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Revamping the Movie Distribution Chain

Zonk posted about 9 years ago | from the ignoring-history dept.

Movies 165

ianscot writes "Steve Soderberg's latest film will be released in a manner that directly challenges the traditional Hollywood distribution chain. Soderberg's been influenced by Mark Cuban, the dot-com billionaire who owns the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, and Todd Wagner, another dot-commer whose ideas about the movie business are radical departures. Wagner's financing this one. The movie, Bubble, is the first of six that Soderberg will film in HD video; all will be released simultaneously in theaters, as HDNet movies, and on DVDs." From the article: "As independents, Soderbergh and Wagner are willing to talk openly about subjects that are being hotly debated behind closed doors elsewhere in Hollywood. When Disney chief Robert Iger recently brought up the concept of shortening the window between theatrical release and DVD, he was fiercely criticised by the National Association of Theatre Owners."

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Good! (4, Interesting)

achew22 (783804) | about 9 years ago | (#13636683)

I'm glad that someone is taking a logical look at the distribution system again. From what I understand this article to mean, the movie would be released as a DVD on the internet and simultaneously in theaters. WONDERFULL! I'm sick of paying $7 + $5 for movie popcorn and a drink when I could buy (to own forever) the movie later for $20 (provided I don't get it through another means before then). Two words are all it takes to describe my emotion... THANK YOU!!! I hope that this does well and others follow the example.


Just so that you don't have to do it, "I for one hail our new movie overlords" (or something to that effect)

Re:Good! (1)

QuantumG (50515) | about 9 years ago | (#13636720)

In Australia, $15 for a movie ticket, at least $8 for popcorn and a drink. And yes, a new release DVD does generally sell for $24.99.

That brings up an idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13636770)

It's $24 to go to the movies, it's $24 to buy the DVD.

They ought to just charge $34 to go to the movies, but you get a copy of the DVD too. If you only want the DVD, you pay $24.

Re:That brings up an idea (1)

QuantumG (50515) | about 9 years ago | (#13636793)

Well it's worse than that. Who goes to the movies by themselves? We're talking $50 for a night out at the movies for two. If you have a family you're looking at $80. Who can afford that?

Re:That brings up an idea (1)

rd4tech (711615) | about 9 years ago | (#13636825)

$80 = dvd player

Re:That brings up an idea (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13636858)

Who goes to the movies by themselves?

Most Slashdotters?

Re:That brings up an idea (1)

Taladar (717494) | about 9 years ago | (#13637364)

Slashdotters moving through the big blue room?

You must be new here...

Re:Good! (3, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | about 9 years ago | (#13636723)

Has the National Association of Theater Owners considered that they have pissed me off, and that's why I don't go to their theaters anymore?

If they don't listen to my criticisms, why should I give a damn about theirs?

KFG

Re:Good! (3, Interesting)

Saven Marek (739395) | about 9 years ago | (#13636753)

> WONDERFULL! I'm sick of paying $7 + $5 for movie popcorn and a drink
> when I could buy (to own forever) the movie later for $20 (provided I don't get it
> through another means before then).

And not have to deal with a theater where two people bring kids in who whine in the movie or have to go pee ten times during the movie, a bunch of teenagers bring their cell phones in and text message each other with bright screens flashing around and they're the polite ones who don't leave their phone on and have it ring in the middle of the movie or the people who bring PDAs in yet another distraction.

I have not been to a theater release movie in the last five years where a cell phone has NOT gone off in the middle of it. Thankfully many people don't answer them but people still do sometimes.

> "When Disney chief Robert Iger recently brought up the concept of shortening the window between theatrical release and DVD, he was fiercely criticised by the National Association of Theatre Owners."

No shit. The National Association of Theatre Owners need their own fierce criticism for doing shit-all about making the cinema experience worthwhile. It feels more like a cattlerun where you're forced in then out and must deal with everything that happens inside no matter what.

Re:Good! (1)

dbhankins (688931) | about 9 years ago | (#13637015)

You forgot the laser pointers.

Re:Good! (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | about 9 years ago | (#13637064)

One local cinema has the screens pretty much enclosed in faraday cages. No phone signals in there :D

Good, but ironic (2, Interesting)

kaan (88626) | about 9 years ago | (#13636812)

I agree, it's about time that we see some changes in the Hollywood world, but I think it's a bit ironic that Steven Soderbergh is the one pushing ahead.

I think many/most of us would agree that Hollywood movies generally suck, and the experience is even worse when you factor in inflated ticket prices, bad (and expensive) movie food/snacks, noisy kids/cellphones, parking nightmares, etc. So it's interesting to me that it would be Soderbergh would leads the charge for us to leave that all behind. Because it's Soderbergh himself who has produced or directed some really great films, including Pleasantville [imdb.com] , Confessions of a Dangerous Mind [imdb.com] , Ocean's Eleven [imdb.com] (and Twelve [imdb.com] ), Erin Brokovich [imdb.com] , and one of my favorite movies of all time, Traffic [imdb.com] .

The irony is that it's the work of guys like Soderbergh who keep me going to the otherwise shithole movie theaters.

Re:Good, but ironic (4, Insightful)

Dot.Com.CEO (624226) | about 9 years ago | (#13636895)

Have you ever considered that the problem might not be with Hollywood or movie theatres but with your fellow citizens' basic inability to act in what would be considered a civilised manner?

Re:Good, but ironic (2, Informative)

Itchy Rich (818896) | about 9 years ago | (#13637214)

Have you ever considered that the problem might not be with Hollywood or movie theatres but with your fellow citizens' basic inability to act in what would be considered a civilised manner?

Last time I went to the cinema a couple behind us were whispering to each other in Polish for most of the film.

The time before that, three girls down at the front were chatting at normal volume, then popped open a bottle of champaigne.

Going to the cinema is a great experience, but it's by no means necessary to enjoy most films. Most people have 'home cinema' setups these days anyway. Perhaps it's time to stop the protectionism and let cinemas innovate or die out.

Re:Good, but ironic (1)

kentrel (526003) | about 9 years ago | (#13636946)

This is not ironic or surprising since Soderbergh has long been the champion of Independent cinema. He has always experimented with new and original filmmaking techniques. Big budget tripe like Ocean's Eleven just pays the bills.

Re:Good, but ironic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13637204)

How do you explain Ocean's 12? I suspect he got enough money from the first to pay the bills for quite some time.

Re:Good! (3, Insightful)

aussie_a (778472) | about 9 years ago | (#13636819)

I'm sick of paying $7 + $5 for movie popcorn and a drink

A much simpler alternative to revamping the movie distribution system is to merely wait a few months for it to be released on DVD. You know people, not getting what you want IMMEDIATELY isn't a bad thing.

