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TOPIC: EVER SHORTER VIDEO WINDOWS

EVER SHORTER VIDEO WINDOWS 02 Feb 2004 15:13 #15017

  • garymey
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Anybody noticing the decreasing amount of time between theatrical and home video? LOST IN TRANSLATION comes out Tuesday and though it will be 4 1/2 months but there should still be theatrical life in this after nominations), 21 GRAMS ( March 16) , MONA LISA SMILES (march 9)and the big hit SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE (March 30). I mean we are talking 3 months or less here.

MONA LISA may have been a bust and off screen but public perception of closer the theatrical erodes potential business, not to mention subrun theaters like mine.
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Re: EVER SHORTER VIDEO WINDOWS 02 Feb 2004 15:34 #15018

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Lost in Translation is up 65% for us this week. I feel the ever shortening video window is dangerous. I'm waiting for the first, 'Out in theatres on Friday, out on video the following Tuesday.'

[This message has been edited by Large (edited February 02, 2004).]
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Re: EVER SHORTER VIDEO WINDOWS 02 Feb 2004 15:41 #15019

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It has happened on some rock concert type videos where they just wanted a brief theatrical "look."
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Re: EVER SHORTER VIDEO WINDOWS 03 Feb 2004 00:56 #15020

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A-HA... Glad to know that I'm not the only one concerned about keeping my fingers clear of the window sill, for fear of the window slamming down on them!... Yes, 3 months is getting to be the "standard" window... Just another little pressure to open on the break, rather than waiting... It all works in the film distributor's best interests, and demonstrates how vulnerable the exhibition side of this business is... The pirating paranoia is, no doubt, also a factor... Exhibition is the springboard which pays for the initial advertizing campaign, and creates an interest base for the video release... Ever notice how many more TV ads are playing for the video release, and that the ads are also BETTER than the theatrical release ads were?... As Scarlet told Ashley, "It's US who are being winnowed out."... The big fish eat the little fish!...

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Re: EVER SHORTER VIDEO WINDOWS 03 Feb 2004 13:25 #15021

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I feel sorry for anyone trying to stay in the exhibition business today. It is not the old more or less respectable businessmen's agreement as it was in days past; now it is every guy for himself. When the studios were bought by the conglomerates, did anyone doubt that they would turn them into profit duplicating machines? Conglomerates and their ilk do not make products or render services; they just make money -- it is their only god and purpose in existance. They would not know what 'art' was if it came up and bit them, and they couldn't care less. So, if it is more profitable for their studios and distributors to release a recording of a movie almost as it is released to the theatres, then they will certainly do it, and in our money-worshiping society how can they be accused of doing anything wrong? Buck up, fellows, for it is certainly as Outaframe says: The big fish WILL eat the little fish, so I hope you all have a retirement or new career strategy, for I see the handwriting on the wall as to the demise of the cinema, sad to say! I hate to mention a 'downer,' but reality is a sad thing. Eventually, a few multinationals and mega-billionaires will own the entire country and its government and 99% of the population will be fish too small to count. "Soylent Green" here we come.
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
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Re: EVER SHORTER VIDEO WINDOWS 04 Feb 2004 21:59 #15022

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Before we begin the wake here, I have to ask a serious question. What was the last gotta see direct to video or dvd release?

Yes, dvd revenue may be outstripping theatrical revenue more and more in the future. But theatrical exposure still drives the revenue equation because it drives the publicity and marketing and generates word of mouth.
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Re: EVER SHORTER VIDEO WINDOWS 05 Feb 2004 01:18 #15023

  • RoxyVaudeville
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Lets see... there was radio, then television, then pay TV (cable), then video, followed by pay per view, and now DVDs. Did I miss any? They all were touted as the death of motion picture theatres. We're still here, and 2002 was the biggest grossing year for the industry since 1957 when most homes finally had TV. This past year saw only a modest drop, and was still the 2nd best grossing year since 1957.

