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» Film-Tech Forum   » Community   » Film-Yak   » YouTube to follow Amazon by screening its movies inside theaters (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: YouTube to follow Amazon by screening its movies inside theaters
Frank Cox
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From: Melville Saskatchewan Canada
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 - posted 03-22-2018 03:49 PM      Profile for Frank Cox   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Cox   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
YouTube to follow Amazon by screening its movies inside theaters

quote:
Following YouTube's announcement last month that it intends to spend "hundreds of millions" on original content for Red, it's just unveiled plans for a YouTube-made movie that'll also be released in theaters. And unlike its previous effort, 2016's widely-regarded flop Lazer Team, this project has a serious name attached to it: Susan Sarandon.

The film, Vulture Club, is already in post-production. It stars Oscar-winning Susan Sarandon as an emergency room nurse whose son has been kidnapped by terrorists, and after being abandoned by the government, finds help in the unlikeliest of places. The thriller also stars Edie Falco of The Sopranos and Matt Bomer of Magic Mike, and is directed by Iranian-American Maryam Keshavarz, of Circumstance fame.

Despite being slated for theatrical release, details on YouTube's plans to actually get the movie into theaters are scarce. Speaking to IndieWire, a rep from YouTube Red said, "We don't have any news to report on a theatrical partner at this stage. Perhaps later once we identify a partner." However, the move marks a significant strategy shift for the company. Just last year it made clear its intentions to focus on its online channel, telling IndieWire, "Our distribution strategy for our original films and series is grounded on YouTube Red."

Vulture Club is certainly a different class of movie compared to YouTube Red's other recent acquisitions, Eminem's satirical hip-hop drama Bodied and Morgan Spurlock's Super Size Me 2: Holy ChIcken! A gritty thriller featuring a mega star could well give YouTube Red the leg up it needs to rival the likes of Amazon Studios and be taken seriously in the process.


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Mike Blakesley
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 - posted 03-22-2018 06:14 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
They probably noticed how many "movies" make their splashy debut on Netflix, only to get lost in the shuffle among the other million choices. They are probably following the same idea as Amazon.

Love 'em or hate 'em, at least Amazon realizes that the theatrical window has value.

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Scott Norwood
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Will it be shot by Aunt Millie with a telephone in vertical orientation and then processed through some stabilization scheme that warps the image all over the place?

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Alexandre Pereira
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 - posted 03-22-2018 09:37 PM      Profile for Alexandre Pereira   Author's Homepage   Email Alexandre Pereira   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
That whole streaming thing worked out great - oh wait it is not 2008 any more. Speaking of Aunt Millie. Before I moved into my decommissioned nuclear banker with my 42 cats - I used to live in a condo which was mostly seniors - those were fun times = NOT. Well one day I came home from the theatre and there was an ad up in the elevator advertising Julie & Julia for the weekly witches brew granny movie night. The only problem was that Julie & Julia was not on video yet and I was still playing it. Turns out that Aunt Millie's nephew Chester had gone down to the Pacific Mall - Chinese special and picked up the dvd. Long story short - amazon, netflixs, youtube et al just realized that getting rid of the exhibitor was not such a great idea after all.

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Martin Brooks
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quote: Alexandre Pereira
Long story short - amazon, netflixs, youtube et al just realized that getting rid of the exhibitor was not such a great idea after all.

I don't think that's what it's about. They want their original films to be eligible for the Oscars and it has to play in a movie theater (for a week I think) in order to be eligible. Because there's now confusion over what exactly constitutes a movie, there's talk that the Academy is going to change the rules this year and that a film producer, in addition to having to exhibit the film in a theater, will have to decide whether they want to submit for an Oscar or an Emmy - they won't be permitted to submit to both.

Personally, I think they should require that the movie be exhibited in a theater in at least ten cities, not just Los Angeles.

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Mike Spaeth
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Amazon has always believed in a theatrical window. It was really only Netflix that was trying to "disrupt" exhibition. Amazon films (think: Manchester By The Sea) have always had a proper theatrical release and window before being added to their service.

