Archive for December, 2009
With movie theaters in the middle of an all-time record weekend in an all-time record year, the L.A. Times produces a useful round-up and look ahead at the theatrical release window:
Exhibitors have drawn a line in the sand, steadfastly resisting the compression of release dates that they view as a threat to their livelihood. They get nervous when a studio attempts to release a movie on DVD less than 90 days after opening in theaters. Nonetheless, theater executives now are acknowledging they may need to adapt.
"We're going to protect our side of the business," said Amy Miles, chief executive of Regal Entertainment Group, the nation's largest theater circuit. But "we'd like to think that we'd work with the studios as business models evolved."
It's a delicate balancing act.
Theater operators want to be open to change without undercutting ticket sales, which have been remarkably strong. Above all, they hope the studios won't be oblivious to their concerns. "We want to know what's going to happen, and we want to have some input," said Tony Kerasotes, chief executive of Kerasotes Showplace Theatres and chairman of the National Assn. of Theatre Owners, a trade group.
For all their talk, however, studios say they're not ready to do away with windows entirely, fearing it could cannibalize their own business.
"People always say consumers want it all now, and Hollywood needs to change its business models," said Jim Gianopulos, co-chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment. "But I've yet to see anyone show up with a simultaneous-release model that works.
"We need to experiment and allow consumers to take advantage of new technologies and ways to experience movies conveniently."
Read the whole thing.
, Box Office
, movie theaters
, release windows
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Sometime today, on a calendar year basis, domestic box office will pass $10 billion for the first time ever.
Through yesterday, more than $9.992 billion worth of tickets had been sold, which means (if my calculations are correct - and they are) the $10 billion mark should have been reached right about now. It's a remarkable achievement for the industry and there are still nine more days left in the historically busy holiday movie-going period.
Box office is running nearly 9% ahead of last year at the same point and admissions are nearly 5% ahead.
Using the offical "industry year" calendar, which starts on the first weekday of each year (January 5, this year and running through Jan 4, 2010), box office stands at $9.777 billion (up 7.1%). and ought to break $10 billion over Christmas weekend.
Tags: $10 billion
, industry calendar
, record box office
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That's a quote from a wonderful L.A. Times article on this year's booming box office under the comically generic headline "Box-office revenue up for 2009".
The piece goes somewhat deeper than the headline suggests, considering whether booming box office and increased attendance this year are economically-driven or if something fundamental is underway in the way people want to watch movies. It even notes that new social media technologies like Twitter may be powering positive word of mouth far longer and more broadly than anticipated.
The box-office boom has not only surprised many in Hollywood, but provided a much-needed source of revenue growth as DVD sales have plunged more than 13% so far this year.
And it has proved that despite a digital revolution in the ways audiences consume content, one of the oldest methods has not lost its appeal.
"When the economy is down, people start cutting back, but after a while they want to go out and be entertained," said Ed Mintz, the president of market research firm CinemaScore. "Even at $10, or $15 for IMAX or 3-D, going to the movies is still a cheaper night out than almost anything else."
The economy is clearly part of the equation, but perhaps something else is happening. I'll leave Sony's Jeff Blake with the final word:
"There was a feeling that the business was recession-proof, but this is more than that," said Jeff Blake, vice chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
"This is people rediscovering going to the movies."
, Jeff Blake
, Los Angeles Times
, movie theaters
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In case you haven't heard, a young woman was arrested for recording a portion of Twilight: New Moon at Muvico's Rosemont, Illinois theater. After two weeks of the expected misinformed commentary in the press and on the Internet, the charges were dismissed today.
A Twilight fan site notes Summit Entertainment's reaction:
In regards to the situation with Samantha Tumpach, we applaud Muvico for upholding the zero tolerance policy on piracy when the incident occurred at their theater in Rosemont, IL. The pirating of films is a very serious issue and we all need to remain vigilant to protect the art of film and the myriad of businesses that the film industry supports. We believe that the attention that this incident has drawn, has served as a reminder to us all that any form of film piracy, or perceived piracy, will be treated with the utmost seriousness. Summit is pleased that all charges against Ms. Tumpach have been dropped and appreciate the efforts of the police and the prosecutors in this outcome.
Muvico also release a statement reading, in part:
Muvico will continue to enforce the “zero-tolerance policy” adopted by the MPAA and fully supports anti-piracy laws and the motion picture industry’s efforts to protect against copyright infringement. Under the law, any unauthorized audio or visual taping in a movie auditorium while the feature film is playing, regardless of the length of recording, is a federal and state offense that Muvico is compelled to report.
While Muvico stands by its action in this instance, it is happy that the judicial process has reached an appropriate result and is pleased that the charges against Ms. Tumpach have been dismissed.
In a continuing effort to educate its guests about the illegality of film piracy, Muvico prominently places a number of posters and signs within its theaters alerting moviegoers of its “zero-tolerance” policy with respect to the camcording of films in its auditoriums.
The Muvico release is available here.
This case is similar to one in Virginia two years ago, which you can read about here.
, Movie Theft
, Samantha Tumpach
, Summit Entertainment
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