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Revamping the Movie Distribution Chain 165

Posted by Zonk
from the ignoring-history dept.
ianscot writes "Steve Soderberg's latest film will be released in a manner that directly challenges the traditional Hollywood distribution chain. Soderberg's been influenced by Mark Cuban, the dot-com billionaire who owns the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, and Todd Wagner, another dot-commer whose ideas about the movie business are radical departures. Wagner's financing this one. The movie, Bubble, is the first of six that Soderberg will film in HD video; all will be released simultaneously in theaters, as HDNet movies, and on DVDs." From the article: "As independents, Soderbergh and Wagner are willing to talk openly about subjects that are being hotly debated behind closed doors elsewhere in Hollywood. When Disney chief Robert Iger recently brought up the concept of shortening the window between theatrical release and DVD, he was fiercely criticised by the National Association of Theatre Owners."
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Revamping the Movie Distribution Chain

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  • Good! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by achew22 (783804) *
    I'm glad that someone is taking a logical look at the distribution system again. From what I understand this article to mean, the movie would be released as a DVD on the internet and simultaneously in theaters. WONDERFULL! I'm sick of paying $7 + $5 for movie popcorn and a drink when I could buy (to own forever) the movie later for $20 (provided I don't get it through another means before then). Two words are all it takes to describe my emotion... THANK YOU!!! I hope that this does well and others follow th
    • In Australia, $15 for a movie ticket, at least $8 for popcorn and a drink. And yes, a new release DVD does generally sell for $24.99.
    • Re:Good! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kfg (145172)
      Has the National Association of Theater Owners considered that they have pissed me off, and that's why I don't go to their theaters anymore?

      If they don't listen to my criticisms, why should I give a damn about theirs?

      KFG
    • Re:Good! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Saven Marek (739395)
      > WONDERFULL! I'm sick of paying $7 + $5 for movie popcorn and a drink
      > when I could buy (to own forever) the movie later for $20 (provided I don't get it
      > through another means before then).

      And not have to deal with a theater where two people bring kids in who whine in the movie or have to go pee ten times during the movie, a bunch of teenagers bring their cell phones in and text message each other with bright screens flashing around and they're the polite ones who don't leave their phone on and h
    • Good, but ironic (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kaan (88626)
      I agree, it's about time that we see some changes in the Hollywood world, but I think it's a bit ironic that Steven Soderbergh is the one pushing ahead.

      I think many/most of us would agree that Hollywood movies generally suck, and the experience is even worse when you factor in inflated ticket prices, bad (and expensive) movie food/snacks, noisy kids/cellphones, parking nightmares, etc. So it's interesting to me that it would be Soderbergh would leads the charge for us to leave that all behind. Because it'
      • by Dot.Com.CEO (624226) on Saturday September 24, 2005 @04:14AM (#13636895)
        Have you ever considered that the problem might not be with Hollywood or movie theatres but with your fellow citizens' basic inability to act in what would be considered a civilised manner?
        • Re:Good, but ironic (Score:3, Informative)

          by Itchy Rich (818896)

          Have you ever considered that the problem might not be with Hollywood or movie theatres but with your fellow citizens' basic inability to act in what would be considered a civilised manner?

          Last time I went to the cinema a couple behind us were whispering to each other in Polish for most of the film.

          The time before that, three girls down at the front were chatting at normal volume, then popped open a bottle of champaigne.

          Going to the cinema is a great experience, but it's by no means necessary to enj

          • > Most people have 'home cinema' setups these days anyway.

            I don't disagree with your comment overall, but what makes you think this above comment is true? I don't have a "home cinema" setup - I have a 27" TV, DVD and VHS players, and a stereo system. I like my stuff, but I wouldn't say it was a "cinema" experience exactly.

            I don't know, it just seems to me that you might be the kind of person that says things like: "Let them eat cake" because you have no sense of reality. I would say you were wrong about
            • I don't disagree with your comment overall, but what makes you think this above comment is true? I don't have a "home cinema" setup - I have a 27" TV, DVD and VHS players, and a stereo system. I like my stuff, but I wouldn't say it was a "cinema" experience exactly.

