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Warner film production being cut, what effect on Blu-ray? (1 Viewer)

Robert Crawford

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The question is important enough to answer for not only Blu-ray's future, but also SD DVD and VOD. Will other film companies follow suit and take better advantage of their film assets? How about consumers, will they try to cut back on spending by staying home more and watching movies there instead of movie theaters with their high price of tickets and concessions? Unlike the depression times when movie audiences continue to flock to the theaters, consumers of today have so many more opportunities to be entertained at home and still watch their favorite films at a cheaper cost to their budgets.

I hope this has a positive effect on Blu-ray by forcing the studios to increase their efforts on pushing for Blu-ray adoption by giving us more titles and decreasing software pricing. It's also true that the same can happen with SD DVD and VOD. However, I'm not worry about those possibilities because I foresee a future in which consumers such as myself will watch their favorite films on SD DVD, Blu-ray and VOD. Not every title is going to make it to Blu-ray for various reasons and it might be more economically sound for me to watch a film on VOD then to buy it as software media. There are plenty of movies in my media library that I wish I didn't buy instead it would've been better to have an opportunity to watch it once on VOD.


Home Media Magazine | Bewkes: Warner to Cut Film Production 50% by 2009
 

Michael Reuben

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Yes and no. It remains to be seen how successfully the individual divisions of Time Warner are able to translate their CEO's directives into action. Just as an example, creating wider of adoption of a new video format may be difficult if there's less new product to release on it.

M.
 

Robert Crawford

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Let's see if WHV is willing to release more catalog titles while at the same time decrease its software pricing. Also, the question remains what will the other studios do in trying to be more profitable during these rough economic times?




Crawdaddy
 

Douglas Monce

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Actually contrary to popular belief, consumers did NOT continue to flock to movies, particularly during the early days of the depression. Many of the smaller movie studios went out of business, or were consolidated. Thats how Republic Pictures came to be. The guy who owned Yates's laboratory that did the work for many Poverty row studios convinced Monogram, Mascot, Liberty, Majestic, Chesterfield, and Invincible to merge under his leadership, or otherwise face foreclosure on outstanding lab bills.

In fact production was cut way back in the early days of the depression. Focus was taken off of 1 and 2 reelers, which were the main stay of studios, and placed more on to what we now think of as feature films, those films that have a running time of more than an hour.

Of course movie attendance started to pick up in the mid 1930s as some people started to have more disposable cash, but there were 5 very dark years for the studios.

The one entertainment medium that did take off during the early days of the depression was radio. It went from being in something like 40% of homes in 1929, to around 80 or 90% by 1938.

Doug
 

ManW_TheUncool

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Hmmm... I wonder if this might also mean more direct-to-video releases too perhaps w/ HD video cams, instead of being shot on film, etc. for theatrical box office release.

_Man_
 

Robert Crawford

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The only problem with direct-to-video releases is how are you going to generate enough interest in them to move a lot of units if nobody has seen the film before its release?





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Douglas Monce

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Yes and that conventional wisdom was mostly promoted by the studios so they could bill themselves as America's entertainment. Like much Hollywood P.R. it was largely hype.

Doug
 

Robert Crawford

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Let's also remember that movies were transitioning over from silents to talkies during the early part of that major depression that went on for over 10 years. That's a very long time so box office receipts were bound to fluctuate during those uncertain times. Anyhow, enough of a small part of my assertion that Americans will still want to be entertain, but with some cost restraints during this current downturn of our economy and I wondering about the studios response to that change? Even moreso, the studios themselves are feeling the effects of rising costs which is affecting their profitability so cost cutting and making better use of their current assets is going to be imperative to their bottom line.
 

ahollis

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How right you are. The only success has been with the Disney direct-to-video animated and Universal's American Pie and Bring It On series. All of those have their roots heavily embedded in the original theatrical release.
 

ManW_TheUncool

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Well, obviously, I don't mean they just start releasing these things w/out some substantial changes in their business models.

I have no idea if "direct-to-video" would ever fly to adequately replace some parts of the theatrical box office, but it would certainly take a lot more than what's been done in the past.