Re:Good! (1)

spacecowboy420 (450426) | about 9 years ago | (#13636856)

It had to be said. Thanks.

Re:Good! (5, Insightful)

rkcallaghan (858110) | about 9 years ago | (#13636901)

You know people, not getting what you want IMMEDIATELY isn't a bad thing.

Taken independantly, your sentiment is certainly valid. Taken in the context of the article, on Slashdot, again it's alright -- the slashdot crowd more than most other cliques can tend to wait (or pirate it, and face it, lots of slashdotters do).

But for most people, movies do need to be seen relatively soon as they come out. It's all about water cooler chitchat, and last years or last seasons movies don't cut it.

This should really be taken to heart too -- Slashdot is filled with guys that can't socialize (and hence, get dates). To some degree, that is affected by an inability to realize that if someone asks you about the latest movie; they're trying to start a conversation -- not looking to get preached to about the evil movie industry.

~Rebecca

Re:Good! (2, Informative)

aussie_a (778472) | about 9 years ago | (#13636937)

But for most people, movies do need to be seen relatively soon as they come out.

Or what? They die?

Slashdot is filled with guys that can't socialize (and hence, get dates). To some degree, that is affected by an inability to realize that if someone asks you about the latest movie; they're trying to start a conversation -- not looking to get preached to about the evil movie industry.

Oooh, you're sure to get modded up. Criticizing slashdot and/or people who com here (bonus points for mentioning their inability to date). However it's quite likely that the person attempting to start a conversation won't like the same movies you do. I know I have quite different tastes to those I talk to regularly, despite this my ability to have a conversation isn't hampered.

Re:Good! (1, Insightful)

kentrel (526003) | about 9 years ago | (#13636951)

Watercooler chitchat? Are you an overweight single 30-something female? At work we talk about old movies all the time from Citizen Kane to Carlitos Way to Apocalypse Now. Some brain dead people only talk about the latest Will Smith oh so hilarious romantic comedy. Why would you want to talk to them by the water cooler? If it was me I wouldn't be drinking from the same tap as them in case their mindless sheeplike behaviour is contagious

Re:Good! (5, Insightful)

gmack (197796) | about 9 years ago | (#13637164)

Your falling into the classic "I need to know everything to be interesting" trap.

Watercooler chitchat does not requre shared experiances as much as you think. It can actually be about sharing experiances as well.

"Hey did you see the new movie?"

"no .. how was it?"

And *blam*, you have a conversation. It's that easy.

Re:Good! (2, Funny)

AllahsAvatar (887555) | about 9 years ago | (#13637232)

Wow, that's how its done?
*scribbles notes on hand

Re:Good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13637226)

i have heard this is why the 24 style serial format has taken off for shows such as lost.
not due to really customer demand or appetite , lets face it when do tv networks give their demographic what they want, unless really pushed?
as in theory [to them at least], it defeats the ad-skipping tivo crowd via social pressure who miss out on the next day revelations and discussions.

Re:Good! (2, Insightful)

kentrel (526003) | about 9 years ago | (#13636939)

Who's forcing you to pay $12 for food at the cinema? Eat your dinner at home.

Re:Good! (1)

drsquare (530038) | about 9 years ago | (#13637425)

This isn't exactly something new. Films have been released straight-to-DVD for years. And before that it was straight-to-video. I don't really trust a film like this, if it was any good he'd want to keep it in the cinemas as long as possible. I expect to see this in the bargain bin within a month.

Re:Good! (1)

Frogbert (589961) | about 9 years ago | (#13637559)

Okay I have to ask a question, is it impossible in America to go to the movies and bring your own food and drinks? Furthermore is it impossible to sit through a movie without having something to eat or drink?

Honestly I'd like to know, in my country you aren't bothered at the door if you are taking in a bottle of water and some food.

Re:Good! (1)

tylernt (581794) | about 9 years ago | (#13637662)

"is it impossible in America to go to the movies and bring your own food and drinks"

It's against the rules of most theaters and frowned upon at the rest. You can sneak it in of course, and the theater can pursue no legal action if they catch you... However they can ask you to leave and they can have you arrested for trespassing if you refuse to leave.

Just the first step (4, Insightful)

moresheth (678206) | about 9 years ago | (#13636688)

In two years, it will read:
"all will be released simultaneously in theaters, as HDNet movies, on DVDs, and for download on iTunesVideo"

Re:Just the first step (1)

xiando (770382) | about 9 years ago | (#13636852)

That is true for most movies today: Most movies are currently being "released simultaneously in theaters, as HDNet movies, on DVDs, and for download on your local friendly P2P network".

And the main reason people use P2P networks is that

a) it is, to most you people, the preferred distribution method and
b) there is no "legal" alternative that is equally good.

People would pay for legal P2P if they were given the option, the adult movie industry realized this years ago and are making billions using the only-for-sale-online movie distribution method. I tried to get this message into the heads of the stupid brain-dead mainstream movie industry, but none of them will even talk to you when you mention that you want to make the content easily available on-line. And that is why Xiando Corp. still only has adult bittorrent movie sites... Of every main-stream movie producer and distributor (and we contacted as good as all of them), only the great legendary foresight-full scientist Carl Sagan was smart enough to understand this and get with the program.

Re:Just the first step (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | about 9 years ago | (#13636902)


I've never seen a pro-vegetarian environmentalist porn-site that quotes both Galileo and Adolf Hitler.

Your site is... original.

Re:Just the first step (1)

stunt_penguin (906223) | about 9 years ago | (#13637058)

Abso-friggin loutely! If anyone can break the movie download deadlock it has to be Steve Jobs. The mac mini is a perfect HD video platform, and my personal conspiracy theory WRT the motorolla buy-in is that Apple licenced out the iTunes software to Motorolla & gave them a Steve Jobs product launch in return for Motorolla's networking & wireless expertise (which some may dispute, but hey).

If Appple do launch a movie download service (maybe a HD one in light of recent HD DVD standards wrangling) then high download speeds will make the service even more attractive to potential users.
If wiMax internet services take off (whose speed should be in excess of 10-20mbps?- someone help me out here!) then movie downloads will be the killer app for bandwidth like that.

Okay my theory may be a little ropey, but its one explanation for how Steve allowed apple to invest publicity in such a sucky little product. The ROXOR got all the press that the (doubly cool) iPod nano got. The little sh1t :)

Mac mini perfect? (1)

way2trivial (601132) | about 9 years ago | (#13637203)

hard drive space?