              I agree, 'home cinema' isn't the same as 'cinema'. It's a common term, I didn't invent it. We can debate the finer points of English usage if you like but I doubt it'd get us anywhere.

              I don't know, it just seems to me that you might be the

        • I don't know about you, but I've tried watching those arabic theater pirated films and the noise level is unacceptable. UNACCEPTALBE!

          :)

          Anyhow, lay off the American's there are assholes everywhere. We just get in the news more.
    • Re:Good! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by aussie_a (778472) on Saturday September 24, 2005 @03:36AM (#13636819) Journal
      I'm sick of paying $7 + $5 for movie popcorn and a drink

      A much simpler alternative to revamping the movie distribution system is to merely wait a few months for it to be released on DVD. You know people, not getting what you want IMMEDIATELY isn't a bad thing.
      • It had to be said. Thanks.

      • Re:Good! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by rkcallaghan (858110) on Saturday September 24, 2005 @04:15AM (#13636901)
        You know people, not getting what you want IMMEDIATELY isn't a bad thing.

        Taken independantly, your sentiment is certainly valid. Taken in the context of the article, on Slashdot, again it's alright -- the slashdot crowd more than most other cliques can tend to wait (or pirate it, and face it, lots of slashdotters do).

        But for most people, movies do need to be seen relatively soon as they come out. It's all about water cooler chitchat, and last years or last seasons movies don't cut it.

        This should really be taken to heart too -- Slashdot is filled with guys that can't socialize (and hence, get dates). To some degree, that is affected by an inability to realize that if someone asks you about the latest movie; they're trying to start a conversation -- not looking to get preached to about the evil movie industry.

        ~Rebecca
        • Re:Good! (Score:3, Informative)

          by aussie_a (778472)
          But for most people, movies do need to be seen relatively soon as they come out.

          Or what? They die?

          Slashdot is filled with guys that can't socialize (and hence, get dates). To some degree, that is affected by an inability to realize that if someone asks you about the latest movie; they're trying to start a conversation -- not looking to get preached to about the evil movie industry.

          Oooh, you're sure to get modded up. Criticizing slashdot and/or people who com here (bonus points for mentioning their
        • Re:Good! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by gmack (197796) <gmack&innerfire,net> on Saturday September 24, 2005 @06:48AM (#13637164) Homepage Journal
          Your falling into the classic "I need to know everything to be interesting" trap.

          Watercooler chitchat does not requre shared experiances as much as you think. It can actually be about sharing experiances as well.

          "Hey did you see the new movie?"

          "no .. how was it?"

          And *blam*, you have a conversation. It's that easy.
        • "Slashdot is filled with guys that can't socialize"

          Heh, I can socialize just fine. The trouble for slashdotters is finding people they actually want to talk and listen to.

    • Re:Good! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by kentrel (526003)
      Who's forcing you to pay $12 for food at the cinema? Eat your dinner at home.
    • Okay I have to ask a question, is it impossible in America to go to the movies and bring your own food and drinks? Furthermore is it impossible to sit through a movie without having something to eat or drink?

      Honestly I'd like to know, in my country you aren't bothered at the door if you are taking in a bottle of water and some food.
      • "is it impossible in America to go to the movies and bring your own food and drinks"

        It's against the rules of most theaters and frowned upon at the rest. You can sneak it in of course, and the theater can pursue no legal action if they catch you... However they can ask you to leave and they can have you arrested for trespassing if you refuse to leave.
      • In most US theaters you're not supposed to take anything in but they aren't at all effective at checking you.

        At the root of this is profiteering. But the other cause is US Health Codes and insurance, which generally prohibit places from selling food and letting you eat your own food.

        But at some theaters they have all manner of different rules. Some are expensive and serve fine cuisine and wine at your seat. Some are beer-based "Brew&View" theaters. Some of these sell liquor, some just let you bring
  • by moresheth (678206) on Saturday September 24, 2005 @02:34AM (#13636688)
    In two years, it will read:
    "all will be released simultaneously in theaters, as HDNet movies, on DVDs, and for download on iTunesVideo"
    • That is true for most movies today: Most movies are currently being "released simultaneously in theaters, as HDNet movies, on DVDs, and for download on your local friendly P2P network".

