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in Filmmaking
on Aug 20, 2005

I have an informal ban on the word “Indiewood” in Filmmaker. It’s just too cutesy for me. But maybe I’ll pick up Bill Mechanic’s “Myopiawood,” coined in this opinion piece posted over at the Movie City News site. In “Welcome to Myopiawood,” the producer and former Fox head criticizes suggestions floating out there by folks like Mark Cuban that the various “windows” separating theatrical exhibition of films from their release on home video and pay television formats should be collapsed or even eliminated. And for those of you who think this is an esoteric argument, well, the folks at CNN don’t think so. Last night on CNN the network took a brief break from Rader and Aruba to poll viewers whether or not they thought movies should be released simultaneously in theaters and on DVD. 56% of you said no!

Here’s Mechanic:

“So, going day-and-date essentially wipes out a major window of opportunity for winning pictures. Yes, if a movie fails in theatrical, there are losses that have to be made up (if possible) out of the subsequent markets. Eliminate the theatrical window and the same pictures that don’t create a head of steam theatrically now will most likely fail to create a head of steam in video. And there will be no subsequent market to pick up the losses.

In the example of a film like Herbie: Fully Loaded, the marketing costs of $15 million in video would undoubtedly grow to the same level they now are in theatrical, so the costs can’t be projected against the present day release pattern. There is also no reason to believe Herbie would do the same business in video, since it would only have one shot to reach an audience, not the two it has today. The $40 million (a conservative estimate) in marketing spent against theatrical greatly, greatly enhances the $15 million spent in Home Entertainment marketing later.”

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