Re:Mac mini perfect? (1)

stunt_penguin (906223) | about 9 years ago | (#13637392)

Oops yea true, though give it a year or three and I'm sure that we'll see higher spec machines around, it's going to be that long before we see anything like what I've described anyway. Prolly shoulda said mac mini type device :o)

Maybe we'll see a dedicated set top box of some sort with a usable interface and network capabilities.

Fast turnaround (3, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 9 years ago | (#13636690)

When Disney chief Robert Iger recently brought up the concept of shortening the window between theatrical release and DVD, he was fiercely criticised by the National Association of Theatre Owners.

The cycle is WAY shorter than it used to be. I remember back in the Bad Old Days(TM) when you would have to wait until a year after the movie left the theaters to see in on VHS. And that was only if the movie studio felt that the movie would do well resold on tape.

Now we barely have to wait 3-4 months after its initial release before it appears in stores on DVD! It's so quick anymore, that sometimes it feels like it's on DVD as soon as it's out of the theater. I realize that for some people that may seem slow, but for those of us who remember, that's one hell of a fast turnaround! :-)

The reason I watch movies in a theater... (4, Interesting)

zalas (682627) | about 9 years ago | (#13636706)

... is because generally it's higher resolution than DVDs and their sound system is usually better than what I have at home. Other reasons would be a social gathering or something. It's hardly ever the case that I go to watch movies because I can't wait for the DVDs to come out.

Re:Fast turnaround (5, Funny)

jetkust (596906) | about 9 years ago | (#13636741)

That's nothing. Back in the 1920s, we used to wait a whole 80 years before a movie came out on DVD. And we liked it. And nobody complained. Sure we'd be dead and burried by the time we saw it, but I'll be damned if it wasn't worth the wait. Ah, those were the days.

Re:Fast turnaround (1)

aussie_a (778472) | about 9 years ago | (#13636827)

The reason for the quicker turnaround is theatres are now seen as one big advertisement for a movie. I guess the movie distributors have decided it's not very good to have an advertisement shown 12 months before the product is released. It wasn't always like that, with theatres being seen as advertisements for the movies, which is why there was once a longer turnaround.

Not a very good idea! (2, Interesting)

Jeet81 (613099) | about 9 years ago | (#13636691)

Having a home theater at home, the only reason I go to theaters is just so I can brag about seeing it before everyone else (who usually wait for the DVD). So if they release it on DVD and theaters simuntaneously I's rather just rent the movie in my 19.99/month unlimited dvd plan instead of paying $8.00/seat in a theater. Just my 2 cents.

Re:Not a very good idea! (4, Funny)

Mancat (831487) | about 9 years ago | (#13636715)

Having a home theater at home, the only reason I go to theaters is just so I can brag about seeing it before everyone else

Oh, so you're that guy.

NATO (4, Funny)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 9 years ago | (#13636704)

he was fiercely criticised by the National Association of Theatre Owners.

You know, he should be really careful about pissing off NATO. Otherwise he may find a nuke landing square on his doorstep! :-P

(Thank you, thank you! I'll be here all night. Wait, no I won't. I'm going to bed.)

Re:NATO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13636921)

Pissing of NATO is still way better than pissing of the "Movie And Film Industry Association" (M.A.F.I.A)...

Re:NATO (1)

evanism (600676) | about 9 years ago | (#13637206)

perhaps he should be worried for being part of Theatrical Executives Rorting and Rippping Off Regular Individuals via Standover Tactics.

Please, get rid of the DVD release zones as well (5, Insightful)

pimpimpim (811140) | about 9 years ago | (#13636717)

Good to see that some people in the industry (even from disney!?!) are actually trying to think along with the costumers instead of making their movie-watching lives miserable. Are you paying attention here, RIAA?

This would also be a very good opportunity to get rid of the irritating DVD release zones. I think these zones are ment to align the DVD releases in all countries with the movie releases, which are also shifted around the world (what's actually wrong with one world-wide release date?).
But what they actually do is just give you lots of trouble when anyone outside the US or Japan wants to order a DVD that's only available there (no matter how long ago it was released!), and then has to find a zone-free DVD-player, or heck their existing one, etc.
Just stop with this crap, and you'll have a world-wide market for all your DVD's! Doesn't that sound nice?

Re:Please, get rid of the DVD release zones as wel (1)

Mancat (831487) | about 9 years ago | (#13636735)

If the movie bombs in one region, they've just wasted money by releasing the movie simultaneously in thousands of other locations that will fail almost equally. By staggering the release times, if the movie generally fails, they may choose not to release it at all in a specific zone.

Re:Please, get rid of the DVD release zones as wel (1)

zakezuke (229119) | about 9 years ago | (#13636805)

If the movie bombs in one region, they've just wasted money by releasing the movie simultaneously in thousands of other locations that will fail almost equally

But if they don't want a dvd from one region to leak to another that has not shown the movie yet, then they shouldn't release the damned DVD... and doing so is their own damned fault. If region codes expired I could somewhat accept this, but they are basicly trying to withhold the right to play media you bought in good faith indefinatly which has been argued violates the WTO... something I personaly can't conferm.

Besides region codes have become pointless anyway except for good old region 1 where it's not as common to find region free decks in stores.

Re:Please, get rid of the DVD release zones as wel (1)

tewmten (608383) | about 9 years ago | (#13636748)

You know, these days it's quite hard to find a dvd-player that's region locked, so that's kind of a moot point.
I guess the only thing that could be an issue is that whole PAL and NTSC thing with the tv-sets, but from what I've heard, most tv's can do both.

Re:Please, get rid of the DVD release zones as wel (1)

Gallandro (885285) | about 9 years ago | (#13636771)

The release zones, as I understand it, not only allow them to effectively release the movie at different times in different areas -because they prevent exporting the released movie to other zones-, they also allow the movie companies to charge vastly different prices in each zone. It seems like that should be illegal (I thought it is illegal!).

BTW, This sentence would like to apologize for the strange (at best) punctuation exibited in the first sentence of this post. This sentence thanks you for your tolerance, and encourages you to make any suggestions that you believe would improve the readability of the first sentence. This final sentence exists merely to mock those who would pay it any attention whatsoever.

Re:Please, get rid of the DVD release zones as wel (1)

kfg (145172) | about 9 years ago | (#13636807)

I thought it is illegal!

Different nations, different laws. Play that for profit. America has anti "dumping" laws, but there's no reason why India should object to getting American DVDs cheaper than Americans have to pay, nor is there any law that American companies can't charge what they want in America for American products. They could just give the stuff away as a promotional item if they wished.