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Bobby Henderson
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quote: Alexandre Pereira
Turns out that Aunt Millie's nephew Chester had gone down to the Pacific Mall - Chinese special and picked up the dvd. Long story short - amazon, netflixs, youtube et al just realized that getting rid of the exhibitor was not such a great idea after all.
Movie disc-based piracy may be holding on in some places, but it's drying up across much of the United States. It's suffering from the same issue threatening legit physical media: streaming. Anyone selling pirated movies in my region is usually doing so in the form of those little "Kodi" boxes and modded Fire-TV sticks, which stream pirated movies.

For most people it's all too easy and convenient just to simply pay around $10 per month to stream movies and TV shows legally from Netflix, Prime Video or Hulu. The piracy streaming devices may offer the same shows (plus movies still in theaters), but the user may burn a bunch of time trying to find a stream with acceptable video quality, in English and not tattooed with Chinese subtitles or other text crap. It's far less of a pain just getting on Netflix or Prime and being done with it.

Residential Internet speeds have ramped up in many cities and towns. The speeds are continuing to improve too. That has helped dramatically improve the appeal of streaming movies and TV shows. I still prefer to buy movies on Blu-ray, even though Netflix and Prime Video content on my modest 25Mb/s connection looks really good (much better than content I see via Dish Network). But I can't specifically remember the last time I bought a movie on Blu-ray disc. I think it was during the fire sale when our local Hastings Books Music & Video store was closing. My movie buying habits have dropped off to nothing. If I don't see a movie in the theater, then I might get around to watching it on HBO or one of the streaming services, if ever.

quote: Mike Blakesley
They probably noticed how many "movies" make their splashy debut on Netflix, only to get lost in the shuffle among the other million choices. They are probably following the same idea as Amazon.
There is a lot of marketing value with having a movie play in commercial theaters. Usually such movies have at least some substantial marketing campaign put behind them. They get stuck in the public consciousness better than something that debuted on video. And, yeah, anything that debuts on Netflix could indeed be instantly lost in the shuffle unless there is a lot of buzz going on about it.

I really can't stand the interface structure of any of the streaming services. They all suck in the same manner. Unless you already know the specific movie or TV show you want to watch the user interface of any streaming service will have you scrolling through all sorts of nonsensical, random rows of program suggestions. HBO GO at least has an alphabetical listing of movies currently available on its service, but every movie listing has a thumbnail image which makes the list take more time to load and more time to scroll through. How about some text only movie title lists, guys!? The user can see more title choices on screen and get to what he wants faster. All streaming services should offer that. I would also like it if the streaming services themselves had lists of what was about to arrive on or leave their platform. I think it's just stupid that viewers have to visit other web sites to find comprehensive lists of this information.

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Joe Redifer
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 - posted 04-13-2018 05:29 PM      Profile for Joe Redifer   Author's Homepage   Email Joe Redifer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
As much as I don't like going to an actual theater these days, having a theater-exclusive window (and premiere) legitimizes a movie. If it's straight to Netflix or whatever or even appears there after only 2 weeks, it just seems less "legit" for lack of better term. Not only that but there should be a small time where it's not available anywhere after it leaves the theater, even if that's only a couple of weeks. A month or more would be preferred though.

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Dennis Benjamin
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In 2018 a movie theatre is still the best place to see a movie.

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Joe Redifer
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That's subjective.

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

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It really depends on the specific movie theater. Hell, even the movie itself will make a big difference based on its own image & sound mix.

I won't knock a theater itself for inconsiderate behavior of audience members, but really bad cases do demand theater staff do something about the offender and uphold certain standards. On the other hand there are lots of different categories where movie theaters can be criticized.

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Frank Angel
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quote: Joe Redifer
As much as I don't like going to an actual theater these days, having a theater-exclusive window (and premiere) legitimizes a movie. If it's straight to Netflix or whatever or even appears there after only 2 weeks, it just seems less "legit" for lack of better term. Not only that but there should be a small time where it's not available anywhere after it leaves the theater, even if that's only a couple of weeks. A month or more would be preferred though.
Joe, you feel that way...I feel that way and most others of a certain age feel that way because we grew up in an era of tiered distribution, where films rarely opened everywhere at once "in a theatre near you" (how do they know where I am? I used to ask). Movies opened in major markets first or what the studios deemed "key cities," then move to smaller markets and then within those markets, played "first run" theatres, then moved to second run and then to subruns or what the distributors called "underbelly" houses. It could be quite awhile after the initial opening that you read about in the newspapers -- those big, full page panel ads -- before you would see that film show up in your neighborhood Bijou. You would have to scour the panel ads to find out IF it was playing near you, but if not, you knew EVENTUALLY it would. Youngsters see this as a quaint idea.

