Is it illegal to collect movies?

Hollywood is afraid ofpeople in theaters with camcorders. They want to pass laws so that bad, bad people like Kramer and Jerry Seinfeld can’t grow cottage industries selling us wobbly movies with the sound of breathing on the soundtrack, pressed on DVDs and sold for 5 or 10 dollars onstreet corners.

I look at this tiny, tiny industry and ask why would people buy these DVDs ?

I don’t think its thepricepoint of studio released DVDs. The street versions are cheaper, but usually by only 5 or 10 dollars. IMHO, the reason people buy the DVDs on the street is that they are available. If you can’t make it to the theater to see a movie all your friends are talking about, why not buy it downtown on the way home from work?

The same applies to downloading. It’s a hassle to download and watch a movie. First, it’s going to take a few hours, once you find agood copy that can start downloading. Then you find yourself with a copy of the movie that not only is wobbly and not quite right, but only fills up half your screen.

Furthermore, if you used a bit torrent client to get it, rather than doing other work online while you are downloading, the bittorrent client is already using that bandwidth to upload the file segment you have, to others who want it. You may not write a check to download, but its certainly not free (Unless of course you work for a technology company. In this case you would consider the cost of bandwidth and CPU cycles you are giving away the equivalent of stock options, and therefore free andnot expensable).

So Hollywood has a choice. They can change their business model of windowed distribution of movies and significantly impedeany potential impact of camcordering and internet downloads. How?

They can release DVDs day and date with their theatrical release. Let the customer consume the movie exactly the way the customer wants to get it. What a concept.Shocking isn’t it.

Or, they can keep the status quo and spend lots and lots of taxpayer dollars filling up our courts suing websites and kids. Of course suing and complaining means there is always going to be an excuse if business doesn’t go well.

One of the nice things about being one of the owners of the Landmark Theaters, HDNet , Magnolia Picturesand HDNet Filmswith really smart partners, is that we can and will put our customers first and deliver our original movies in theaters, on DVD and on HDNet the exact same day. Our first movie, Enron – Ask Why, was selected to be in the Sundance Documentary Competition. So stay tuned!

But I digress. Picking on Hollywood some more… There is always a reason why their transition to new technologies has been slow. One of the repetitive themes is that there is a big risk in having a digital copy of a program or movie available because the quality is nearly as good as the original. That fear brought us the stupidity of the Broadcast Flag. It brought threats not to offer programming in High Def. Not thatlong ago, it was a threat not to offer programming and movies on DVD! All for fear of near original quality hitting the masses.

So imagine my suprise when I go to the newstand and pick up a magazine that I won’t name, and I see ads for pristine 35mm prints of newer movies that have yet tobe released on DVD.

I have been buying this same publication for the past 6 years. I started buying it not because I’m a movie collector, but because during the days, it was a great source of public domain movies and programs that we would host for streaming.

It was possible to buy the 35mm prints, in pristine condition, back then. It’s still possible today. To paraphrase Monty Python: If I were so inclined, I could purchase one of those rubbery, I mean film prints, of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, or I Robot, or Hero with Jet Li, for 700 bucks a pop. I have my choice of places to buy Terminator 3, should I so desire. (this is where you all go’YES, YES”Then I could take my lovely film to any of the many transfer houses and have it converted to DVD, HD, VHS wherever my proclivitiestake me. Or if perversion were my thing, I could just have them put it on a hard drive in any manner of codec.

If TV were my passion, I could call or email one of several advertisers offering mychoice of 25 THOUSAND tv shows available for 14.95.Less, if I ordered in volume.

Of course, with every ad, thereare those magic words that make everything alright.

“No Rights Implied or Given.”

So collectors canpurchase, own, sell and replicate movies and programs all they want. Every movie, every tv show you could ever want is out there. Waiting for you. Just as its been forat least 6 years.

Where is the outrage? Where is the furor? Who will stop all this madness?

Or maybe its all illegal and Hollywood slipped this law by me.

47 thoughts on “Is it illegal to collect movies?

  1. Another bonus; no advertising! Shows are not interrupted by some of the terrible ads out there (as you said, those financial services adverts are sickening). Also, you can speed to the good stuff, who watches the Sopranos intro now? you just want to get to the show.