The region coding exists so that Americans can't just order $3 DVDs from Indian discount suppliers.

KFG

Re:Please, get rid of the DVD release zones as wel (2, Informative)

bakawally (637407) | about 9 years ago | (#13636869)

Make no mistake. This is not about customer's movie watching lives. Its about profits.

Re:Please, get rid of the DVD release zones as wel (1)

stunt_penguin (906223) | about 9 years ago | (#13637088)

"what's actually wrong with one world-wide release date?" It costs a heck of a lot of cash to print enough reels to cover all courtries at once, and also it gives the studios a chance to have the actors do interviews in several areas of the globe just as the film comes out locally.

Rottentomatoes are advertising movies on DVD that are just in the middle of their cinema run here, at the minute region free discs might spoil things for theaters in certain parts of the world.

What should help things is if we see widespread digital projection (here in Ireland plans are afoot to equip every cinema in the country with digital projectors. Irish people have among the highest cinema attendance rates in europe, despite the abundance of home theater systems in homes)

If distributing a film worldwide is just a case of relaying it via a satellite system or virtual private network over the net (hey there's an opening for google into another industry!!) then releasing at the same time worldwide becomes more faesible. All we have to do now is clone the actors so they can be at 5 premiers at once (^^)

Re:Please, get rid of the DVD release zones as wel (1)

stunt_penguin (906223) | about 9 years ago | (#13637091)

oops, it it too late to include a tag? guess so ;o)

Intresting acronyms. (0, Redundant)

sTalking_Goat (670565) | about 9 years ago | (#13636746)

It's interesting that the National Assocation of Theater O shares and acronym with another organisation who actually usefulness is doing that toilet bowl spiral.

Re:Intresting acronyms. (1)

SillyNickName4me (760022) | about 9 years ago | (#13636851)

It's interesting that the National Assocation of Theater O shares and acronym with another organisation who actually usefulness is doing that toilet bowl spiral.

Hmm, you may not be aware of this, but after the 9/11 events, that other NATO wanted to activate the article that says that an attack against one is an attack against all, so that there would be a good basis for comming to the aid of one of its most important member states.

The party to block this was the USA government.

Hence, it is not so much useless but the USA decided to not use it instead.

Place your bets! (2)

Perryman (882190) | about 9 years ago | (#13636750)

What do you think will be the most popular format for purchase? I think either DVD or download by a bit. This is a nice idea and I hope others follow suit.

Slavery? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13636756)

Mark Cuban, the dot-com billionaire who owns the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, and Todd Wagner

Catching up with reality (3, Insightful)

Gallandro (885285) | about 9 years ago | (#13636758)

At least people in the movie business are coming to grips with the reality that people have access to the movie via the internet as soon as it hits theaters anyway. At least this way they can make some money off of it.

The sooner these content producers realize that change in their distribution sceme (and copyright in general) is inevitable and is a Good Thing(R) the sooner we can start seeing more people making more stuff, and more money flowing.

I'm sure there were a few monks who weren't happy about the advent of the Luther bible, but they adapted and the bible is still a number one best seller. The film industry was terrified of the VCR, but now we see more movies getting made by more people and more money flowing. The Internet and "piracy" are just harbingers of another change in progress. Personally, I'm pretty excited for it to finally get here so I don't have to put up with being called a thief for downloading movies that I could legitimately get through my netflix subscription but don't feel like waiting for.

Re:Catching up with reality (1)

kfg (145172) | about 9 years ago | (#13636778)

I'm sure there were a few monks who weren't happy about the advent of the Luther bible, but they adapted and the bible is still a number one best seller.

I think you miss the point here. They weren't happy, among other reasons, because they didn't want it to be a "best seller". They didn't want the average person to be able to possess a Bible at all, let alone read it in the vernacular (there were only about 180 Gutenberg Bibles printed, all told. Just enough for that many places of worship to possess one. Not any of "the people.")

It screwed up their monopoly on the Word of God, and they're still not particularly happy about it.

KFG

Wheeee! (2, Insightful)

ThresholdRPG (310239) | about 9 years ago | (#13636780)

I really hope the movies they make are good ones, and good sellers, or else this little experiment will lengthen the time it takes before this is common practice.

The reality is that the whole process of seeing a movie in a theater continues to lose its luster. It is too expensive. The food and drinks keep getting more and more outrageous in price. It is too inconvenient. Even in pure performance, the theater is losing out - more and more people have equal or superior sound and visual quality in their home theaters.

Also, it is better to sell copies of your movie immediately and eliminate one of the biggest reasons people pirate movies over the internet.

This is a huge boon to people with children. Going to see a movie is a pretty tough task when you have kids (not to mention, the expense is astronomical).

the reviews don't look promising. (1)

jasonhamilton (673330) | about 9 years ago | (#13637176)

Look at the innodb link. I had the same line of thought as you did - but it doesn't look promising.

Soderbergh's Experiment (4, Informative)

Sundroid (777083) | about 9 years ago | (#13636782)

Steven Soderbergh's "3-pronged attack" is being watched closely by Hollywood. This Theater-Cable-DVD simultaneous release of a new movie to the public is actually one of the counter measures against privacy movie people have thought about but never really dared to try. So, give Mr. Soderbergh a chance, and maybe years down the line they might even use words like "pioneer" to describe him.

"Bubble", shot for $1.6 million, may be a cheapo in Hollywood standard, but Soderbergh was serious enough to use the same high-definition camera George Lucas used for two "Star Wars" movies, as described in a New York Times article (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/22/movies/22bubb.h tml [nytimes.com] ).

Re:Soderbergh's Experiment (1)

moviepig.com (745183) | about 9 years ago | (#13637165)

...give Mr. Soderbergh a chance, and maybe [he'll be judged a] "pioneer"

Without listing his filmography, note merely that Soderbergh's movies have ranged from the sublimely gripping to the ridiculously inaccessible ...largely by his choice, IMO. It'll be interesting to see how the fledgling tech/marketing context informs his current efforts. (I.e., you'd typically expect a low-cost movie from him to require a Sherpa... but maybe not this time...)

Why Theatre Owners Hate this Idea (5, Insightful)

bloodstar (866306) | about 9 years ago | (#13636794)

Primarily because the Theatres only get a tiny fraction of any box office recipts when a movie first opens, then as the weeks pass, their percentage goes up. Sure, they make a ton of money off of popcorn and candy, But when you're paying 7 or 8 bucks to see a movie, 95 - 99 percent of that goes straight to the Movie Companies. So, if the Movie Companies continue to shorten the life of a first run movie, those Theatre owners are going to have to adapt or die.

