Hey folks Valkor here. There is a pretty cool article over at Yahoo! News that anyone interested in the future of theatrical films and their home releases, should definitely take a gander. (article is long gone, but not forgotten). The gist of it is the major studios are considering shortening the window between a films theatrical release and its DVD release. If this should actually come to pass it could have both positive and negative effects on how and where we watch movies in the future; pretty much changing the movie industry as we speak.
The thing about this is it’s actually not a bad plan. Going to the theaters, isn’t as much fun as it used to be. I don’t care what most people say about the quality of films. It’s not the quality of films that has people not going, it’s actually going to the theater itself that’s making people stop. It’s no longer a convenience and it’s too costly. After paying so much money for the ticket, plus concessions you feel wiped before the commercials begin. There’s another point: Ads. We have to sit through 30 minutes of commercials, for a film we have to pay for? When we watch movies on HBO we don’t see Fanta ads, so why is it that we have to see them in the theater? Cut the ads and no matter how crappy the movie is people will come. Finally the experience of watching a film and getting drawn into it is taken away when all of a sudden cellphones start ringing every few minutes, or people bring kids to R-rated films, or things just get rowdy. Why wouldn’t, after all this, will people want to stay home rather than sit in a movie theater. Getting a film soon after it’s theatrical release on DVD (or whatever software they choose in the not so distant future) would be precisely what people would want to see happen. Think about it. Most homes are now fully equipped to give you the theatrical experience… without all the extra fluff to go with it. DVD’s do come with promos at the beginning but you can either skip past it or fast forward straight to the beginning. Plus its cheaper as you can have whatever you want when you watch the movie, whatever you can cook up in your kitchen or what you can order up from fast food. So going to the theater will be pretty much moot if you can get the DVD just after its release. And the added incentive is that people won’t download movies because why download a crappy copy (or even a decent divx copy) when you can have an official copy sitting on your shelf rather than hogging up precious hard drive space?
There is a downside to this as well and it’s a major drawback to having an immediate DVD release. Theaters will go extinct. It really won’t be the same anymore once and if immediate home releases do happen because what would be the point of it all? It would be so much easier to just go to Best Buy or Walmart and buy the DVD than to deal with the hassle of going and sitting in a theater. However it would be sad really to see theaters start closing because of this because some of the best moments of my life (as well as many others) have been sitting in a movie theater and getting drawn into strange new worlds, or watching people get into and out of precarious situations, seeing the Death Star Come to life and blowing up Alderaan, Indiana Jones face to face with a booby trapped relic, then being chased by a huge boulder, watching Batman Begins was a great moving going experience (because the character was finally done right for the big screen. My all time favorite moment: showing of Episode 2 with the true SW fans, that’s something that can’t be replicated in the home. There are somethings that are being done now that continues to draw people to the theaters and that’s better food menus, comfortable seats, bigger screens with digital pictures, and the oh so blessed reserved seating (They bring the food to you, no waiting in line! Whoo!!). But still that is not enough as it’s the ambience that is interrupted, that’s what needs to be fixed. And you cannot change that so long as human nature exists and we can’t take that away. Hey studio and theater owners? You wanna get the people back in the theaters? How’s about offering up some incentives? Losing the commercials is one thing, maybe offer up some goody bags. One of the coolest promotions I have seen was the pokemon promotion where if you get one of so many rare playing cards. Kids play the game, why not give them a card they can use or save. Adults can use free stuff too. Mugs, posters, shirts, hats, candy, free DVD’s. The possibilities are endless! You can offer up contest so that at the end of shows theirs a drawing for a free car or home theater (yea that’s what u wanna do) And hey, people will come.
So I think it is best to say that no matter what change is gonna come and we just have to accept it. However we can cushion the blow by bringing back that feeling that made going to the theaters fun in the first place. Having a DVD release soon after its theatrical release isn’t so bad, so long as theater owners and movie studios work together to make going from one medium to the other worthwhile, so that all are content.