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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » Fox Film Chief Stacey Snider Says Current Theatrical Windows Are ‘Anachronistic’ (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Fox Film Chief Stacey Snider Says Current Theatrical Windows Are ‘Anachronistic’
Scott Jentsch
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 - posted 02-15-2017 02:05 PM      Profile for Scott Jentsch   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Jentsch   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Here comes another shot across the bow of movie theaters and release windows. Especially bad news for anyone running a sub-run theater:

Fox Film Chief Stacey Snider Says Current Theatrical Windows Are ‘Anachronistic’
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quote:
Twentieth Century Fox Chairman Stacey Snider wants everyone to see the upcoming X-Men film “Logan” in a theater. She doesn’t, however, believe we need to wait quite so long to watch it (for a second or third time) at home.

During a Tuesday afternoon keynote conversation at the Code Media conference at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel in Dana Point, California, Snider acknowledged that the current theatrical window is a little too long, although she underlined her studio’s reliance on the big screen.

“We’re more dependent on our exhibitors than almost any other company,” she said. “We don’t have the same cable assets, we’re not going to be bought by AT&T this week. That theatrical experience really is important.”

However, given how theatrical releases earn their revenue, Snider said there’s an unavoidable logic in shortening the theatrical window.

“Most of the big films, even the blockbusters, have done 90 percent of their business in the first three to four weeks,” she said. “Who is it helping [by] not to offer premium video on demand earlier? Who is it hurting?

“It’s not about smashing the window, maybe it’s about tightening it,” Snider explained. “For a business not to be able to sell what it makes for a period of time is anachronistic.”

ox, which recently launched a FoxNext division focused on virtual and augmented reality, is at the forefront of all major studios in embracing technology. Snider said hybrid films, which combine “a little live action with a lot of technology,” provide an avenue to take advantage of its technical prowess.

“If we stockpile and pursue with passion stories that lend themselves to that technology, we can keep almost an assembly line process going,” she said. “That will still be artistic but will take advantage of the marvels technology has created.”

Snider also said Fox plans to leverage its technology to create experiences, like the augmented reality “Planet of the Apes” project it debuted at this year’s Consumer Electronics Shows, to keep fans close to their favorite characters during the long period of time between feature films.

“People spent time just immersing themselves in these movies,” she said. “It’s important to offer them this 365-day access to the characters they love. Thus was born the idea of not saying goodbye to our fans during that long stretch of time when we’re developing sequels.”

That includes Ryan Reynolds’ potty-mouthed mercenary Deadpool, who headlined Fox’s biggest film of 2016.

“He’s going to pop up in places where you don’t expect him,” she said.

Snider acknowledged Disney’s current box office supremacy, but pointed at profane Marvel flick “Deadpool” as an example of something Fox could experiment with that the Mouse House could not.

“They can’t do an R-rated superhero movie,” Snider said. “It would destroy the castle.”

Examples of the release window for some of their current releases:

Why Him?: 95 days (3 wks in Top10)
Trolls: 95 days (6 wks in Top10)
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children: 74 days (6 wks in Top10)
Deadpool: 88 days (8 wks in Top10)
Morgan: 102 days

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Adam Martin
I'm not even gonna point out the irony.

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 - posted 02-15-2017 02:34 PM      Profile for Adam Martin   Author's Homepage   Email Adam Martin       Edit/Delete Post 
Jane, you ignorant slut.

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Mike Blakesley
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 - posted 02-15-2017 08:20 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
More stupidness from the suits. I don't see why they can't realize the difference between 3-4 months and 3-4 weeks.

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Frank Angel
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 - posted 02-15-2017 09:42 PM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
As stupid as this is, this is what makes the most sense to them -- sell it when it's hot so they don't have to re-market it again after the public with its 30 sec attention span has moved on to other things. And the younger the studio executives are, the more they will get multiple, spontaneous orgasms at the thought of selling a picture to every platform at the same time -- to them this is porn. It's not an aberrant, off-in-left-field idea....it is going to be with us far into the future, or until there is a massive sunspot that shuts down the internet. They are only going to get more and more aggressive about it, even if they can't see that it's self-cannibalism.

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Bobby Henderson
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 - posted 02-16-2017 12:37 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
These suits are just going to keep pushing and pushing until they get their wish and make simultaneous day and date realize the norm. My guess is once they've squeezed the theatrical release windows down to a short enough time it will be like opening the lid on a Pandora's box. When that lid cracks up enough it will blow wide open and then there will be no way to shut it.