So they're fighting to maintain some sort of status quo. It's not right or wrong, it's just why they will fight this so hard.

I suppose the next question is, At what point will major, non sucky, movies get released straight to DVD (or whatever media is in vogue)? Currently straight to video is a pretty strong indication that a movie is sucky. How much longer before that will not be true?

Re:Why Theatre Owners Hate this Idea (2, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | about 9 years ago | (#13636829)

when you're paying 7 or 8 bucks to see a movie, 95 - 99 percent of that goes straight to the Movie Companies.

Which is just another way of saying that the movie companies are, themselves, the problem.

KFG

Re:Why Theatre Owners Hate this Idea (0, Flamebait)

drsquare (530038) | about 9 years ago | (#13637456)

They MAKE the damn films, how are they the problem? The problem is piracy by all the children modding up the posts on this article.

It's a wonder how Slashdot is glad that illegal activities are forcing people to change how they do business. Whatever happened to cracking down on the criminals rather than the victims? It's sort of when a burglar breaks into someone's house and the police arrest the homeowner for hurting the burglar's feelings.

If shoplifters were stealing bread from bakeries, you wouldn't suggest that bakers keep their loaves in locked cabinets and put security guards at the front door, you'd suggest the thieves were locked up. How is this any different? Stop sympathising with people who break the law.

Re:Why Theatre Owners Hate this Idea (1)

rd4tech (711615) | about 9 years ago | (#13636832)

maybe less popular movies can be released directly to dvd?

Re:Why Theatre Owners Hate this Idea (2, Informative)

Kattana (635282) | about 9 years ago | (#13637086)

Welcome to Japan. Anime mostly, but movies/tv/media as well are commonly released strait to video and have been for decades. OVA(origional video appearence) releases are, as is the case here, usualy bad, but when they are good they put full length tv series anime to shame. All the story of a full 26ep season packed into 3-4 episodes, movie length, and without having to change the artistic vision at all to be tv safe or fit the marketing angle the station is using, they can get into every niche in the market, which probably contributes to the enourmous media market there. The industry here could do this, but none of the media companies want to change.

Re:Why Theatre Owners Hate this Idea (1)

Darth Maul (19860) | about 9 years ago | (#13637265)

I don't care that theater owners hate this idea. In fact, that makes me love this idea. Anything that will force the theaters to change their ways is a great thing. I don't go out to the movies because 1) they charge way too much, 2) they show commericals, and 3) they let the annoying audience members get away with talking on their cell phones, making way too much noise, and just being all around jerks.

Give me a great movie experience for the $10 you're charging me. Make sure your theaters are CLEAN, and try hiring people with an IQ above 50. Please be sure to also have at least a few actual projectionists, too. When the movie starts without sound or out of focus, I should not have to leave the theater and try to flag down that 15-year-old "manager".

Theater owners are in the same group as the RIAA: hanging on to an old business model while trying to charge more and deliver less. No thanks.

Re:Why Theatre Owners Hate this Idea (2, Interesting)

drsquare (530038) | about 9 years ago | (#13637474)

Great, another 'expert' with no clue about business. You do realise that the cinemas make next to no money from ticket prices? They make their money largely from the food and drink.

You say that it's too expensive, then you want them to employ more expensive staff? This doesn't add up. Did you skip maths lessons at school? Here's a hint in case anyone reads your post: hiring more projectionists and more skilled workers costs more money. This money will go on your ticket price. Then you'll be whining that the prices have gone up. THINK FIRST, POST LATER.

How is the business method old? A business method is not obsolete just because it's taken advantage of by criminals. The answer is to stop the crime not to force the businesses to cut revenue streams to cater to the criminals.

Time for open-content! (2, Interesting)

MikeFM (12491) | about 9 years ago | (#13636797)

What we really need is open content movies (commercial or community projects) that are available with source materials, have no DRM, and can be freely edited, redistributed, etc.

It'd be a perfect project for theatre students, film students, etc. Write their own script, produce their own movie, and release it online. If small companies and community groups don't have the resources to create the next Hollywood blockbuster then surely they do have the resources to create something of the quality we may have seen from the 80's or before (pre-CGI). Possibly even explore ideas that Hollywood has ignored. This kind of grassroots movie is what independent films should be.

Great, I'll get th pudding. (1)

Rhinobird (151521) | about 9 years ago | (#13636972)

Possibly even explore ideas that Hollywood has ignored. This kind of grassroots movie is what independent films should be.

If I may make a reference?
Cartman: Naw dude, Independent films are those black and white hippy movies. They're always about gay cowboys eating pudding.

Open source movies (1)

wildzer0 (889523) | about 9 years ago | (#13636977)

There already are some open source movies, for example Route 66 [route66-der-film.de] , a german movie. It is released under a creative commons license and you can actually get all the source materials if you send them a large enough harddrive where they can copy the data too. And the movie is actually not bad, it sold quite some DVDs despite that you can freely download it :)

So the obvious question is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13636817)

Let's say that Soderburgh kicks something off and the "window" or whatever between movie theatrical release and movie dvd release literally disappears.

Will the nation's movie theaters react by

1) Starting to actually make movies a pleasant experience?, or
2) Going bankrupt?

The truth about DVD movies (0)

xiando (770382) | about 9 years ago | (#13636826)

* If you buy a DVD movie then you increase the demand for DVD disc. The production of DVD movies causes pollution and great additional damage to biological diversity on earth.
* If you download a movie from the Internet, legally or not, paid for or not, then you are NOT in any way causing additional damage to the earth and biological diversity on earth.

I do understand that the device used to enjoy the movie casues harm and pollution in both cases, but given that you have a DVD player or a computer already, the first casues additional damage while downloading a movie from the Internet DOES NOT. Sorry, but regardless of Soderberg's alleged new idea of shortening the window, I personally find the whole very evil model it that is a insignificant part of rotten, evil and sickening. Yes, I know I sound like a wacko to some people and if you are one of those, then try to think five or ten generations ahead, and put those thoughts in perspective: Humans have only known how to write for a mere lousy 100 generations. The industrial revolution started only 300 years ago and that is when we, all humans, really started to efficiently destroy the environment we do not own, but are lending from our children, their children and all the other species we are sharing the planet with. Soderberg could easily do what would really show foresight and be revolutionary: ONLY sell his movies on-line. That would be sustainable. DVD discs are NOT sustainable and therefore a very bad thing, even if the DVD is released after a shorter window than normal.

