There was much to talk about at ShoWest 2009, but frankly, I’m much too tired to do it. Instead, here are some of the big events and the media and blogs reporting them.
Celluloid Junkie on the Opening Day “How to Stay Ahead of the Curve” seminar:
When it came to the topic of the digital conversation, the panelists’ differences were abundantly clear. Mitchell argued that theatres in smaller towns were being overlooked when it comes to virtual print fee deals. (In fact, Twentieth Century Fox recently settled a law suit with an independent exhibitor over just such a matter). Mitchell contended that the digital conversion is too expensive for such theatres and distributors should view giving VPFs to such cinemas as a marketing play by lowering film rental to help pay for the expensive digital equipment.
Katzenberg was quick to disagree, adding that his films are so costly he can’t afford to lower film rental. “Dreamworks Animation only makes two of the most expensive movies made each year,” he countered. “If we’re not in the top 12 to 15 each year we’ll go out of business.”
“It just a law of economics and the theatres in small towns just can’t afford digital so the rules might have to bend for them,” Harkins interjected.
Mitchell got a round of applause when he added, “These kids that live in the little markets need to be getting in the habit of going to the movies rather than staying at home surfing the web. This is the most liberal industry in the world in helping people out and all I’m saying is to help out some of our own. Give a small guy a hand here.”
State of the Industry speeches and press conference from Screen Daily:
Fresh statistics compiled by the National Association Of Theatre Owners show that there were 34 piracy related arrests in the US in 2008 compared to 55 last year and six in the UK compared to zero in 2007. The two biggest surges in the number of arrests came in the Philippines as year-on-year numbers climbed from zero to 51.
Domestic admissions dropped slightly in 2008 to 1.4bn, although they climbed in the fourth quarter of 2008 by 7% and have risen by 8% in the first ten weeks of this year. National Association Of Theatre Owners president and CEO John Fithian said admissions were on a four-decade upward trend overall and noted that the average theatrical release window from theatrical to DVD was four months and 13 days in 2008, six days shorter than the previous year.