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MPAA Touts Record Year For Hollywood 187

Posted by kdawson
from the losing-money-but-making-it-up-in-volume dept.
proudhawk writes "A blog posting in p2pnet today catches MPAA boss Dan Glickman at the ShoWest convention in Las Vegas crowing about Hollywood's profitable year: 'Today, we stand on a new mountaintop, and I have to say: I like the view... We had about 5 percent growth in both the domestic and worldwide box office, all-time highs on both fronts reminding us once again that good stories well told always find a place in our hearts, our lives and our local theaters.' What ever happened to the ravages of online piracy?"
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MPAA Touts Record Year For Hollywood

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  • scapegoat (Score:5, Insightful)

    by User 956 (568564) on Wednesday March 12, 2008 @12:18AM (#22725156) Homepage
    What ever happened to the ravages of online piracy?

    the "ravages of online piracy" excuse is for years when they knowingly put out complete garbage and don't want to own up to it.
    • Re:scapegoat (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Barny (103770) <bakadamage-slashdot@yahoo.com> on Wednesday March 12, 2008 @01:03AM (#22725358) Homepage Journal
      Not to mention "the ravages" speech is for the press and legislators, the "zomg we did well this year" is for shareholders and equity firms :)
      • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Wednesday March 12, 2008 @02:09AM (#22725628) Journal
        Seems to me the world would be a better place if they got that backwards one year.

        I wish I was in a position to organize just such a screw-up. Just swap the press releases...

        No, wait, I don't condone such underhanded tactics. May as well be blunt and honest. Where's my cluebat?
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by packeteer (566398)
        This means we have failed. If they abuse their customers and still make record profits, we are losing. If they can do this to us and nobody stands up for themselves, they almost deserve it. Why do people keep crawling back to RIAA and MPAA media when there is more out there. I am embarrassed that their tactics are working. They might not be stopping p2p but i dont think they really want to. As long as they are making record profits it makes all their efforts worth it.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by somersault (912633)

          MPAA media when there is more out there


          Such as? Youtube family/idiot shorts? No thanks.
      • by mcmonkey (96054)

        Not to mention "the ravages" speech is for the press and legislators, the "zomg we did well this year" is for shareholders and equity firms :)

        Just like how when you meet with your boss to discuss your year end bonus, "we've had a tough year, changing marketplace, etc." But when the CEO addresses shareholders, "pie in the sky!"

    • Re:scapegoat (Score:4, Insightful)

      by cp.tar (871488) <cp.tar.bz2@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 12, 2008 @02:13AM (#22725650) Journal

      What ever happened to the ravages of online piracy?

      the "ravages of online piracy" excuse is for years when they knowingly put out complete garbage and don't want to own up to it.

      No... you see, all this anti-piracy legislation and activism seems to be getting Results.

      Therefore, they will do more in the same vein.

    • Re:scapegoat (Score:4, Insightful)

      by diggyk (900186) on Wednesday March 12, 2008 @03:01AM (#22725816)
      He said record BOX OFFICE sales, not DVD or Video sales. Piracy hurts Hollywood in the ongoing sales and royalties business. And it isn't the Hollywood execs that lose the most: it is the people like union workers, cameramen, grips, and even sysadmins that lose their jobs. The execs always stay rich.
      • Re:scapegoat (Score:4, Interesting)

        by rhyder128k (1051042) on Wednesday March 12, 2008 @07:18AM (#22726578) Homepage
        I don't have mod points. But absolutely. I don't think that anyone ever claimed that movie piracy was set effect box office takings. Still /. keeps rolling this sort of thing out as "proof".

        To look at it another way, if takings were down because the content was rubbish, why is it that profits for the thing that can't be pirated have increased and the profits for the thing that can be pirated are down?
        • Re:scapegoat (Score:4, Insightful)

          by ScrewMaster (602015) on Wednesday March 12, 2008 @07:57AM (#22726722)
          why is it that profits for the thing that can't be pirated have increased and the profits for the thing that can be pirated are down?