Re:The truth about DVD movies (1)

rd4tech (711615) | about 9 years ago | (#13636838)

plastic recycling program

Re:The truth about DVD movies (1)

xiando (770382) | about 9 years ago | (#13636884)

plastic recycling program?

My argument remains valid.

You produce the DVD. Then you recycle it. Then you make another DVD. Are you trying to tell me that somehow leaves zero footprint? How could that be possible, eh? Does it not require raw materials to be extracted from the earth, eh? Does not the recycle process itself also cause bi-products, eh? Does it not require energy, eh?

If you download a movie from the Internet then you have done zero damage. Do you not understand, after reading my suggestion to actually THINK AHEAD a tad longer than your nose, perhaps a few generations or so?

Are you not reading my posts at all, or are you just very stupid, or am I explaining sustainability in too hard terms for you and the American population, who I read yesterday have a stunning 20% who still thinks the earth is the center of the universe and that the sun spins around it daily?

Re:The truth about DVD movies (1)

rd4tech (711615) | about 9 years ago | (#13636914)

I fully understand your point.
One cannot fully radically change the way how everyone lives right now, however what one can do, it introduce changes. Waste recycling program is the best thing so far because it raises awareness and solid percentages of people in fact are helping the idea. However the 'ban all DVDs in favor of downloadable content' idea won't be catching anytime soon. The carrier networks dream of optical cables to every house died with the boom, and so far, downloading 9GB from internet per DVD also requires a computer to be turned on for a long time so there is an expenditure of energy there.

Re:The truth about DVD movies (1)

chiok (858005) | about 9 years ago | (#13636862)

* If you eat popcorn with "butter" at the theater then you causes biohazardous pollution to the biological diversity on fragile earth when you eliminate it from your system. So, please use bittorrent or you'll make Gaia and that Indian dude cry.

Re:The truth about DVD movies (1)

Knight2K (102749) | about 9 years ago | (#13636898)

Every second you use an electronic device, you are actually utilizing fossil fuels or nuclear power. Very little of the power that we use is generated by renewable sources of energy. Then think about: the computers used in the data center that hosts the movies, the lights for the data center, the chemicals used in the air conditioners and the air conditioners themselves. How about the gas used by the technicians who drive from home to the data center to keep the lights on.

Think about the fuel trucks for the film production crews. How about the propane used to cook the cast and crew dinners. The sets that are built and thrown away. The trash created by everyone involved.

Compared to all of that, the production of the DVD disk is a miniscule part of the environmental impact of movie creation and distribution. You have a point that DVD's can be wasteful. The studios will create far more copies of Shrek 2, Stealth, and the Dukes of Hazzard then we will really need. Personally, I take care of my disks and plan on being able to watch them for as long as I have a player that can play them.

The very act of keeping a human being alive at a 21st century level of comfort is an environmentally unfriendly act. Objecting to DVD disks on the basis of environmental impact is a silly argument at best, given the context above. If you are that concerned about the environment, start by advocating cleaner means of generating electic power and making electronic equipment easy to recycle. That will make more of an impact then complaining about DVD's.

Re:The truth about DVD movies (1)

xiando (770382) | about 9 years ago | (#13636940)

Thank you very much for pointing out that every single time you purchase any kind of goods or service, you are casting a vote

* for or against the future of all living species on earth and
* for or against a corporation and their environmental policy.

And I know the choice between buying a DVD or buying entertainment on-line is a small and insignificant part of a huge whole. But the thread is about DVD movies. I could go on and on about this subject, but this is not a fitting thread to rabble on about that subject.

And I do realize it is very hard to maintain a sustaiable life today, but it is worth trying to ensure sustainability every single time you make any kind of choice anyway. I personally do not own or want to ever own a car, I do not buy new clothes for fashion or other extravagant reasons, I wear those I have until they are too full of holes to do their function regardless of the way short-sighted society looks at me. Because I try my best to choose sustainability every time I make a choice. And I still do huge damage to the earth and biological diversity, and even though I am confident my personal damage is less than a tenth of the damage the average local person does, I still feel bad about the damage I do.

Re:The truth about DVD movies (4, Funny)

Mr2001 (90979) | about 9 years ago | (#13636899)

Every time you breathe out, you're releasing carbon dioxide--a greenhouse gas--into our atmosphere. The more you breathe, the more carbon dioxide you produce, warming the environment and leading to changes in weather patterns, eliminating animal habitats and increasing the deadliness of hurricanes and tropical storms.

And we all know sex involves heavy breathing.

So please... for the sake of humanity... don't reproduce. ;)

Environment impact free electricity ? (1)

anti-NAT (709310) | about 9 years ago | (#13636928)

Have you got some ? Solar panels have an enviornmental impact during manufacture, even if they produce "free" electricity.

What about your impact on the environment, just by living ? You're killing plants and possibly animals because you eat, there were bugs and plants killed during the manufacture and building of your house, bike etc. If you want to have a significant impact on saving the environment, I suggest killing yourself, because it will immediately and very effectively prevent the environmental damage you'll cause by your mere existance for the next 30 to 50 years (or however long you live).

* If you download a movie from the Internet, legally or not, paid for or not, then you are NOT in any way causing additional damage to the earth and biological diversity on earth.

That's the first time I've heard of environmental impact being used to justify the theft of other people's right to control the copying of their work.

Are you next going to suggest robbing banks so that they can't give money to people because those people might then go and buy an SUV which has an environmental impact ?

Re:Environment impact free electricity ? (1)

xiando (770382) | about 9 years ago | (#13636976)

Environment impact free electricity ? Have you got some?

No. So sorry, like with a free-lunch, there is no such thing. But there are, obviously, some methods who are less damaging than others.

your house, bike etc. If you want to have a significant impact on saving the environment, I suggest killing yourself, because it will immediately and very effectively prevent the environmental damage you'll cause by your mere existance for the next 30 to 50 years (or however long you live).

Yes. I have very seriously considered killing myself for exactly those reasons. But I am egoistic, so I found that I will kill myself delayed: I am not going to have children.

That's the first time I've heard of environmental impact being used to justify the theft of other people's right to control the copying of their work.

I do not justify piracy nor participate in it. But what I said remains true. If you download a porn movie from http://xiando.com/ [xiando.com] then you have NOT engaged in theft. We have the RIGHT to distribute a broad range of quality adult movies.. We do NOT have the right to distribute any mainstream movies because the mainstream movie industry are stuck in the 90s and think the CD and DVD have a long-term future, which they do not.

Are you next going to suggest robbing banks so that they can't give money to people because those people might then go and buy an SUV which has an environmental impact ?

