Go Back  DVD Talk Forum > Entertainment Discussions > Movie Talk
Reload this Page >

Simultaneous movie, video release plan irks theater owners

Movie Talk A Discussion area for everything movie related including films In The Theaters

Simultaneous movie, video release plan irks theater owners

Old 05-28-05, 06:57 PM
  #1  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Lower Beaver, Iowa
Posts: 10,522
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Simultaneous movie, video release plan irks theater owners

From the Hollywood Reporter/Reuters via Yahoo News:

By Nicole Sperling
Fri May 27, 9:12 AM ET

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - If billionaire Mark Cuban has his way, theatrical distribution may never be the same.

2929 Entertainment, the company the Dallas Mavericks owner founded with partner Todd Wagner, is determined to collapse the traditional distribution windows by simultaneously releasing films across theatrical, home video and cable. But even though the experiment has barely begun, it already is running into steely opposition from theater owners across the country.

While 2929 announced late last month that it plans to produce and then release six Steven Soderbergh films on the three platforms simultaneously, exhibitors already are saying they will refuse to play the director's new fare.

As an owner of two of those three distribution outlets -- it controls Landmark Theatres and the high-definition cable channel HDNet Movies -- 2929 has the ability to fulfill its agenda on a limited basis. But if the company aspires to distribute Soderbergh's product beyond Landmark's 209 screens, it faces a formidable roadblock in that many commercial theaters have refused to play product that is released in other formats at the same time as it is offered to theaters.

"Our policy will continue to be that we don't exhibit films that are already in the market on DVD or pay-per-view," said Mike Campbell, president and CEO of Regal Entertainment Group, the largest U.S. theater chain. "We believe the plan is ill-conceived and won't receive much support from the traditional exhibition or distribution community."

Said Tony Karasotes, chairman and CEO of Chicago-based Karasotes Showplace Theatres: "I just think it's a wrong-headed approach. The way to properly distribute film is to use the traditional sequential pattern set up by the studios. (2929's plan) is ass-backwards, and I don't want to encourage that kind of approach because I own motion picture theaters."

AMC Theatres, Loews Cineplex, Cinemark USA, Pacific Theatres, National Amusements and Wisconsin-based Marcus Theatres, among others, all have declined to play films with simultaneous release in the home market.

"We just have to show them results," Cuban said. "By pricing the DVDs at a premium for day-and-date delivery, I think we help create a better value for in-theater viewing. By leveraging day-and-date, we can spend more on P&A (prints and advertising), which should also help."

Soderbergh's first announced project is "Bubble," a murder mystery set in a small Ohio town and cast with nonactors. If the six films Soderbergh creates for 2929 all resemble that model, they might well receive little distribution beyond Landmark's art houses. At least on paper, "Bubble" sounds like an experiment in the vein of the director's R-rated 2002 release "Full Frontal." Even though that film had the benefit of such stars as Julia Roberts,
David Duchovny and Blair Underwood, it grossed just $2.5 million after bowing on 209 screens.

"It's really a break for all of us that these films are being released by 2929 and not a Warner Bros., which has to make Soderbergh happy because they have the next 'Ocean's Eleven,"' said one exhibitor at a leading chain who asked not to be named.

Theater owners, of course, have a vested interest in the current distribution model; in many cases they have signed 20-year leases, taken in cash infusions from enthusiastic investors and turned their popcorn-selling, seat-filling operations into profitable businesses.

But even though 2929's proposal threatens to upend a system that guarantees theaters to be the exclusive venue for new film titles, the vision of the future also has a certain logic of its own.

The company first tried its hand at the model, albeit in a more limited fashion, last month with the release of the Magnolia Film documentary "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room." Produced by HDNet, 2929's low-budget film production arm, and distributed by Magnolia Pictures, the Alex Gibney-driected film opened in Landmark Theatres and had an exclusive day-and-date release on the HDNet channel on DirecTV. "Enron" has earned $2 million theatrically since its April 22 bow, a respectable gross for a limited-release documentary.

