for the DVD.

That has led some to question business models that have not kept pace with technology or consumer demands.

"Why do we make the assumption that five months later people are still interested in your product?" said Todd Wagner, co-owner with Mark Cuban of 2929 Entertainment.

"If I hear a song on the radio, they don't say, `Five months from now you can buy the CD.'"

The gap between a movie's opening weekend in theaters and its debut on home video has been narrowing from about six months in 1994 to about four months in 2004.

Some studios release their DVDs even sooner. The action sequel "XXX: State of the Union," which fizzled at the box office, hit video shelves 11 weeks after its theatrical debut.

Many studios announce the release date of a movie on home video while the film is still in theaters - a practice that infuriates theater owners.

"This is something that drives us nuts," Fithian said. "When Wal-Mart starts putting up signs a month and a half or two months into the movie's run, that just kind of tells the consumer: 'Wait - it's coming.'"

Before Iger's remarks, studio executives spoke of releasing DVDs simultaneous with a theatrical run only in the context of fighting piracy. Many studios are already premiering films around the world on the same date to undercut pirates who distribute illegal copies of films in China, Eastern Europe and elsewhere.

In the United States, studios are pressured by a box office slump and a DVD glut that has led to a sharp decline in sales for new releases that compete for shelf space with old TV show box sets and older hits.

New technology is adding to the competition as cable operators promote video-on-demand services and phone companies, such as SBC and Verizon, are creating high-speed Internet networks that will make on-demand viewing even easier.

Advances in wireless are also challenging old business models. In Europe, Sony Pictures has released a full-length version of "Spider-Man II" for viewing on a cell phone.

For some industry players, simultaneously releasing a movie in theaters and on DVD makes perfect sense.

"Most packaged entertainment - books, CDs, games - most all of these make their debut at retail," said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer of Netflix Inc., which rents DVDs by mail. "It isn't that radical a proposition that movies could follow that same path."

In April, 2929 Entertainment, which owns two television networks, a chain of movie theaters and film and television distribution companies, announced a partnership with Oscar-winning film director Steven Soderbergh to direct six films and release them simultaneously in theaters, on TV and on DVD.

Wagner, the company's co-owner, said under his model, theater owners share in the revenue made from distributing films on DVD and other media.

"We want the exhibitors to be a part of this because they should be and from my perspective, they always should have been," Wagner said.

Wagner also disputes the notion that people would stay away from theaters if they could watch the same movie at home.

Wagner and Cuban own the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, which still draws a crowd when games are broadcast on radio and TV.

"It didn't kill professional sports when it was available simultaneously on different mediums," he said. "They cross promote each other and they're all doing just fine."

[ 08-31-2005, 05:28 PM: Message edited by: Monte L Fullmer ]

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

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From: Lawton, OK, USA
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 - posted 08-28-2005 07:15 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Quote from the article:

quote: Monte L Fullmer
Wagner also disputes the notion that people would stay away from theaters if they could watch the same movie at home. Wagner and Cuban own the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, which still draws a crowd when games are broadcast on radio and TV. "It didn't kill professional sports when it was available simultaneously on different mediums," he said. "They cross promote each other and they're all doing just fine."
I think Wagner is missing a very gigantic difference on his sporting event analogy (or he knows this and is just being a biased jerk): people pay a premium to watch a sports event like a Dallas Mavericks game to SEE IT IN PERSON! Duh!
[uhoh]

The folks arguing for simulataneous theatrical and DVD release are only doing so out of ignorance of market realities or looking out for their own selfish interests. If there is no exclusive release window for movie theaters to show product first there will be no movie theaters. And without movie theaters, I'm just not going to give all that much of a damn about a bunch of made for TV product.

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Wolff King Morrow
Master Film Handler

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From: Denton, TX, USA
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 - posted 08-28-2005 08:01 PM      Profile for Wolff King Morrow   Author's Homepage   Email Wolff King Morrow   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hate to say it, but with my home theater system, I'd just rent the movie rather than go out and spend the gas money among other expenses if there was a simul-release system like that.

You pretty much are playing with fire if you take away the exclusive release to theaters before home video.

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Monte L Fullmer
Film God

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From: Nampa, Idaho, USA
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 - posted 08-28-2005 08:41 PM      Profile for Monte L Fullmer   Email Monte L Fullmer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
(thx to whoever change that dumb long link since I don't know how to edit such stuff to make it simpler. Maybe a little help on how to do this in the future).

Being in a discount house, it's kinda making us wonder on our future in the theatre business, or is this just anothe "scare tactic" to drive up business (like the dumb "New Coke" as in 1985).

thx-Monte

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Phil Hill
I love my cootie bug

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From: Hollywood, CA USA
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 - posted 08-28-2005 08:54 PM      Profile for Phil Hill   Email Phil Hill       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Monte L Fullmer
...I don't know how to edit such stuff to make it simpler. Maybe a little help on how to do this in the future
Gosh Monte, when you post, below the text entry window, there is a "radio button" labled "URL" that will painlessly step you thru the process... It's so easy even a Caveman can do it. [Wink]

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

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 - posted 08-28-2005 09:05 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
John Fithian gave an excellent speech at the Great States convention last week about digital cinema, the "slump," the release window saga, and all the rest.