During the past 33 plus years that I have been operating my 2nd run theatre (which should be hurt more then the 1st runs) I have not seen any lasting indication that any of those medias have hurt my business. My business has grown steadily during that time. The only recession that I had was from 1996 through 2001 which was the period just after I abandoned the All Seats $1.00 policy and went to $2.50 and then $3.00. After being a dollar house for over twenty five years there was a shock effect that had to be overcome by my patrons. It took a few years, but I am past it now and will continue to pace my prices with the increases at the first runs so I don't create another shock situation again.

I don't think video windows or pay per view had anything to do with it, or why would it have come back. People don't want to sit at home all the time to watch movies. Getting out and doing things with other people is a social necessity. We can save money by eating at home, yet more and more people continue to eat more meals out. Lazyness has something to do with that, but the desire to get out of the house is a major reason as well. People get tired of cabin fever.

So, although the new medias may lessen the number of theatres at some point, I don't see movie theatres going away any time soon.
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Re: EVER SHORTER VIDEO WINDOWS 05 Feb 2004 02:42 #15024

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I too run a subrun theater and want to believe it will be around for some time to come. The problem I face is that a quality movie with legs is the kind of film I play so if they are successful here, they stay in the first run theater for several months and next thing we know...video is on top of us.

I got my start running revival cinemas and video did kill them. There are lots of reasons I won;t go into here but video was at the core.

Radio, TV, pay TV, cable and video were feared and the movie-going experience survived. I have always stated that to naysayers who suggest our demise.

But I had two disturbing conversations today while visiting LA. One, from the top levels of a major studio, was frustarted about the shrinking windows. It feels it does hurt his theatrical playoff but the favored executives now are 25-year-old whizzes who belive in everything high tech, They want to elimante the windows and release new films in all forms simultaneously...as he put it "They'd like to bring a new film to your watch day and date with the theaters." He has tracked it and on successful films the perceived earlier windows do cut back on patrons, especially with "adults" (my audience). Yet taking two films that opened at the same time with similar audience appeal and grosses, the one that came out
1 1/2 months later on video did the same business.

I also was speaking with an exhibition honcho. Their parent company has decided to make movies and plans to offer them on pay-per-view starting the same day as theatrical.

Will it put all theaters out of business? No. But it will certainly have its impact on many exhibitors who will suddenly be overscreened again.
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Re: EVER SHORTER VIDEO WINDOWS 05 Feb 2004 07:55 #15025

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RIALTO <> No, it's not time to start the wake, but it might not be a bad time to reserve the hall, book the band, and order the keg... Exhibition has one foot in the grave, the other firmly planted on a banana peel, and its head in a warm dark place that smells bad!... Unless we do something VERY positive SOON, it looks terminal from here...

ROXY <> 1957 was the highest grossing year (with 65 cent tickets) BUT 1947 (with 35 cent tickets) sold the MOST TICKETS, and by 1957 most of the smaller studios were either struggling or belly up... Raising ticket prices to up the gross soon has a point of diminishing return: there is a certainly a limit on what you can charge before the volume suffers... You're absolutely right, doing the correct stuff and doing well, but still down from the kind of numbers it's going to take to keep exhibition alive and kicking... In 1947 we had an exclusive product: IF you wanted to see a movie, you had little choice, other than going to your neighborhood theater... 1948 brought broadcast TV, and the networks... By 1957, even though broadcast TV was filling 25% (or more) of its on-air time with movies, they were very old movies for the most part, but they had a very serious effect on the number of theater tickets sold... Since the advent of HBO (and clones) VHS and DVD, the number of theatrical films on broadcast network TV has dropped to a trickle... You're doing all the right stuff to stay alive, but is it going to be enough?... I sure hope so!... Sure, there will probably always be film (or HD Video) theaters in major population centers, which can sell $20 tickets, but what about the small markets, like yours and mine?...

