Tags: theaters | movies | DVD | VOD | releases

Theater Owners Try to Make Faster Home Releases Fade to Black

Thursday, 23 Dec 2010 01:09 PM

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What next? Theater operators trying to choke grocery store sales of their cash cows of popcorn and candy, too? That question leaps to mind in light of the Los Angeles Times report that theater chains are challenging Hollywood studios’ plans to release movies for home viewing while the flicks are still in theaters.

movies, theaters, wahlberg, DVD, VODThose are fightin’ words to theater owners, so the chains are pulling out all stops, appealing not only to filmmakers, directors, producers, and agents but also to investors and Wall Street analysts to keep their “theatrical window” open, the Times reports. The “window” term refers to the time between a movie’s theater opening and its availability on a DVD, TV, or other medium.

Not that media moguls’ plans to offer in-home movies on demand one to two months after their theater releases come cheaply, at $30 to $60. (Unless, of course, you factor in the cost of trips to your cupboard or fridge instead of the concession stand.)

Studios see such premium-priced offerings as a new revenue source to offset declining DVD sales, and cable companies see them as a boon to move flicks from the public silver screen to the private flat screen more quickly, the Times reports.

Movies now are available on DVD and on demand at about the same time, 90 to 120 days after theater release.

Cutting that to 30 days has theaters crying, “Honey, you’ll shrink our profits.”

Leading the charge against the plans is the National Association of Theater Owners, a trade group that represents most of the theater loops.

The Times quotes John Fithian, the association's president, as saying: "We are reaching out to the creative community and the business community because we think some of the studios are moving down a path of a bad business model. They risk losing two dimes to save one nickel."


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