NATO president and CEO John Fithian lays out the case:
Despite NATO's repeated suggestions that our distribution partners discuss their potential VOD models with individual exhibitors prior to executing them, several leading studio executives appear determined to roll out early release VOD without proper consultation with exhibitors, without the input of the creative community and without market testing their proposed models to determine whether or not they work. In response to this ill-conceived attempted stampede, NATO and our members have (1) emphasized various possible responses of exhibitors; (2) reached out to the creative community to discuss shared objectives; (3) traveled to Wall Street to challenge the viability of these unworkable models; and (4) begun to educate leading reporters on the dangers of the proposals.
The L.A. Timesreports on NATO's efforts to build allies on Wall Street and in Hollywood to preserve the theatrical release window:
The nation's largest theater chains have been reaching out to investors and analysts on Wall Street, as well as directors, producers and agents, in an effort to build support for preserving so-called theatrical windows — the period of time between when a movie opens in cinemas and when it comes out on DVD or other media.
The outreach is in response to statements by media executives touting plans to offer movies in the home via video on demand at a price of $30 to $60, one to two months after they are released in theaters.
Premium-priced VOD is foreseen as a new revenue source for studios looking to offset declining DVD sales, as well as a boon for cable companies that have been stymied in their efforts to deliver movies into the home earlier in part because of concerns it could cannibalize home video sales.
But theater companies contend that the VOD plans will undercut movie ticket sales, giving consumers less incentive to trek to the theater if they can wait a few extra weeks to watch the movie in the comfort of their home.
"A 30-day window makes absolutely no sense to us whatsoever," said Gerry Lopez, chief executive of AMC Entertainment, the nation's second-largest theater operator. "We're concerned about the grave consequences this could bring."
Theater owners say Hollywood is casting about for ways to defeat piracy, and make up for plummeting DVD sales and rentals. According to Patrick Corcoran, a spokesman for the National Association of Theater Owners, the studios' PVOD plans aren't going to help solve the problems.
"We understand that the studios have a problem in the home market," Corcoran said. "It's down, like, 13 percent when you look at DVD sales and rentals. We understand they need to fix that, and we're all for them experimenting. What we're not for is their importing those problems into the theatrical window."
It was just under five years ago that Disney released Chicken Little on an unprecedented 84 digital 3D screens, and look where we are now.
The sky is falling.
You could be forgiven for believing that if you've been reading recent articles in the trades or following the blog posts of Wall Street entertainment industry analyst Richard Greenfield. It seems that in the half-year following the spectacular 3D performance of Avatar ($749 million, an estimated 80 percent of it in 3D), we, as an industry, have blown it.
The Vail Dailyreports on the closing of the last video store in Vail county. What technologically-savvy, cutting edge users of online rentals and Netflix do they find to explain the death of the video store?
Mr. Dick’s film, a critique of the ratings system in the name of artistic freedom, dwells on the commercially fraught boundary between the R and NC-17 ratings, which caused problems for the directors of films like “The Cooler,” “Boys Don’t Cry” and “A Dirty Shame.” But for the public — at least for children and their parents — the more embattled frontier is the one between PG-13 and R.
In actual ticket-buying practice, the difference between them is that a young-looking adolescent must be accompanied either by a full-fledged adult or by an older-looking adolescent. Otherwise it may take a practiced eye and ear to realize that a popular Anglo-Saxon expletive is acceptable in a PG-13 movie as long as it is only heard once and does not refer to a sexual act. Thus “Billy Elliott,” as wholesome and uplifting a film as you could hope for — its story about a kid who dreams of being a dancer is likely to inspire other kids with similar dreams — has an R rating because its proletarian English characters talk more or less as they would in the real world.
It is easy to scoff at that rating only if you have never received angry letters from parents or grandparents appalled by profanity. But of course the rules about specific rules allow a lot of leeway, and no one would claim that by taking your children only to PG-13 comedies, say, you would spare them sustained exposure to coarse sexual humor. Nor would a PG-13-only diet prevent them from seeing violent deaths and grisly images, including the genocidal warfare in “Avatar” itself.
I don't know who's in charge of deciding these things, but according to the Popcorn Board it's National Popcorn Day.
Some suggest the day is marked whichever day the Super Bowl is held, but you don't need a super bowl: you can order a small, medium or large at your local movie theater, where it's popcorn day every day.
Of course, there's alway October, which, thanks to MPAA chairman and former Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman, is National Popcorn Month.