Posts Tagged “Windows”
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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NATO has released its DVD release window tracking reports and they include some good news for movie theater owners. Year-to-date (as of 9/26/2007), the average release window has expanded by a full week - 4 months 18 days vs. 4 months 11 days for all of 2006.
A few caveats. These tracking reports follow a moving target - averages will go up and down as films are added to the DVD release schedule through the year. There are only nine Q3 releases that have DVD release dates as of the report's release (this lack could also be seen in a positive light, as the major studios are not pulling the trigger early on DVD release dates for Q3 films).
The report is here, plus Video Release Window Averages by Gross, Video Release Window by Film, and Percentage of Releases Over Four Month Release Window by Studio.
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is coming to DVD Nov. 27.
Lionsgate made the announcement just 42 days after the film's theatrical release. It's final gross was $1,018,965. Do you think the fact the film failed miserably in the theatrical market has anything to do with the hair-trigger announcemnet?
Let's look back a bit shall we?
The DVD release date for Captivity, another Lionsgate release, was announced after just 32 days. Its gross? $2,626,800.
The DVD release window for both films? 109 days (3 months 19 days).
Nope, not sensing a trend here at all.
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Not content with simultaneous release of films in theaters, VOD and DVD, Mark Cuban's newest idea is to release films to VOD up to three weeks before making it available to theaters.
Who benefits? Cable operators, perhaps. Maybe subscribers to Cuban's own HDNet. Who else? Oh yes - Mark Cuban.
The importance of this strategy can't be overstated, he said. All of his clients, he continued, have stressed to him "that the ability to watch movies while they are in theaters is at the top of the requests in their research" from consumers. "Because we are the only studio to own a national theater," he added, "we are in a unique position to do this." Cuban owns Landmark Cinemas.
Cuban said his goal with Ultra HD is to "tilt the economics" so that each of the movies distributed by Magnolia Pictures makes about the same amount of money in each of the three platforms -- theaters, TV and DVD -- on which it's simultaneously released.
If history is any guide, just about the only theaters taking him up on the offer will be the ones he owns.
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Super-wide releases have made it easier than ever for audiences to get in to see the latest blockbuster without having to wait because of sell-outs. If the showtime you want is full, wait 45 minutes and another screen will be available. This is a good thing for audiences, but it has had the less-than-desirable effect of staggering second week drops in box office - more than 60% in the cases of Spider-man 3 and Pirates of the Caribbean 3.
The rapid drop-offs might once have led exhibitors to panic, as contracts with distributors paid them a greater percentage of box office the longer the film stayed in theaters. But not anymore, according to an article in today's New York Times:
The blockbuster onslaught has been driven partly by a shift in the way studios and theater chains divide up box office receipts. Until several years ago, most of the grosses went to the studios initially, but theaters benefited more the longer a film played. As a result, megaplex owners had a financial disincentive to play a new movie on too many screens.
Now studios and theater chains typically agree on a flat percentage split, no matter how long a movie plays. So “Pirates,” “Spider-Man 3” and “Shrek the Third,” for example, each opened on more than 10,000 screens in May.
“We don’t care anymore whether we generate revenue in the first week, the third or the fifth,” said Mike Campbell, chief executive of Regal Cinemas, the nation’s biggest theater chain.
It's not all sunshine and roses, though. The quick drop-offs mean there's less repeat business - perhaps an unintended consequence of shrinking release windows - and the enormous amount of screen real estate given over to blockbusters means there's less room for independent films. As a consequence, the giddy expectations of a record-breaking summer at the box offcie has been somewhat tempered.
But not entirely. Harry Potter is going strong in its second week and Hairspray and The Simpsons have enormous potential. And August, traditionally a bit of a dumping ground for films with lesser box office potential, has The Bourne Ultimatum, Rush Hour 3 and Superbad all looking strong. What other films are on your radar? The Invasion? Halloween? Any votes for Bratz or The Nanny Diaries?
You might expect the director of media for the National Association of Theatre Owners to believe that, but so does Jonathan Sehring, president of IFC Films, which releases a small number of films in theaters and on pay-per-view simultaneously. According to the article in Weekly Variety:
Sehring makes it clear that First Take is an outlet only for movies that figure to have a hard time drawing people into the theaters. For example, "You Kill Me," the IFC-distributed movie starring Ben Kingsley, Tea Leoni and Luke Wilson, which opened in theaters last month, will not go to First Take because it’s projected to pull seven figures at the multiplexes. (The movie has grossed $829,000 so far in limited release.)
PPV and direct-to-video releases are honorable and profitable ways to distribute movies. Why drag movie theaters into it?
Posted by: Patrick Corcoran in Uncategorized
Spanish cinemas have gone on strike.
For a day, anyway. Variety reports on plans for a Monday closure of Spanish movie theaters to protest the government's new draft film law. The somewhat hard-pressed exhibition sector is upset that some long-standing concerns are either being ignored or implemented in ways they see as detrimental to the health of the industry:
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Spanish exhibitors are riled at being ignored in the new draft law, which makes no mention of many of their demands: tougher anti-piracy measures, a reduction in U.S. major studios rentals in Spain, and the creation of legally enforceable six month windows between a film's theatrical bow and its release on other platforms.
The film bill, which is expected to be fast-tracked through parliament, does maintain an exhibition screen quota, which forces most hard tops to dedicate one of every four screenings to Spanish or non-Spanish European films.
Does anybody remember 2005?
That was the year of the summer slump that would not end - a slump that convinced many a pundit that the movie theatre business as we know it was dead. DVDs, flat screen TVs and instant downloading were killing the business, so theatres should acknowledge reality, turn off the popcorn makers, shut the doors and give consumers what they want.
Well, guess what? Now it's the DVD business that's down. After a flat 2006, 2007 is down 8% at the end of the first quarter - and why? The same reason that was dismissed when theatre owners made the case in 2005. There weren't enough movies that people wanted to see.
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