Mark Cuban complains that on a given weekend there are hardly any new movies to see. I’ve felt film-starved all year (with one notable exception), plus box office take has been down for 15 weeks in a row. Cuban suggests some solutions:
1. Have a "big push" simultaneous DVD and pay-TV release of the film.
2. Sell DVDs at early release "premium" prices.
3. Allow theater owners to share in DVD profits, thus giving them an incentive to boost long-term interest in a movie.
Coming from another, this Slate piece argues the studios are spending too much on movie ads and need to cut back.
My take: We need the opposite of a "big push," and large TV screens, Netflix, and dowloading are providing precisely that.
In the long run I expect the film industry to have two segments. First, theaters will present an utterly mind-blowing multi-media experience, drawing on ideas from Scriabin and the modern rave. Second, you will watch clever and often low-cost dramas and comedies at home. The potential for illegal copying will keep down prices and also capital expenditures on these productions.
I could be very happy in this world, and happy or not, I am not optimistic about attempts to find a middle ground. You’re not going to go to the theater unless it is for something pretty special.