Hollywood To Destroy Movie Theaters Forever

Hollywood’s really trying to pump us up. If you think there are too many movies this year, just wait until next year! They’ve got Thor, Pirates of the Caribbean 4, The Hangover 2, X-Men: First Class, Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom, Cars 2, Transformers 3, and my personal favorite, Winnie the Pooh. That is gonna be so sick with all the blood and action and stuff! I can’t wait to see Piglet cheat on Pooh with Tigger!

Now, something I’ve always found interesting about the movie industry is the how soon they want to release the DVDs. Normally, the studios wait four months minimum to release DVDs. But Disney decided to be the game-changer and opted to release the Alice in Wonderland DVD a mere three months after release. There is, of course, a legitimate concern held by movie theaters that if you release the DVD too early, it’s going to have a serious impact on ticket sales. Why bother paying $11 for a chance to see the movie once when you can pay $25 to own it?

Studios like short windows between theatrical and DVD releases because it speeds up their cash flow and allows them to pull in DVD business while films are fresh in audiences’ minds. Longer lags for DVDs also leave more time for movie pirates to sell counterfeit copies.

The issue is a key topic this week at ShoWest, where studios trot out stars, films and footage to promote upcoming releases.

The time window between theatrical and home-video releases gradually shrank as studios cashed in on booming DVD sales starting in the late 1990s. The average gap between big-screen and DVD releases has held steady at about four months in recent years.

And now we come to the latest evidence that America suffers from entertainment deficit disorder…

Major Hollywood studios and one of the country’s largest cable operators are in discussions to send movies to people’s living-room TVs just weeks after films hit the multiplex, a step that would shake up film distribution.

During a cable industry convention last week, executives from Time Warner Cable Inc. made the first formal pitch to the Hollywood studios for what is known as “home theater on demand.” The cable company presented a variety of scenarios. But the main one, which has received early support from some studio executives, would allow consumers to watch a movie at home just 30 days after its theatrical release—far earlier than the usual four months—for roughly $20 to $30 a pop.

That proposal is still being debated and talks are fluid. People close to the matter say that several studios could sign on to a version of it as soon as the fall, making the first movies available on such a system by the end of the year or early 2011.

Yep. From four months to 30 days.

Is Hollywood trying to destroy movie theaters forever?


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