How much would you pay for a new movie? Eighty dollars? A hundred?
An interesting article I read in Entertainment Weekly last week explained that cable companies are working on getting theatrical premieres on our television, in a way to increase profits, and somehow enhance movie going.
It’s not a surprise that this idea has been brought up, as these days, Hollywood seems to be swallowing itself whole with movies that get worse year by year; it seems the think tanks are scrambling for something new. Hell, even I would rather wait on the release of a film and watch it at home than commute and sit elbow to elbow with people who aren’t even there to see the film.
The cable company Comcast is trying to bring this possible new evolution in movie going to subscribers, and the price tag is said to be 30-50$ per film. Other companies have jumped on to the bandwagon, but many in the industry suspect it’s simply because of Comcast’s ownership.
Said the article: ”The truth is, going day and date doesn’t benefit anybody but Comcast,” said Shari Redstone, president of National Amusements Theaters as well as vice-chairman of Viacom, the parent company of Paramount Pictures. ”The revenue streams for movies begin in the theaters. This proposal would hurt the studios overall, and the quality of movies would go down. Filmmakers don’t want to make films that are made to be seen at home.”
The comment does indeed hold some truth, but there are some filmmakers I’ve talked to who would enjoy any format beyond peddling DVD’s on the internet. There have even been filmmakers who have uploaded their films on Torrent websites for the purposes of publicity and have attributed this function to the word of mouth of their film.
At first this seems almost ridiculous, in fact completely ridiculous, but then people these days are willing to pay almost a hundred dollars for a special edition DVD, so apparently Comcast thinks they know something we don’t.
Would you really be willing to pay 30-50$ for a movie premiere in your home and then spend money on the home release? And would you actually watch an event film that is meant for a huge screen? Much like I-Pod video, some movies are not meant to be shown at such a small location. Speaking as someone who really can’t afford a huge television, this seems unnecessary. Film like “Grindhouse” and “28 Weeks Later” really do deserve to be seen on a big screen as an event, and not some normal task.
It seems Comcast has the right idea, but as all evolutions in technology, there are some missteps. Would you pay double for a movie you loved? These days with low ticket sales, and two new technologies trying to make its way onto shelves with even larger price tags, it’s possible either movie goers will adapt and be willing to pay the high price tag for a premiere, or just completely avoid the attempts at increasing profits and order every so often.
These days the commute to theaters and the environment in theaters are hardly worth the price, but I think I’d ultimately rather pay ten dollars, and six for a matinee, if it could mean undercutting a forty dollar price tag for a movie that may or may not be worth the money spent, in the end. Even as a film critic, I wouldn’t spend thirty dollars on “”The Hills Have Eyes 2″ if it meant first dibs on the review.
Hollywood as always doesn’t really seem to really have grasped evolving with the times as they’ve made efforts to stop piracy to no avail, and even introduced two new technologies that have higher price tags, and require even more expensive add on’s that many still can’t entirely afford, it’s likely this idea will be realized, but not for a long while.
There have been rumblings in the past that movie theaters will soon be a dying part of pop culture, and Hollywood has devised attempts to create new ways to revive the experience, and somehow evolve with it. Many movie websites are now offering legal downloading, and Hollywood has sought out to fight piracy, along with shortening the window of releases during movies.
This is only an experiment at the moment, as IFC is also offering simultaneous releases on-demand, and in theaters where many movie-goers can’t watch independent films, but the price tag for their movies range from 3-5 dollars per title. And this service should really be available to independent films that can’t normally be seen in many venues, because large studios have so much more of an advantage.
But paying 30-50$ for a film like “Night at the Museum,” or “Georgia Rule” is a price that seems awfully hefty when most films these days aren’t even worth ten dollars. Sooner or later, it seems possible that studios will willingly team to invent a new form of movie-going that keeps up with the times, rather than work against it, and downloading could be the new wave of the movie-going.
Whether or not this does take form, as it’s all allegedly in the talking phases, but not even films like “28 Weeks Later,” or “Grind House” could inspire me to spend 30-50$. And I doubt introducing a new format that requires spending on new add-ons that are impossible to afford for the average American, and simply upping the ante on On-Demand is going to help the movie-going experience any more.
Rather than looking for alternatives, studios should be enforcing a better movie-going experience, and possibly the stay of execution for movie theaters nationwide could extend. Cleaner theaters, lower concession prices, better sound and picture, and especially a better selection of films for all audiences, and stern crowd control with assigned guards, and ushers standing at theaters to assure no rowdy audiences would make the price of ten dollars for a film worth it. Or perhaps, focusing on making better movies and on forms of media that could benefit movie going would also work.
Even if this experiment takes off, only time will tell if people will cough up the hefty price tag for mainstream movies at home, or, like many have done for years, just wait for the goddamn DVD.
Closing Note: In honor of the opening of “”Hostel II,” here’s an oldie, but a goodie. Read and continue the bashing.
Posted on May 29, 2007 in Blogs by Felix Vasquez Jr.
If you liked this article then you may also like the following Film Threat articles:
- NATIONAL TICKET PICKET ON FRIDAY
- INDIE FLICK CAUGHT IN CORPORATE PISSING MATCH
- IFC FINALLY DOES SOMETHING RIGHT
- BLACK BUTTON
- A WORLD WITHOUT MOVIE THEATERS
Popular Stories from Around the Web