      And the main reason people use P2P networks is that

      a) it is, to most you people, the preferred distribution method and
      b) there is no "legal" alternative that is equally good.

      People would pay for legal P2P if they were given the option, the adult movie industry realized this years ago and are making billions using the on
  • Fast turnaround (Score:4, Informative)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday September 24, 2005 @02:35AM (#13636690) Homepage Journal
    When Disney chief Robert Iger recently brought up the concept of shortening the window between theatrical release and DVD, he was fiercely criticised by the National Association of Theatre Owners.

    The cycle is WAY shorter than it used to be. I remember back in the Bad Old Days(TM) when you would have to wait until a year after the movie left the theaters to see in on VHS. And that was only if the movie studio felt that the movie would do well resold on tape.

    Now we barely have to wait 3-4 months after its initial release before it appears in stores on DVD! It's so quick anymore, that sometimes it feels like it's on DVD as soon as it's out of the theater. I realize that for some people that may seem slow, but for those of us who remember, that's one hell of a fast turnaround! :-)
    • by zalas (682627) on Saturday September 24, 2005 @02:42AM (#13636706) Homepage
      ... is because generally it's higher resolution than DVDs and their sound system is usually better than what I have at home. Other reasons would be a social gathering or something. It's hardly ever the case that I go to watch movies because I can't wait for the DVDs to come out.
      • However, the arrival of 1920x1080 progressive-scan rear-projection TV's this Fall and the impending arrival of HD-DVD/Blu-Ray high-definition DVD's that take advantage of 1920x1080 progressive-scan resolution will pretty much erase the picture quality advantage of large screening rooms. After all, 1920x1080p is the same resolution used for digitally-recorded theatrical movies such as Star Wars Episodes II and III.

        Given all the hassles of watching a movie in a theater (high ticket prices, high concession pri
      • My reason for watching it at home is close to your reason for watching it at the theatre. Sound, most theatres tend to over do the bass, I have actually had to leave a movie because the sound was painful for me, got a refund and everything. I hate it when I can't hear the dialogue over the booming sound effects.
    • by jetkust (596906) on Saturday September 24, 2005 @02:56AM (#13636741)
      That's nothing. Back in the 1920s, we used to wait a whole 80 years before a movie came out on DVD. And we liked it. And nobody complained. Sure we'd be dead and burried by the time we saw it, but I'll be damned if it wasn't worth the wait. Ah, those were the days.
    • The reason for the quicker turnaround is theatres are now seen as one big advertisement for a movie. I guess the movie distributors have decided it's not very good to have an advertisement shown 12 months before the product is released. It wasn't always like that, with theatres being seen as advertisements for the movies, which is why there was once a longer turnaround.
    • You're not kidding. If memory serves it took something like 15 years for "E.T." to come to video from the theater. I believe it even had three runs at the theater before they released it.
  • NATO (Score:5, Funny)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday September 24, 2005 @02:41AM (#13636704) Homepage Journal
    he was fiercely criticised by the National Association of Theatre Owners.

    You know, he should be really careful about pissing off NATO. Otherwise he may find a nuke landing square on his doorstep! :-P

    (Thank you, thank you! I'll be here all night. Wait, no I won't. I'm going to bed.)
  • by pimpimpim (811140) on Saturday September 24, 2005 @02:48AM (#13636717)
    Good to see that some people in the industry (even from disney!?!) are actually trying to think along with the costumers instead of making their movie-watching lives miserable. Are you paying attention here, RIAA?

    This would also be a very good opportunity to get rid of the irritating DVD release zones. I think these zones are ment to align the DVD releases in all countries with the movie releases, which are also shifted around the world (what's actually wrong with one world-wide release date?).
    But what they actually do is just give you lots of trouble when anyone outside the US or Japan wants to order a DVD that's only available there (no matter how long ago it was released!), and then has to find a zone-free DVD-player, or heck their existing one, etc.
    Just stop with this crap, and you'll have a world-wide market for all your DVD's! Doesn't that sound nice?