GARYMEY <> A 6 month window would probably not harm Video/DVD sales of the better pictures, and would help theaters, but the majority of current films are so forgettable they HAVE to sell 'em before the smell gets around... AND, pay-per-view simultaneous to theatrical release is a way to slow the stealing via internet downloading, so don't be surprized... IF the studios can find a way to pocket the exhibitor's piece of the pie, we will be kicked to the curb without a second thought... Greed and self-interest have always been a big part of the film business, and overbuilding screens is just another aspect...
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Re: EVER SHORTER VIDEO WINDOWS 09 Apr 2007 22:39 #15026

  • jacker5
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Some nice thinsg about windows from NATO Boards:

On the Record:
Studio Executives and Directors Overwhelmingly
Support Preservation of the Theatrical Window
Howard Stringer, Sony Corp. Chairman
“If you collapse a window or go day and date ... if you eliminate the movie theater, you’re doing
movie of the week. And the sizzle ... of the movie industry will be gone. You have to guard the
value of the content.”
—News Conference at the Michelangelo Hotel, New York City
September 29, 2005, as reported in Variety, Sunday, October 2, 2005
Michael Lynton, Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman
“We at Sony believe very strongly in the theatrical window. It is our lifeblood as well as that of
theater owners. Busting it up is dangerous.”
—October 27, 2005, as reported in Los Angeles Times on October 28, 2005
“We’re confident that the existing window structure is the best economic model.”
—Fortune Magazine, January 23, 2006
Tom Bernard, President, Sony Pictures Classics
“Collapsed windows are the worst thing that ever happened to specialized films. Polluting the
theatrical window is doom.”
—Multichannel News, November 7, 2005
“Polluting the theatrical window is doom and hits like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, My Big
Fat Greek Wedding or March of the Penguins that need time to build would be all over in two
weeks.”
—Film Journal, April 2006
Sumner Redstone, Executive Chairman, Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp.
“Sumner Redstone, executive chairman of the new Viacom and CBS Corp., left no doubt about
where he stands on the idea of the industry moving toward simultaneous releases of feature films
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to theaters and DVD or video-on-demand platforms during a wide-ranging Q&A session
Tuesday night hosted by the Museum of Television & Radio in Beverly Hills.
“‘Any exhibitor playing pictures under those circumstances would be committing suicide,’ said
Redstone, who has deep roots in exhibition through another company, National Amusements,
controlled by his family. Despite the boxoffice slump last year, ‘it’s not going to happen,’
Redstone said emphatically.”
—The Hollywood Reporter, January 12, 2006
Shari Redstone, Vice Chairman, Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp.
“Shrinking windows is bad for business, and I mean everybody’s business.”
“Movies are meant to be seen in the theater.”
—March 29, 2006 at the Bank of America Media, Telecommunications and Entertainment
Conference as reported by The Hollywood Reporter, March 30, 2006
Tom Freston, CEO, Viacom Inc.
“The Windows system has served the film industry quite well. And from a profitability
standpoint, the studios have been a great beneficiary from this sequential release of product. We
don’t see any reason to change that.”
—Viacom Earnings Conference Call, February 22, 2006 (transcript on file)
Thomas Lesinsky, President of Paramount Digital Media Group
“WILL THE EVOLUTION OF DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION FORCE DAY-AND-DATE
RELEASES OF THEATRICAL AND PACKAGED MEDIA OR AT THE VERY LEAST REJIGGER
THE DISTRIBUTION FOOD CHAIN?
“No. The filmed entertainment business was built on sequential distribution. It all starts with
theatrical, then goes to airlines and hotels, then on to home video and pay-per-view/VOD and on
to pay TV and free TV.”
—Q&A with Home Media Retailing, HomeMediaRetailing, June 17, 2006
Harry Sloan, CEO, MGM
“There has been much debate in Hollywood recently about film distribution windows –
simultaneous on-demand offers, and shortening the time between theatrical and home
entertainment release.
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“So, I’d like to go on record here today saying that at MGM, our goal, both immediate and longterm,
