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TOPIC: shrinking window

Re: shrinking window 10 Nov 2005 09:59 #12021

  • reelman
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I was lambasted earlier in the summer for comparing the history of the videogame/arcade market to theatrical exhibition. Events of the past 6 months haven't changed my mind. For those that missed the thrust of the thread- The providers of content found far more bucks in the home market and deserted the out-of-home market. I believe this is what's coming for movie theatres. Hopefully I am wrong.
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Re: shrinking window 10 Nov 2005 19:46 #12022

  • jacker5
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It gets scarier they are trying out releasing movies the same time as the DVD with selected Indy flicks.
I can't understand why nothing can be done aout this?
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Re: shrinking window 10 Nov 2005 21:50 #12023

  • leeler
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I don't think we'll be able to legislate our way out of this mess. It has to be tried and then fail for it to sink into the minds of these corporations that this won't work.
"What a crazy business"
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Re: shrinking window 10 Nov 2005 23:32 #12024

  • RoxyVaudeville
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And now from the Just What We Really Want to Hear department as it appeared in the Washington Post.

Prime Time Gets Redefined
By Steven Pearlstein
Wednesday, November 9, 2005; Page D01
For years, the entertainment industry tried to fool us -- and itself -- into thinking that it only prospered by giving consumers what they wanted. Thanks to video on demand, we are now discovering what a big lie that was.
The real strategy of the entertainment industry has been to force customers to pay inflated prices to watch the movies and television most profitable for the industry to produce, at times that allowed the industry to rake in the most money, and distributed through channels designed to keep out upstart competition. Think about it for a minute. Here's an industry that for years got away with providing 22 original episodes of television shows for a 52-week year. An industry that over the years has forced moviegoers to travel longer distances and stand in longer lines -- and once they got in, forced them to sit through 20 minutes of advertisements and pay ridiculous prices for appallingly unhealthy snacks sold in super-sized portions. An industry that makes cable customers purchase 20 channels they don't want to get the one channel they do. An industry that charges the same price for a lousy movie as it does a good one.
But technology now threatens to put the consumer back in charge.
Thanks to TiVo and other Internet-based technologies, people not only can watch what they want when they want to watch it, but they can also do so without having to watch commercials. Suddenly, the whole concept of a prime-time lineup has been tossed out the window, along with an economic model that's been around since Geritol decided to sponsor the Ted Mack amateur hour.
To try to get ahead of this wave, CBS and NBC this week announced deals with satellite and cable providers that will allow customers to watch certain shows anytime they want, for a fee. ABC will join with Apple Computer to allow owners of new video iPods to download portions of some of its most popular shows. And NBC announced that its nightly news broadcast would be available over the Internet once it had been broadcast to the West Coast.
While nobody knows exactly how all this will shake out, several things are already clear. Much less of what we think of as television will be paid for by advertisers, and more by viewers. Television networks will need to hammer out new financial arrangements with local affiliates, which will lose the monopoly they have over distribution of network programming in their area. And the big networks will continue to lose market share, not just to niche cable channels, but to interactive gamers and anyone with a good idea, a studio and access to the Internet.
It's much the same challenge facing Hollywood. Over the years, the major studios have been getting less of their revenue from movies shown in theaters -- the estimate for this year is 15 percent -- and more from home viewing. At first came television's Saturday Night at the Movies, and then Blockbuster, then HBO.
But things really took off with the arrival of DVDs, Netflix and affordable flat-panel TVs. Now cable operators, phone companies and satellite services are rushing to expand their ability to offer customers any movie they want, any time they want it.
As the market has moved in this direction, the gap between when a movie opens in Los Angeles and when it is released on DVD has fallen to four months from six. Already, entrepreneurs Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner have roiled the industry with plans to produce high-quality movies that will be released simultaneously on DVD and at their Landmark Theaters. And no less a figure than Robert Iger, Disney's new chief, has said Disney may do so as well.
This doesn't mean that the oft-predicted demise of the neighborhood movie theater is finally upon us. But it does mean there will be fewer theaters and that those will have a very different economic model -- one that doesn't depend on overcharging for popcorn or giving the studios 70 percent of the first-run ticket price.
The economics of Hollywood also will change. The studios will be indifferent about how you choose to get a movie -- their profit will be the same whether you see it in the theater, rent it or order it up from Comcast. But prices are likely to vary considerably, depending on how popular the movie is, how close it is to the time of release or how much it costs to deliver it through the channel you choose.
More significantly, the way studios compete will fundamentally change. No longer will they be focused on churning out formulaic blockbusters featuring overpaid superstars, marketed extravagantly and pushed through a captive distribution system. Instead, the studios that do best will be those that make, or buy, a wider range of well-done movies for a variety of niche audiences reached through targeted marketing and distribution channels.
There are many ways to describe this new entertainment industry. The ones I like are competitive, efficient and consumer-driven.
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Re: shrinking window 11 Nov 2005 00:02 #12025

