From The Really Big Screen To The Really Small Screen In 10 Days

from the but-why? dept

As moviemakers battle each other over the idea of simultaneously releasing movies in multiple formats, a bizarre offshoot of this argument appears to be breaking out in Italy. points us to a story about the local Hutchison operator apparently working out a deal to offer firstrun films on mobile phones just 10 days after their theatrical release. However, it appears that someone forgot to have their lawyers (or, someone reasonably competent) look over the contract before it was signed — because the movie distributor in question later freaked out when it realized what it had agreed to and tried to back out of the deal. It’s not clear what the company actually thought it had agreed to. The courts, however, found the original agreement pretty clear and have given Hutchison the go ahead to start releasing movies. Of course, it’s hard to make sense of either side of this particular argument. Does Hutchison really believe that people want to watch full length movies on their mobile phones? We know the company has been positively obsessed with mobile video from very early on, but it’s also the company that thought its own customers must be nuts if they wanted access to the internet from their phones (admittedly, it was the UK subsidiary of Hutchison that stated this one). However, beyond the simple question of wanting to watch the full movie on the tiny mobile screen, is anyone actually willing to pay the price of a full movie ticket to do so? Yes, that’s right — they think people are willing to pay about $10.50 to watch these films on their phones. At least that would solve the question of jamming mobile phones at the theater. However, the movie distributor seems to be over-reacting as well. The points above should at least soften the “threat” this represents to theater-going patrons — but even more to the point, the distributors and theaters should recognize that what gets people to go to the movies has a lot more to do with the social experience of “going to the movies” — something that clearly is not afforded by watching a movie on your mobile phone.

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