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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Upcoming digital cinema / tech events ... Variety ShoWest wrap-up

Three links to upcoming events related to the movies and technology:

    - Digital Cinema Summit at NAB, April 22 and 23. Keynotes from James Cameron and NATO head John Fithian. Will look at projectors, the digital cinema roll-out so far, 3-D, digital cameras, and color management.

    - Digital Hollywood, March 27-30 in Santa Monica. Very focused on Internet delivery of entertainment, video games, TiVo and other DVRs, digital rights management. Not much interested in theatrical distribution and exhibition.

    - OnHollywood 2006, May 2-4 in Los Angeles. Focused on the intersection of Silicon Valley and Hollywood. A bit more info here.

Variety on Sunday posted a final piece from ShoWest 2006. Gabriel Snyder writes:

    Things were especially bad last year. As box office receipts dropped by double digits during the summer season -- at the end of the year, the decline was 5.8% by the MPAA's tally -- nearly anyone with a gripe about their last trip to the movie theater offered it up as a definitive explanation for why moviegoing is no longer an American pastime.

    So perhaps it's no surprise that the big proposals coming out of the exhib confab were aimed at PR: an advertising campaign that would do for theaters what "Got Milk?" did for dairy farmers and "Beef. It's what for dinner" did for cattle ranchers.

    The idea first was floated by Fithian in recent months, but it got the biggest support from Dan Glickman, head of the Motion Picture Assn. of America.

    Also on the table is a proposal to push the FCC to lift the ban on jamming cell phones at movie theaters.


  • I'm certainly not breaking any new ground in views, So, to reiterate the thoughts of many:

    The price of a movie ticket is simply too high. I don't think ticket prices have kept in line with inflation, and this desire to wring as much as possible from the movie goers has finally, rightfully, backfired. I understand fully that the exhibitors are at the mercy of the distributors, so killing the golden goose is not to be blamed entirely on one link in the movie production-distribution-exhibition chain. Since falling box office has affected everyone's bottom line , it behooves everyone to get their act together so that a seven'ish dollar movie ticket is possible again. There's plenty of money for everyone can be had at this price. I know I certainly would go to more movies at ths price. Is it so necessary to try for more?

    Yes - wishful thinking, I know.

    The oh-so-obvious...
    Hollywood needs to make better movies. Ultimately, people are voting with their dollars and with the ever increased cost of watching a movie, there is (as there should be) less acceptance to watch disappointing (bad) movies. So much lip service is given to the importance of a script, yet it really needs to be implemented.

    More wishful thinking - I know.

    3rd point.
    The increased use of commercials is cheapening the overall theatrical effect. Oh the gall of NATO not to expect people to stay at home. What are they doing for the moviegoer?

    The theatrical experience is frequently insulting. A "got milk" campaign will hopefully be put to rest before it adds to the insult.

    Finally - if lifting the ban of jamming cell phones means that - in a cinema, it would be allowable to jam a cell phones down a users throat, then I am strongly in favor.

    I think that too much time is being spent trying to figure out different ways of maximizing a movie - via 3d, or stadium seating, or better popcorn. The basic truths are being ignored.
    The movie industry as a whole needs to learn from the mistakes of the American Car manufacturers.

    While I'm a (obviously) huge proponent of digital cinema, my fear is that the digital Utopia we talked about in '98 will not be. Rather, we'll see a tighter hold on exhibition with emphasis put on the wrong things. Frankly, the audience won't care how pristine the image is, if they're watching a turd at twelve dollars a ticket.

    Pardon my flavorful writing.

    By Blogger Stefan Avalos, at 5:14 PM  

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