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TOPIC: Joe Roth Says: Studios Need To Own Theatres Again

Joe Roth Says: Studios Need To Own Theatres Again 05 May 2010 15:38 #33890

  • muviebuf
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...... so that by controlling the theatres they can then shorten the video release window to 4 weeks.

Really folks.... I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried!
Last Edit: 05 May 2010 15:38 by muviebuf.
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Re:Joe Roth Says: Studios Need To Own Theatres Again 05 May 2010 16:04 #33891

  • revrobor
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Well they're attempting to run the theatres now by telling you how long a picture will play, whether or not you can have a certain film and if you want this film you also have to take that film.
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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Re:Joe Roth Says: Studios Need To Own Theatres Again 06 May 2010 07:02 #33892

  • lionheart
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If people only have to wait four weeks instead of four months for DVD, then many would be a lot less likely to see a film in a theater in the first place. That is a statement of the obvious. I can't imagine why some in Hollywood can't see that. Not to mention that it would destroy many small independent theaters which don't usually get films until they are 3 or 4 weeks old or more.

Even the major chains not owned by the studios would be put in a hard position if they had to compete directly with the studios. It would be kind of like Wal-Mart setting up shop in a town where all the local stores had been buying their goods for resale from Sam's Club. Of course, since Wal-Mart and Sam's Club are owned by the same company, they could easily drive their competition out of business, or simply just make them irrelevant. I'm not saying it would be done based on "lower prices" that are often associated with a company like Wal-Mart. I mean the flatter, more integrated business organization without all the middle men has a definite advantage over the small organization who can't do the same, especially when the smaller organization is dependent on their competition for their products to sell. Sounds like a screwy business model for non-studio exhibitors. I can see why it was considered as an anti-trust violation in the past.

The only thing that lessens the impact of such a practice is that there are several studios, and unless they are in collusion with one another (playing each other's films), then they are not likely to each have a theater in every market. It's not practical. If they do collude, then it would be a very obvious anti-trust violation, in my opinion. But then again, I'm not a lawyer, but I do have the earlier supreme court decision to back me up, so I feel like I'm safe in my observations.
Last Edit: 06 May 2010 07:03 by lionheart.
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Re:Joe Roth Says: Studios Need To Own Theatres Again 06 May 2010 14:17 #33894

  • leeler
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This is a counterpoint published in my regional NATO newsletter, dated last summer, by Jeff Logan, the president of the regional NATO group (it is a portion of a longer article, found here (

When reinventing the industry, the studios must
first realize that theatres are still the ONLY way the
studios can collect money from EVERY pair of eyeballs
that watches their product. In theatres, viewership is
totally controlled as opposed to any other delivery
system. No one knows how many people are watching
a DVD or downloaded movie in the home. Theatres
return the most money PER VIEWER to the studio than
any other medium. Even sub-run theatres, discount
theatres and drive-ins contribute to this totally
controlled money stream.
Protect the theatre delivery system; don’t cripple it.
Those movies that open in first run and show real legs
like “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and more recently
“Taken” have their theatrical revenue stream cut off
when there is still money in them when they are
released on DVD and the internet. Often those DVD
“street dates” and computer release dates are
negotiated long before the picture even opened
theatrically. Change that. Don’t shorten the theatrical
window, LENGTEN it. Stretch the theatrical window
from four months to six months. This will wring every
drop of money out of every pair of eyeball in the
theatres—-including the entire holdover engagement,
sub run theatres, discount theatres, and drive-ins. Only
after the entire theatrical run is exhausted should they
decide when to put the movie out on video and
Theatre people know from talking with their
customers that there is a sizable percentage of the
public who feel (rightly or wrongly) in their mind that
they don’t have to see a movie in the theatre because
they can wait “a few weeks or a month and see it on
homevideo anyway.” It may be anecdotal evidence,
but every theatre manager has had countless people
tell them this belief. If the studio executives talked
with the common man as much as theatre managers
do, they would understand this. Talking with fellow
millionaires in the Hollywood hills does not give an
accurate picture of the other 99% of America.
Lengthening the theatrical window will raise the
theatre gross (and studio revenues) if the public knew
it would be 6 months before they could see it on their
home screen whether it was through a purchased DVD,
Netflix service, or computer download..
The studios homevideo divisions, in particular, make
two arguments against long windows. The first is
piracy. Shortening the windows to fight piracy is like
solving the drug problem by legalizing all drugs. Fight
piracy with enforcement, technology, and better
controls; not by throwing in the towel. The business
analysts from the outside are not visionary when they
say that shorter windows are the answer to “changing
times” and consumer demand. Shorter win-dows are
an admission that they don’t have any idea on how to
control the product once it gets into the home video
marketplace. The studios have total control in the
The second argument for shorter windows is the
effort to save marketing costs. The homevideo
divisions in particular want to cut their ad budgets by
piggybacking closer onto the theatrical campaign.
That is short-sighted and self-serving. The home video
divisions like to elevate their intellectual self image by
sneering at the consumer and saying the public has a
short attention span. They claim the American public
can’t remember a movie after six months, but claim
they can after four months. Hogwash! The public will
remember a good movie and a good campaign for six
months and even years later. People are still talking
about last summer’s hit movies from a year ago.
Theatres, and especially subrun and discount
theatres, learned years ago that they could slash their
advertising budgets without hurting their grosses.
Subrun theatres don’t buy big display ads in the
newspaper. They don’t buy 60 second spots on the
radio. They merely mention the title and maybe, if they
get extravagant, one or two stars names and a short
catchline. The public makes the association, remembers
the original advertising, and remembers the movie. The
homevideo divisions can do the same. They don’t need
to buy 30 second TV spots, they can buy 10 second
“teaser” spots and achieve the same results. The
theatrical posters, use of each movies key art and title
art will trigger the associations in the consumers’ minds
and they will recall their positive feelings want-to-see
desires. Short windows are not a good answer to
cutting advertising costs. They are a short-sighted
answer that serves only the video division while
harming every other division of the studio and the total
revenue stream of any given movie.
The future of the movie business is bright if the
studios take a big picture view of their entire operation.
If they aren’t swayed by the new technology salesmen
who always seem to take the low road and try to sell
their new technology by knocking every other older
technology. Of course the homevideo divisions, Netflix
representatives and computer download salesmen want
low prices and short windows. That is an understandable
position for these lower level players who are
not responsible for or looking at the big picture. But
there is much more money to be made by every division
of the studio, including the internet systems and Netflix,
if the very top brass at all the studios do look at the big
picture and play their cards for the long haul. As long as
the studios don’t screw it up by shortening the windows
or drastically cut the number of pictures put into
production, all of us—-studios and theatres—-will
prosper in good times and bad.
"What a crazy business"
Last Edit: 06 May 2010 14:19 by leeler.
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