Saturday, February 13, 2010
Shorter Theatrical Runs at Warners Too
A couple days ago I posted about how Disney is trying out some experimental ways in which to release their films, the first of which will be to truncate the theatrical run of Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland, which would mean taking the movie out of theaters roughly a month early in order to get it onto DVD and ondemand even faster. The question that plagued my mind about this is whether or not such a maneuver signals the beginning of the end for seeing movies theatrically, or just a nice roundabout way of saying that Alice in Wonderland is no good? Now Hollywood Reporter is saying that Warner Bros. is also going to adopt the shortened theatrical run method too. Here's the scoop: Warner's is planning on doing the same thing to their fall movie Guardians of Ga'hoole (Zac Snyder's new animated film). The plan is to chop about a month off the initial run in order to have the product prepped for DVD and Blu-ray for Christmas. Similarly Disney is saying the reason for shortening Alice's run is so that it can be out on home video for summer. What's also been revealed is that that studios have assured exhibitors that they will sweeten the deal by offering concessions on movies with shortened runs. The studios have also promised that it will only do this to two movies a year: one in the spring and one in the fall. Of course, the exhibitors need to agree to take these movies out of theaters a month earlier than usual but really, what choice do they have? If they don't play ball with the studios, the studios won't schedule big movies for May and September, ultimately hurting theaters more than to just let the movies go early. Something about these developments fascinates me. What does it imply about the future of exhibition; the future of distribution; the future of home video; the future of the film industry in general? Will two movies a year do anything to help out stuggling studios, especially when they are movies that will probably make big money no matter how fast they get to DVD? I guess all we can do is wait and see whether or not all the majors will adopt this system or whether or not it will reveal itself as a failed transgression and be quickly forgotten.