Please actually read the original post and perhaps think before posting in the future. I never encouraged stealing, merely stated a fact. On-line distribution vs traditional DVD distribution HAS NOTHING to do with piracy. You can download a few movies free from http://hardcoretorrents.com/ [hardcoretorrents.com] and you can, if you like the free movies, sign up for five bucks and get access to thousands more quality porn movies. Five bucks. LEGAL. No violation of anything. This modell works for the adult industry, it works very well, and has done so for years. As I already stated in this thread, most adult industry have already switched to pure on-line distribution, where as the mainstream industry still thinks it is 1995.

I never said P2P is a good thing. I am just saying that the mainstream movie industry should provide a equally good legal alternative, just like the adult industry did years ago.

Re:Environment impact free electricity ? (1)

anti-NAT (709310) | about 9 years ago | (#13637023)

Yes. I have very seriously considered killing myself for exactly those reasons. But I am egoistic, so I found that I will kill myself delayed: I am not going to have children.

So what are you going to do about all the other animals on the planet ? They're also having an environmental impact. They eat food. They change their envionment to suit themselves (e.g. monkeys will break branches off of a tree to suit if they want to live in that particular tree.)

The world we live in has an assumption of envionmental impact as part of the "eco-system". Turn the clock back 10 000 years, and everything was also having an environmental impact.

Yes, in recent times the human race, being the dominant one, has had a more significant impact than in the past. However, the human race, also because of our intelligence (which is why we became dominant), will change its behaviour to avoid or solve the problems when they become prominent enough. If we don't, then as a race, we'll become extinct. That will only be the human race's fault. Extinction is also a natural part of the evolution of the environment. The Earth will continue without us.

Want an example ? How about skin cancer. I live in Australia. When I was growing up, skin cancer wasn't an prominent issue. The only reason to wear sunscreen was to avoid the next-day pain of being sunburnt. Then skin cancer became a problem, and people now religiously cover up when going to the beach. It didn't take much for "humanity" to change it's practices when it it became life and death. I believe the same will happen with any other issues, such as environmental, that provide a significant and credible threat to human existance.

Attention: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13636938)

Fuck you. Shut the fuck up.

DVD's on sale at theatres? (4, Interesting)

nietsch (112711) | about 9 years ago | (#13636877)

Band routinely sell merchandise and CD's after concerts. You've seen the band and as a souvenir you can buy the album for usually less than retail prices.

For films something similar could be done: You have seen the movie, and you were -no doubt- very impressed. A very good mindset for the merchant that is offering the DVD right at the exit(at a less then retail price). Instead of complaining, theatre owners should grasp this golden opportunity.

Re:DVD's on sale at theatres? (1)

afr0byte (691424) | about 9 years ago | (#13636894)

Presumably there would have to be some kind of exclusive license for the theatres. Otherwise I'd think most people would just buy the DVDs elswhere.

Re:DVD's on sale at theatres? (1)

nietsch (112711) | about 9 years ago | (#13636957)

There is a big difference between seeing a movie at the cinema and seeing it at the couch at home. You'd never invite a girl for your first date, to your livingroom.
As an extra incentive you could give a discount if you have a ticket for that movie.
But even so, some people do not like to go to the cinema, and would prefer it to stay at home and masturbate to the sight of Natalie Portman. You cannot do that in theatres, you know?

Re:DVD's on sale at theatres? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13637344)

masturbate to the sight of Natalie Portman. You cannot do that in theatres you know?....

well i had some friends who did. i sat a few rows behind them, i wasn't going to be part of the fiasco if they got caught. oh well

Re:DVD's on sale at theatres? (1)

drsquare (530038) | about 9 years ago | (#13637493)

You'd never invite a girl for your first date, to your livingroom.

Yes you would. If you get a girl back to your house, for anything, be it dinner or watching a film in the living room, you're 99% of the way into her cunt. Guaranteed. The only thing that can go wrong is if you do something stupid and fuck it up.

Living room > Cinema.

Re:DVD's on sale at theatres? (1)

nietsch (112711) | about 9 years ago | (#13636900)

Ah should have read the article before posting...:
"I want them to sell 'Bubble' DVDs in the theatre lobby," Soderbergh says, smiling.

Maybe they will only sell the DVD if you have a ticket for it, otherwise you could be buying the whole lineup the cinema is running, and not return to spend more money.

Re:DVD's on sale at theatres? (2, Interesting)

pharwell (854602) | about 9 years ago | (#13636908)

Well, I know that I've walked out of a theatre a few times wanting to immediately get a DVD and see the movie again. On occasions such as those, I'd certainly have the desire to buy it right then and there.

Just me? (1)

ErikZ (55491) | about 9 years ago | (#13636881)

Am I the only one holding off on DVD purchases because I'm waiting for the new HD disks?

I figure some shows won't ever be re-done into HD, I'm betting that most of the profitable movies will be.

Here's hoping for an early release of HD-Ghostbusters.

sometimes waiting for HD-DVD seems hopeless... (1)

adamgeek (771380) | about 9 years ago | (#13637115)

June 15th of 2004, specs approved. (article here [slashdot.org] ) Yet the various players are still squabbling over blue-ray vs. whatever the fuck I couldn't care less about.

That said, you are not alone. I rarely buy DVD's.. instead, i spend the money i would put into DVD purchase, into my digital cable bill. HD-DVD + HD(HBO/STARZ/CINEMAX/INHD/ETC) ensures I get to see at least 6-10 contemporary films a month in HD. Best ancillary benifit of this situation, is that I get to see a lot of random films I wouldn't have bought in HD-DVD format.. such as The Princess Bride, which I hadn't seen in 10+ yrs, and (as a filmmaker) now I discovered all sorts of very interesting cinematic details that were lost on me the first time around (not to mention I originally saw it on VHS --ack!).

As an aside, one of the interesting things for me to see, is how terrible the scans of some of the newer films are, as well as how awesome the scans of some random 80's films are.

Too expensive, too fuzzy (1)

Nice2Cats (557310) | about 9 years ago | (#13636906)

There are two reasons why I am less and less interested in going to a movie theater instead of watching it on DVD, even if it is months later:

Too expensive. And that is just the film. Factor in popcorn and coke, and the price for one evening is enough for me to rent the film many times over. Family outings are simply prohibitively expensive.

Too fuzzy. The quality of the picture in your average cinema is inexcusable. Maybe it is because I spend my life in front of a DVI screen and watch DVDs on a fairly large TV, but I simply will not accept scratches and blurs and lack of focus any more, especially not at that price. Simply said, the picture quality on my home system is better, and it's not like I spent thousands and thousands on it.

