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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

For Your Consideration: Low-Budget Blockbusters ... Toshiba Exec Reflects on HD DVD ... Theaters Evolve

- Low-budget blockbusters like 'Once' never happen ... until they do. (Movie industry insiders say it's always safer to bet on big budget releases with well-known stars.) Portfolio.com has an analysis of the economics of 'Once,' made for $150,000 and released in the US by Fox Searchlight. The financial returns thus far, Portfolio says, have hit about 10,000 percent. From the story:

    After the film opened in the U.S., it grew slowly and steadily. Fox Searchlight had the best marketing that money can’t buy: word-of-mouth buzz and critical acclaim. While summer’s blockbusters came and went, Once stuck around theaters for an amazing 219 days—most of 2007—whereas Spider-Man and Pirates played for 112 and 133 days, respectively.


There's also a slideshow of the top ten movies from a return-on-investment perspective (mostly indies like 'Blair Witch' and 'Napoleon Dynamite,' but all three 'Lord of the Rings' films also make the list.)

- Toshiba's CEO talks to the Wall Street Journal about the impact to the company of losing the high-def format war to Sony and Blu-ray. Atsutoshi Nishida says:

    I didn't think we stood a chance after Warner left us because it meant HD DVD would have just 20% to 30% of software market share. One has to take calculated risks in business, but it's also important to switch gears immediately if you think your decision was wrong. We were doing this to win, and if we weren't going to win then we had to pull out, especially since consumers were already asking for a single standard.


- The Detroit News writes about how movie theaters are evolving -- with a big focus on 3-D, live concerts, and videogame tournaments. (Long interviewed me for the piece, and includes a short quote.)Fox

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