          Or, to look at it yet another way, you're inferring cause and effect, Mr. Glickman.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by themacks (1197889)
          Because they saw it in the theater and decided it wasn't worth buying.
        • Re:scapegoat (Score:5, Informative)

          by schon (31600) on Wednesday March 12, 2008 @09:12AM (#22727188)

          I don't think that anyone ever claimed that movie piracy was set effect box office takings
          You [michaelgeist.ca] think [fightfilmtheft.org] wrong. [havocscope.com]

          They've been crying for years that camcorded copies are reducing box-office take.

          Seriously, if you're gonna post complete and utter bullshit, you should make sure that it's not to an audience that knows it's complete and utter bullshit.
          • They've been crying for years that camcorded copies are reducing box-office take.
            Well, I remember when they were arguing that VCR's would bring an end to movie theaters.
          • by gsslay (807818)
            Just what exactly are you linking to there? Cos I don't see any reference anywhere about box office takings being affected by camcorder piracy.

            If you're going to post made-up bullshit, you should at least try finding websites with the same bullshit to reference.
      • Re:scapegoat (Score:4, Interesting)

        by slashname3 (739398) on Wednesday March 12, 2008 @10:11AM (#22727696)
        As you point out they are talking about box office receipts only. But lets see in the last year they upped the price of tickets at those box offices by more than the 5% they are claiming it increased. So with fewer people going to the movies they still recorded an increase at the box office due to the increased prices placed on those that are still going to the movies.

        Seems like a 5% increase is at about the same rate or lower than inflation.

        Wake me up again when they report NUMBERS OF TICKETS SOLD as the metric vs. the amount of money collected. That would be a better measure showing if they actually increased viewership or not.
        • Wake me up again when they report NUMBERS OF TICKETS SOLD as the metric vs. the amount of money collected.

          This information is available although you may have to dig to find it. Movie attendance at the theatre is declining and has been for years. And that is only half the story. With overall population numbers increasing, and absolute numbers of moviegoers decreasing, the percentage of people as a total of the population going to the movies is even lower. Market share is decreasing; people are spending their
      • Re:scapegoat (Score:5, Informative)

        by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Wednesday March 12, 2008 @10:49AM (#22728078)
        "Piracy hurts Hollywood in the ongoing sales and royalties business. And it isn't the Hollywood execs that lose the most: it is the people like union workers, cameramen, grips, and even sysadmins that lose their jobs."

        Funny. Those guys have already been paid by the time the movie is released. The execs, however, are the ones that stand to make money by the continual sales of completed works.

        That is beside the point, however. The DVD industry has an 'open your mouth and close your eyes' business model. You cannot take a movie back if it sucks. So long as that is the case, there'll always be a 'market' for piracy. They're attempting to fight it by making that demand even stronger.

        I work in Hollywood and frankly piracy isn't on my list of job-related fears at all. The execs pissing off audiences, however....
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Maxo-Texas (864189)
        All this ignores the facts that

        a) compensation levels in hollywood are way above norm.
        b) most pirated material would not have been purchased at anywhere near retail prices*
        c) a lot of piracy leads to sales that would not have otherwise occured**
        d) there are many, many, many forms of entertainment competing for our entertainment time and money***

        ---

        * Filling an ipod at retail- $10,000. This just isn't going to happen. That's after taxes. So that's like taking a $20k cut in pay after taxes. JUST to fill t
        • "a) compensation levels in hollywood are way above norm."

          This isn't really true. There are lots of, for lack of a better term, grunts that are needed to make a movie, and they're not paid above norm. For every one guy you get making oodles of cash there are probably 20 people making just enough to get by in Los Angeles.
      • by vimh42 (981236)
        Sorta. Much of their pirating concerns are over people who get their hands on the movies prior or during its theatre release. Then all those pirates don't drive up box office sales.

        And everybody but the execs get screwed regardless.
  • by bigstrat2003 (1058574) * on Wednesday March 12, 2008 @12:22AM (#22725184)
    This doesn't contradict the "ravages of piracy" at all. Instead, the MPAA will say, "See, look! We cracked down on pirates and had a record year! CRACK DOWN HARDER!", as a justification for their future activities.
  • Dream World (Score:5, Funny)

    by cjfs (1253208) on Wednesday March 12, 2008 @12:27AM (#22725198) Homepage Journal

    What ever happened to the ravages of online piracy?
    The "reminding us once again that good stories well told always find a place in our hearts, our lives and our local theaters" should have clued you in they weren't talking about current movies ;)
  • Box office? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AdamHaun (43173) on Wednesday March 12, 2008 @12:35AM (#22725226) Journal
    Do "box office" revenues include DVD sales?