    Comment by runescape money -

  2. Now out of that 5 million, 1.5 Million of the purchases are people who chose to buy the DVD instead of going to the theatre (I think 30% is a conservative estimate given the prevalent Home System setups and the areas of the country in the midwest and more rural areas where the theater does not necessarily add to the experience).

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  3. What do you think about sites listed on that URL:
    What these kind of site really offer and is this legal?

    Comment by Milch -

  4. I think that movies are one of the best creations in the field of entertainment. Movies make life beautiful and depict stories that inspire. Since you are a movie addict, I can help you with your collection. I have been into collecting suspense thrillers lately. I also have a collection of new movies, which you can view for your pleasure. Like you, I think that collecting movies is just a hobby. Unless used in a bad light, thne nothing is wrong with it.

    Comment by Nero Holmes -

  5. I think that movies are one of the best creations in the field of entertainment. Movies make life beautiful and depict stories that inspire. Since you are a movie addict, I can help you with your collection. I have been into collecting suspense thrillers lately. I also have a collection of new movies, which you can view for your pleasure. Like you, I think that collecting movies is just a hobby. Unless used in a bad light, thne nothing is wrong with it.

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  10. “I agree with your comments, but have to agree with Chris in that simultaneous release of movies would spell the end of the movie theater buisness.”

    I dunno. We just went to watch Napoleon Dynamite in the theater…this is a month or so after it’s DVD release.

    In this case, it was an event. We wanted out of the house, we had a babysitter, we wanted to actually GO somewhere. So it was a movie. Same with the drive in.

    Sometimes we really do want so see a specfic movie…but we can’t given the times they are shown (why do theaters with *4* screens of the SAME movie still refuse to start one of them at 8pm?) and the times our babysitter can be there, so, in that case, it’s DVD.

    Sometimes I’m plucking away at my keyboard in the basement and I want a distraction. In that case, it’s a download.

    But, yea, perhaps there would be a reduction in movie ticket sales. So what? I’m tired of industries that are being made obsolete suing their way to into the future rather than simply adopting new business models.

    Comment by Darrel -

  11. What about region-staged releases? The MPAA website has a section dedicated to the evils of “Parallel Import Piracy.” (A bit of small print says this may or may not be legal in your country). They considered unauthorised international transport of non-infringing DVDs such a serious threat they implimented the DVD region system. But, why? If they have a DVD available in the US while us Brits are either unable to legally watch or can only view in the cinema, it seems quite clear that there will be a very high demand for DVDs – which, asside from the issue of disableing that region system – can be legally imported.

    Comment by Goldenpi -

  12. The one issue here is that theatres have to make money. By releasing on DVD the same day as the theater, it will ripple across multiple people.

    As a parent, it costs me $100 for dinner and a movie because of babysitting costs. Generally, we just go to Blockbuster and rent the movie for 4 bucks and watch it on my big screen TV.

    I agree with the folks who say the DVD release should be two months after the theatrical. That way there is still value in exclusivity for the theatres, and we video people don’t have to wait as long.


    Comment by Sal Collora -

  13. Mmmmm DVD extras are the key…
    Even though here in the UK you can buy pirate DVD’s at most street markets – I can never bring myself to purchase them.
    As an avid collector of films I have to have the proper covers, and lust after the additional footage, interviews and added value content on many official releases.

    Comment by Matt Adcock -

  14. Agree wholeheartedly!
    For example, I’m a fan of Blade series. When “Blade Trinity” came out in Bangkok, I choose to watch it on Siam Square Theatre, where they have DTS sound that can guarantee full experience with the movie. There is a choice of buying the DVD in Panthip IT Plaza for 150 baht (USD 4), but since I know the movie can only be enjoyed with a good sound system, I still choose theatre.
    So, when will Hollywood change their bussiness model?

    Comment by Philip Yusenda -

  15. I have downloaded a few movies using BT. It can take a while to DL a good movie. And some are definitely NOT what you were trying to get. I have DL a movie only to discover it was entirely voice overed in Spanish. Amazingly, most movies are of a quality that is still superior to VHS movies.

    Think about the times you spent good money to go see Gigli, or The Village, or A Thin Red Line and you felt so ripped off. Movies don’t give you a money back guarantee. The consumer has no money back guarantee at the theater. The consumer is basically powerless in this monetary transaction. So DL a movie, watch it. If you enjoy it, buy it. Support the artists that provide the material you want to see.

