Over sixty years ago movie studios once owned their own theaters and controlled when, where, how long their products were viewed. Those days have long passed and big budget films are shown in conglomerate owned theater chains. These chains often keep movies within its viewing circulation for at least four weeks, unsurprisingly so, after four weeks is usually when attendance drops for a film. In this time frame a studio can actually lose money if its audience for the film is not significant enough. For example say Drive by Nicolas Refn released to a decent opening and amassed 45 million over the course of four weeks with a total production cost of 60 million. Lets say hypothetically it is not likely the film will surpass its 60 million cost in time to recuperate on it high interest loans or royalties. However lets say Bold Films the studio that owns the film also owns their own movie theaters. Then it is possible for the studio to remove their film Drive, from theaters after the traditional four-week drop off, and quickly recoup their costs using new digital media. For example Drive could be released on DVD, Blu-Ray, ITunes, Netflix, and other sources immediately after its four week run. Thus continuing to build its fan community with no pause in media presence that usually occurs for films as the field stands today.
Former studio boss Steven Gaydos mentioned this idea recently.
“Wouldn’t we be better off if studios owned movie theaters?” the former studio boss quizzed the crowd during his keynote conversation with Variety executive editor Steven Gaydos. “We’re sitting with a 60-year-old consent decree, which really makes no sense whatsoever.”- Variety.com
Disney recently cut a month of the theatrical release of Alice in the Wonderland in what originally was a four-month release, to the dismay of producer Joe Roth. Who originally did not enjoy the idea of shortening the theatrical release of Alice in Wonderland. However the film made over one billion total in global theater revenues. Nevertheless the subtraction of a month found Alice in Wonderland quickly making its way to viewer’s computer screens a la Netflix and ITunes as well as their disc based players. Roth urged Hollywood to take advantage of digital innovations by stepping up its social media marketing. He compared the use of social media to a Seattle based soccer team that used social media to let fans name the team. He stressed that one must create a community for its content and social media allows people to feel connected and part of something. In a similar way Xbox users share and communicate in Xbox live the online gaming platform that allows users to interact with each other. Roth claims that all brands have to exercise all platforms. He calls the Xbox live service “a cable network- they just don’t know it”, with its 8 to 10 million subscribers. Claiming Apple Xbox and Google can quickly become their own networks offering original content.