    • by Blakey Rat (99501)
      Depends; do you buy DVDs at the box office?

      (Seriously, though, box office means theater viewers. It's about the most clear and unambiguous term in the industry.)
  • Box office sales (Score:5, Insightful)

    by usul294 (1163169) on Wednesday March 12, 2008 @12:35AM (#22725228)
    They are saying box office revenues increased. Piracy most likely hurts DVD sales and rentals more than going to a theater. There is a big difference between a movie theater and a DIVX movie on you 17 inch LCD monitor, or if you are more crafty, a bigger TV. Its the equivalent of saying "box office revenues went up despite the rampant use of recordable media in the home". From my experience, a movie you go and spend $10 on plus refreshments, and gas (plus potentially someone else's ticket and refreshments) is not something you would download instead.
    • by Blkdeath (530393) on Wednesday March 12, 2008 @12:43AM (#22725272) Homepage

      They are saying box office revenues increased. Piracy most likely hurts DVD sales and rentals more than going to a theater. There is a big difference between a movie theater and a DIVX movie on you 17 inch LCD monitor, or if you are more crafty, a bigger TV. Its the equivalent of saying "box office revenues went up despite the rampant use of recordable media in the home". From my experience, a movie you go and spend $10 on plus refreshments, and gas (plus potentially someone else's ticket and refreshments) is not something you would download instead.

      Well I don't know where you get your downloaded movies, but I can get 720p movies compressed with H.264 accompanied by Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound and enjoy it on my rather nice home theatre system viewed on my 60" Sony HD television set. Oh, and I can watch it on my schedule and serve whatever refreshments suit my own fancy. If I want chicken tika masala, by god I'll have it! And I'll wash it down with a crisp lager, thankyouverymuch.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 12, 2008 @01:10AM (#22725390)
        Sounds like you're making up for never having a date to take to the movies. :P
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 12, 2008 @03:33AM (#22725906)
        So you have a $5,000 TV but too cheap to pay $20 a month for unlimited blockbuster dvd and bluray rentals?
      • by svunt (916464) on Wednesday March 12, 2008 @03:59AM (#22725964) Homepage Journal
        If you live in the US, you're still missing out...the films you watch in HD at home aren't the same movies that you can see at the cinema, they're last year's box office stories. Now, here in Australia, a great many films end up on my big screen via an .mkv file on the hard drive well before they hit the local cinema :D
      • [...] and enjoy it on my rather nice home theatre system viewed on my 60" Sony HD television set.
        Go go £20 2nd-hand projector projecting a 4' (48", 1.2m) approx picture. It's like being in the cinema, but with a comfortable chair and better food.

        Much better than my 17" combi tv/dvd thing.
      • Well I don't know where you get your downloaded movies, but I can get 720p movies compressed with H.264 accompanied by Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound and enjoy it on my rather nice home theatre system viewed on my 60" Sony HD television set. Oh, and I can watch it on my schedule and serve whatever refreshments suit my own fancy. If I want chicken tika masala, by god I'll have it! And I'll wash it down with a crisp lager, thankyouverymuch.

        And if I want crack and hookers to complement my fine pirated film, then so be it! In fact, forget the film..

  • Pointless argument (Score:3, Interesting)