    Maybe the Movie Studios should set up Pay Pal sites so people can contribute money for the entertainment they enjoy?

    Comment by Robert -

  16. what magazine are you referring to?

    Comment by Brian -

  17. Hi Mark,
    In the specialty, art film, and “independent” markets in which Magnolia Films and Landmark Theatres operate, the simultaneous release of theatrical exhibition and DVD retail would benefit not only the consumer, but exhibitors and retailers alike.

    Today, pictures that are not considered “blockbusters” rarely turn a profit in theatrical exhibiton. Often, producers don’t expect to begin earning profit until the picture has gone to DVD/VHS retail. The theatrical release, on its own, is almost considered “advertising” for the DVD retail…

    Production companies and distributors spend ungodly amounts promoting these theatrical releases– if these releases are just “advertisements” for DVD retail, are they spending this money advertising for advertisements?

    Production companies spend a lot less advertising for DVD retail than they do advertising the exhibition. Producers are banking on the DVD to sell itself from the popularity of the film in the box office. But what of those who did not see the picture in theatres? Will their interest or lack thereof remain?

    Simultaneous box office release and retail availability can save advertising costs and offer a new, valuable choice to consumers– which could effectively expand your market.

    Here are some examples:

    John Smith lives 30 miles from the closest movie theatre playing “Enron – Ask Why”.
    1. He could drive, pay for gas, parking, popcorn, and a movie ticket at Century Landmark in Chicago, Illinois.
    2. He could wait until the day after release to receive his DVD copy from NetFlix and watch it in the comfort of his own home.

    Mike Smith, John’s younger brother, just bought an HDTV, a 5.1 system, and a nice couch. He has very little reason to go see “Woman Thou Art Loosed” in the theatre, as the experience itself is no better than what he can acheive at home. But if the DVD were available, or he could stream the picture on his HDTV, he might be in the market…

    Suzy Smith, not related to Mike or John, lives across the street from a MegaPlex theatre in Southfield, Michigan. But she wants to see The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, which isn’t playing there or anywhere in her area. She has seen all the ads that the producer of the film have wasted on her, but has to wait four months until the DVD comes out… unless it were available now.

    The producers’ advertising dollar reaches each of these consumers, no matter their preference in experiencing the film in question. If the product was available to each of these consumers on DVD or HDTV stream, the producers may have captured three new customers who may not have purchased their product otherwise. They paid money to advertise to them, why not convert it to a sale?

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Exhibitors will lose their minds if you propose a simultaneous release at box office and DVD retail (or HDTV stream). Lucky you, Magnolia Pictures shares the same “Benefactor” as Landmark Theatres. So “Enron – Ask Why” is pretty much guaranteed distibution and exhibition. Otherwise, exhibitors may boycott your film. Would SuperPlex 30 buy your film if MonsterPlex 32 across the street is already going to play it? No. And if a theatre has to compete with retail, it may believe that buying the film would be a loss in the same way.

    Since you control a production company, an exhibition branch, and a direct-to-home-theatre technology service, you are in a unique position to make this work. Since your company’s target market is much more fractured than the commercial hollywood film market, you are in, again, a unique position to make this work…

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Congratulations on your win tonight, you guys smoked the hell out of NEw york. Mavericks 123, Knicks 94. I’d like to see you guys go up against my fantasy team though… 😉

    Most sincerely,
    Mykal Payne

    Comment by Mykal Payne -

  18. When I first read this idea, my feelings were like many others: but that would hurt theaters! Then I started thinking about movie experiences that I’ve enjoyed–so many involve drive ins and older, larger theaters. Huge multiplexes buried that kind of experience for the most part; if huge multiplexes don’t change with the times, perhaps there will be a time things come full circle and they’re buried, although I somehow doubt it. I’m not knocking multiplexes, but they aren’t my thing and I’d like an alternative to them.

    I think about movie experiences that I enjoy today and they all involve watching movies at home, or going to theaters that still have some character. Living in the Dallas area, going to the Inwood, The Magnolia, the Angelika…it’s still an experience. Going to multiplexes is an experience, too; unfortunately–more times than not–it’s not a pleasant experience.