  • outaframe
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Well, the cat is finally getting out of the bag, and he ain't no "putey tat;" he's a snarling, nasty beast with sharp claws and big teeth... Anyone who still thinks it's gonna be business as usual in the next few years had better take another look in his crystal ball... We're either gonna HAVE to meet the challenge SOMEHOW, or be blown away with the rest of the wreckage... Being cost EFFICIENT and giving the customer a LOT of what he wants for the money looks like the only way to make it, and may require taking up 'yer belt a notch, or two... If ya can't get a loaf, gonna have to make do with a slice... It's gonna make a lot of the get rich quick operators look for greener pastures elsewhere...


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Re: shrinking window 11 Nov 2005 21:08 #12026

I'm glad Roxy posted this article, but, its gotta be one of the stupidest ideas I've ever heard.

Yah, the industry is sure in for one helluva roller coaster ride, but, as we have always found: The customer is usually wrong... and giving them what they want, when they want it, on their terms, is going to back fire. It just sets the general public up for even more unrealistic demands.

I think that, what the industry really needs to do, is make the entertainment experience is a movie theatre special again. I still have fond memories of going down to the neighbourhood shopping mall six-plex (just bear with how my generation grew up with the movies) as a child, and seeing some of my first movies: Beauty and The Beast, Hocus Pocus, etc.

I remember eating this delicious snack (popcorn, but much better than I had ever had at home), and sitting, while the lights slowly dimmed and the curtain climbed to the ceiling. Then, this massive wall in front of me came to life. It was a GIGANTIC TV, and I asked my parents if we could get one.


Since then, I have never lost my love for the movies, but I do miss that experience. I still have that magic in the back of my head, but am dissapointed when I go to the theatre and they don't even bother to put curtains in anymore. You sit in a black (or grey) box, and watch the same commercials repeat every 12 minutes. Sometimes the audio is even played when the projectors aren't working. Then the lights dim pretty slowly, and the same 4 rolling stock commercials (even up to 8 around this time) show for several months, followed by 10 trailers, a Dolby snipe, and the feature.

I think if the public showed up at a theatre and had: some soft music played in the auditorium, popcorn popped in coconut oil, and a slow-to-open curtain, they'd really remember why they left the house... No incovienence of pausing to answer the phone, no fuss making your own snacks, or shoeing guests out of your house... Just a fun experience of classic moviegoing.

I think two things really need to change:
1. Better control of being financially raped by the studios (NO 90% OF THE GATE).
2. Better supervision of each and every house in a complex. The number of customers that have to tell that one customer to STFU should drop to zero. I have to do it every time, and I am met with a life threatening ignorance every single time. THIS ROOM = NO CELL PHONE USE. A zero tolerance policy that is HIGHLY enforced.. or the CRTC/FCC could approve the use fo cell phone jammers, limited to the auditoriums themselves. I think you have the right to the use of a device on private property.

Thanks for hearing me out.
Since 1987
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Re: shrinking window 12 Nov 2005 01:19 #12027

  • Narrow Gauge
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I think Andrew makes some very good points, especially about cell phone jamming. We ought to be able to at least take this nuisance out of theaters once and for all. I'd even join NATO if they actually got the FCC to reverse its stance regarding this-but I won't hold my breath.
It seems that the solution for movie theaters long term viability is dependent on who has control of the product. As long as theater owners do not own the content we will never be in control of our future. Seems like Sumner Redstone has the right idea(Paramount Pictures) Perhaps the time has come to stop overbuilding megaplexes and start looking at ways to produce content for our own screens.(remember cineplex odeon films?) Control the product and you can control your future
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Re: shrinking window 12 Nov 2005 10:31 #12028

  • D. Bird
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Andrew, you've ALMOST hit it on the head.