I seem to recall (from during the early days of DVD) some folks envisioning a day when films could premiere right in people's homes via something along the lines of download/VOD. If the studios can manage that, maybe it could work to replace the box office for a good number of smaller (but not critically lesser) films that normally won't gross much at the box office anyway.

Remember. The technologies needed for something like this to become a reality didn't really exist and/or weren't adequately deployed (in people's homes) in the past, but things are changing now, and maybe, just maybe, the market will become ripe for this kind of "theatrical" delivery method (for the smaller films anyway) soon enough. Certainly, if the studios are serious about a download/VOD push in general, then this might not be too far behind in their thinking, especially if they're gonna cut back on theatrical box office releases. It may just be a pipe dream, but I wouldn't put it pass them to give it consideration...

_Man_
 

ChristopherDAC

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I guess my perceptions on this issue are skewed, due to being a fan of Japanese animation. From about 1985 (when sell-through VHS and LaserDisc began to have a strong impact on the Japanese entertainment market) down to the late 1990s (when the Japanese experienced a major expansion in satellite TV channels), a big fraction of the "best" anime was what they called OVA — Original Video Animation. Some of these were spin-offs of TV series or popular manga, but others stood alone. While more total running time was made for TV, the OVA was close to theatrical animation in quality, but less risky (low distribution costs & high per-copy prices) to the producers, & with more creative flexibility (running times, content, &c.). Now the Japanese and American entertainment markets have always been very different, but I would guess that if there is one model for market success with direct-to-video, there is more than one. It might be difficult to introduce, but if there is a major incentive to do it, it will probably happen. Of course, the movie studios have been trying to get theatres to adopt digital projection in order to cut down on distribution costs, & cutting down on theatrical distribution period is not going to help that case any. It will be interesting to see how things shake out.
 

KurtEP

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Youtube?

I think that internet has a huge potential to bypass traditional distribution channels. We're starting to see it with music (think Trent Reznor's recent experiments with distribution of both his and Saul Williams' music, plus all of the authorized music video content on Youtube). I can't see any good reason why it can't eventually happen to direct to video releases, especially if there is an organized push for it.

In many ways the old model is far past its prime. Most of my movie viewing may as well be direct to video, since I can count the times I've been to the theater in the past five years without having to unzip my fly. In the same period, I've watched hundreds of movies on my home system. Many of them were NEVER aired in the local theaters, or their stay was so short it didn't matter. For me, home theater is the preferred option. The picture is generally better, as is the sound, and I don't have to deal with a crowd of cretins or pay $3 for water. The sooner theaters are bypassed, the better, as far as I'm concerned.
 

Robert Crawford

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Direct to video better have some good marketing to overcome the lack of word that comes when a film hasn't been shown in theaters and gathers no such support.

As far as your home theater perference to each his own.
 

KurtEP

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Indeed, but I've been paying attention lately, and the only thing that the theaters I've been to had on my home theater was size. Picture quality generally sucked, although I normally go after a few weeks, so anything is possible. Certainly comfort is not a feature of most theaters I've been to, but perhaps your area is different. I know where I'm moving in a month it will be far, far worse...
 

Grant H

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They're already the industry leader in catalog releases and pricing, or at least catalog pricing. They have a bigger catalog than anyone, I think. (MGM has to be close.)

They could drop the prices of new releases though, or at least drop them to catalog prices sooner. Some launch HD new releases still go for the higher prices.
 

Robert Crawford

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Yet, the CEO wants to increase sales of his video library which means catalog titles if fewer films are being made by the studio. The pricing on Blu-ray product needs to be lower including Warner releases, but I prefer other studios following Warner's current pricing strategy. There is too much of a difference in pricing between SD DVD and Blu-ray, particularly with new releases and other studios besides Warner.
 

ChristopherDAC

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After all, you do get six times the picture information, & frequently just as much more audio information, on BD as DVD. Yes, the perceptual improvements are incremental, but it's a big increment ; it hardly strikes me as out of line to expect a commensurate price increment. If the presentation is 20% to 50% better, a 20% to 50% higher price is no more than fair, & if there aren't discount bins full of $5.99 BDs, one would scarcely expect such a thing this early in the format life cycle. Blu-ray simply isn't mature enough yet.
 

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