May 17, 2007
Sure to be shot down by the theater chains, but regardless very tempting to the studios, Comcast is re-inciting discussion on the idea of simultaneously releasing new films to homes and theaters. They won’t say who but have claimed studios are interested if viewers at home would be willing to pay $30-$50 per showing.
How much would you pay to see a new theatrical release in the comfort of your own home? Comcast is trying to make the “simultaneous release” dream happen, but with prices being proposed in the $30-50 range per screening, the dream looks more like a Hollywood acid trip.
Comcast COO Stephen Burke told attendees at last week’s national cable confab that studios are interested, but that interest must be limited, for he didn’t name names and the studios aren’t talking. It is the first time we’ve heard some quasi-solid pricing details from a major player, however.
The idea behind “simultaneous release” is that technology-in particular, bandwidth to the home-has advanced to the point where day-and-date distribution of new films is not only technically feasible, but desirable.
For more, read Ars Technica.
May 8, 2007
Mining theaters for more ways to get inside patrons' heads, ad campaigns are being introduced which involve text messaging with audience members.
The Guard, which has deployed recruitment ads to theaters before, fielded a new weapon: text-messaging moviegoers before the previews.
A slide in about 1,100 theaters in December invited patrons to use their cell phones to text in their age and let the Guard tell them about its required fitness level.
Those who opted in were messaged back sit-up, push-up and running requirements. They also got follow-up messages that touted enlistment benefits, such as tuition assistance.
For more, go to Indy Star.
May 3, 2007
In July, Connecticut passed a law that offers filmmakers a 30 percent tax credit for productions costing $50,000 or more – cited as the most generous for filmmakers in the United States. This has worked as we’ve seen 5 movies being filmed in Southwestern Connecticut since then, with more slated for the coming months.
New portions of the initiative would extend eligibility to 50 percent of a production’s out-of-state expenses and eliminate limits on talent fees for extras and actors with small roles. Pornography would not qualify.
April 30, 2007
How does the track system begin and change over time with movie theaters?
Does a theater chain sign a contract with a distributor to play its product at a specific list of movie theaters? How does this change over time? Was looking at microfilm ads and noticed one former Century theater ( New Rochelle, NY) had switched from running steady United Artists and MGM films to Universal and 20th Century Fox in the early 1970’s.
Aside from Jason Squires book “The Movie Business” are there any others that were written about distribution and exhibition patterns, etc??
April 12, 2007
With studios looking for every which way to market their films, the introduction of a part of Myspace just for movie trailers seems like the predictable next step.
Social networking site Website Myspace, together with independent entertainment studio Lionsgate, has unveiled MySpace Trailer Park, an online community devoted to theatrical trailers of new film releases. Trailers will be featured 3 to 6 months before the actual movie release.
“We expect millions of Americans will come to Trailer Park to check out the industry’s best movie trailers. The demand on MySpace for premium video content is off the charts and we expect Trailer Park to speak to users who want to discover and virally share these videos,” said MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe, in a press release.
Read more at TMC Net.
April 6, 2007
In an interesting but not entirely surprising move, Live Nation is leaving the theater business.
“As part of our strategy to focus on our core global music business,” read Live Nation’s quarterly statement last month, “we have launched a process to divest the majority of our North American theatrical business assets.”
With that, the end was in sight of one of the most high-profile attempts to align Broadway and Wall Street.
For the full story, go to the New York Times.
March 14, 2007
Despite having the technology at home, HDTV owners still made it out to movie theaters in record numbers in 2006, according to the MPAA.
According to the MPAA, owners of big-screen HDTVs, Digital Video Recorders and other high-tech gadgets, went to the movie theater 10.5 times in 2006 compared to 7.1 visits for non-tekkies.
The MPAA didn’t offer an explanation for why the tech-savvy would be more likely to leave home, although they may have a high-def set and surround sound system at home that can offer a theater-like experience (and perhaps a better picture).
For more, go to TV Predictions.
March 12, 2007
OCALA, FL — For the opening of his new film ‘WILD HOGS’ John Travolta wanted to do something to help his community. There were over 200 tickets sold to a VIP event at Club Blue adjacent to the Hollywood 16 theaters in Ocala, Florida. Proceeds went to the Florida Tornado Victims, The Historic Marion Theatre, and to the Film Commission of real Florida.
John Travolta presented a check to Mayor Max Pullen, of Lady Lake Florida, for $15,000 from the event and to top it off he also matched it with a personal check for $15,000. Proceeds also went to help restore the historic Marion Theatre in downtown Ocala. The building has been under construction since October of 2006 and is slated to finish June of 2007. This was a wonderful event and it helped causes that the Travoltas are passionate about.
March 8, 2007
WEST BOYLSTON, MA — Having to now wait almost half a year sometimes to get a popular studio film, one theater is fighting back to get the state senate to repeal the clearance measures that allow big chains to hold back certain product. Legislation will be presented to the state senate.
Theater owners Kevin and Carrie Broderick would have liked to show the movie months ago, but a contentious industry practice known as “clearance” denied them the chance.
Film distributors will allow exhibitors in a given region to claim exclusive rights to titles within competitive zones. For West Boylston, Showcase Cinemas North in Worcester has claimed those rights to most first-run features, according to the Brodericks. If Showcase is showing a film, they said, that theater will ask distributors not to give it to West Boylston.
“It’s not fair competition,” Ms. Broderick said in a recent interview. “The consumer is not benefiting from us being left out of the ability to play first-run pictures. All we’re asking for is a level playing field.”
For more, go to the Worcester Telegram and Gazette News.
February 28, 2007
FORT WAYNE, IN — A student at Indiana University has created a new in-theater system to assist those hearing and visually impaired. With components including a rear captioning system and headphones, it could completely change the way people see films.
One component of MoPix is The Rear Window Captioning System, and it’s an amazingly simple concept. An LED screen mounted at the rear of an auditorium displays captions, but displays them backward.
A patron who wants to make use of the system carries a transparent acrylic panel to their seats and mounts it in the cupholder or attaches it to the armrest.
Another component of MoPix is DVS Theatrical which allows visually impaired patrons to access narration via headphones that describes what is happening on the screen without drowning out dialogue.
For more, read the Journal Gazette.