    • Make no mistake. This is not about customer's movie watching lives. Its about profits.
    • And in addition to letting them release in different places, it also allows them to release at different prices in different areas. It also allows them to sell the rights to distribute to different companies in different areas.

      The different prices helps because if your product is the same everywhere, and you set a price people can actually afford to pay in a place with a low standard of living (say India), then your sellers in places with high standard of living, like the US and Europe will actually buy pro
  • What do you think will be the most popular format for purchase? I think either DVD or download by a bit. This is a nice idea and I hope others follow suit.
  • Slavery? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Mark Cuban, the dot-com billionaire who owns the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, and Todd Wagner
  • by Gallandro (885285) on Saturday September 24, 2005 @03:03AM (#13636758)

    At least people in the movie business are coming to grips with the reality that people have access to the movie via the internet as soon as it hits theaters anyway. At least this way they can make some money off of it.

    The sooner these content producers realize that change in their distribution sceme (and copyright in general) is inevitable and is a Good Thing(R) the sooner we can start seeing more people making more stuff, and more money flowing.

    I'm sure there were a few monks who weren't happy about the advent of the Luther bible, but they adapted and the bible is still a number one best seller. The film industry was terrified of the VCR, but now we see more movies getting made by more people and more money flowing. The Internet and "piracy" are just harbingers of another change in progress. Personally, I'm pretty excited for it to finally get here so I don't have to put up with being called a thief for downloading movies that I could legitimately get through my netflix subscription but don't feel like waiting for.

  • Wheeee! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ThresholdRPG (310239) on Saturday September 24, 2005 @03:20AM (#13636780) Homepage Journal
    I really hope the movies they make are good ones, and good sellers, or else this little experiment will lengthen the time it takes before this is common practice.

    The reality is that the whole process of seeing a movie in a theater continues to lose its luster. It is too expensive. The food and drinks keep getting more and more outrageous in price. It is too inconvenient. Even in pure performance, the theater is losing out - more and more people have equal or superior sound and visual quality in their home theaters.

    Also, it is better to sell copies of your movie immediately and eliminate one of the biggest reasons people pirate movies over the internet.

    This is a huge boon to people with children. Going to see a movie is a pretty tough task when you have kids (not to mention, the expense is astronomical).

  • by Sundroid (777083) on Saturday September 24, 2005 @03:21AM (#13636782) Homepage
    Steven Soderbergh's "3-pronged attack" is being watched closely by Hollywood. This Theater-Cable-DVD simultaneous release of a new movie to the public is actually one of the counter measures against privacy movie people have thought about but never really dared to try. So, give Mr. Soderbergh a chance, and maybe years down the line they might even use words like "pioneer" to describe him.

    "Bubble", shot for $1.6 million, may be a cheapo in Hollywood standard, but Soderbergh was serious enough to use the same high-definition camera George Lucas used for two "Star Wars" movies, as described in a New York Times article (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/22/movies/22bubb.h tml [nytimes.com]).
    • ...give Mr. Soderbergh a chance, and maybe [he'll be judged a] "pioneer"

      Without listing his filmography, note merely that Soderbergh's movies have ranged from the sublimely gripping to the ridiculously inaccessible ...largely by his choice, IMO. It'll be interesting to see how the fledgling tech/marketing context informs his current efforts. (I.e., you'd typically expect a low-cost movie from him to require a Sherpa... but maybe not this time...)

  • by bloodstar (866306) <blood_star@@@yahoo...com> on Saturday September 24, 2005 @03:25AM (#13636794) Journal

    Primarily because the Theatres only get a tiny fraction of any box office recipts when a movie first opens, then as the weeks pass, their percentage goes up. Sure, they make a ton of money off of popcorn and candy, But when you're paying 7 or 8 bucks to see a movie, 95 - 99 percent of that goes straight to the Movie Companies. So, if the Movie Companies continue to shorten the life of a first run movie, those Theatre owners are going to have to adapt or die.