Such will be the case with the movie industry. Instead of increasing cash flow they'll end up killing their cash flow instead. I think the release windows are already excessively short. If they shorten the window to only a couple or so weeks it will be very easy for anyone to just wait and watch the movie at home. People like getting out of the house, but they'll take "free" or "cheap" over paying $20, $40 or more on a single trip to the movie theater if all they have to do is wait a couple or so weeks. For me it's already no big deal at all to wait 3 or 4 months to see a movie.

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Mike Schulz
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 - posted 02-16-2017 04:04 PM      Profile for Mike Schulz   Email Mike Schulz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Bobby Henderson
For me it's already no big deal at all to wait 3 or 4 months to see a movie.
This is what I think will bite them in the arse if they keep shortening the release windows. 3 or 4 months is just enough time to convince people that they need to watch a movie at the cinema (especially the tent pole films like Star Wars, etc.) but there are still a lot of people who don't feel the need to see a movie right away and are willing to wait a few months.

If the DVD/Bluray/Streaming release happens only 4 weeks after the theatrical release, there will be a significant amount of casual movie-goers who will never see the need to spend money at the cinema if they only need to wait such a short amount of time to see it on Netflix. Heck, I consider myself a pretty big movie nerd as I tend to watch as many films as I can on the big screen as opposed to waiting for the Bluray but if that wait time is whittled down to one month, even I will likely cut my movie-going in half or more.

They are going to shoot themselves in the foot if they do this and the exhibitors are going to get slaughtered, too.

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Justin Hamaker
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 - posted 02-16-2017 06:43 PM      Profile for Justin Hamaker   Author's Homepage   Email Justin Hamaker   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Who is it helping [by] not to offer premium video on demand earlier? Who is it hurting?
Who it's helping is movie theatres. The shorter the window gets, the more likely a consumer is to skip the theatre. Especially for movies that don't demand to be seen on the big screen. Waiting 3 months - or longer - to make a movie available on VOD, cable, and other streaming platforms does not diminish demand for the movie.

The better question is "who is it hurting" by waiting, and I don't believe it is hurting anyone. The studio is still going to sell DVDs, digital downloads, and pay-per-view.

As has been said countless times, if you marginalize theatres out of existence, there will be no bringing them back. Maybe the theatres in the big cities will survive no matter what, but anything which undercuts movie theatres makes it more difficult for theatres in small towns to survive.

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Bobby Henderson
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Here's another thing these suits in Hollywood keep forgetting: the image/sound quality of watching movies at home has never been better. There is no longer any wide gulf of image/sound quality between the movie theater and the living room at home. In the past there was real pressure to see a movie in a commercial theater because that was where it was, by far, going to look and sound better. There was a tremendous difference between watching Die Hard in 70mm 6-track Dolby Stereo versus watching it panned and scanned on VHS HiFi. Plus, you had to wait a long freaking time for that crappy VHS version of the movie.

Today a movie in d-cinema looks very similar to watching a movie on Blu-ray disc at home. The DCP may sport less video compression and deeper color bit depth. But the picture on my 65" HDTV screen at home is in perfect focus while the theater's projected image is not.

Add to this the fact Hollywood movie studios stubbornly continue to produce damned near everything in 2K. There is little difference in resolution between a 2048 pixel wide image and a 1920 pixel wide image. Some productions actually post produce in 1920x1080 and then blow the up to the image to 2048 by whatever.

"4K" UHDTV sets have been replacing 1080p resolution TV sets on electronics store shelves. Pretty soon it will be difficult to buy a new TV that isn't "4K." Yet the overwhelming majority of titles being released on the new Ultra-HD Blu-ray format are artificial blow-ups from 2K.

I no longer feel like I'm missing anything by waiting for a movie to appear on home video. At worst I might miss out on a great Atmos mix, but most movies with Atmos sound like regular 5.1 or 7.1 and are Atmos in name only. Very few theaters are equipped to handle that sound format either. Recliners are getting popular in movie theaters. The couch in my living room facing my TV set is pretty comfortable.

In the end, the only big difference between the movie theater and watching at home is price. It costs a hell of a lot less to watch at home. Waiting 3 or 4 months is no hardship at all. It's nothing like the wait times we had in the past (several months or even well over a year was common in the 1990's). Waiting only a couple or so weeks would be a breeze for just about anybody, even young people who still sense time dragging more than it flies.

quote: Justin Hamaker
The better question is "who is it hurting" by waiting, and I don't believe it is hurting anyone. The studio is still going to sell DVDs, digital downloads, and pay-per-view.
Perhaps. But the studios will not make up the losses of income that will happen if most or all commercial movie theaters disappear. People at home are not going to up the amount of Hollywood movie watching they do at home. There is already a huge glut of content on the TV screen. Companies like Netflix and Amazon are pouring billions of dollars into their own TV series and movies to a lesser extent.

quote: Justin Hamaker
As has been said countless times, if you marginalize theatres out of existence, there will be no bringing them back. Maybe the theatres in the big cities will survive no matter what, but anything which undercuts movie theatres makes it more difficult for theatres in small towns to survive.
If studio heads shrink release windows down to a sort of "event horizon" point of no return it will be nothing short of a complete disaster for the movie theater business. The big chains like Regal, Cinemark, etc. will fold and they'll close down big city premiere-class theaters right along with the common suburban multiplex sites.