    by edwardpickman (965122) on Wednesday March 12, 2008 @12:38AM (#22725246)
    No one is saying piracy is having a dramatic affect on film sales yet. It will eventually. Saying it never will is a silly argument because it's had a dramatic affect on music sales. The real point to make would be what would have film sales been without any piracy? It was 5% with piracy what if it was 7% without? 2% a tiny number? Actually no you're talking 200 million in looses if that was the case. Just look at South East Asia and China. Film sales are near zero inspite of US films being very popular. It's virtually a 100% pirated content. If people had to pay $20 instead of $1 or $2 there would be fewer films sold but still the industry is loosing hundreds of millions and conceivably billions in those markets to piracy. The whole argument itself is pointless because people that pirate don't want to change and the industry doesn't want to work for free so as piracy grows like in the music industry they either find another way to make money off films, in film commercials, product placement, etc, or they go out of business. I've yet to hear of another model that can support the industry so likely high budget films will die slowly over the next 20 years. They are preparing to spend hundreds of millions on 3D projection systems to try to hang onto box office growth but it's a desperation move and it won't save theatrical films in the long run. Take away the financial incentives for making movies and you're left with people in the midwest making Star Trek knock offs in their garages and rednecks running their bicycles into trees on Youtube for entertainment.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ganjadude (952775)
      there is a HUGE difference is downloading a movie and printing copies and selling them for a profit. some people tend to download first, if they like the movie they will buy it on DVD and if its good enough go see it in the theater. Lets face it a good movie is still better on the big screen than on a PC. SO all this does IMO is give the producers incentive to stop putting out crap movies, and start making products that are worth something.
      • by mlts (1038732) * on Wednesday March 12, 2008 @02:05AM (#22725612)
        The confusion between someone copying a movie from a P2P network for no profit and a criminal organization deliberately making unauthorized counterfeit copies of movies to sell in stores is a difference that a lot of groups want the line blurred.

        Counterfeiting is truly theft, as each single counterfeit copy takes a sale away from a genuine firm. The other is not theft, but IP infringement, which is not considered a criminal offense in most countries (although there are a lot of deep pockets wanting to change that.)
    • by Freaky Spook (811861) on Wednesday March 12, 2008 @12:56AM (#22725328)
      No one is saying piracy is having a dramatic affect on film sales yet. It will eventually.

      That's partly true I think but the drive in Piracy would be more due to the way the studios try to fragment their markets in different regions, to maximise their own profits.

      The internet has made the planet a truly global community and they have to relase globally, not try to stagger around the planet with Theatrical releases/DVD Releases and even different dates for TV premiere's.

      In Australia we still cannot get video/TV on iTunes because of this or get access to other such online content because its all being restricted, so many people resort to pirace to see what they want and not wait 3-6 months(Up to a year some times) later.

      Like the music industry the movie industry will only end up hurting itself by trying to contain online content rather then let it flourish in an open market, the more they put online for fair prices the more people will pay. Just take phone ring tones as an example of how people are willing to spend money on absolute crap. If more people could get movies at those prices they would be making huge sales.

      • by G-funk (22712)
        A year? You wish! Some programs are further behind than that. We're a couple of years behind in Top Gear, for example, and about 12 or 13 years behind in Iron Chef (unfortunately two of my fave programs).
    • by invader_vim (1243902) on Wednesday March 12, 2008 @01:09AM (#22725382)

      [piracy]'s had a dramatic affect on music sales.

      Actually, a joint study by Harvard and University of North Carolina (CNET news story here [com.com], pdf link to original study available from the article) suggests that filesharing has almost zero effect on CD sales. Admittedly it is a few of years old now (March 2004) and is by no means exhaustive; however, the conclusions are still relevant and suggest that there are greater influences on music sales than piracy (despite what the RIAA would like us to believe).

      • After reading the article and not the study, I'm a little confused about how they test these things. How can they tell if a file-sharer, never having access to such illegal applications of the technology, would not have bought more copyrighted material in its absence? The article said that the study simply followed their downloading habits for 17 weeks, but not how it ascertained whether or not they would've bought any or all the copyrighted material they were pirating. Surely they weren't just comparing do
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by CSMatt (1175471)
          The only way to find out how much media those who were studied decided to buy legally is to ask, which is of course is like asking someone if he or she smokes pot. The illicit nature of the act will cause anyone you survey to immediately deny doing such a thing in the first place and many may even appear to take a very pro-enforcement side just to shake off any suspicion.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by tinkerghost (944862)
          There is another study that correlates p2p network spikes with CD sales numbers. If p2p is really causing a drop in CD sales, there should be a corresponding drop in CD sales. Not only isn't there a drop, there appears to be a slight rise in CD sales following p2p spikes. While there is no doubt that p2p has trimmed off some CD sales, it doesn't appear to be anywhere close to the order of magnitude the RIAA quotes it as.
          • by magicchex (898936)
            I think you're looking at the correlation wrong in this example. I don't think the causal effect is between the rise in p2p downloads and CD sales. I think overall, p2p downloads lower the amount of CD sales; however, the release of a new popular CD will cause BOTH p2p downloads and CD sales to increase. Both will increase, but as a result of the release of the CD, not because of a causal relationship between the two of them. At least that's what makes sense to me in this example.
            • The missing element to your analysis is that the CD sales increase follows the p2p increase, not 'is synchronized with'. A pre-release CD on the p2p networks generally doesn't make a statistical spike (I am sure there have been exceptions) - therefor a sales rise in CDs should be synchronized with or preceed the rise in p2p traffic. I think a better understanding could be developed if you looked at traffic vs singles downloads vs CD sales & had the capability to track release spikes on the CD & sing
    • by CSMatt (1175471)
      Suggesting that "piracy" is the primary contributor to slipping RIAA profits is a bit naive. Tune in to your local Top 40 station and you'll see that most music today isn't even worth listening to, much less buying.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sm62704 (957197)
        Tune in to your local Top 40 station and you'll see that most music today isn't even worth listening to, much less buying.

