• The Imitation Game: The Interview’s Simultaneous Release Doesn’t Change Anything

    News Reel Blog   

    My latest column for Boxoffice.

    Many industry analysts noted exhibition’s oft-stated resistance to simultaneous release, pointing to the DirecTV early premium video-on-demand plan in 2011 and the canceled Tower Heist plan to offer the movie on VOD three weeks after its theatrical debut for $59.99. Several major exhibition companies announced that they would not play the movie under those circumstances, and Universal shelved the plan.

    What happened when Sony announced it would be offering The Interview simultaneously in the home to accompany its Christmas theatrical release? Several major exhibition companies announced they would not play it under those circumstances. The movie played on 331 screens in its opening week–roughly the same number that were willing to play other, less well-known simultaneous releases.

    Game not changed.


  • Netflix And The Myth Of Innovation: Simultaneous Release Is A House Of Cards

    News Reel Blog   

    My latest in Boxoffice Pro on Netflix and simultaneous theatrical release:

    The entire argument for simultaneous release is founded on bad faith, shoddy data, and mysterious bookkeeping. John Sloss made waves in the industry with his call for transparency in the reporting of VOD revenues. It’s long past time for that call to be heeded. Netflix doesn’t even provide viewership data per title to its own shareholders.


    And, frankly, I don’t think that Ted Sarandos believes his own arguments. If he truly believed that exclusivity is a curse, “creating artificial distance between the product and the consumer,” he would make House of Cards and Orange is the New Black available on Hulu, Vudu, Redbox, Amazon Prime, cable VOD, and next to the checkout counter at Walmart. But he doesn’t.


    And why not? Because exclusivity matters. Exclusivity works. Because Netflix needs to offer its subscribers something its competitors don’t to retain them as subscribers and for those subscribers to believe they are getting something of value that they can’t get from a growing number of competitors.

    You can read the whole thing here.

  • NATO and MPAA Announce Zero Tolerance Policy Toward Wearable Recording Devices

    News Reel Blog   


    Today, the Motion Picture Association of America and the National Association of Theatre Owners announced an update to their joint policy to prevent film theft in theaters. The update was made to fully integrate wearable tech into the rules following a joint meeting of NATO and MPAA theatrical anti-piracy teams at ShowEast, the annual industry convention and trade show in Hollywood, Florida. The updated language is:

    The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) have a long history of welcoming technological advances and recognize the strong consumer interest in smart phones and wearable “intelligent” devices. As part of our continued efforts to ensure movies are not recorded in theaters, however, we maintain a zero-tolerance policy toward using any recording device while movies are being shown. As has been our long-standing policy, all phones must be silenced and other recording devices, including wearable devices, must be turned off and put away at show time. Individuals who fail or refuse to put the recording devices away may be asked to leave. If theater managers have indications that illegal recording activity is taking place, they will alert law enforcement authorities when appropriate, who will determine what further action should be taken.

    There are a couple of pertinent reactions here and here.

  • Christopher Nolan on the future of cinema

    Reel Blog   

    The digital transformation of the movie theater has got Christopher Nolan thinking.

    These new voices will emerge just as we despair that there is nothing left to be discovered. As in the early ’90s, when years of bad multiplexing had soured the public on movies, and a young director named Quentin Tarantino ripped through theaters with a profound sense of cinema’s past and an instinct for reclaiming cinema’s rightful place at the head of popular culture.


    Never before has a system so willingly embraced the radical teardown of its own formal standards. But no standards means no rules. Whether photochemical or video-based, a film can now look or sound like anything.


    It’s unthinkable that extraordinary new work won’t emerge from such an open structure. That’s the part I can’t wait for.

    Read the whole thing.