Perhaps some independent theaters might try to survive in artsy pockets within big cities, but such theaters would have a short life span. The same problem now afflicting theaters that can still show film will hit theaters with digital gear: no new parts, no service and no "pro" level d-cinema content to play. If a massive number of commercial movie theaters close it's a sure bet many theater equipment and service suppliers are going to go out of business too or shut down their cinema product lines if they're diversified enough. Most of the stuff they sell to movie theaters can't be sold on the consumer electronics end.

If this disaster comes to pass it will take a heavy toll on movie studios. Those idiots think they're immune to the problems suffered by movie theaters. But the movie theaters are what make the movie industry a movie industry. Without theaters studios like Paramount, Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox would be nothing more than production companies making TV shows. Under that kind of perception there is no way they would be able to continue making 2 hour movies with $200 million production budgets. Those days would be long gone.

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Timothy Eiler
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quote: Justin Hamaker
Maybe the theatres in the big cities will survive no matter what, but anything which undercuts movie theatres makes it more difficult for theatres in small towns to survive.
That small town where theatres cant survive seem to be getting larger

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Frank Angel
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quote: Bobby Henderson
the movie theaters are what make the movie industry a movie industry.
Another quote to put up on the projection booth wall.

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Scott Jentsch
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 - posted 02-18-2017 05:56 PM      Profile for Scott Jentsch   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Jentsch   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Bobby Henderson
Today a movie in d-cinema looks very similar to watching a movie on Blu-ray disc at home. The DCP may sport less video compression and deeper color bit depth. But the picture on my 65" HDTV screen at home is in perfect focus while the theater's projected image is not.
Don't forget the black level and contrast, both of which are much better in both my LED TV and LCOS front projection setup. I don't even have the newest technology (enhanced local dimming, 4K, HDR, etc.) which would make the difference even greater.

The lack of contrast and decent black levels is my greatest gripe with the theaters in the area, followed closely by wimpy bass.

I've been predicting it for years, and I'm actually surprised by how long it's taking to come to fruition. Studios will do a day-and-date release of a big movie at some point, and if a majority of theaters do not compare favorably, the die will be cast. A failure to capitalize on the time between now and then is a squandered opportunity and the industry will have only itself to blame (even though plenty of blame will be thrown in other directions).

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Bobby Henderson
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That really is it in a nut shell. The movie theaters are the "front end" of the entire movie business. That's the main thing connecting customers to that business. If you take movie theaters out of the equation you'll just have TV shows.

You could apply this to other industries or brands to see the lunacy in it a little more clearly. Starbucks is really popular. Hell, we even have a couple of them here in Lawton! They proudly charge a lot for their coffee drinks. Imagine some bean counter saying, "hey we need to shut down these pricey retail locations with all that property and staff and crap! We'll put everything into getting more coffee powder shit on grocery store shelves! We'll be rich!" Of course that would put Starbucks brand on the level of Folgers, Sanka and other grocery brands of mass produced coffee. Howard Schultz might pull a gun out of his desk drawer and shoot said bean counter.

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Michael Riley
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Do any of these idiots realize what a boon this would be to piracy? As it stands right now, you can search Google for any recent movie release and quickly find multiple sources to stream them online, but the saving grace is that we're still at the point where you can't find quality pirates of new releases until long after they are out once the home release becomes available, if you want to watch a pirate of Lego Batman or John Wick 2, you'd have to settle for a poor quality Russian cam possibly with subtitles. With day and date digital, people will pass around and stream 4K HD rips of everything on the day of release, if not earlier. It would kill their business.

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Justin West
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I'm sure the studios have that piracy concern all under control, Michael...NOT! Like theatres who have remained 35mm relegated to play only those features available on film, so too would most digital theatres play only those features NOT released simultaneously "in theatres" and on VOD, DVD, etc.

Just think of the OSCAR nominations coming in for what will essentially be direct-to-video releases, in a world with no windows! Then again, maybe we will see some minor-studios or new independents with theatrical-only releases to both fill the void and surprise us with their quality and appeal?! Not to forget AMC/Regal's Open Road Films venture

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Louis Bornwasser
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If they keep up with animated and remakes and animated remakes, they might as well just release them on the internet direct.
They will try and try until they kill the golden goose.

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