        My hypothesis is that the reason radio sucks so much today is the best artists are going independant, realizing that they have no use, let alone need, for a major label contract. The internet and affordable recording and duplication have made the 20th century record label obsolete, yet the labels still offer the same shitty contracts to artists.

        Why would any artist worth his salt today s
    • Let's do the math...

      $19.99 for a movie I'll see once.
      vs
      5 hours of downloading the picture (plus maintaining my ratio... plus occasionally bad movies... plus acceptable but lower resolution than a DVD with occasional embarrassing block glitches).

      Hmmm. The download wins.

      ---
      $4.99 for a movie I'll see once.
      vs
      5 hours of downloading the picture (plus maintaining my ratio... plus occasionally bad movies... plus acceptable but lower resolution than a DVD with occasional embarrassing block glitches).

      Hmmm. I'll buy
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday March 12, 2008 @12:45AM (#22725286)
    Without them, it could have been a 6 percent increase and I could buy a new ferrar... erh, I mean, yeah, right, where is the neck-breaking pirates now?

    Seriously, people. The three driving emotions for people are greed, fear and greed. And the more you have, the bigger your greed gets. You have 5 percent increase (when everyone else is struggling to stay in business or have any kind of profit at all)? Doesn't mean jack, you want 6. You want 7. You want 10. And you could have 10 percent more income if it wasn't for all those who copy the content. It would be 15 if you could force people to throw away their VHS tapes. Hell, it could be 30 percent if you could force them to throw away DVDs!

    It could be 50 percent if you could make those BluRays die after playing them 10 times. It could be 100 percent if you can make them so they die right after playing the movie once! It could be 200 percent when they couldn't play the movie at all... erh...

    Well, if they still buy it that is.

    And that's what this is about. The studios want more. They are not satisfied by having more than everyone else, they're not satisfied with having the best year of their existance, they're not satisfied with making a plus when the economy as a whole is struggling to avoid that big bad word that starts with an r and ends in cession. they want to have more than they already have. And they see some way to make more (i.e. crack down on those that copy), so they try to get rid of them. If they found a way to make you pay for every time you watch that movie, they would gladly do so.

    And I'm fairly sure the next generation of players will have some sort of internet connection that enforces something like that.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      And thus the (fatal?) flaw of capitalism: it has no regard for sustainability. Seriously, we can't always keep increasing everything. We'll run out of resources real quick that way.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sm62704 (957197)
      The three driving emotions for people are greed, fear and greed.

      No, not for people. Only for those who worship the almighty dollar. Yes, there are a few at slashdot. But for most people the three driving emotions are fear, despair, and desperation. We are fearful, despairing, and desparate because of the selfish greedheads we produce the wealth for.
    • by kz45 (175825)
      "they're not satisfied with having the best year of their existance, they're not satisfied with making a plus when the economy as a whole is struggling to avoid that big bad word that starts with an r and ends in cession. they want to have more than they already have. And they see some way to make more (i.e. crack down on those that copy), so they try to get rid of them. If they found a way to make you pay for every time you watch that movie, they would gladly do so."

      I want more than I already have..it's ca
      • by PitaBred (632671)
        What is it you say, you aren't spending any money reading the comments on slashdot? Shame on you. You should buy a subscription, you leech!