    The town I live in has a mall with 30 screens and a stand-alone multiplex with 17 screens. When I see movies at these places, there’s always the cell phone guy not too far away saying, “Dude! Dude! I’m at the movies. Dude, I’ll call you later; I’m at the movies! Dude!” There are also the talkers–people who have a hard time following summer blockbusters and have to have the person beside them explain that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. If I’m seeing something dramatic, the big gun blockbuster next door booms through the walls. And let’s not forget the screaming children…

    When I hit a more independent-minded theater, The lobbies and theaters have character. The people seem to really want to see the film. I can drink a beer! It’s an experience well worth the money and the 30-45 minute drive into Dallas for me.

    That’s not to say I’m not there opening day for goofy stuff like Star Wars movies–I want to see the guy dressed as a Jedi fighting a Darth Maul with a beer gut…that’s an experience! But there’s also an experience in seeing a movie at a smaller theater, as well as seeing a movie at home. I’m not going to knock any kid in the world for talking during the Incredibles, but I’m not going to a theater full of kids for a movie I want to see when it comes out. And I think this is where the idea of releasing to theaters, on DVD, and via the Internet has value: some people see the multiplex as an experience…some see smaller indie houses as an experience…and others see sitting at home as an experience.

    Times change, and while it’s fun seeing the weekend totals come in for movies, we’ll still see it…just broken up differently. To fear the loss of multiplexes to a paradigm shift is like fearing the loss of oil companies to greener energy. Oil companies will be around–so will the companies that run multiplexes. They may generate revenue differently if they’re bright enough to change with the times, and if they don’t and there’s a market for change, why should those who cash in on it be seen as bad guys for coming up with something new?

    I can still go to a drive in (granted, I have to drive a ways to get to one). I can see a movie in a smaller theater or a gigantic multiplex. I can see movies at home.

    There’s room for everything, and if releasing to theaters, on DVD, and by download is a bad idea, it won’t fly.

    But if it flies, it has every right to soar until something new comes along and gets its turn to spread its wings…

    Comment by Christopher Gronlund -

  19. I agree with the earlier post by RB Winston. Why not create a model that will catch movie go-ers who have just been blown away by a “Great” movie and give them the opportunity to PRE-ORDER the DVD at a discounted price? This way the movie company can save cost by knowing how many DVDs to have made before production and they can skip the retailer and have the movies delivered right to the fan’s front door. Also in exchange for the PRE-ORDER the movie company promises to the fan that they will recieve their DVD before it is released in retail. This could most easily be done by setting up booths or kiosk where fans could slide their debit card and get a reciept for PRE-ORDER printed out.

    Comment by Andrew R. -

  20. Uhhhhh contrary to popular belief, dvds that pirates download online arent half screen POS anymore, they are exact replicas and take a couple hours to download.

    for instance

    Collateral.DVDR-aNBc <--- ~4.3 gigs, leaked online November 28, 2004. Retail date weeks later. he.Police.Academy.NTSC.BOXSET.COMPLETE.DVDR-MSD <----- 27 gigs (7 whole dvd-r's)

    Comment by Brandon -

  21. I say release DVD and theatrical simutaneously. It’ll surely eat into movie theater profits, but an artificially high priced DVD could fix that.

    If theaters want to bring people in, maybe it’d make sense to make going to the movies an ‘event’ again, like they did back when TV first hit the scene (by making HUGE cinemascope pictures). Perhaps having the film’s ‘A’ talent run the circuit and promote the movies IN theaters to chat on stage (think: Actor’s Studio with James Lipton) Just like when you pay for a CD of music, you still go to see the band live when they roll into your town. Of course not a lot of theaters would buy this, they need to sell popcorn on a nightly basis to stay alive (with the current model of operations).

    But hey, who cares if their business model eventually goes extinct. I’m sure the folks who built horse-drawn stagecoaches were upset with the advent of cars. But there’s still a novelty interest in the stagecoach, making it a niche market.

    Comment by Jason -

  22. Just some thoughts: 1) few people are selfless enough to pass on extra income by offering a movie two ways on opening day, 2) suing people acts as a deterrent (FUD), and it’s tax deductable 3) in a perfect world, we’d pay the artist, and bypass the middleman, and spend a lot less – which of course would be good, since everything else would be more expensive (since there’ll be no more middlemen to negotiate bulk deals on products).

