Big-name Hollywood action flick directors including James Cameron and Michael Bay are slamming a plan by studios to make new release movies available to rent in homes just two months after debuting in theaters.
They slammed the offering, being made available starting Thursday to DirecTV subscribers for $30, because it could cannibalize movie ticket sales at a time theater owners are upgrading movie houses with new digital and 3-D equipment.
The directors signed an open letter saying the new offering could “irrevocably harm” the film industry and lead to more theater closings.
Studios are struggling to offset the steady decline in DVD sales.
James Cameron and Michael Bay -- the article mentions these two names perhaps because they are synonymous with big and bold theatrical adventures that break box office numbers.
I'll start with Bay in an article from Forbes.com in 2009. Interestingly enough, James Cameron is also mentioned alongside Bay:
But audiences love him. Bay's seven movies have pulled in $2.6 billion at the box office, putting him in the same league with James Cameron ($3 billion, including Titanic, the highest-grossing film ever, at $1.8 billion). That means something at a time when the movie business is going through its own action thriller, as studios run low on capital and people stop buying DVDs. (Although theaters keep half of ticket sales, the gross amount is a good proxy for the movie owner's total revenue, which includes DVDs and other money streams.)
Bay brings his movies in on time and on budget, a rarity in Hollywood. Because his pay is largely based on the film's profits (usually one-third of the take after the studio recoups its production and advertising costs), he's got plenty of incentive to rein in expenses. "Michael makes me look good because he counts every penny," says Jerry Bruckheimer, who has produced five of Bay's films.
The new Transformers movie (the second full-length feature in the series) cost $195 million to make. But Bay estimates it would have cost $10 million more if he hadn't partnered with General Motors ( GMGMQ - news - people ) and the U.S. military to get free cars, helicopters and battleships. By keeping the budget (relatively) low on the first Transformers flick, in 2007, he was able to increase his share of the movie's $708 million worldwide gross, earning $80 million from the film.
Who stands to benefit when an individual's paycheck, Bay in this case, is “largely based on a film's profit.” Bay is just protecting his own ass and the $80,ooo,ooo it stands to make by releasing big budget movie redwoods in the form of action over substance – Transformers series, Armageddon, Bad Boys series, The Rock. The longer this big budget movie redwood phenomenon exists, the more reliant studios will become on redwoods.
And how about Cameron, who along with Bay is more interested in the redwood. Perhaps we as a consuming public have built our way into this redwood state. They say the male 17-24 years old consumes the most movies in the theatre so how in the hell did Titanic gross 1.8 billion (worldwide). Maybe worldwide is the catch-all. The world now consumes a movie.
OR what I like about moving movies to DirecTV and other formats outside theatrical sooner is avoidance of the herd mentality. Studios spend a lot of money marketing a movie. Upwards of almost half the amount of a movie's production budget and this type of marketing can be controlled by whoever has the most money to market to the most people at one time – ie guys like Bay and Cameron.
What DirecTV and Netflix and other formats offer is the ability to choose from a wide array of movies with a wide array of budgets without having to be told what to consume. I have Instant Watch on Netflix and I love discovering movies I never heard of, movies that have never been marketed to me. I personally believe if Avatar wasn't shoved down our throats as this epic achievement then it would be just another movie competing on merit alone, word-of-mouth.
Big studios are scared they will lose a market segment. Theatre owners are scared they won't sell tickets, but I don't see filmmakers scared to make movies. In and around redwoods are smaller trees that use the same sun and water to grow.
From the North Dakota Council on the Arts (NDCA): "The board clearly appreciates the work you've done...and the fact that it's ND through and through. They requested that I get an Attorney General's opinion as to whether we can legally do this as a state agency since you are a private entity and not non-profit. I'll contact them this week and it usually takes about a week to get an answer. Will let you know when I hear anything from them."
This past Saturday, Feb. 19th the NDCA held one of its quarterly board meetings. NoDak Films requested that the NDCA act as a fiscal agent as we raise funds for distribution. As a fiscal agent, the NDCA will act as middle man between a potentail sponsor and NoDak Films. Funds will go to the NDCA and the NDCA will distribute those funds to NoDak Films. Sponsorship dollars would also be tax-deductible.
I hope the Attorney General feels as strongly about NoDak Films as the NDCA.
The mark of a great movie is that it leaves the viewer wanting more. I want more. 'Exit Through the Gift Shop' is almost unbelieveable, but it's a documentary. A documentary! I watched it 3 nights ago and I still can't get the damn thing out of my head.
I can't remember the last movie to have that effect.
todd holdman Tuesday, October 9, 2012, 09:41 AM Great story.
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