is to treat you, the exhibitors, as our first and most important partners.
“MGM’s primary commitment is to the full theatrical experience that can only be conveyed by
seeing a film on a large screen in a theatre environment. That is why we want to affirm that we
will respect and we will uphold our current model of distribution that allows first for theatrical
and then, after a significant period of exploitation, windows for on-demand and DVD.
“My diverse media career spans all the various distribution platforms. And what I have learned
through my experience is that the North American theatrical exhibition and marketing drives the
success of all other ancillary revenue streams throughout the world.
“Ladies and gentlemen, you have my word today that MGM has no plans to change our windows
of distribution, and remains steadfast in its commitment to theatrical exhibition first and foremost
and to working in close partnership with you, the theater owners, to make both of our businesses
successful.”
—ShoWest Convention speech, March 16, 2006 (transcript on file)
Rick Sands, COO, MGM
“I’m a believer in windows, in an orderly distribution pattern, which includes exclusivity within
windows. We are not leaders in changing windows. Right now, we’re respecting the theatrical
and home video and pay television and then free television windows. As those windows change
on an industry-wide basis, we will react. We are not being proactive in collapsing those
windows. My background comes from building movies. If you have tent poles it’s easy to go
day and date worldwide all media. It’s great, but that’s not the business I grew up in at Miramax
and DreamWorks to a certain extent. We built the movies, like what we did with Chicago. We
started out with a platform. We only had the top 10 cities, top 50, top 100. We really built a
groundswell. Then you lay the publicity on top of that and the electronic marketing and you
build movies into the successes that they become. Day and date, all media doesn’t allow you to
do that because you’re not going to be on peoples’ minds and on shelves. As long as DVD is
actually physically delivered, you can have a couple of weeks on the shelves, in terms of prime
shelf space, and if people don’t buy, you’re gone. So that takes the discovery out of movies,
worldwide day and day all media. It does protect you against piracy but it also changes the
ultimate game.”
—The Business of Film: Cannes 2006 Special Issue and Product Guide, May 2006
James Gianopulos, Co-Chairman, Twentieth Century Fox Filmed Entertainment
“20th Century Fox Filmed Entertainment Co-Chairman James Gianopulos on Thursday defended
the traditional DVD release schedule amid a push by Walt Disney Co. to rush theatrical releases
to the home video market to counter piracy and a maturing home video market.
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“Sending movies to home video markets much quicker than the average four-month exclusive
that studios grant theaters could crimp growth, Gianopulos said at the Reuters Media and
Advertising Summit in New York.
“‘When people say ‘Re-invent your business model because of the ubiquitous availability of
pirated product.’ There’s a huge flaw with that,’ said Gianopulos. ‘You can never compete with
free.’
“The window between releases would continue to shrink, but not very quickly.”
* * *
“‘The amount of money we spend on marketing films is an incentive to bring windows forward,’
Gianopulos said. ‘On the other hand you never want to bring the window so far forward it
impedes vitality and growth.’”
—Reuters, December 2, 2005
“[Gianopulos] said the tiered system that has been in place since home video emerged 25 years
ago ‘is not random. It’s not accidental. There’s logic to it.’ What advocates of simultaneous
release are proposing makes no sense.’”
—Los Angeles Times, January 22, 2006
Tomas Jegeus, Executive Vice President of Twentieth Century Fox International
“You can’t take away the ‘out of home’ experience. We have to protect windows.”
—December 8, 2005, as reported in Screen Daily, December 9, 2005
Steve Gilula, COO, Fox Searchlight
“We see ourselves as a theatrical motion picture company in which the theatrical venue is
preeminent.”
—Film Journal, April 2006
Ron Meyer, President and Chief Operating Officer, Universal Studios
“DISNEY’S BOB IGER SAYS HE’S INTRIGUED BY THE IDEA OF RELEASING MAJOR
MOVIES IN THEATERS AND ON DVD ON THE SAME DAY. YOUR RESPONSE?
“I’m not in favor of it. We have to be careful not to cannibalize our own product. The window