    Comment by David Pankhurst -

  23. While I disagree in the timing of video’s to movies arguement you made.
    I do agree that hollywood is “behind the times”.. I think they should have pay per downloads.. i would love to download a movie if it were cheaper than a DVD and I would probably increase my inventory.. as well.

    just my thoughts

    Comment by Mike Verinder -

  24. I think your comments are spot on. Think about a model where the movie you just saw (or your kids saw and want to watch a second and third time the same day) is available when you walk out of the theater. Even discount the thing by the value of one purchased ticket cost – you’d hit the primary audience of buyers for movies. The secondary market, that waits until it hits DVD can go to their favorite retailer to buy it or rent it after its been out a week or a month or buy it for full price at their local theater, the primary buyers will already happily have their copies at a small discount. I suspect you’d see very little draw off from the theater attendee crowd with this approach. Good insight on your part.

    Comment by RB Winston -

  25. Naive question time…

    How much are my eyeballs worth in targetted advertising revenue per minute?

    Over the course of a two-hour bitTorrent download of my favourite hour-long TV show AVI, how much would the five to ten minues I spent checking on the download status have been worth?

    I’m downloading these shows and movies to watch on my iRiver PMP-120 while on a four-hour flight from Chicago to San Jose. How much would a minute or two worth of captive-eyeball “this free download brought to you by…” at the start of each clip be worth?

    Why do I, an end-user/consumer, have to help this “entertainment industry” figure out how to make money keeping me honest?

    Comment by Andrew -

  26. FAIR USE Rule #1: Give me the content WHEN I want it, whatever format I want it in, and at the highest quality that my current device can support (aspect ratio, sound included)

    Personally, I am in the situation where I CAN afford the movie, soda, seperate DVD, and that means that I also have many mobile gadgets that have video capabilities.

    However, because I am a high-end consumer I also have a home theater that rivals some of the local theaters as well as multiple notebooks, LCD Computers, car DVD video player, and a PDA Phone. All of my devices (wherever I may be) can play movies, but it is too painful to carry a DVD that is easily scratched, my PDA phone does not have a DVD player (but a 2gb memory card), and I cannot get the content that I always want when I am on the go.

    I would GLADLY pay for the movie or TV content, if it were easily accessible and high-quality on all my devices.

    Example – I want to watch Oceans 12 on my flight from NYC to Paris on my PDA phone this week. However, since I do not have the time to go to the theater, and I cannot buy the DVD, I am forced to download it on Bittorrent (which does consume too much CPU/bandwidth/time), and painstakingly convert that video to WIndows Media and transfer it to a SD card for my I-mate Jam. This is costing me precious time and money to do what I want, enjoy a new movie on my PDA phone. Cost doesnt matter to me, it is convenience!

    I am now FORCED into doing something illegal not because I am too poor to pay the studios, but the studios give me no other option because I am too tech-savvy.

    Another example – I have over 300 DVDs, but because they are in my DVD jukebox at home it is not very easy for me to watch them in my car or in other rooms. I would like to put these all on a home file server hard drive so that I can watch the movies all over my home. Also, I need the movies in my car when I want to watch them.

    What do I do now? There is no option legally to play DVDs I have legally bought. How do I play these DVDs on my PDA phone? I have to illegally rip them and convert them, which takes me way too long.

    While they are at it, let me get the new release in high-def for my home theater instead of DVD…

    Comment by Val Kolton -

  27. Mark to Mark

    Whats up with the 2 to 4 weeks to ship a DVD on HDnets site? Maybe its time to look under your own hood.

    Comment by Mark -

  28. So release the DVD on the same day as the theater release, but charge $50 bucks for it. If you really want the DVD, you will pay for it then. If not, the price drops when it is officially released in mass production to the normal price. All the people who don’t want to take their kids to the theater (trust me, it’s a beating) can have the option of spending that money elsewhere. Otherwise, they go to the movies and see it like normal people.

    Comment by Dave -

  29. The underlying element to all of this is QUALITY. While I might download the new Wes Anderson movie from BitTorrent, you can bet your last dollar that I’ll be buying the official DVD as well when Criterion releases it. The quality of the sound and video is superb, not to mention the bonus features and packaging. No pirates ANYWHERE have produced anything that would keep me from paying $20-$30 for a Superbit or Criterion DVD.

