Click here for more fun at RinkWorks!
 Main      Site Guide    
All Movie Talk

Welcome to All Movie Talk! In this audio podcast, Samuel Stoddard and Stephen Keller talk about old and new movies, famous directors, historical film movements, movie trivia, and more.

All Movie Talk

All Posts



Day and Date

I've had it on my mind to write about "day-and-date" releases for a while now. Essentially this is the idea that movies get released in theaters and also on DVD and/or cable TV at the same time. Movie theaters, of course, don't think much of the idea. They fear it will eat into their profits. I think they're just being shortsighted, just as they were when they fought television before finally conceding that, hey, television is a great marketing tool for movies. Day-and-date is a different sort of situation, and yet it still feels like history is repeating itself.

Theaters are fighting day-and-date now, too, going so far as to admit that they cannot compete with home entertainment. Hey, any theater that cannot improve on home entertainment doesn't deserve to stay in business. In Episode 4 and its associated discussion thread, we talked quite a bit about this. One thing Stephen and I agree on is that, at least in the absence of actual problems, the theatrical experience is superior to home entertainment. For theater owners to fear home entertainment betrays an absurd insecurity about their own product. Quit whining. Quit trying to forestall industry shifts by force (many theater chains vow to boycott all day-and-date releases). Improve upon the theater experience you can deliver. Upgrade the equipment. Repair the screens. Scrape the gum off the floor. Kick disruptive viewers out.

But I'm off on that tangent again, and what I haven't yet done is talk about why day-and-date releases could potentially benefit theaters. I haven't done that because recently Roger Ebert wrote up the best analysis I've seen on the subject for the introduction to his 2007 Movie Yearbook. It starts out as a recap of major industry shifts throughout movie history, then dives into the matter of day-and-date releases with some great insights.

In particular, I think the notion that movie theaters could be selling DVDs is the idea that makes this a plus for theaters.  Ebert's observation that people can't see every movie in the theater is quite right.  Well, he can.  But 99.99999% of the moviegoing population must see certain titles that interest them at home or not at all, for one reason or another.  So, Mr. Theater Chain, you want them getting those DVDs from Wal-Mart or Netflix, or do you want to sell them those DVDs yourself, as they exit the multiplex for the ones they do see in the theater?

Click here for more fun at RinkWorks!