But, it's not the CUSTOMER who is always wrong, it's the CORPORATE bean-counters and bottom-liners. I mean really, who the hell wants to watch movies on their cell phone or Ipod or whatever these things are called.

The problem is that movies, like most other businesses, are not run by "movie people" anymore. When share prices go down due to a slump and you've stripped the business to bare minimum required to operate it, what do you do?

Why, you create a hype and buzz and ignore what's worked for 100 years because it "must not work anymore". So blow the whole thing up, 180 U-Turn.

And do it quick. 1-shot, bet it all, people must not like going to the movies anymore, their scared of terrorists, whatever. These people are idiots.

The reason people in many areas don't go to the movies are many of the ones listed above, or the small theatres are gone. But look at what American International did for the outdoor theatres in the '60's when they had no content to run. Think of the double features you saw in the neighbourhood (and how busy the snack bar was at intermission).

Movies were created to entertain people at movie theatres, that's why they exist. I can guarantee we'll watch less movies without theatres. You don't blow up the mechanism, you go back to what made you successful. The theatre chains themselves are big business, I fully expect they will start to create product, probably hire some big names to do it. Let's hope it's collaborative through something like NATO so all get a crack at playing it. Studios do more releasing of financed projects now, so no reason other companies can't do it.
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Re: shrinking window 12 Nov 2005 10:59 #12029

  • RoxyVaudeville
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This problem has existed since the dawn of the industry... the need to control an adequate supply of product. Marcus Loew was a vaudeville theatre operator that saw the future in motion pictures. He added the short films of his day to the end of the vaudeville bill primarily as a way to chase people out of his theatres to make room for the next customers. When he saw that his patrons actually enjoyed the films, he knew there was a great potential in them, but the supply in quality films was limited, and controled by others. He also knew that people would tire of the short films of that time and that well made features with interesting stories were needed to bring them back again and again. He therefore bought two of the small studios of that time, Metro Pictures and Goldwyn Pictures and hired Louis B. Mayer to run the company he founded to produce a steady flow of quality product for his theatres. Thus, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was formed and his product supply was guaranteed. MGM was owned by Loew's up until the devorcenent that was required by the famous Paramount consent decrees which wouldn't allow studios and theatres to be owned by the same company. The Warner Bros. started out as theatre operators as well and formed their production company for much the same reason.

Maybe it's time to come full circle and do the same again, but of course it's not going to be done by us little guys. It would take the Regals, Carmikes, AMCs or maybe NATO to create a company(ies) to supply product for theatres first.

Movie making needs to return to movie people rather then conglomerates that are only interested in their bottom line.
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Re: shrinking window 12 Nov 2005 12:48 #12030

  • outaframe
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Back in 1971, I was a small cog in a grass roots effort by Kroger Babb to produce and distribute movies by a group of small independents... He had some clever ideas which looked workable on paper, but they were never even tried because the exhibitor organizations were more or less controlled by the circuits, and they wouldn't even consider what he had in mind... The very same reasons that exhibition was split from distibution by the decrees still exist today... EVERYONE involved in this business is greedy and interested in exploiting all the edges for themselves, and to hell with everyone else... No exhibitor organization or effort will ever get off the ground unless it's engineered to be FAIR and EQUITABLE for ALL, but unless human nature does a 180, that appears highly UNLIKELY...
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Re: shrinking window 12 Nov 2005 23:02 #12031

So, are the circuits allowed to own studios now? I thought I heard that the antitrust (or whatever they're called) laws were reversed or overturned.
Since 1987
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Re: shrinking window 30 Nov 2005 00:52 #12032

  • reelman
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And once again from Iger at Disney:

NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- Walt Disney Co. (DIS) Chief Executive Robert Iger reiterated Monday his view that time between a movie playing in theaters and then making its way to the home video market must be shortened.

A theatrical release makes most of its money in the first few weeks on screens but the exclusivity to theaters can last about four months, Iger said during a question-and-answer session at The Wall Street Journal offices here.

"We are spending too much time chasing box office (dollars) and we are waiting too long to enter the next window" where a movie has the most value, Iger said. He added that consumers want content "the fastest way possible" when they feel the movie is "more relevant."

Iger said he has gone so far as to suggest a deal where the exhibitor would sell the DVD of a Disney movie playing in the theater - while its still fresh in audience members mind - and cut the theater owner in for a piece of the sale. "They think we are out of our minds," Iger said, adding that Disney has had discussions with only a few theater operators.