of time between theatrical-release dates and DVD-release dates has a purpose in delivering
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financial results to us and different experiences to the audience. There’s a place for each of those
windows.”
—Q&A with Jeffrey Ressner, Time Magazine, September 5, 2005
Lew Coleman, President, DreamWorks Animation, SKG
“We’d just as soon keep the windows where they are.”
—March 29, 2006 at the Bank of America Media, Telecommunications and Entertainment
Conference as reported by The Hollywood Reporter, March 30, 2006
Dan Fellman, Warner Bros. President of Domestic Distribution
“The downturn in boxoffice is not related entirely to video release dates. Boxoffice is
historically content-driven, and as an industry we fell short this year as a result.” But, he noted,
simultaneous theatrical/DVD release dates “are not going to happen at Warner Bros.”
—October 27, 2005, as reported in The Hollywood Reporter, October 28, 2005
Sid Ganis, President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
“And, by the way, I bet you none of the artists nominated tonight have ever finished a shot in a
movie, stood back and said 'That's going to look great on DVD!' Because there is nothing like
the experience of watching a movie in a darkened theatre, looking at images on an eye
enveloping screen, sound coming at you from all directions and sharing the experience with total
strangers who have been brought together by the story they are seeing."
—March, 5, 2006 at the 78th Annual Academy Awards
“And the question for all of us is this: is it time for the Academy to mandate a stated ‘window’
during which a picture must play exclusively theatrically if it is to be eligible for Academy
Awards? What would that accomplish? What dangers might it stave off? Two, actually: one
posed by an erasure of the line between movies that premiere in theatres and movies made for
television, the other posed by the elimination of the theatres’ historic first crack at the audience.
The other possible threat posed by the day-and-date release, though is more far-reaching; it is a
threat to our art form itself. Exhibitors are having some difficulty filling theatres as it is. If it
became normal practice for new pictures to be offered in theatres, on pay cable, on DVD and
other media simultaneously, what percentage of the current audience would opt for the theatrical
experience? Half? Less? We don’t know. We’re watching.”
—Academy Quarterly Report, Volume 17
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Robert Iger, President and CEO of Walt Disney Company
“DO YOU SEE [DISNEY MOVIES] BEING DISTRIBUTED IMMEDIATELY ON DVD,
CABLE AND SATELLITE, NOT JUST IN THE THEATRES?
“Not right away, no…. I think the movie experience, the big-screen, multiple-person experience
is actually a pretty good experience. I think the whole industry should get behind improving that
experience....
“We create a lot of value with the initial big-screen release. So I like the notion of keeping that
where it is. How long that lasts in some exclusive window, I don't know. It seems pretty obvious
that the windows are going to compress.”
—Q&A with Kara Swisher, Wall Street Journal, June 19, 2006
Dick Cook, Chairman of Walt Disney Studios
“The theatrical experience is still the most important experience in the pipeline,” Cook told the
Reuters Media Summit in New York. “I don't see much shrinking (of windows) in the
foreseeable future. We are comfortable where it is now.”
—November 30, 2006 at the Reuters Media Summit
Bill Mechanic, Pandemonium Films;
Former Chairman and CEO, Fox Filmed Entertainment
“When you read industry discussions about collapsing the theatrical and home entertainment
windows, there is a fundamental lack of understanding about how the movie business works as a
business. For the past 25 years, it has become a better and better business in terms of income
only because of sequential distribution. Take it down to a single market and the economics
collapse. ... Eliminate the theatrical window and the same pictures that don’t create a head of
steam theatrically now will most likely fail to create a head of steam in video. And there will be
no subsequent market to pick up the losses.”
—Movie City News, August 19, 2005
Tom Sherak, Partner, Revolution Studios
“There’s a reason for windows—it’s good for the art, and it’s good for the overall business. I
think the idea of movies being made for and seen on the big screen is an important part of the