Some studio will try it with one of their major movies, but when no theatres will play the film, it will lose all of its "magic" and become just like another "made for video" release and then maybe they'll wake up.

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Robert Harrison
Expert Film Handler

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From: Harwood Heights, Illinois, USA
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 - posted 08-28-2005 10:02 PM      Profile for Robert Harrison   Email Robert Harrison   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hearing that kind of crap makes you glad you didn't run out and buy a bunch of digital projectors! Or, is that what this is about? The studios didn't get to save money on release prints with digital projection so they are going to try to do so with eliminating theatres altogether.

Well, that's it for me! I've had it! I'm going back in time to when theatres ruled the Earth and projectionists had job security. Who's with me?

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Daryl C. W. O'Shea
Film God

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From: Midland Ontario Canada (where Panavision & IMAX lenses come from)
Registered: Jun 2002


 - posted 08-29-2005 12:51 AM      Profile for Daryl C. W. O'Shea   Author's Homepage   Email Daryl C. W. O'Shea   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Monte L Fullmer
Robert Iger, CEO-elect of The Walt Disney Co., recently suggested the day could come when a DVD is released while the movie is still in theaters.
The day could come? I know we've run at least four films this year from day of release well into the DVD release, while still doing excellent business (until about a week or two into the DVD release). Hitch was one of them.

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Frank Dubrois
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From: Cleveland, OH
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 - posted 08-29-2005 01:35 AM      Profile for Frank Dubrois     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thats kind of shooting themselves in the foot. For example, we all know how much Star Wars Episode III made in the theaters, and we all have a pretty good idea that most of the people who went to go see it, will buy it on DVD. Why release the DVD ANY earlier? or at the same time? OR instead of a theatrical release? They only stand to lose money. I do agree that 2nd run theaters have something to worry about here, but first run theaters will always have a place. Not only would it be financial suicide for the film companies, but I think people actually getting out of the house occasioally. Just because you can make a pizza at home, doesnt mean you wont go out to a resataurant and sit down amd order one does it?

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Monte L Fullmer
Film God

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From: Nampa, Idaho, USA
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 - posted 08-29-2005 03:47 AM      Profile for Monte L Fullmer   Email Monte L Fullmer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Phil Hill
It's so easy even a Caveman can do it.

Thx, Phil. Even the "cavemen" have to be taught a new trick or two to be up to speed with the "new world".

I knew it probably a simple thing to do, but didn't know at the time. Thx anywho.

-Monte

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Dominic Espinosa
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From: Boulder Creek, CA.
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 - posted 08-29-2005 04:01 AM      Profile for Dominic Espinosa   Email Dominic Espinosa   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Oh, that's a great idea.
Let's make it even easier for high quality dvd rips of every movie more easily available on the internet during the time when everyone's interested in it because of the marketing hype.
This is a very bad idea.

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Scott Norwood
Film God

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From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
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 - posted 08-29-2005 07:36 AM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It's been tried before and would be an interesting experiment to try it again, but I suspect that Mike is right--theatres wouldn't book it and distributors would learn how important a theatrical release is for marketing purposes.

It might actually work for the type of film which is very visual and must be seen on the big screen to be fully appreciated ("Lord of the Rings," etc.), but it would just kill the theatrical grosses for something like a dialogue-driven drama. The second-run theatres are already being squeezed on both ends--large gigaplexes which hold films on small screens for months and ever-shorter theatrical release windows are hurting them. That's too bad, as I believe that there is a large potential market for films which are shown a few weeks after opening for lower prices than what the first-run houses are charging.

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Jim Ziegler
Jedi Master Film Handler

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 - posted 08-29-2005 01:33 PM      Profile for Jim Ziegler   Email Jim Ziegler   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Any studio that does a simultaneous release is stupid. Right now, they get to double dip - they get money from the consumer both from the tickets and then the dvd 6 months later. They release at the same time - they won't get that.

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Phil Hill
I love my cootie bug

Posts: 7595
From: Hollywood, CA USA
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 - posted 08-29-2005 04:15 PM      Profile for Phil Hill   Email Phil Hill       Edit/Delete Post 
Well Monte, apparently you have not seen the Geico Insurance Company "Caveman" commercials that have been running nation-wide for the last 6 months else you would have got the joke. [uhoh]

(OBTW: I really don't care if you watch TV or not...But you can see one of the series here HERE.)

Also, FYI: How to use the many great features of Film-Tech is documented in the FAQ section listed at the top of the page...try it, you might like it. [Wink] [Razz]

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Monte L Fullmer
Film God

Posts: 8290
From: Nampa, Idaho, USA
Registered: Nov 2004


 - posted 08-30-2005 02:29 AM      Profile for Monte L Fullmer   Email Monte L Fullmer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Phil Hill
Geico Insurance Company "Caveman" commercials that have been running nation-wide for the last 6 months else you would have got the joke.

True. Don't watch that much TV, but when I do, I've seen these commercials, just don't pay attention to this variety from Geico, for there has been better ones issued out by that insurance company.

thx-Monte

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