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View Full Version : Why "limited release" on some acclaimed movies?


OldBoy
07-14-09, 11:28 PM
I am wondering why they wait so long and limit certain releases to only certain locales and then in the future release it to wider audiences?

i ask because i really want to see "The Hurt Locker" and it has been in limited release for many weeks now and won't release wide until 7/24/09 and then don't know if it will be near me. i mean they do this mostly with smaller, independent or lower budget movies. maybe it is because of the low budget...

so what is the point to limiting releases that win awards, are critically acclaimed and have people clamoring to see (or is that a reason)?

gglass4269
07-14-09, 11:35 PM
acclaimed doesn't necessarily mean that the movie will make lots of money with a huge release

Sean O'Hara
07-15-09, 02:11 AM
The studios figure, "Well the rednecks, trailer trash, and hillbillies won't want to see this, so there's no point in releasing it outside New York and LA."

Finisher
07-15-09, 03:39 AM
Costs something like 15 million for prints and ads for standard wide release. If your film has limited appeal, you play it in select theaters and expand if the per screen average bodes well. This also allows word of mouth to build.

Ash Ketchum
07-15-09, 10:54 AM
I am wondering why they wait so long and limit certain releases to only certain locales and then in the future release it to wider audiences?

i ask because i really want to see "The Hurt Locker" and it has been in limited release for many weeks now and won't release wide until 7/24/09 and then don't know if it will be near me. i mean they do this mostly with smaller, independent or lower budget movies. maybe it is because of the low budget...

so what is the point to limiting releases that win awards, are critically acclaimed and have people clamoring to see (or is that a reason)?

In the old days (i.e. before LOVE STORY, GODFATHER, EXORCIST, JAWS), this was quite common. Certain films opened only in NYC and L.A. and then gradually played the rest of the country. OR, in the case of drive-in films, they often opened in the south or the west before gradually making it to the big cities. OR the big, epic films and musicals opened at the big downtown movie palaces and played a year or so before coming to the "nabes," i.e. the neighborhood theaters where I saw them (for 50 cents, children's price). I sometimes had to wait almost two years to see certain, high-profile films (e.g. WEST SIDE STORY, BEN-HUR, EL CID, IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD).

ReduxGuy
07-15-09, 03:19 PM
The studios figure, "Well the rednecks, trailer trash, and hillbillies won't want to see this, so there's no point in releasing it outside New York and LA."

And this is why I loathe living in Savannah.

No Hurt Locker, Moon, Cheri, Whatever Works or Soraya M.

Instead a billion screens for Harry Pot-head.

Hokeyboy
07-15-09, 03:40 PM
Instead a billion screens for Harry Pot-head.
OMG it's 2001 all over again... :confused:

Giles
07-15-09, 03:46 PM
I am wondering why they wait so long and limit certain releases to only certain locales and then in the future release it to wider audiences?

i ask because i really want to see "The Hurt Locker" and it has been in limited release for many weeks now and won't release wide until 7/24/09 and then don't know if it will be near me. i mean they do this mostly with smaller, independent or lower budget movies. maybe it is because of the low budget...

so what is the point to limiting releases that win awards, are critically acclaimed and have people clamoring to see (or is that a reason)?


I don't get it either, I guess distribution costs just as much or can't recoup the process with just releasing it to a bunch of theatres that would be more than happy to book limited appeal films - for an industry that thrives on ticket sales, it's very hypocritical and nonsensical at times.

Giles
07-15-09, 03:48 PM
Costs something like 15 million for prints and ads for standard wide release. If your film has limited appeal, you play it in select theaters and expand if the per screen average bodes well. This also allows word of mouth to build.

in terms of prints being struck and distributed much of that cost would be defrayed in more of those studios and theatres just went with digital projection - but again, that's pricey too. It's a vicious cycle.

OldBoy
07-15-09, 05:28 PM
i guess the studios do what they can, just ashame that some movies that beg to be seen on the big screen, many have to wait for the little screen. i love war movies, especially smaller, more intimate ones like "Tigerland" that this one seems to be and this would have been great biggie size.

here's hoping for next week -pray-

hasslein
07-15-09, 06:38 PM
I live in Los Angeles and couldn't find a screening of Crossing Over... I think that was a first, a Harrison Ford film w/o a wide release.

Cosmic Bus
07-15-09, 10:26 PM
It's infuriating, honestly. Studio can only afford to have it playing in a handful of theaters? Fine, but cycle throughout the country instead of only allowing people living in one of the major US hubs to see it.

At this point in the game, there is absolutely no good reason why these things can't be premiered simultaneously online via streaming for theater ticket prices or offered on demand through cable/satellite. I would gladly pay $10 a pop for the service. A tiny number of films have done this so far, and I commend it, but ALL "limited" releases need to be doing it.