Cuban said HDNet subscriber additions won't be available until next month, but the executive said the response to "Enron" has been great. "From subs, from people who told us they just subscribed, and the continued box office success of the movie will only continue to benefit us," he said in an e-mail.

And while the film originally opened in three Landmark Theatres, it has since expanded to other circuits, including Los Angeles-based Laemmle Theatres.

"We felt that HDNet didn't have a significant market penetration," Laemmle Theatres president Greg Laemmle said. "It wasn't like going day-and-date with cable or DVD, and therefore we felt the box office wouldn't be negatively impacted."

While Laemmle was willing to experiment with a film simultaneously bowing with a day-and-date premiere on HDNet, he won't go down the path of exhibiting titles that also are available on home video.

"It's a whole different ball of wax," Laemmle said. "A lot of people have DVD players, and a lot of people who see art films have DVD players. I have no interest in encouraging that sort of thing. That said, if someone shows it can work, I don't own that decision, and we'll choose to re-evaluate as the situation demands."

Other theater chains might be forced to re-evalute the situation as well. At the Milken Institute's Global Conference in Beverly Hills last month, studio heads admitted that the cost of piracy is forcing them to rethink the time between a theatrical release and its home video availability. Barry Meyer, chairman and CEO of Warner Bros., predicted that in the future "your premiere will be in Wal-Mart."

While many studios are paying lip service to the exhibitors, agreeing with them on the dangers of collapsing traditional windows, some of them actually are looking forward to 2929's test of its strategy.

"It's going to be an interesting test," said one distributor who declined to be named. "On the issue of piracy, it would certainly help eliminate some of the concern about the amount of money we spend trying to protect against piracy. Marketing costs are another thing no one has been able to control. If we go video, theatrical and pay-per-view all at once with a well-known title, you could bring in $100 million in one night, similar to a (pay-per-view) fight."

One argument for 2929's approach is that it will reduce overall marketing costs, since all markets could be reached at once. However that scenario plays out, one marketing exec said that the challenge to bring consumers to the theater only will grow.

"The challenge will be to get these people to pony up the money to go to the theater when it's available everywhere else," said one studio marketing president who declined to be named. "We always hear from focus groups whether (they deem a movie) a rental or something they want to see in the theater. For most people it's a real financial decision, and there has to be a reason they need to see it in that environment. Releasing simultaneously on different platforms takes away a lot of that reason."

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

Last edited by Mr. Salty; 05-28-05 at 07:00 PM.
Old 05-28-05, 07:11 PM
  #2  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 12,008
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Obviously, with 200 screens and "premium pricing" of the non-theater distribution, this is set up to be an unsuccessful experiment. However, when I consider what the traditional theater viewing experience has become, a little competition for the theater chains doesn't sound so bad.
Old 05-28-05, 07:32 PM
  #3  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Land of the Lobstrosities
Posts: 10,300
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Without the premium pricing the theater sales would be slaughtered. They would also have to bar, or similarly price control rentals.
Old 05-28-05, 09:13 PM
  #4  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: in da cloud
Posts: 26,196
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
i don't understand why studios don't share the cost of going digital with theaters and keep movies in an all digital format through the entire stage of production. Most movie piracy is the result of insiders sharing their copy with others. All digital you can control access to the movie and cut down piracy.
Old 05-29-05, 02:05 AM
  #5  
DVD Talk Hero
 
PopcornTreeCt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 25,916
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think it kinda cheapens the effect of the movie. A movie that goes straight to DVD is automatically thought to be crap. At least it does in my mind.
Old 05-29-05, 02:15 AM
  #6  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Plano, TX
Posts: 1,149
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It's a sad state of affairs for the theaters if all they can offer is being first. If the only reason people go to the theaters is because they have a limited-window monopoly on films, then the theaters deserve to get slaughtered at some point.

