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Monday, July 14, 2008

Monday Links: MovieBeam Sold, Blu-ray Interactivity, 'Journey' Dazzles in 3-D

- Can anyone explain this? An Indian company is buying Moviebeam, the movie-delivery-over-the-airwaves-set-top-box, for an undisclosed sum. They're promising to invest $100 million to re-start it, delivering both Hollywood and "ethnic" content to consumers. Moviebeam was started in 2005 by Disney, then re-started in 2006 with an assist from Cisco Systems and some other investors. Then it was sold to the Movie Gallery, a rental chain. Last December, it was shut down. Through it all, there has never been any word on how many customers Moviebeam has managed to acquire.

- Disney is experimenting with Blu-ray's interactive features in a new release of 'Sleeping Beauty,' according to the NY Times. Friends can chat with one another while viewing it separately, and the text will appear on the screen...or play trivia contests... or record video messages that will pop up during the movie. But these Internet-dependent features only work in a sub-set of Blu-ray players which support 'BD Live.'

- 'Journey to the Center of the Earth' wasn't the top new movie for this past weekend, but it performed quite well in theaters where it unspooled in 3-D, according to the NY Times. Brooks Barnes writes:

    ...[T]here were hints buried deeper in the box-office returns suggesting that 3-D is well on its way to becoming a force at multiplexes. Auditoriums screening the movie in 3-D sold more than three times as many tickets as those showing the standard version. About 57 percent of the total gross for “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” based on the classic Jules Verne tale, came from 3-D screenings.

    In comparison, 3-D screenings of “Beowulf,” the computer-generated picture that opened last November, generated just 28 percent of its opening-weekend gross. (“Beowulf” was available in 3-D on slightly fewer screens.)

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