That anticipation was part and parcel of what generated interest and desire to see a movie, and, as you say, gave it "legitimacy." On the big blockbuster "roadshow" releases, they could play in exclusive runs for months in key cities before moving into general distribution, and even then, general distribution meant a tiered release. So that idea that a film needs a substantial theatrical release to make it a "real" movie is in our heads; young people who have always seen films open in nearly every theatre in their circle of travel on the same Friday night don't share that feeling.

The other big difference is that they seem to be fairly indifferent to where they see a movie, be it on their big flat panel TV at home or in a theatre....it's all the same; it's much more about the movie title and much less about what device they see it. And the industry keeps pushing that - services are constantly touting that you can seen their content on ANY of your devices. If it can display an image, albeit whatever the resolution or the aspect ratio, you can catch whatever you want on it.

We see the Netflix moniker on a title and think, that's can't be a real movie...that's not even a real movie studio. Again, another antiquated idea. As it is, rarely do we see one studio name at the top of any release -- now you can sit through half a dozen company logos before the first frame of the movie (and most of them don't even have logo music!)

If the studios were ever to go back to tiered distribution which would require this generation to have to wait for a film to play in their town while it was release in a larger market, or to wait for it to come to their neighborhood theatre even though it played in a "flagship" theatre in a different part of town, it wouldn't suggest legitimacy to them, just annoyance. Instant gratification is their expected right. They'd probably just shrug and find it on a torrent site.

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Bobby Henderson
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Our generations are as much to blame for the collapse of the theatrical release window as anyone. I'm sure not going to place it mostly at the feet of millennials supposedly not caring when, where or how they watch a movie.

The chief culprits for this window collapse is bean counting executives at movie studios and parent media companies. They fund a bunch of these productions with borrowed money through all sorts of limited partnerships (hence all the production company logos on the front of so many movies). Getting a movie to play itself out as fast as possible is a way to pay back that borrowed money faster and cut down on interest payments. It's all an accounting game.

While it's true some big event movies had runs at certain flagship theaters for as much as a year or longer and that it literally took years for hit movies to travel across the nation's theaters, that style of theatrical release started dying out over 40 years ago in the 1970's. Premium cable TV channels, like HBO, showed movies un-cut. That was a big deal back in the mid 1970's. And it created a timeline demand to shift Hollywood movies from theaters to pay TV within a certain amount of time. Back then it still meant a couple of years or more. During that same era "blockbuster" releases like Jaws and Star Wars altered the theatrical release model, putting a much larger inventory of movie prints into more theaters faster. Then the home video boom hit in the 1980's. It still took a year or even two for a theatrical release to get onto home video and then to premium cable, but the time line had been well established. Wide releases were common and the roadshow release format was long dead.

Since the late 1980's we've seen the theatrical release window squeezed a little more and more over the years. The Matrix was released on DVD only 6 months after it first appeared in theaters, and the DVD was priced really cheap. That 6-9 months standard window held on for a long time. Meanwhile movie studios radically altered the global release model. They used to release movies in North America first and then spread it to other countries and continents later. These days it's pretty much done all at once world-wide. They say it's about eliminating piracy, but it's really about getting as much global box office money as fast as possible.

This thing with movies taking as little as 3 months to go from theaters to DVD/Blu-ray is a new thing. And the movies are showing up on the "HD Digital" download platform even earlier.

I think people from all age groups are bypassing theatrical releases. It's not just millennials. For one thing the teen thru thirty-something age demographic is still the biggest customer base for movie theaters, just like it has been for decades. There's plenty of Gen-X people my age getting the Kodi piracy boxes or using legal yet still home-based methods of movie watching.

