by Mike Masnick

Condemning Simultaneous Movie Releases After One Showing

from the talk-about-a-small-sample-size dept

There was so much buzz concerning the release of Steven Soderbergh's film Bubble, using the infamous "day and date" release plan of offering it in theaters and on DVD at the same time, that it's no surprise that people on both sides of the debate have been overreacting to it. First, before it was released, there were stories talking up how this was a sign of doom for the movie theaters and the beginning of the end -- or some other silliness. Then, after most of the movie theaters bizarrely boycotted the movie (meaning more people would view it on DVD than in the theaters anyway), people are ready to jump up and say this kind of release doesn't work. It would seem that one movie is perhaps too small a sample size to jump to a conclusion on either side of the debate -- no matter how much fun it might be.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    William C Bonner, Feb 13th, 2006 @ 11:50am

    It will take a mainstream release to get any data.

    Bubble was a smaller art film to begin with. I was not particularly interested in seeing it either in theater or at home, but I might watch it at home at some point.

    Interesting data would come if somethign like The Pink Panther had been released like this. I used that movie as an example because it looks like it was number one in the US this past weekend. I'm not interested in seeing this either.. But the first big movie to be released this way will simply have one more excuse for why they didn't do well, as opposed to simply being a bad movie.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Jeff, Feb 13th, 2006 @ 11:58am

    What about Curious George?

    My wife and I took our 3 year old twins to see Curious George this weekend. It was their first movie. I guarantee you that if the DVD was available at the theater for sale, 75% of the families would have bought it. But wait 3 or 4 months after the movie is out before putting it on DVD, how many of those families will own it then? My guess is far fewer. Spur of the moment sales are very big.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Adam, Feb 13th, 2006 @ 12:14pm

    The real problem with Bubble

    I saw dozens if not hundreds of articles about the distribution methods of the film, but no actual buzz or hype about the film itself. And I'm the sort of person that does watch a lot of independent and foreign films. But unless something's in a very limited engagement or they're by one of my favorite directors, those aren't the sorts of films I rush out to see on opening weekend, either.

    When all the information about a movie is how it's being distributed, I really can't think of any incentive to rush out and see/rent/watch it. Whoever the marketing team was, they failed spectacularly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    P, Feb 13th, 2006 @ 12:47pm

    Re: What about Curious George?

    I guarantee that if the movie was available out on DVD at the same time of being in theater's, 75% of those people would have just rented or bought the movie instead of going through the hassles of taking their children out to stand in lines, find seats ect. ect. at a theater....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    ehrichweiss, Feb 13th, 2006 @ 12:55pm

    Re: What about Curious George?

    Yes, I would be far more apt to purchase as an impulse buy or when I have the trailers(the orignal movie trailers) getting me excited about the movie. 3 months later and familiarity breeds contempt and I'm sick of hearing about the damned thing and will be lucky to see it on cable.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    chuck, Feb 13th, 2006 @ 12:56pm

    The movie might have done better

    If it wasnt so horrible to watch in either format.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Tri, Feb 13th, 2006 @ 12:57pm

    No Subject Given

    This movie is going to do big things, strictly because of the 'buzz' that it's creating.

    Controversy sells. And the movie industry is loving this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Road, Feb 13th, 2006 @ 12:59pm

    Re: What about Curious George?

    I don't know the idea of actually selling DVD's of the movie you watched at the theater sounds like you might have something there. Put a movie store slash gift shop in every movie theather in america..... I think 75% of the ppl that go to movies is to actually go and have the experience of a actual theater. Date's, Family days, things of that nature. Because I'm sure Jeff here didn't see Curious George because he likes that whilly little devil but went because he was taking his family out to spend time with them in a way that didn't envole sitting in the house and lets face it even though the popcorn is over priced the sodas are rediculous it's still a cheap date in comparision. Some people like to LEAVE there house evey once in a while...... Trust me I can wait for it to come out on DVD but thats not the point of the movie theather. I gurantee you if I went and saw say Star Wars opening night and they where selling the movie and the tshirt. Boyah! oh and over priced at that, I still would have bought both.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    wolff000, Feb 13th, 2006 @ 1:03pm

    Movie Theaters Suck

    I like the big screen and bone shaking sound but dealing with all the crap that goes with it often isn't worth it. In my area you can jump online and buy tickets in advance. I love this and go to the movies more because of it. This alone is not enough to make me go more than 4 times a year. Before the advance tickets went into effect I had not been in 3 years. If movie theaters did more things to entice customers instead of complain about simultaneous releases they would be in better shape.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    computer_dave, Feb 13th, 2006 @ 1:23pm

    Re: What about Curious George?

    The fact that some people want to go to the theater anyway is the reason that releasing the DVD shouldn't hurt over all ticket sales. Of course there are some movies that have such a big draw that people that normally don't go to the movies will go, but most movies just sale to people that want to "go out" that night. Releasing the DVD at the same time, is aimed at the market that wouldn't go to the theater to see the movie anyway.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Jeff, Feb 13th, 2006 @ 1:23pm

    Restrict the sales to only theaters

    Find a way to make the DVD for sale only in theaters and only with proof of a ticket stub. Or, when you actually purchase the tickets, they ask you if you want to purchase the DVD as well.

    Theaters need to be imaginative. And work with the studios.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Tashi, Feb 13th, 2006 @ 3:47pm

    Re: Movie Theaters Suck

    They do suck, which is unfortunate because I don't mind paying for a big screen big sound experience, (and overpriced snacks) when I can experience it in peace. When I watch a movie or play a game at home, I don't like being disturbed and yet the movie going experience has gotten so horrible I'll readily pass it up, while at the same time, as Wolf points out, nothing is being done to entice people like me and Wolf back into the theatre. It's the same now as it was for me as a teenager which is over 20 years ago. The ONLY real innovation theatres has given us is stadium seating, and of course the digital video and sound, but that's really not an innovation of theatres. You're better off investing in a hidef TV and surround and popping your own popcorn. In the long run it's a better entertainment investment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Paul, Feb 13th, 2006 @ 7:00pm

    No Subject Given

    Theres 2 reasons people go to the theater..
    1) To get the big screen experience
    2) To see the movie soon after it comes out.

    The people that go for the experience will still go to the theater. It will still be a better option for youths to go to the theater on a date rather than "hey lets go back to my place and watch the movie on my 32-inch TV with my parents"

    The people they would lose money from are the ones that only go to the theater in order to see the movie as soon as it comes out.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    todd, Feb 13th, 2006 @ 7:32pm

    No Subject Given

    With 2 small children at home, we rarely make it to the theater. My family is the "target audience" that simul release aims for. 2 movies at the theater / year is pretty typical for us, past 3 years...next several.

    I bought Bubble in its first week of DVD release -- my (large) best buy received only 6 copies and I got the last one on Saturday (released Tuesday).

    We voted with our wallets and will do so again.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Kate, May 27th, 2006 @ 8:37am

    Re: What about Curious George?

    I completely agree. I have a four year old and when the movie comes out four months later most of the "gotta have it" is gone from him and he is on to something new. I guess they can't sell it on video right away because then people would not pay to see it in the theatre, they would just buy it and take it home.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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