The theater owners fight change because "they want to protect the value of their business," Iger said.

He said the price of DVDs would be able to fight any erosion by coming to market sooner, rather than later.

When Disney announced deal with Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) to make episodes of shows like "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives" available on the iPpods for $1.99 each, the company heard complaints from retailers selling DVDs of the shows. Iger made the case that it was a "different consumer experience" to see the shows on the small screen and attracted a different audience from those buying box sets of a season.

Iger said Hollywood in general makes too many movies each year, pointing out that there are only a few blockbusters that have long runs in theaters. That said, Disney will reduce the number of films in produces in fiscal 2006 and 2007, Iger said.

In fiscal 2005, the company had to release more Miramax films that it did the year before as part of agreement to end ties with Miramax founders Bob and Harvey Weinstein.

He added that ABC network was producing more television shows that it has "in a long time" to feed consumer demand. "It may be cyclical and probably is," Iger said.

He declined to discuss the state of talks with co-production partner Pixar (PIXR). The last film under their existing contract," Cars," is set for release in June 2006. Iger did say Disney and Pixar were in "later stage of discussions," which would be in line with Pixar Chief Executive Steve Jobs' recent comments that Pixar would know by the end of the year whether it had a deal with Disney.

Iger said that animation was "a priority" at Disney, adding that "to be successful long-term, we have to get animation right." Following that tenet influences what Disney does with Pixar, he said.

Pixar has been looking for a distribution partner who would be paid a fee, with Pixar retaining all rights to the films. Disney hold sequel and other rights to the films it made with Pixar, including "Toy Story" and "Monsters Inc."

Disney's "Chicken Little," its first computer-generated animated movie made without Pixar, has taken in about more than $100 million in its first four weeks of release.
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Re: shrinking window 30 Nov 2005 07:47 #12033

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Most of the "Hollywood Hits" that have been released this year, did so with a TON of advertising. And most of the ones that didn't do so well, were brought down by their own lack of advertising. I'll cite 2 examples.

Just Like Heaven. They promo'd the mess out of this movie, and it sold out almsot every show at my theater. And it wasn't even that great of a movie. (Well, I LOVED it, but thats just me.)

Crash. I had never heard of this movie until it came in the cans. When I watched it, I was blown away. How could they NOT promote a movie that is this good? (Again, my opinion)

Also, I've found that studios seem to shoot themselves in the foot when it comes to limited releases. Take for instance, The Man. 500 Prints?! No wonder it flopped. They didn't give it a chance. We were fortunate enough to get it for 2 weeks, and it did terrible. Yes, the people who were coming out were laughing and talking about how good it was (I never saw it), but they didn't advertise it enough and they made it un-available.
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Re: shrinking window 30 Nov 2005 08:54 #12034

  • lionheart
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Good point! Where's the advertising and promotion for many of the films released these days? When I was a kid, I don't remember ever seeing a trailer at the movies. Maybe it was just my local theater, but if I ever heard of a movie, it was because of TV advertising. And you are unlikely to see a particular trailer, if you don't come to the movies very often. Depending on trailers as your main source of advertising is like fishing in a barrel, but the barrel keeps getting smaller. Exhibitors depend on film distributors to get the word out, for the most part. Many times they fail.

Ok, so TV audiences are much more fragmented now. It takes a lot more money and effort using different media to reach a wide audience than it once did. That's no excuse. Who plans a new business venture without including advertising dollars in the budget? The distribs surely know all this. Where are all their TV ads?

You can't depend on the talk show circuit or "buzz" to carry a movie. Sure it doesn't hurt, but not every film is going to get great buzz. Since I'm not in the industry, I don't know what the buzz was like for "March of the Penguins", but I do know that I saw dozens of TV ads for it. I also noticed that it seemed to do good business. Hmmm. There must be a correlation here somewhere.
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Re: shrinking window 30 Nov 2005 10:42 #12035

  • D. Bird
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>>When Disney announced deal with Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) to make episodes of shows like "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives" available on the iPpods for $1.99 each, the company heard complaints from retailers selling DVDs of the shows. Iger made the case that it was a "different consumer experience" to see the shows on the small screen and attracted a different audience from those buying box sets of a season.<<

That comment kind of contradicts Disney's policy of shutting out indies and drive-ins for a number of weeks off release. One could certainly argue that THOSE audiences are out for a "different consumer experience" too.....

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