Monday, January 14, 2008

New Movies. Where Have Ye Gone?

Let it be known that I love movies.

Pre-son and daughter, on average I was seeing about 20-30 movies per year at the theater.

Post-son and daughter, I think I've seen maybe three.

I'm a little bummed out because there are a ton of great movies currently out there that I want to see. Simply put, I just don't have the time to see them at the theater.

I'll give you a perfect example.

Everyone I know has seen No Country For Old Men. Every(fucking)body that I know. No matter where I go or who I bump into. They're talking about it. Everything from the acting, to how awesome the Coen Brothers are and how it should win a million Oscars. Some people are even having get-togethers to simply discuss how fucking great this movie is. Some people are saying it's the best movie ever made. Ever! Ever?

I wouldn't know. I haven't seen it due to the fact that I have a very limited amount of free time during the nights and the weekend.

Sure, I'll be able to rent it on DVD in six months. But by then, everyone has talked about it. Everyone is bored. Everyone is on to the next, big thing.

ME: Hey man, I finally saw No Country. What did you think about the direction?

JOHN: Huh? What?

ME: No Country For Old Men. You know that movie that was released in the theaters in 2007. I finally saw it.

JOHN: Ohhhhh, yeahh. I think I remember that film. Coen Brothers. Best Picture. Right?

ME: Yeah. Yeah. Well, I really thought the screenplay was drafted with the main protagonist...

JOHN: Uh, sorry man, but we're heading to Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull right now. Wanna come?

ME: Um. Uh. Sorry. I can't.

JOHN: Ohh. Yeah. The two babies at home thing. Well (looks around) later dude!!

ME: (Sigh.)

I agree. I agree. It's a sad state of affairs for little old me.

But, it doesn't have to be.

With all the technology going into people's home-entertainment systems not to mention theconstant competition from the cable and directTV customers, I'm really surprised that producers haven't been able to negotiate a deal which would launch new-releases onto DVD or television either the same day or a week after they've been released in the theater.

Motels and hotels across the country have negotiated a way to do it. So, why can't it be taken down to the home-viewing level as well?

Look, I can understand that movie theaters need to make their money. I totally agree. I don't want to take away anyone's dough and highjack the movie from the internet. Plus, I would rather pay for a high-quality movie than one that was filmed in the back of a theater through an old lady's beehive haircut.

So, Hollywood, could you please let me pay you for these new-release movies? Hell, I may even pay more (possibly double) than a regular theater ticket price if you release it on television the same day.

All you have to do is cater to me... Joe Sixpack drinking a six pack on a Friday night.

Dallas Mavericks' Owner Mark Cuban and Academy-Award Winning Director Steven Soderbergh understood this phenomena as well.

In 2005, they decided to do a test. Soderbergh made a low budget movie called Bubble and Cuban's production company 2929 Entertainment released it at the theaters, on DVD and on Pay-Per-View...all on the same exact day. From what I understand, the chain theaters (AMC, Regal, etc.) refused to release Bubble in their theaters on opening day. Thus, 2929 Entertainment wasn't truly able to guage how successul the test actually was.

I thought the movie was entertaining enough. I saw it on DVD. But, it was the whole marketing idea that I liked even more.

Boing Boing published an extensive article on its website (circa 2005). However, I pulled a quote from Mark Cuban talking about his venture:

"We’re going to release our films in as many ways as possible without worrying about [the time between the movie theater and DVD/pay-per-view]. If we're wrong we're wrong, but if we're right just think! Most movies -- even the best of movies -- 90% of box office gross happens in the first weekend. Same with DVDs now, most sales happen in the first weekend of release. One night stands. If you want to sell somebody the DVD after a movie has left theaters, you have to remarket the movie all over again. "

On a personal level, I think it's fucking brilliant. I also think the idea should be further researched because Hollywood is missing a lot of hard-core movie lovers who simply are not able to get out of the house to see new releases. And that goes for the blue hairs too!!

From millenial kids deciding to stay at home because they want to sit around and gab during a movie to parents stuck at home with their newborn kids dying to see the latest,greatest thing to hit the theaters, I think the movie industry is missing out on a plum piece of the pie by not catering to a handful of movie lovers.

That's why I think it's time they woke up and smelled the coffee. The green kind.

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