    Home Theater systems are growing quickly in screen size and sound quality. Many theaters near me lack sufficient components to deliver sound equal or beyond my home system, so given the choice of watching a new film there or the same at home on DVD? I’m heading home! Others have already mentioned the ads we’re forced to watched at the theater, as well as the excessive pricing for goodies. Has someone already mentioned cell phones? An idea that might be worth exploring is to give all of those movie-goers a special pre-order card that allows them to get their copy of the Incredibles DVD 30-60 days before the street date? Just don’t compromise the QUALITY of the DVD in an effort to get it out quickly.

    If the music industry was better at communicating the quality of lossless music, CD vs. mp3, or better yet DVD-Audio/SACD vs. mp3, people would have used mp3s just as a sampling service (just like FM radio). Instead, people with five inch tall speakers will never hear the difference between their illegal mp3’s of Ashlee and the CD they never buy. Why spend the money? I use bittorrents the same way, they allow me to see movies/TV Shows so that I can determine whether I’m buying the movie on DVD, renting it or never watching the damn thing again (This is more about the quality of the movie than the delivery medium).

    Packaging is also something that is being completely missed by most of Hollywood, but I’ve said enough.


    Comment by PJC -

  30. I have been working with a thinktank whereby we have created an end to end delivery system of digital video and intereactive content that is secure through out its delivery path to the consumer. In addition it’s data rates are upwards of 100 times faster than conventional delivery methods and requires a simple server infrastructure. As well the more people that download the content the faster the delivery. The system can also handle any form of resolution, encryption and encoding, the file starts to play as soon as the video starts to download.

    Our goal is to provide a service to the independent producer/publisher allowing him the opportunity to get remuneration for his film directly from the consumer….who possibly would be willing to pay say $1 to view the producers niche film. If the films is downloaded by a niche market of say 100,000 people he has possibly paid off his film. This provides the producer to find his audience and handle the marketing and distribution of his content his way…and bypassing the great wall of traditional distribution where under 5% of all films get a distribution deal. See Wired Magazines “The long Tale”

    We are very excited about this as we are filmmakers first and technologists second, and see this as a viable option to peer to peer transfers and existing distribution methods.

    Comment by Taylor Moore -

  31. Interesting point. My thoughts are that

    A) the simlultanteous release point would absolutely destroy the Big Budget Children’s Movie (Incredibles, et al). Speaking as someone with a 4 year old and a 1 year old, if I don’t have to take him to the theatre, pay a babysitter for the 1 year old, expensive concessions, etc. when the 4 year old doesn’t care about the 24 channel sound, why would I? The box office of children’s movies would be at best 20% of current grosses, as I don’t think it’s a stretch to see 80% of the parents being the same way.

    B) You are missing one important point in your business model analysis: Per person entry point. The theater model is the only current movie model that the studios get to charge per person rather than per showing. This multiple of price point is gigantic in the profitability of movies right now and there is no way to duplicate that in the home environment. Until someone develops a way to replicate that price point for the studios, you’re fighting an uphill battle (though boy if you could do that, that’s a business that will get some Venture Capital out of Hollywood Mark). I find it hard to believe that the the number of potential DVD sales gained by simultaneously releasing the DVD with Theater will offset any revenue lost from the multiple entry point.

    Quick Math Example
    Say you can sell a total of 5 million additional copies of the Foo DVD by releasing Simultaneously (obviusly a top grossing blockbuster movie). At a standard Price Point of $25 (a nice round number), the studios would roughly net say $10 per (Nice Round Number, I would guess each deal to be different and may be slightly less in reality).
    So 5 Million Copies x $10 = $50 Million to the studios.

    Now out of that 5 million, 1.5 Million of the purchases are people who chose to buy the DVD instead of going to the theatre (I think 30% is a conservative estimate given the prevalent Home System setups and the areas of the country in the midwest and more rural areas where the theater does not necessarily add to the experience). Now of those 1.5 Million, let’s project out a total of 2.5 million ticket sales lost just to the buyers of the DVD (these are the bigtime fans who are lining up first day etc, scouring the internet for spoilers, love to see movies again and again, so not exactly a big stretch). Then factor in for the most part they have a friend/spouse/children who would have gone to see it and now don’t have to. Multiply again by 3 (I think that is a conservative number), and you have 7.5 Million Movie Tickets not being purchased at minimum.

