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Robert Iger urges movie industry to rethink DVD release policy

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Robert Iger urges movie industry to rethink DVD release policy

Old 08-19-05, 07:13 PM
  #76  
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I'm not sure I agree with that. Sure there's crap and plenty of it, but there always has been. Besides, if these movies are selling on DVD, but not in the theater, then that tells you it's in the presentation.
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Old 08-20-05, 12:09 AM
  #77  
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Here's an extended article..

Movie theater owners fire back at studios By Nicole Sperling
Fri Aug 19, 5:10 AM ET

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Tired of being blamed for the box office slump, the nation's movie theater owners returned fire Thursday, accusing the studios of delivering sub-standard product.

"Here's what we know about 2005: The movies are not as good," said John Fithian, president of the National Association of Theater Owners.

"They're not terrible; they're just not as good. And so the industry has experienced a temporary drop-off compared to 2004, the biggest box office year in movie history."

His remarks were part of a direct rebuke to Robert Iger, who is about to take over as CEO of the Walt Disney Co. Iger said last week during the firm's third-quarter conference call that the industry should move toward the simultaneous release of theatrical films and videos. In 2004, the average gap between a film's release in theaters and on video was four months, 16 days.

Fithian said that compressing windows "to placate this instant-everywhere appetite" would result in a world with "no viable movie theater industry ... at least not a theater industry devoted to the entertainment products of Hollywood.

"(Iger) should know that Hollywood studios would be merely one shriveled vendor among many in that new world of movies-as-commodities-only," he added.

Neither Iger nor Disney chose to respond to Fithian's comments.

Year-to-date box office sales stand at $5.57 billion compared with $6.05 billion at the same time in 2004. Pundits have cited exhibitors' pumped-up onscreen advertising, rising ticket prices and rude patrons as primary reasons moviegoers are staying home.

During the earnings call, Iger said, "I don't think it's out of the question that a DVD can be released in effect in the same window as a theatrical release. Although I'm sure we will get a fair amount of push-back on this from the industry, it's not out of the question. I think that all the old rules should be called into question because the rules in terms of consumption have changed so dramatically."

While no major exhibitor has suggested taking aggressive action against Disney based on Iger's comments, theater owners in the past have shown tremendous resistance to anyone who advocates a compressed windows strategy. Many in the industry believe it's just a matter of time until a major studio attempts such an experiment in the hope of reducing marketing costs and maximizing profits across the various platforms.
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Old 08-20-05, 12:56 AM
  #78  
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Yeah, this is turning into a real fruitful debate.
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Old 08-20-05, 05:45 AM
  #79  
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Originally Posted by jdpatri
Here I think you're mistaking the term "social experience" for "social interaction."

And on the latter there are a number of classic movies that get replayed as summer events - not just your average Rocky Horror midnight screening. I attended a showing of Raiders of the Lost Ark at the Fox Theater in Atlanta that elicited cheers and key moments and hisses anytime the villian appeared on screen. This is just one example - there are hundreds in every major city across this country. These are both "social experience" and "social interaction."

Going to the theater for the "social experience" is vital to the movie industry - they'd be stupid to eliminate this. It's vital to moviegoers. It's vital to DVD sales as well. In larger groups, you laugh more at comedies. The communal experience makes the film more enjoyable. You likely won't feel the same way about the same film in the theater versus at home on your television. No matter the size. You see the film in the theater. You buy the DVD. And continue to enjoy the DVD because you remember those feelings from the theater.

The same goes for the epic or action movie. Sound and spectacle. The thrill of a great scene, bigger than life... the rare occasion that an audience becomes so invested in a film that spontaneous cheers erupt... these cannot be recreated on your home theater. I saw Independence Day at a midnight screening the morning of it's release date with a packed theater. Granted the movie is ridiculous drivel, but the experience made me love that film. And I still own a copy of it because every time I watch it, I recall that first experience in a packed movie theater, cheering for President Pullman and Randy Quaid and Will Smith at 2:30am before I had to get up for work at 7am. And I am *positive* had I seen that movie on DVD at home for the first time, I probably wouldn't have given it a second thought. I first saw Lawrence of Arabia on VHS. A few years later I attended a theatrical screening of a restored print. I swear it wasn't the same film. It was a completely new experience.

I'm not going to get into the numerous (and tiresome) psychological theories written about the theatrical experience... suffice to say that going to see a movie in a darkened theater surrounded by similarly entertained/skeptical/horrified individuals is an important part of the movie culture... and of our culture for the last century.

The factors beyond our control - the talkers, the seat kickers, the cell phones - have always been around in some form or another. There may not have been many cell phones in the early days of cinema but women used to wear huge hats that men complained blocked their view. They factors just change over time. Maybe it's our patience that's dwindling rather than the factors preventing our enjoyment of the experience. The now-ingrained thought that if we can't have it exactly our way, we're not going to have it at all.

I've gone to fewer movies in the last two years because of the financial strain of living in Boston and a decrease in disposable income. So, I indeed do understand the escalating price of movie tickets being a factor. Plus my desire to watch the average Hollywood film has dwindled significantly - but at the same time, my desire to seek out the average foreign/indie film has increased.

I don't know why I felt the need to write all that... I guess I just find it appalling that there are so-called movie fans out there who admit to not caring if theaters disappeared altogether...
Gave me goosebumps reading that.
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Old 08-20-05, 10:09 AM
  #80  
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I think a growing trend that will likely save the industry is the premium movie theaters such as the one mentioned earlier in this thread. Going to the movies used to be a big event when I was a kid. Now all the cool old theaters have been cut up to allow more screens. And the new ones are built with the same sense of style as your local Wal-Mart. And attract the same crowd. Make it a special experience again & I'll be back.

And c'mon, if you're going to show commercials, at least show cinematic commercials that were made exclusively for the theater. For a commercial to make it into a theater, it should be super bowl quality entertaining. And nice to look at. Is that asking so much? Watching boring TV quality commercials before a movie further blurs the TV/theater experience. Treat me like I'm watching TV and I'll stay home & do just that.

The movie industry and the exhibitors both need to look long & hard at the product they're providing before trying to fix the business model.
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