First of all today, I want to thank you for your comments and questions as we begin our quest to bring back the Old Hollywood. I am deeply grateful for your input because it helps me pinpoint the areas on which we most need to focus as we make this journey together.
In the last few weeks, we’ve begun to look more closely at the solutions and new paradigms in film development, production, and distribution that are beginning to emerge. These new developments that illuminate the critical nature of the challenge that now exists to the continued viability of both new movies and movie theaters.
For instance, Regal and AMC have joined forces to distribute movies themselves with no studio interface. Why? Simply because studios are making fewer and fewer new movies, and asking exhibitors for such exorbitant fees for the increasingly expensive movies that they do make that movie theaters have less and less product and increasingly red-inked bottom lines.
In another development, studios have started a premium On Demand service through which subscribers will get home access to films only 60 days after their theatrical release. Theater owners are so enraged at this further cannibalization of the theater-going experience and so concerned that people will have less and less motivation to come to movie theaters that they are threatening not to book those films.
One of the most persistent issues that still that comes up, however, is much more basic and can best be summarized by the following question:
“In spite of all these developments, are new movies and movie theaters really in as much jeopardy as you and your book claim they are….or are you just exaggerating the situation?”
As in building a home, the foundation of our journey must be solid before anything else can be constructed. Each day new people are exploring our site and are exposed, many for the first time, to our mission to save new movies and movie theaters from extinction. So, from time to time, I am going to return to our foundation.
From Bringing Back The Old Hollywood:
“For independent films, the vital signs are indeed flat lining:
Financing sources have dried up.
Theatrical distribution is so difficult that only one out of every two hundred independently financed films ever play in a theater.
Audiences over thirty are staying home.
Due to rising costs, fewer films, and diminished audiences, independent theaters are closing at an alarming rate.
With little or no theatrical presence, the promise of DVD income for a film has all but disappeared.
With no theatrical or DVD presence, there is almost no chance of selling a film to television.
With no U.S. theatrical or DVD distribution, foreign sales are much more difficult if even at all possible.
If something isn’t done soon, independent films will certainly become extinct and even the bigger films will be facing an uncertain future.
Only Styrofoam, Cockroaches, And Bad Jokes Last Forever
Lest anyone think that I’m exaggerating the danger, we need look back no farther than several decades to encounter some incredibly popular forms of entertainment that are today either completely defunct or on life support:
When they were popular, no one would have thought that any of those art forms could ever be in danger.
That is, until they disappeared or, in the case of opera and ballet, are struggling mightily to stay alive, at least in the United States.
Taking the concept of obsolescence a bit farther:
Would anyone have thought, even as recently as ten or fifteen years ago, that newspapers, magazines, and video stores would be in such dire straits today?
Would you have thought fifteen or twenty years ago that typewriters, non-digital cameras, and pay phones would today be collector’s items?
Simply put, a huge segment of filmmaking is indeed in great jeopardy of going the way of eight track tapes.
The survival of new movies is up to us.