“Premium VOD” is a new distribution model for films whereby cable/satellite subscribers (notably DirecTV) can pay premium prices (thirty bucks) to see films 60 days after their theatrical release, rather than the customary 132 days. One of the first films to do this will be Sandler/Aniston joint Just Go With It, opening on premium VOD this week, with plans to do Cedar Rapids (Yay!) and Hall Pass the same way in the following weeks. Naturally, theater owners aren’t too excited with this plan, and today, 23 prominent filmmakers signed their petition against it. Or as I like to think of it, 22 prominent filmmakers and Brett Ratner.
The whole thing is here, but here are some snippets:
We are the artists and business professionals who help make the movie business great. We produce and direct movies. We work on the business deals that help get movies made. At the end of the day, we are also simply big movie fans.
At the end of the day, out of 23 of you dipsh*ts, not a single one of you thought it was a bad idea to put an obnoxious cliché like “at the end of the day” in the first paragraph.
Currently, the average theatrical release window is over four months (132 days). The theatrical release window model has worked for years for everyone in the movie business…
Uh… no it hasn’t.
Current theatrical windows protect the exclusivity of new films showing in state-of-the-art theaters bolstered by the latest in digital projection, digital sound, and stadium seating.
Ooh, and don’t forget the sticky floors and shouty strangers.
As a crucial part of a business that last year grossed close to $32 billion in worldwide theatrical ticket sales, we in the creative community feel that now is the time for studios and cable companies to acknowledge that a release pattern for premium video-on-demand that invades the current theatrical window could irrevocably harm the financial model of our film industry.
Major studios are struggling to replace the revenue lost by the declining value of DVD transactions. Low-cost rentals and subscriptions are undermining higher priced DVD sales and rentals. But the problem of declining revenue in home video will not be solved by importing into the theatrical window a distribution model that cannibalizes theatrical ticket sales.
Whoa, I dozed off for a second there until I heard “cannibalizes”. What were we talking about again?
Make no mistake:
HAHAHAHAHA! Hey, ma, I can’t see too good, is that George Dubya Bush over there?
History has shown that price points cannot be maintained in the home video window. What sells for $30-a-viewing today could be blown out for $9.99 within a few years.
At least, that’s what our chief adviser, Slippery Slope tells us.
If wiser heads do not prevail, the cannibalization of theatrical revenue in favor of a faulty, premature home video window could lead to the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue.
As leaders in the creative community, we ask for a seat at the table. We want to hear the studios’ plans for how this new distribution model will affect the future of the industry that we love.
“We would love to hear your thoughts on this system that we all signed a pre-emptive petition against.”
And until that happens, we ask that our studio partners do not rashly undermine the current – and successful – system of releasing films in a sequential distribution window that encourages movie lovers to see films in the optimum, and most profitable, exhibition arena: the movie theaters of America.
We encourage our colleagues in the creative community to join with us by calling or emailing NATO at 202-962-0054 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guillermo del Toro
Gale Anne Hurd
Paid for by the National Association of Theatre Owners
WE ARE NATO! VISIT US AT OUR WEBSITE NATO.COM! Wait, you say there is another “NATO?” We are unaware of this group. We must sue them for copyright infringment, then write a strongly-worded letter.
Anyway, I don’t think anyone knows what the impact of this premium VOD stuff will be (probably not a whole lot). All I know is that I have little sympathy for a group of people who open a crap comedy like Arthur that no one wanted on 3,000 screens and a heartfelt comedy that was actually funny like Cedar Rapids on 100. Especially when they tell me that the current system works fine for “everyone in the movie business.”
I also like to think that not only was Michael Bay the first signatory, his signature took up 75% of the signing area a lá John Hancock, the Michael Bay of founding fathers.