    So they're fighting to maintain some sort of status quo. It's not right or wrong, it's just why they will fight this so hard.

    I suppose the next question is, At what point will major, non sucky, movies get released straight to DVD (or whatever media is in vogue)? Currently straight to video is a pretty strong indication that a movie is sucky. How much longer before that will not be true?

    • when you're paying 7 or 8 bucks to see a movie, 95 - 99 percent of that goes straight to the Movie Companies.

      Which is just another way of saying that the movie companies are, themselves, the problem.

      KFG
    • maybe less popular movies can be released directly to dvd?
    • I don't care that theater owners hate this idea. In fact, that makes me love this idea. Anything that will force the theaters to change their ways is a great thing. I don't go out to the movies because 1) they charge way too much, 2) they show commericals, and 3) they let the annoying audience members get away with talking on their cell phones, making way too much noise, and just being all around jerks.

      Give me a great movie experience for the $10 you're charging me. Make sure your theaters are CLEAN, an
      • Great, another 'expert' with no clue about business. You do realise that the cinemas make next to no money from ticket prices? They make their money largely from the food and drink.

        You say that it's too expensive, then you want them to employ more expensive staff? This doesn't add up. Did you skip maths lessons at school? Here's a hint in case anyone reads your post: hiring more projectionists and more skilled workers costs more money. This money will go on your ticket price. Then you'll be whining that the
        • The problem here is the business model that does not allow theaters to make any money on the actual box office receipts. Why should the studio get to keep $10 per person? Consumers are obviously not willing to pay more and will stay away from theaters if things get worse, so the obvious answer is to let theater owners keep some of the ticket price. Studios will predictably be too stupid to allow this to happen and will eventually lose money once they drive theaters out of business. Who would want to start a
          • Who would want to start a new theater at this point

            The studios will. If they drive the independant theatres out of business, they will NEED to open them. With out the theatres, movie profits will decline rapidly. It is the opening week that defines a movies prospects. Without the exposure of theatrical releases DVD sales will decrease, the amount they can charge HBO,SHOWTIME,ET AL will decrease, and so on.
        • Great, another 'expert' with no clue about business. You do realise that the cinemas make next to no money from ticket prices? They make their money largely from the food and drink.

          Uh huh, and why do we care again about their poor choice of business model?

          You say that it's too expensive, then you want them to employ more expensive staff? This doesn't add up. Did you skip maths lessons at school? Here's a hint in case anyone reads your post: hiring more projectionists and more skilled workers costs more
    • So, if the Movie Companies continue to shorten the life of a first run movie, those Theatre owners are going to have to adapt or die.

      Personally, I think the only was theatres can adapt to win me back is by targetting popcorn-throwers and babies with megawatt lasers.

      --Rob

      • by targetting popcorn-throwers and babies with megawatt lasers.

        Of course, I meant this:

        by targetting (popcorn-throwers and babies) with megawatt lasers

        and not this:

        by targetting popcorn-throwers and (babies with megawatt lasers)

        --Rob

  • by MikeFM (12491) on Saturday September 24, 2005 @03:27AM (#13636797) Homepage Journal
    What we really need is open content movies (commercial or community projects) that are available with source materials, have no DRM, and can be freely edited, redistributed, etc.

    It'd be a perfect project for theatre students, film students, etc. Write their own script, produce their own movie, and release it online. If small companies and community groups don't have the resources to create the next Hollywood blockbuster then surely they do have the resources to create something of the quality we may have seen from the 80's or before (pre-CGI). Possibly even explore ideas that Hollywood has ignored. This kind of grassroots movie is what independent films should be.
    • Possibly even explore ideas that Hollywood has ignored. This kind of grassroots movie is what independent films should be.

      If I may make a reference?
      Cartman: Naw dude, Independent films are those black and white hippy movies. They're always about gay cowboys eating pudding.
  • by nietsch (112711) on Saturday September 24, 2005 @04:04AM (#13636877) Homepage Journal
    Band routinely sell merchandise and CD's after concerts. You've seen the band and as a souvenir you can buy the album for usually less than retail prices.