I personally think they have more to offer than just being first, but the theater chains don't seem confident that anyone would come if they had another way to see the movie. That says to me that they think they offer an inferior viewing experience.
Old 05-29-05, 02:39 AM
  #7  
DVD Talk Hero
 
PopcornTreeCt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 25,916
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by BigDan
It's a sad state of affairs for the theaters if all they can offer is being first. If the only reason people go to the theaters is because they have a limited-window monopoly on films, then the theaters deserve to get slaughtered at some point.

I personally think they have more to offer than just being first, but the theater chains don't seem confident that anyone would come if they had another way to see the movie. That says to me that they think they offer an inferior viewing experience.
I agree. I think more theatres should get in the habit of having 1 or 2 showings of good classic films but I suppose they never will because like you said. I own 2 different versions of Leon The Professional on DVD but would happily dish out $8 to see it on the big screen. If only theatre owners would start to realize this.
Old 05-29-05, 03:17 AM
  #8  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 5,919
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
"Our policy will continue to be that we don't exhibit films that are already in the market on DVD or pay-per-view," said Mike Campbell, president and CEO of Regal Entertainment Group, the largest U.S. theater chain.
that's a laugh. The Regal down the street from my apartment was showing Hotel Rwanda still a few weeks after the dvd was released.
Old 05-29-05, 05:06 AM
  #9  
DVD Talk Ultimate Edition
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Rampaging across DVDTalk.
Posts: 4,046
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
This sounds like a flawed experiment. There are so many other factors that go into the seperate releases of each movie not to mention the dreaded double-dip that would have to occur to each title. For example, will that mean the least successful films will only ever have a single barebones release? I dunno, it just doesn't seem like it's in the best interests of the theatre owners or the audience.
Old 05-29-05, 06:35 AM
  #10  
DRG
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: ND
Posts: 13,421
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Premium pricing? I'm assuming that means pricing the DVDs at $39.99 or more? So the video stores will buy copies and everyone will just rent them, for the same price as every other movie. The "premium pricing" has accomplished nothing but limit the DVD sales, and the fact that its on DVD will limit theatrical ticket sales. They're shooting themselves in BOTH feet.

"On the issue of piracy, it would certainly help eliminate some of the concern about the amount of money we spend trying to protect against piracy."
So basically they're waving the white flag as far as piracy is concerned? Far more people copy DVDs than download camcorder-shot bootlegs.
Old 05-29-05, 06:47 AM
  #11  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 5,590
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Traffic is the only movie from Steven Soderbergh I have ever seen, and I did not enjoy the movie. So, I'm sure they can count me out of their "experiment".
Old 05-29-05, 07:09 AM
  #12  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,157
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Well I hate theaters(always mess something up, people talking or walking around..smells like crap, and so on) so I wish ALL movies would go straight to DVD..I'd never go to a theater again.
Old 05-29-05, 08:06 AM
  #13  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 675
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
this would be just another reason not to go to the theater. how much money would episode III have made had the dvd come out the same day. I would have just picked up the DVD, and if I wasnt sure about a movie I would rent it. Anyone with a kickass HT will most likely prefer the peace and quiet of their own home over the kid infested crazy loud theater on opening night. Not to mention paying 2.95 to rent a movie instead of 15 for 2 people to go to the theater.

Theaters wont want it, studios wont want it, people may however. It'll be interesting if Cuban pimps this out enough what kind of buzz it creates among the public.
Old 05-29-05, 12:38 PM
  #14  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Troy Stiffler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Under an I-10 Overpass
Posts: 21,501
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
I'm up for it. I'd easily pay $40 for a DVD, assuming that the movie looks good. I mean, till I pay for two tickets, some popcorn and soda/coffee, it's right up around $30 anyways.

