Oct 22, 2010

Simultaneous Release

Movies get released in stages. Theatres first, then retail (DVD), then Video On Demand and digital, then pay TV, then broadcast. In between, there are established waiting period of weeks or months. If a film broke that waiting period, there was trouble. This model is based on a finely balanced set of needs between film studios who want to make money off of films so they can make more films, and the distribution channels who on-sell those movies.

The new model emerging is to smash those windows of release, Hulk style, and release a movie on DVD, in cinemas and digitally on the same day, or a few days apart.

This is a good thing.

Some quarters complain that this could lead to the end of cinemas. Sure. But so be it. Let them go the way of the drive-in as an outmoded form of technology that the audience simply stopped using. The world has decided en masse that they will take movies when they want them. This is the result of that demand. Steven Soderbergh put it similarly: "Name any big little movie that’s come out in the last four years,” he said, and “It has been available in all formats on the day of release.  It’s called piracy.  Peter Jacksons Lord of the Rings, Ocean’s Eleven and Ocean’s Twelve – I saw them on Canal Street on opening day. Simultaneous release is already here. We’re just trying to gain control over it."
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