Other people I know complain about the obnoxious behavior of the other viewers, but I can't say that's a problem where I live. But one way or the other, if the people running the cinema chains want to stay in business, they will have to seriously re-adjust the price/quality ratio. At the moment, it is simply not worth it.

cinema "quality" is better than dvd. (2, Interesting)

adamgeek (771380) | about 9 years ago | (#13637138)

Unless you have been going to some very "out-of-the-norm" cinema, DVD cannot compare to what you'll see on the 'big screen.' Now, i'm not going to say that sitting on your couch in your underwear isn't more comfy than sitting in a folding chair with gum stuck to it and one of the armrests missing, but at least from a technical standpoint, the bigscreen still trumps the dvdplayer.

Simply put, when film is scanned for digital manipulation (color correction, digital effects, etc), it's scanned at either "2k" or "4k" depending on what will be done with it. 4k is 4096px wide, and 2k is 2048 px wide. Current estimates put the theoretical [effective] maximum width of 35mm scanning between 6k and 8k. For the sake of argument, let's just assume 4k is the max. Current estimates put the theater release-prints somehwere between 1k and 1.5k, which is an abomination really, if you consider that is around 25% of the original "inherent" film resolution; but nontheless it's still considerably better than DVD (which is equiv to ".6k"). Now, if you're fortunate enough to be watching HD content at home, then you're watching the equivalent of 1.3k*, which is prettymuch onpar with what you'll get in a theater, but not better. And, since you said, "it's not like I spent thousands and thousands on it," one might assume you're just watching DVD's on a standard definition tvset, which i promise you, will be far inferior to your local theater.

(Disclaimer: a 720p frame is equiv to 1.3k, a 1080i frame is equiv to 2k; however 1080i is interlaced, and thus displayed in half fields, so each half-frame displayed is actually equiv to 1k. Even if you still want to pretend that 1080i frames are "2k," which they aren't (unless you're adding both halfframes together in some sort of weirdo math), you still have to watch an interlaced source, which is inferior to progressive film source a la your local theater.)

Re:cinema "quality" is better than DVD (1)

Nice2Cats (557310) | about 9 years ago | (#13637325)

That's all as maybe, but all that resolution doesn't cure what is actually pissing me off: Scratches on the film, blurry spots, and films that are simply not in focus. I have none of those problems at home, and until cinemas fix those, home is where I will stay, even if that means taking a hit in resolution.

Advertising over a chunk of time too important (2, Insightful)

mattso (578394) | about 9 years ago | (#13636927)

While I think some small, niche, indie films would do fine with a big screen, net, and DVD release at the same time, it is not going to be the next big thing. The main reason has to do with the role nationwide movie theater showings have. If you look at it for a minute, by doing a national release you get a level of publicity above and beyond anything you could ever pay for. Every newspaper in the country runs film reviews for new movies that open. Coming Attraction shows promote films. And there are the theater ran ads and plain show listings that customers look at several times a month. This high level of promotion is also over a period of time, which is very effective at driving the interest in something. Even if the consumer doesn't go to the theater when it is released, when that DVD shows up in stores he has already been exposed to it. Add in the paid promotional events and you end up with (ideally) a profitable big screen run, followed by a profitable DVD run -- not to mention pay-per-view, paid cable, cable, and finally broadcast TV. All of these events launch off that wide scale roll out, it provides a vast amount of unpurchasable publicity.

If you change the model and ship the film just once in several formats, your faced with having to sell the DVD and net versions without all that exposure over the nationwide release. And if the movie theater owners don't keep your movie around (because everyone is just buying the DVD) or they don't buy local newspaper/net ads, you may get less publicity than you might have if you had stuck to the normal schedule. Even if the publicity is identical and no one scales back because it is on DVD too, you still will lose the timed exposure. Like cooking by turning up the heat really high, it may not be as good a meal even if it is cooked the same amount.

The comic book industry has this same problem. Everyone wants to buy the trade paperbacks and skip the monthly issues. Which is fine, but it means giving up six months of exposure and advertising. Since it is going to take six months to make the six issues of the trade paperback anyway, if the monthly floppies can sell well enough to warrant shipping them, them being on shelves is more than worth having. Skipping right to the trade means giving up a whole lot of promotion.

For smaller indie films however it may make a lot of sense. They don't get as much out of the big screen roll out (usually because they only hit limited cities and play on screens that don't do much advertising). A combination DVD and big screen release might actually make the film more money, since mail order DVD's can cover the whole country. But once you cross over to the major studio film, I think the total revenue isn't going to be as much.

Optimistic, but... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13636954)

My first instinct after reading this article is to be really happy that people are looking to explore around some. However, I really don't see this changing anything. I can easily see this movie going on sale via the net in a digital format, and many people just simply opting out.

I don't know what the rave is really all about when it comes to having the ability to download movies dititally. I think people automatically associate the whole idea of a file download with the word free, which is exactly the opposite of what people are looking to do. I think most people are interested in supporting others.

Unless they can be realistic and say: Okay, you are downloading the movie, you are going to use your own CDs, hardware to manufactur it, etc. All we want is the money we took to produce the thing and pay for our distribution service; they won't have much response.

For example, if they are going to charge me $8 for a download, I will most likely just go buy the damn thing. However, if the DVD will cost me $10 and they offer a download for $4... I would be tempted to download the movie and burn it myself.

A Natural progression (2, Insightful)

sane? (179855) | about 9 years ago | (#13637017)

This is just the next step along a path to the distribution of experience. Originally entertainment required you to be physically present at the performance, in the theatre. Film allowed the replication of the experience countrywide, at the same standard. It also allowed more expansive epics to be produced than would have been the case in the theartre. You couldn't get the same level of experience at home with the TV, and hence there was a reason for the movie theatre. With home theatre approaching the standard that the customer sees in the movie theatre, its only natural that there will be another sea change in the business.

To survive the movie theatres have to take a leaf out of the book of the stage theatres and make the total experience something that is worthwhile - something that you can't get at home. There are a few approaches they could take:
- 3D on large immersive screens, to put you in the middle of the action in a way that home cinema can't. We can already see that on the starting blocks.
- lower cost and closer. Reduce the barriers to attendance by making it easier to attend.
- improve the total experience. Turn some of the space over to dining, include discussions and explainations, competitions, free DVD copies - making the film part of a larger event that people are more likely to stump up for. This is akin to the way the stage theatre has become an 'event' rather than a norm.

Whichever direction is taken, its obvious that the status quo has no hope of continuing. Within five years the distribution model will have switched, and with it will go a blurring of the line between TV and movie. Smart theatre owners will be starting to shift now.

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