I don't see this working, though.
Old 05-29-05, 01:53 PM
  #15  
DVD Talk Ultimate Edition
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 4,551
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I doubt it will work. Theater owners don't like it, big filmmakers probably won't like it. And some art house Soderbergh flicks are hardly enough to sway attention to the idea. You'll need more then off beat SS movies to make something like this particularly viable. I really doubt this release schedule would increase profits over the staggered version so I can't see it catching on.
Old 05-29-05, 02:51 PM
  #16  
DVD Talk Reviewer/ Admin
 
Adam Tyner's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Greenville, South Cackalack
Posts: 21,849
Received 8 Likes on 5 Posts
Originally Posted by Mr. Salty
the Alex Gibney-driected film opened in Landmark Theatres and had an exclusive day-and-date release on the HDNet channel on DirecTV.
Somewhat sloppy reporting, since it aired on HDNet Movies, not HDNet, and HDNet Movies has a much wider viewership than just DirecTV. Dish Network and pretty much every cable provider in the country minus TWC and Comcast offer it. FWIW, the ploy worked for me; I watched the Enron doc at home on cable.
Old 05-29-05, 04:54 PM
  #17  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 5,147
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'd hate to just watch straight to video movies. They whole fun of movies is seeing it on a giant screen.
I agree with the above person saying that straight-to-DVD movies = suckfest.
.
Old 05-29-05, 05:00 PM
  #18  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,391
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I don't see how this is profitable for anyone involved. Theatregoing will significantly decline, and I doubt there'll be a big boost in DVD sales. The overwhelming reason that people go to theatres to see movies is that it's not available on home video. There are a few exceptions to that; Star Wars, for example, is simply not the same experience on a TV.
Old 05-29-05, 05:03 PM
  #19  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Somewhere out there... YES THERE!!!
Posts: 7,936
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
haha, next they're going to let you buy the dvd the day the movie comes out but only at the theater or after you can send a copy of your movie ticket stub to prove you saw it at the theater first
Old 05-29-05, 06:02 PM
  #20  
DVD Talk Hero
 
PopcornTreeCt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 25,916
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Iron_Giant
Traffic is the only movie from Steven Soderbergh I have ever seen, and I did not enjoy the movie. So, I'm sure they can count me out of their "experiment".
You should give him another chance. He used to be a great director. Check out The Limey and Out of Sight.
Old 05-29-05, 10:32 PM
  #21  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: San Marcos, TX
Posts: 3,137
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Iron_Giant
Traffic is the only movie from Steven Soderbergh I have ever seen, and I did not enjoy the movie. So, I'm sure they can count me out of their "experiment".
You should give more of his movies a shot. Sex, Lies, and Videotape is great, as is The Limey. The Ocean's movies appeal to most mainstream moviegoers (as do Erin Brockovich and Out of Sight). Schizopolis is a great film for a certain type of audience. Although a bit overrated, he's got a pretty good filmography going for himself...certainly a director with something for everybody.

On topic, I don't know how I'd feel about films going straight to video (and virtually doing away with theaters, or making them a niche market). Like others, I tend to associate straight-to-video with "not good enough to be shown in a theater." It'd take a while to get past that, and I'd also have to refine my methods of researching what films I want to buy.

-JP
Old 05-30-05, 04:07 AM
  #22  
DVD Talk Ultimate Edition
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Rampaging across DVDTalk.
Posts: 4,046
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
^ I enjoyed his Solaris remake as well.
Old 05-30-05, 07:29 AM
  #23  
DVD Talk Godfather
 
Michael Corvin's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 58,108
Received 18 Likes on 11 Posts
Originally Posted by garmonbozia
that's a laugh. The Regal down the street from my apartment was showing Hotel Rwanda still a few weeks after the dvd was released.

Well to be fair that was an oscar nominee from this year. I've seen that numerous times where the flick is rerleased b/c of a nomination.
Old 05-30-05, 08:06 AM
  #24  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 17,914
Received 15 Likes on 13 Posts
Originally Posted by garmonbozia
that's a laugh. The Regal down the street from my apartment was showing Hotel Rwanda still a few weeks after the dvd was released.
And to be even more fair, their policy states that they "don't exhibit films that are already in the [DVD] market." The Regal chain started showing the film long before it came out on DVD. I'm also guessing that the Regal cinema in question was a budget cinema, where they get second-run prints for discounted prices.

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.