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Friday, January 05, 2007

From the New Yorker: Big Pictures: Hollywood looks for a future

There has been a lot of debate recently about this New Yorker piece by David Denby, headlined "Big Pictures: Hollywood looks for a future." (One of the best responses hails from NY Times writer David Carr. Both are worth a read.

Denby writes:

    The movies currently offered by Apple and other downloading services are the first trickles of a flood. Soon, new movies will come pouring through the Internet and perhaps through cable franchises as well, and people will look at them on screens of all sizes. For those of us who are not agnostics [about the way we view movies] but fervent believers in the theatrical experience, this latest development in movie distribution is of more than casual interest.

Much of the piece is the usual hand-wringing: not enough good movies, and not enough good theaters to see them in. (Denby also estimates that even after theaters convert to digital projection, as many as 30 or 40 percent of them may disappear in the next decade.)

I tend to agree with David Carr's response: consumers are calling the shots here, they have *always* called the shots, and they will continue to call the shots. The movies we turn out to see turn into money-making hits, and when we decide we enjoy a particular viewing experience (whether it was television, VCRs, or iPods), the industry will deliver movies to us that way.

Of course, I'm hopeful that exhibitors will find a way to offer a viewing experience that resonates with people -- I, like Denby, don't want to see my local theaters vanish.


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