    For films something similar could be done: You have seen the movie, and you were -no doubt- very impressed. A very good mindset for the merchant that is offering the DVD right at the exit(at a less then retail price). Instead of complaining, theatre owners should grasp this golden opportunity.
    • Ah should have read the article before posting...:
      "I want them to sell 'Bubble' DVDs in the theatre lobby," Soderbergh says, smiling.

      Maybe they will only sell the DVD if you have a ticket for it, otherwise you could be buying the whole lineup the cinema is running, and not return to spend more money.
    • Well, I know that I've walked out of a theatre a few times wanting to immediately get a DVD and see the movie again. On occasions such as those, I'd certainly have the desire to buy it right then and there.
    • Blockbuster is doing something similar with their "no late fees". A movie rental is something like $4.75 (which seems a bit high, but anyway), and on the receipt it says "if you return it within 15 days, no late fee; if you keep it after 15 days then we charge you $5.05 and you own the movie."

      So for under $10, one can own a just-released DVD.

  • by ErikZ (55491)
    Am I the only one holding off on DVD purchases because I'm waiting for the new HD disks?

    I figure some shows won't ever be re-done into HD, I'm betting that most of the profitable movies will be.

    Here's hoping for an early release of HD-Ghostbusters.
  • There are two reasons why I am less and less interested in going to a movie theater instead of watching it on DVD, even if it is months later:

    Too expensive. And that is just the film. Factor in popcorn and coke, and the price for one evening is enough for me to rent the film many times over. Family outings are simply prohibitively expensive.

    Too fuzzy. The quality of the picture in your average cinema is inexcusable. Maybe it is because I spend my life in front of a DVI screen and watch DVDs on a fairly

    • Unless you have been going to some very "out-of-the-norm" cinema, DVD cannot compare to what you'll see on the 'big screen.' Now, i'm not going to say that sitting on your couch in your underwear isn't more comfy than sitting in a folding chair with gum stuck to it and one of the armrests missing, but at least from a technical standpoint, the bigscreen still trumps the dvdplayer.

      Simply put, when film is scanned for digital manipulation (color correction, digital effects, etc), it's scanned at either "2k
      • That's all as maybe, but all that resolution doesn't cure what is actually pissing me off: Scratches on the film, blurry spots, and films that are simply not in focus. I have none of those problems at home, and until cinemas fix those, home is where I will stay, even if that means taking a hit in resolution.
      • The reason is simple: the arrival of 1080p rear-projection TV's (and soon front digital projectors) that sport 1920x1080 resolution (you can get them from Samsung NOW and soon from Sony) and the impending arrival of HD-DVD/Blu-Ray high-definition DVD's that take advantage of 1080p resolution.

        Once that combination becomes widely available by middle to late 2006, you'll get picture quality on home TV's that--while it might not have the absolute resolution of film--will have consistently good brightess, consis
    • Too expensive. And that is just the film. Factor in popcorn and...

      No kidding. My Bride just got done lining up a sitter for tonight. Looked at what was showing in the movie theaters, and somehow she convinced me it was about the same as picking up tickets for Corteo Cirque du Soleil and going for supper at a nice restaurant near by. Dang, things got spendy...

      (I suspect I'm the victim of a Jedi mind trick... but can't prove anything)
  • While I think some small, niche, indie films would do fine with a big screen, net, and DVD release at the same time, it is not going to be the next big thing. The main reason has to do with the role nationwide movie theater showings have. If you look at it for a minute, by doing a national release you get a level of publicity above and beyond anything you could ever pay for. Every newspaper in the country runs film reviews for new movies that open. Coming Attraction shows promote films. And there are t
  • by sane? (179855) on Saturday September 24, 2005 @05:16AM (#13637017)
    This is just the next step along a path to the distribution of experience. Originally entertainment required you to be physically present at the performance, in the theatre. Film allowed the replication of the experience countrywide, at the same standard. It also allowed more expansive epics to be produced than would have been the case in the theartre. You couldn't get the same level of experience at home with the TV, and hence there was a reason for the movie theatre. With home theatre approaching the standard that the customer sees in the movie theatre, its only natural that there will be another sea change in the business.