experience. ... I don’t think movie theaters can exist if everything goes day-and-date (to all
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platforms). The idea of trying to rush everything at the same time is leading to the ruination of
the theater as we know it.”
—Kansas City Star, November 27, 2005
Jon Feltheimer, Chief Executive, Lions Gate Entertainment
“We’ve got to protect the windows because the system still works.”
—Financial Times, August 11, 2005
Bob Berney, President, Picturehouse
“If what Cuban is doing is done in a bigger way by the larger studios, it could hurt the theatrical
audience and I’m worried about that.”
—Film Journal, April 2006
M. Night Shyamalan, Director
“If I can’t make movies for theaters, I don’t want to make movies. I hope [simultaneous release]
is a very bad idea that goes away.”
—October 27, 2005, as reported in Los Angeles Times, October 28, 2005
“Art is the ability to convey that we are not alone. When I sit down next to you in a movie
theater, we get to share each other’s point of view. We become part of a collective soul. That’s
the magic in the movies. If [simultaneous release] happens, you know the majority of your
theaters are closing. It’s going to crush you guys.”
—ShowEast, Orlando, Florida, October 27, 2005,
as reported in Los Angeles Times, October 28, 2005
Steven Spielberg, Director
“I have to go on record saying that I am not in favor of a DVD coming out the same day as the
film opens, because I really believe that the average home system is far inferior to a movie
house. And a lot of it is the social magic of going out to the movies, seeing it with a lot of
people you have never met and sharing an experience. I feel there is no substitute for going out
to the movies. There is nothing like it.”
—Time Magazine, March 27, 2006
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James Cameron, Director
“I love movies. And I love them on the big screen. I’m not going to make movies for people to
watch on their cell phones. To me, that’s an abomination. . . . And I don’t want to see day-anddate
because of the sacred experience of the cinema. I don’t want that grand, visionary,
transporting movie experience made for the big screen to become a thing of the past.”
—National Association of Broadcasters Conference at the Las Vegas Convention Center,
Las Vegas, NV April 23, 2006
Jonathan Demme, Director
“Doesn’t it seem like the movie business is devouring itself because it can’t wait to get to home
video?”
—Los Angeles Times, January 22, 2006
Tim Burton, Director
“Tim Burton, director of last year’s ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ and the animated
‘Corpse Bride,’ called the notion of simultaneously release absurd. Obviously, he said, cinema is
a business, ‘but everything should be done to treat it as an art form—it’s a visceral medium.’”
—Los Angeles Times, January 22, 2006
Barry Sonnenfield, Director
“THERE’S BEEN A LOT OF SENTIMENT IN THE TECH WORLD, THE INTERNET
WORLD, TO GET RID OF THE DVD-RELEASE WINDOW ALTOGETHER. . . . DOES THE
WINDOW SYSTEM MAKE SENSE ANYMORE?
“I think the window should actually get longer, and I don't understand that business model of
releasing everything on the same day.”
—Q&A with Walt Mossberg, Wall Street Journal, June 19, 2006
Ron Howard, Director
“Viewing in a theater is the optimum experience. It needs to be preserved.”
—Los Angeles Times, January 22, 2006
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Walter Salles, Director
“As Fellini once said, ‘we go to the movie theatre as we go to a cathedral,’ that is, to have a
collective experience. Trying to see a comedy in the privacy of your home is just not the same as
seeing it with four hundred people in the theatre. There is that catharsis that stems from the
collective laugh!
“When your neighbor starts to laugh, you feel relieved as well, and something of a contagious
nature occurs. The same is true for any impactful, emotional filmic narrative. In the movie
theatre, there is something that travels from one spectator to another that makes that collective
experience unique.”
—Dolby News Cinema Edition Winter 2005
John Hamburg, Writer and Director
“I just don’t love (collapsing windows), because it’s indicative of our instant-gratification way of
living today. Movies have a certain mystique and this comes from their need to be discovered
and have that build-up that makes them more appreciated.”
—Film Journal, April 2006
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Re: EVER SHORTER VIDEO WINDOWS 09 Apr 2007 23:02 #15027