        A person may have worked very hard on the song, but the organization worked very hard to screw them over. Artists aren't kids, but they aren't lawyers either. Artists (especially new ones) are taken advantage of more times than not in the contracts.

        Also note that music and movies are part of our culture. We want to participate in the culture, but only when we feel t
        • by kz45 (175825)
          "What is it you say, you aren't spending any money reading the comments on slashdot? Shame on you. You should buy a subscription, you leech!"

          Now you are just trolling. Slashdot is paid for by the advertisements. If there was a paid section and I had an account that I had gotten for free (1 person paid and gave it to all of his friends) then, I would be a leech.

          "A person may have worked very hard on the song, but the organization worked very hard to screw them over. Artists aren't kids, but they aren't law
          • by PitaBred (632671)
            The way to combat is is not to create DRM. That only makes annoyed. It's like trying to enact legislation against or beat people who use cloth buttons [weblogsinc.com]. The solution is to realize that the data is a non-scarce good. Trying to artificially make it so is only calling the grass purple. The fact remains that it's green. What you monetize on is the time, services and other actually scarce goods. Use the free movies to get people into theaters, where the quality is better. Use the free music to gain listen
  • by fastgood (714723) on Wednesday March 12, 2008 @12:55AM (#22725326)
    Five years ago this month, a consortium of VHS tape producers touted a "ticker tape" Christmas season for all-time sales, and DVD have outsold tapes for every single month since March 2003.

    Fifteen years before that, the RIAA leaders touted their "record year" for album sales, and CDs immediately supplanted records in 1988 and never looked back.


    And thirty years ago in 1978 when Tomita released the final quad 8-track tape, the industry said it was "on track" for the best year ever as it instead saw the multi-track format slip into oblivion.

    So when the MPAA touts a shiny year for DVDs, Blu-Ray is probably poised to make them eat their words.

    • Cool post!


      Now we wait and watch. . .


      -FL

    • by absoluteflatness (913952) <[absoluteflatness] [at] [gmail.com]> on Wednesday March 12, 2008 @02:05AM (#22725608)
      The thing is, in your two cases of VHS and 8-track manufacturers, they're tied to the format. The media companies, on the other hand, generally couldn't care less, except in the case of a market being fractured by many competing formats. The RIAA almost certainly made immediate gains from the switch from vinyl to CD, since CD's cost much less to produce. In the same vein, what does the MPAA care that Blu-ray will eventually (possibly) overtake DVD? They're not DVD manufacturers, they make money no matter what the format of the media. Now, there'll possibly be a depression in total video media sales as people are more reluctant to buy soon-to-be-obsolete discs, but also don't yet wish to upgrade to Blu-ray. Then again, Blu-ray players will play DVDs, so maybe that won't be the case. At any rate, the comments referenced in the article were about box office sales, not video.
    • by mlts (1038732) *
      That is true, but in general unless one possesses a HD set (which eventually will be commonplace), there is not that much advantage to Blu-ray over DVDs, other than some interactive Java stuff.

      A lot of people are still content with their "old fashioned" DVD collection, and don't feel like paying the premium for a BD player yet. Blu-ray players are still relatively pricy compared to DVD players, so a number of people are going to just wait and see, as for now the quality on a DVD is good enough.

      Once Blu-ray
    • by sm62704 (957197)
      So when the MPAA touts a shiny year for DVDs, Blu-Ray is probably poised to make them eat their words.

      Blu-ray IS a digital video disk. It's just one with a higher capacity that allows a higher resolution. It contains the same movies and the studios make the same (more?) profit from them.

      The technology doesn't matter any more than the box your hammer comes in matters. The Blu-Ray DVD is just a container for what the industry is selling.
  • Big surprise (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ihmhi (1206036)
    Of course they have an increase in profits. There are actually some very high quality films coming out this year. Iron Man? The Dark Knight? Those are good reasons to go to theaters. The way I look at it, I either spend $10 on a movie ticket or I spend $20 on a DVD a year or two later - and the DVD is almost always worth it. I go to 2-6 movies a year, and they really have to earn my patronage by being a good film. And, of course, my friends have to be interested as well. I don't see how "high budget movies
    • by The Evil Couch (621105) on Wednesday March 12, 2008 @01:51AM (#22725556) Homepage

      There are actually some very high quality films coming out this year. Iron Man? The Dark Knight?
      Yeah. Good job, Hollywood. Way to take a chance on a pair of unknown characters, with only 50 years of history and associated revenues far into the millions each.