    Movie Studios on average get 85% of Movie Grosses from Theaters for the first 3 weeks of release (At least the blockbusters) so at a Nationwide Average Ticket Price of $8.00 * 85%, at $6.80 per ticket lost x the 7.5 Million tickets = $51 Million.

    So at the most conservative of numbers (and Markk or anyone else, you would be hard pressed to convince me my numbers are not largely conservative estimates) the studios just lost $1 Million. And that’s assuming all of those 5 million copies sold are in addition to the copies that would have been sold previously.

    Movies aren’t about entertainment, they are about Money to the people who make them. Until you can show them a true business model that will guarantee them more money, it won’t happen (Would love to creat that model though).

    Comment by Erik Merk -

  32. ?

    Comment by justin -

  33. Sorry Mark – I totally agreed with your social security post, but I disagree with this:

    “I dont think its the pricepoint of studio released DVDs. The street versions are cheaper, but usually by only 5 or 10 dollars.”

    That’s not what is happening. People are buying a DVD of movie Foo on the day movie Foo comes out. For $10. Now that person and their family of 4 can watch movie Foo for $10 instead of $40 (or $200 after sodas and popcorn).

    I see this argument again and again in blogs – typically people who don’t care about $5 or $10 dollars. Well, it’s not just $5 or $10 dollars, it’s a lot more the bigger your family and friends are, and these dollars count to people.

    I think you should look at Asia (Hong Kong, Taiwan, etc) for cues as to why piracy occurs.

    Comment by Dennis T Cheung -

  34. Id love to pay extra money to have a new release downloaded to my tivo, or computer rather than go to a crowded movie theatre.

    “Can we have your liver?”


    Comment by dan -

  35. Mark

    Hollywood, as an industry, is definately under siege. So they respond to this situation by sueing their customers. Who’s running that place, Terry Mcauliffe??


    My Father, and two of my brothers have served for a total of 75 years in the military, and I would like to THANK YOU for all that you have done, and continue to do for our military. What you, and your front row season ticket holders did recently for the injured troops was great. I was recently able to sit on the floor at the MCI center for the Wizzards-Knicks game. It was a great time for me, but my seven year old son had the time of his life.

    Maybe you could get in touch with Abe Poland, and see if he could organize a similar effort for the guys at Walter Reed.

    Again, thank you very much.


    Comment by Phil -

  36. Movie companies will consider changing their business model somewhere around the time the masses have the power to vote stupid commercials off the air. There are a few I would love to get rid of.

    Well, that is unless someone can show them the way and make tons of profit doing it. It isn’t like DVDs are exactly expensive to “master” any more. With the Chinese folks coming out with their own DVD format that happens to be compatible with most existing players so they can avoid paying royalties to the DVD conglomerate, and technology doing what tech does by increasing performance and decreasing price, I feel like this new fangled business model you talk of is possible and could work, but getting other companies to adopt it is going to take a huge success.

    Good luck with your go-around of it.

    Comment by Tor -

  37. I spoke with you before, I’m not sure what the issue is with bit torrents. Most people download off residential broadband with no bandwidth cap, they pay a monthly fee for the connection, not per GB. All the major clients (Azureus/Bitcomet/etc) offer speed capping in the program, so you still have bandwidth available to browse the internet while you download.

    Another bonus; no advertising! Shows are not interrupted by some of the terrible ads out there (as you said, those financial services adverts are sickening). Also, you can speed to the good stuff, who watches the Sopranos intro now? you just want to get to the show.

    The reason people buy bad copies of movies? well it’s free and theres no need to go the the movies, far too many annoyances and inconvieniences when you can get a cheapy home theater setup for $1200 from Walmart. Leave your download overnight or they can take less than 2 hours with a good seeded torrent.

    MPAA/RIAA don’t do themselves any favors either, would you call potential customers a bunch of leeches and criminals? that’s really going to bring them close to you where they perhaps think about their downloads.

    I’m always amazed people buy upper deck tickets to concerts when so many music artists have so much digitizing that their live performances seem terrible, and the theatrical aspect of their live concert is lost when you’re watching off the jumbotron. Why pay $30 for that experience?