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Look at all the anticipation surrounding the new Harry Potter book and the extraordinary efforts by Scholastic to keep its contents under wraps until street date. There's a lesson for the studios if they are paying attention.
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Re: EVER SHORTER VIDEO WINDOWS 17 May 2007 00:12 #15028

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Now Comcast pay-per-view wants in on the shrinking window business: http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20039033,00.html

The Homecoming Dance by Nicole Sperling

Imagine being able to see Shrek 3 on opening day — in the comfort of your own home. No ticket lines, no overpriced candy, no sitting next to a guy giving a scene-by-scene recap of the film into his cell phone.

That is the scenario Stephen Burke, chief operating officer of Comcast, essentially presented on May 7, during the annual cable operators' convention in Las Vegas when he announced that Comcast, the nation's largest cable operator, wants to offer Hollywood blockbusters as pay-per-view events on cable TV the day they arrive in theaters, a release strategy referred to as ''day and date.''

Sounds great, right? Not to theater owners who are justifiably concerned that collapsing the three- to four-month window between theatrical and home video release could send movie theaters the way of the spotted owl.

''The truth is, going day and date doesn't benefit anybody but Comcast,'' said Shari Redstone, president of National Amusements Theaters as well as vice-chairman of Viacom, the parent company of Paramount Pictures. ''The revenue streams for movies begin in the theaters. This proposal would hurt the studios overall, and the quality of movies would go down. Filmmakers don't want to make films that are made to be seen at home.''

Theater chains have already demonstrated their mettle when it comes to the issue of day and date. Many of them, National Amusements included, refused to play one of last year's highest grossing films' Night at the Museum in the U.K. because Fox International was trying to shorten the window between theatrical and DVD release. And the top movie theater chains, including Regal, AMC, and Cinemark, all have policies that forbid them from screening any film that debuts day and date in any other medium.

While no studio would confirm that they are talking to Comcast about releasing their blockbusters on pay-per-view the same day they hit theaters, five of the six of them are partnering with Comcast on a two-city test experimenting with collapsing the window between a DVD release and pay-per-view. (Currently that window is about one month.) The studios are quick to point out that this is only a test and that there is a major difference between DVD windows and the window between theatrical release and pay-per-view. But some believe it's a slippery slope and that once they're on it, the studios may find it difficult to get off.

''Nothing in these tests is good for the studios,'' said one studio executive who claims that Hollywood is playing ball in order to maintain a healthy relationship with Comcast, which carries cable channels owned by the studios' parent companies. ''Comcast absolutely sees this as the play of the future, with the first step being day and date with DVD; the next step is creating a window prior to DVD, and the ultimate step is theatrical. [Burke's] statement jumps to the end game. The question is, do any of the studios really feel this is the future and are they in for that?''

Redstone added that these tests have been ''unimpressive'' on both sides. Comcast declined comment for this article.

According to Warner Bros. president of domestic distribution, Dan Fellman, his studio is not interested in making the theatrical moviegoing experience an endangered species. ''We support the exhibition experience and we'll continue to do so,'' Fellman said. ''Why take the position on losing a successful window? The theatrical experience is the engine of the train.''

Bob Iger, Disney's CEO who was lambasted in 2005 for supporting a smaller window between DVD and theatrical release, responded quickly against the Comcast proposition during Disney's quarterly earnings call on May 8: ''We are not in discussions to sell movies to cable in the same window as theatrical,'' he said.

Comcast's comments may be wishful thinking, or perhaps these conversations are taking place out of the public realm as the heads of studios continue to try to reign in costs. Either way, theater chains will do everything they can to stop a day-and-date release from happening. ''If a studio decides to go day-and-date, you wouldn't see that movie in our theaters,'' added Redstone.
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Re: EVER SHORTER VIDEO WINDOWS 17 May 2007 06:03 #15029

  • Dexxa
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That is stupid trying to put movies onto pay per view when they hit the cinema's.

Comcast are just thinking about themselfs once again, Just like ntl formaly known as virgin media here whch is our cable network.

And plus some people dont have cable and want to visit the cinema, How can they do that if most cinemas close?

They should do it from cinema 2 months then onto pay per view and 2 months after that onto dvd.
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