Drexl
07-15-09, 10:48 PM
At this point in the game, there is absolutely no good reason why these things can't be premiered simultaneously online via streaming for theater ticket prices or offered on demand through cable/satellite. I would gladly pay $10 a pop for the service. A tiny number of films have done this so far, and I commend it, but ALL "limited" releases need to be doing it.

I really doubt they'd do that, because of piracy. A camcorder video taken in a theater has to deal with people talking, shakiness, bad sound from a microphone, and of course the risk of getting caught. On the other hand, I've seen some shots taken of people's home screens that almost look like they were captured directly from the disc.

Give pirates the opportunity to set up a camera just right, along with the ability to record audio from analog outputs, and they'd have something that would put camcorder bootlegs to shame.

Dan
07-16-09, 10:56 AM
I'm with Cosmic Bus on this one. If I could order a new film and watch it in HD at home, I'm in. Pricing would be an issue, I'm sure. You obviously can't charge a 'per person' charge like the theatres.

I'd pay somewhere between the average price of one to two tickets at a conventional theatre in order to watch it at home. $12 - $16 CAD for me.

Offer value to returning customers, such as asking them to sign up for the free membership and get $1 off any film if you order it in its first week. I don't think a monthly fee would work (like Netflix). The goal is to keep prices higher than movie rentals, but lower than taking a date to the theatre That way, people who are lucky enough to get a theatrical screening in their area can pay the going rate to see it, but the people who don't have that option can watch it in the comfort of their own home, assuming they have the right equipment (computer, TV, speakers, netflix box, XBox, PS3, whatever)

There's a lot of potential here...

Drexl,
Pirates will always be pirates :)

RichC2
07-16-09, 11:07 AM
I really doubt they'd do that, because of piracy. A camcorder video taken in a theater has to deal with people talking, shakiness, bad sound from a microphone, and of course the risk of getting caught. On the other hand, I've seen some shots taken of people's home screens that almost look like they were captured directly from the disc.

Give pirates the opportunity to set up a camera just right, along with the ability to record audio from analog outputs, and they'd have something that would put camcorder bootlegs to shame.

I guess, but more people would be willing to pay if it were readily available to them for a reasonable price. Many people who are dying to see The Hurt Locker could have just downloaded a rip of the movie and been over with it, but are holding out for a legal way of doing so. These are movies that deserve our money, it's just exceedingly hard to give it to them.

Damn region coding :( http://www.dvdland.it/nicom1/p_559220/blu_ray/the_hurt_locker_blu_ray.html

I am curious to see how it worked for those movies that were available On Demand and in theaters on the same day (I believe My Winnipeg was released as such last year, tho I can't imagine that being a hugely in demand movie... awesome as it looks.)

Giles
07-16-09, 11:19 AM
IFC on demand works, why can't more studios do the same??

arminius
07-16-09, 11:26 AM
The studios figure, "Well the rednecks, trailer trash, and hillbillies won't want to see this, so there's no point in releasing it outside New York and LA.

And this is why I loathe living in Savannah.

No Hurt Locker, Moon, Cheri, Whatever Works or Soraya M.

Instead a billion screens for Harry Pot-head.

So are you a redneck, trailer trash or a hillbilly?

Numanoid
07-16-09, 06:37 PM
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. The home video market is now the primary release market. Theatrical runs are little more than warm-ups these days. There aren't many "limited release" DVDs.

And now I wait for Blu Man to come in and yell at me.

Supermallet
07-16-09, 06:55 PM
As someone else said, print and advertising costs make it difficult to release smaller, less well known films in a wide release pattern. If the studios allow word of mouth to build with a limited release, then they'll have a better chance of recouping costs if they take it wider. Also, releasing limited builds buzz, which gives a film cache, which is important come Oscar time.

And, as Numanoid pointed out, the studios make more money on a single home video sale than they do on a single ticket sale. So give a film a limited release, let word of mouth spread, then give it a home video release and people will buy it up. Makes sense to me.

devilshalo
07-16-09, 08:54 PM
Limited releases for award consideration being held in only LA or NY is because they hold the largest voting bodies.

Arthur Dent
07-16-09, 09:11 PM
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. The home video market is now the primary release market. Theatrical runs are little more than warm-ups these days. There aren't many "limited release" DVDs.

And now I wait for Blu Man to come in and yell at me.
:lol: I didn't see the last line of your post at first and was prepared to make a comment.

Rypro 525
07-17-09, 02:04 AM
i am actually surprised somewhat that Baltimore of all places does play most of the indies listed above at the 2 major arthouse theaters