    To survive the movie theatres have to take a leaf out of the book of the stage theatres and make the total experience something that is worthwhile - something that you can't get at home. There are a few approaches they could take:
    - 3D on large immersive screens, to put you in the middle of the action in a way that home cinema can't. We can already see that on the starting blocks.
    - lower cost and closer. Reduce the barriers to attendance by making it easier to attend.
    - improve the total experience. Turn some of the space over to dining, include discussions and explainations, competitions, free DVD copies - making the film part of a larger event that people are more likely to stump up for. This is akin to the way the stage theatre has become an 'event' rather than a norm.

    Whichever direction is taken, its obvious that the status quo has no hope of continuing. Within five years the distribution model will have switched, and with it will go a blurring of the line between TV and movie. Smart theatre owners will be starting to shift now.

    • by CDS (143158)
      Our local theater is doing just that. They are attempting to turn the theater experience into more than just a movie.

      The first thing they did was expand their snackbar. Previously, you could get popcorn, a Coke, and some candy. That was about it. They added a fast-food line (burgers, chicken sandwiches, fries, etc).

      They then started special screenings of movies. "Mommy & Me" movies -- regular movies (not necessarily kids shows) but screened in the afternoons and early evenings, with the lights turn
  • Next week, Carlito's Way: Rise to Power hits DVD shelves and theaters.
  • When Disney chief Robert Iger recently brought up the concept of shortening the window between theatrical release and DVD, he was fiercely criticised by the National Association of Theatre Owners."

    It is no surprise that the theater owners would be pissed about such a plan. I have read that the release schedule in Hong Kong went to a "day and date" release plan like Cuban is promoting and that within a year, 75+% of the theaters in the city were out of business.

    So, theater owners in the USA will be kicking
  • Not all, mind you, but most of them. Effectively speaking, most movies run at a loss on their theatrical run, when you add the cost of making the movie to the advertising budget for the theatrical run and the distribution costs to the theatrical run. Most of the money of a movie and the ones that put the studios in the black come from the home entertainment division, which handles DVDs, television licensing, not to mention other merchandise from books.

    The studios are aware that if they continue to shrink th
  • I realize this may seem odd, but to many of us who are regulars here on slash dot, the 'social experience' is about as foreign as being an alien grey. But, it should not be forgotten that going to the movies is 'an event'. Far far cheaper than going to see a play or attend opera or a concert. Much more easy to schedule on the fly. And the world is full of folks who do not have the paragon of home entertainment systems.

    Sure, we can stay home, watch the DVD and have pizza delivered. But it is not the
    • You're absolutely right.

      I love movies. My home DVD collection [dvdaficionado.com] is sitting at 190+ titles and keeps growing. I'm one of those people with an amazing home theatre system. While the screen is much, much smaller then the movie theatre, the sound system I have blows away anything I've seen (well, heard) in the multiplex.

      But I still go to movies because I enjoy the experience. Sometimes I'll even go to the movies by myself. No matter how much money you pour into a home theatre, barring building a room in you
  • The studios have a monopoly on each movie. So, to maximize profits, they have to charge every person the maximum amount of money that they can pay.

    So the guy who only wants to pay for a ticket on the local theater, just pays them 5 dollars (remember, the studio DOES NOT make money on popcorn sold at the theater). The guy that wants to cough up $15, $20 or $30 dollars on a DVD, does so, and the guy who wants to download the movie, pays whatever they charge it.

    Yes, they may lose on the people that goes to th
  • Simultaneous release of DVDs will pretty much make movie piracy by hidden camcorders obsolete, along with the movie industry's expensive campaign to detect or jam the cameras. Instead of industry insiders being responsible for 80% of illegal copies like they are now, it'll be closer to 100%. Then maybe the movie companies will have no choice but to stop blaming their problem on the public and clean up their own act.

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