      I'm being facetious, of course; Iron Man's only been around for 45 years.
  • by davolfman (1245316) on Wednesday March 12, 2008 @01:35AM (#22725498)
    Wait a second? Isn't this the same industry that cooks the books to never run a profit on movies so they don't have to pay their people? I assume these profits must be including all those "services" they charge themselves for. To me that seems a liability. It seems like they just gave the final data points necessary for all those people promised net points of nothing to do the math and find what their movies really made.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nexuspal (720736)
      You are right on this. NEVER get into a contract that says you get the "profits" unless all of the costs are defined and agreed upon in advance. If you do get into this type of contract, the product will amost certainly never be profitable, no matter how many millions it makes...
  • ...imagine how much _MORE_ we could have made."
  • Yeah, or.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dracos (107777) on Wednesday March 12, 2008 @03:08AM (#22725848)

    good stories well told

    How many of the 20 top grossing movies of 2007 were not adaptations, remakes, or franchise installments? How many actually involved original creative development?

    For that matter, how many were over-hyped drivel titled "[adjective] Movie" or starring Will Ferrell?

    Hollywood is out of ideas. Period.

    • by Blakey Rat (99501)
      How many of the 20 top grossing movies of 2007 were not adaptations, remakes, or franchise installments? How many actually involved original creative development?

      For that matter, how many were over-hyped drivel titled "[adjective] Movie" or starring Will Ferrell?

      Hollywood is out of ideas. Period.


      Not that I necessarily disagree with you, but what does that have to do with "good stories, well told?" I mean, Walt Disney spent his entire career doing that in theaters and he seems to have a pretty good reputatio
  • It's the movies! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bogjobber (880402)

    When will they learn? It's the movies, stupid! Hollywood had an excellent year because the movies were better. They had decent blockbusters, and for quality movies we had the best year (IMHO) in over a decade. You had a ton of mainstream movies like Transformers, Spider-Man 3, Shrek 3, Pirates 3, Harry Potter, Bourne 3, etc. You had incredible smaller films like No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood, Jesse James, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, Michael Clayton, 4 Months 3 Weeks 2 Days, etc.

    • Not to be paranoid, but it might explain why the writers strike lasted so long: the MPAA needs a very bad year to ask the next president the right to shoot pirates on sight.
  • by TheMiddleRoad (1153113) on Wednesday March 12, 2008 @03:32AM (#22725904)
    People pay for the big screen. People pay for live shows. You can't make a digital copy of a 60ft screen and you can't make a digital copy of being in a crowd, watching a live band. The only reasons theater sales drop are: 1. Crappy films 2. Obnoxious theater goers 3. Cell phones (see number 2)
    • by cliffski (65094)
      but by your logic, the solution is for the movie industry to make more widescreen blockbusters with big special effects, that only look good on a big screen. Exactly the kind of bubblegum crap that /. posters whine about.
      I want people to make good movies, not movies that are designed to only be viewable on a theater screen to prevent rampant piracy.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Yes, pretty much. Go ahead and watch 'On Golden Pond' all you want. I wanna see Rambo cut assholes in half with a machine gun on the big screen with 30 speakers of screaming. I don't pay for content; easy piracy has destroyed its value. I pay for the experience.
    • You can't make a digital copy of a 60ft screen and you can't make a digital copy of being in a crowd, watching a live band.

      you can't beat the rush when the crowd gets behind you... I play Bass... I just love it when the audience are enjoying themselves...

  • Oh... (Score:3, Funny)

    by SharpFang (651121) on Wednesday March 12, 2008 @05:22AM (#22726186) Homepage Journal


    Income break-up:

    - Cinema licenses: 5%
    - TV licenses: 25%
    - DVD sales: 10%
    - Litigation: 60%
  • No one with a brain would dispute that "piracy" has some negative effect on their bottom line. The context is "how much of an effect" and "how does that relate proportionally to overall profits?" The MPAA would have you believe that online file sharing is putting the industry at death's door -- hardly. Similarly, the oil industry will tell you that they cannot moderate pump prices a bit to help out the middle class and the overall economy even though every year brings them ever increasing record-setting pro

    • by andphi (899406)
      Generally, I agree with you. However, I think you may have extended the analogy too far:

      "Of course, individuals fall into that same trap. If you make $25,000 a year, you want $50K. If you make $100K, you want $200K."