People of all ages are frequently shopping online. They're buying more of their movies and music online, whether the entertainment is on physical disc or streamed. Brick and mortar retailers are closing all over the place. The video rental store is nearly extinct. And that has helped drive down physical media sales a great deal. Then there's the quality of the movies and music being sold today. That's driving down physical media sales even worse.

The movie industry does need to re-think how it releases movies if it wants to keep movie theaters and the traditional "Hollywood movie" platform alive. Big budget 2 hour movies can't exist without commercial movie theaters. The theatrical platform creates the funding for such features. TV alone can't create a revenue model able to justify spending $200 million on the production of just one 2 hour movie. When you look at the streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Prime Video it's easy to see that series TV is given far better visibility than traditional 2 hour movies. The "original content" made by those streaming services is given the best visibility of all. But there's so much of that kind of original content on Netflix, Prime Video and Hulu that it's tough to find anything else.

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Marcel Birgelen
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Netflix is quickly becoming the go-to source for the mindless binge-watcher, so their primary goal is to get content for those as quickly as possible and as cheap as possible, so they never leave the Netflix platform. That's also where most of the 8 or so billion US Dollars went to the last year. Only a small part of it really went into the few high-quality releases they put forward.

As for the theatrical release window, I guess they hate to acknowledge it, but they all, Netflix, Amazon and Alphabet/YouTube, seem to slowly come to the understanding that for a 2 hour, "premium release", nothing earns as much money in such a short time-frame, as a proper, successful theatrical release.

The release window might never go back to 6 or even 9 months, but I'm convinced it will reinstate itself to some reasonable extend, once those new kids on the block get hooked on potential Hollywood-esque sources of fresh money.

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Bobby Henderson
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My opinion is the traditional Hollywood movie studios are killing their 2 hour feature movie product line with the death of a thousand cuts with this short release window.

3 months is nothing for a window between theatrical and home video release. It's very easy to wait out that short a period of time to buy/rent a movie to watch at home for a mere fraction of what it costs to see in a commercial movie theater.

Maybe the studios don't give a shit, after all the long running joke in Hollywood has been that the real money is in television. Maybe they really want the traditional movie release paradigm to implode. I don't know.

From my perspective, home video sales and rentals are no longer the cash cow it was 15-20 years ago. Physical media sales are in the toilet, thanks in part to the brick and mortar retail apocalypse that only seems to be getting worse. Streaming services like Netflix are the other big factor ruining physical media sales. Companies like Netflix and Amazon are blowing huge sums of money producing their own content as well as licensing content not made by the handful of major studios in Hollywood. If a company like Disney thinks it has an outfit like Netflix or Amazon by the balls it had better think again. Those old studios are not the only game in town anymore. Disney's buyout of Marvel and Lucasfilm is going to play out for only so long.

The business model of the traditional Hollywood movie is becoming increasingly dependent on the theatrical release platform. Unfortunately there is ever less incentive for people to see a movie while it plays in a commercial theater. The very short, very easy to wait out release window is one thing. They need to extend that window back out to at least 6 months or more. And like Joe suggested, there should be a period of time where the movie isn't available to watch anywhere. There used to be a time waiting penalty for missing a movie when it was playing in theaters. There's ZERO penalty anymore. Then there's all the damned remakes and other derivative shit. Combine that with the current prices of tickets and snacks in the theater lobby. It encourages me to spend more of my free time binge watching some Netflix TV series rather than blowing a serious chuck of money for me and my girlfriend to see some been there, done that movie in a theater.

The movie studios have to get back to supporting the movie theaters and theatrical release model if they want feature movies to survive. They gotta cut it out with all these damned remakes, grow a pair of balls and actually take some damned chances on truly new ideas like they did decades ago. And they gotta penalize the people who choose to watch the movie at home on their TV set with a serious wait.

Back in the 70's or 80's anyone who missed a hugely popular movie during its theatrical release might have felt like an out of touch shut-in. Can't participate in that office water cooler talk about the cool scenes in that movie. "Oh well, you'll find out how great the movie was NEXT YEAR, dumb-ass!"

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