      I can agree that wanting 200k when one makes 100K could well be greed. However, I think wanting 50k rather than 25 is likely more about attaining a decent standard of living than about trying to swaddle oneself in luxury. In some places, the difference between 25K and 50K is the difference betwe
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Stanislav_J (947290)
        Well, I was just throwing out round figures. $25K certainly is not enough for a family of 4, but I know that for some individual folks, $25K would be plenty to live on. I am a perfect example -- single, no dependents, and no expensive tastes. I don't buy fancy clothes, I don't eat lobster or filet mignon, and when I have a car (I currently do not), it ain't no Lexus. I have survived most of my adult life on less than $25K a year, and I ain't starving. (In fact, I could stand to lose 20 or 25 pounds). And, o
  • It's amazing. 5% growth despite 4 Michael Bay productions...
  • It's funny, I didn't see any movies in the theatre this last year, nor did I rent or download any. So no profit from me, which is fine with me as Hollywood keeps putting out a bunch of crap anyway.
  • People love the "great man" theory of history. Reagan single-handedly brought down the Soviet Union. Clinton was "responsible" for the economy of the 90s. The MPAA can just as well step in and take credit for their part in promoting the need for the public to support Hollywood. Most people won't argue.

  • by giminy (94188) on Wednesday March 12, 2008 @08:34AM (#22726916) Homepage Journal
    We had about 5 percent growth in both the domestic and worldwide box office, all-time highs on both fronts reminding us once again that good stories well told always find a place in our hearts, our lives and our local theaters.' What ever happened to the ravages of online piracy?"

    Not sure about the ravages of online piracy, but inflation in the US [inflationdata.com] was about 3% last year, and the projections for current US inflation put it at about 4.6%. I'm not sure if their growth estimate takes the increase in CPI into account. Mayhaps someone with a more global view on inflation rates could chime in and give us an adjusted Hollywood growth rate?

    Reid
  • You can have increasing profits and still be losing potential sales (and thus even higher increases in profit) to piracy, you know.

    Not saying that that's the case, just that as usual things are nowhere near as black and white as some people try to paint them.
  • strike (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pdunning (1159915) on Wednesday March 12, 2008 @11:52AM (#22728822)

    Hollywood's most profitable year
    Well then those writers can go back on strike.
  • Ravaging (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DynaSoar (714234) on Wednesday March 12, 2008 @05:02PM (#22732672) Journal
    > What ever happened to the ravages of online piracy?

    Going to the movies is an event. People will go even when they have access to downloaded versions because the movie itself is not the whole of the event.

    Concerts are also an event, but are far more expensive, more rare and almost invariably less convenient than going to the movies. Plus, a concert is almost never exactly what an album is in content, whereas a movie is. Having seen a movie in a theater, and given the much greater size (ie. download time and storage requirement) fewer are likely to then download it. Even if they've been to a concert, people are more likely to download a studio album with some similar material.

    TFA was not about DVD and other pay-per-content venues. However, the statements probably hold for those too, because the margin on DVDs etc. is much less as well as downloads being less frequent. The "loss" the MPAA would hypothesize would be far less a proportion of the gross.

    Note that the MPAA et al. would still report a loss even if the opposite effect (increased sales due to downloading) holds, as has been hypothesized. I'm not confident the data collection and analysis supports that hypothesis, although neither would it support an MPAA report of loss. MPAA has to report loss regardless, as failure to do so would mean not supporting claims of copyright violation. Doing that not only means loss of any relevant piracy lawsuits, but also potentially loss of the copyright involved. Failure to protect them can result in loss of them. That point explains the variance between the claims and actions of MPAA/RIAA etc. and any hard data, or lack thereof, supporting any "loss" or the opposite. Claims of loss are almost invariably just that -- claims. They are usually arbitrary and grossly inflated guesstimates. That improves the chances in lawsuits.

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