    I kind of went off point there but the media industry is run by the same people who used the same tactics for years and don’t like change. Viewing problems as something that needs to be stopped, rather than solved.

    Comment by Adam -

  38. Scott makes a very interesting point. While giving a DVD to people upon exiting the theater would help save the theater business. Moviegoers would get the “release” edition of the movie, and if you really liked it, you could get the ubiquitous “special edition” that is released later.

    But there are two issues with this plan: First, it doesn’t really solve the PTP downloading issue. If the edition I’m going to get is just the plain ‘ol movie, why should I spend the $25 it takes to go to the theater instead of using my unlimited bandwidth and free BitTorrent client to download it?

    Second is that the movie companies would agree to it. First off, they fear losing the handful of people that will go to the movie theater to see a film twice. But second is that the precedent has been set by the cowards at the record industy. With recording technology where it is today, bands have been selling recordings of their live shows at the exit gate. That is, unless their label says they can’t, for fear that each person who buys a “live” CD won’t go buy the “studio” edition.

    Comment by Senor Pez -

  39. I have just now come from a movie, for which I paid too much in ticket revenue.

    I would have gladly paid 2 to 3 times my already exorbitant price, were I given a fully formatted DVD upon exiting the theater.

    I fully support any PVP, broadcast download, or other distribution method for said film.

    I want to see it again, in the privacy of my own home.

    I’ll certainly pay to see it again, and will buy it on worthless plastic as soon as it becomes available. I’m just that way.

    When will the studios realize that the money they make from DVD sales need not be limited to collections and special editions?

    Sleeping it off.


    Comment by Scott J. Magner -

  40. Mark,

    If you release the DVD on the same day as the movie, don’t you think together they would cannibalize ticket sales?

    I concede I do not have enough detailed knowledge to fully understand the movie industry, but if you were to release the DVD the same day as the movie, people who buy the DVD may not be inclined to go see it in the theaters.

    Perhaps a better solution would be quicker DVD release dates – i.e. a month or two after the initial release. You capitalize on the dedicated fan base, and can still take advantage of the others on convenience. Many times a DVD isn’t released until 6 months+ after it was in theaters and it just doesn’t have the same shine as it had months before when it was being released.. A good analogy would be the book industry and how they release the more expensive hard covers first, followed by the release of the cheaper soft covers.

    One more issue I will raise – I think the “true” convenience is the fact that you’re walking by and the movie is right there, will people be willing to run to the store to buy the DVD…

    You’re a brilliant businessman, I’m sure many of my questions you have already thought about.

    P.S. I am a Hoosier, you going to be on campus any time soon. IU Basketball could sure use you 🙂

    Comment by Adam Silverman -

  41. Of course this won’t happen because they would lose profits, and it’s never been about pleasing the customer. Movies like “Elf” exploit Christmas twice by releasing the movie near Christmas and then releasing the DVD before the next Christmas.

    Comment by lindsay -

  42. First off, I agree with the releasing of films in theaters and on DVD at the same time. What is the real fear of doing this? That the public will watch the DVD instead of spending ridiculous amounts of money in the theaters? I think the truth is, having the same release date will make people buy the DVD for convenience and go to the theaters for the experience and we will get out of the ‘I saw it first” mode… We would be able do both and perhaps generate more DVD sales. You could watch it at home and be “hip” like the theater goers the day after. It might make the theaters look at taking better care of the clientele.

    As far as piracy, I believe we are looking at apples and oranges. Some folks do the Jerry and Kramer thing for a quick buck. That in itself is an issue. But others, that don’t do it for the money, and those that don’t pay for it just need to be entertained for free… It’s going to happen. No matter what comes out, or how it’s delivered. I believe there are quite a lot of us that would sacrifice quality (quite a bit) to be able to watch whatever we want where ever we want to.

    Comment by Denis Daigle -

  43. I’m in no way an expert in film, but I wouldn’t think it would be hard to create a DVD after a movie goes to theatres. I realize it takes time to create all of those special features, but most movies (LoTR) have come out with both normal releases and extended, more feature-packed releases months later. I, Robot is a perfect example of a movie I liked in the theatres and downloaded ~2 months later to watch again. Normally I would go out and buy the DVD, but it wasn’t out yet. The company responsbile for I, Robot may have missed out, since I’ve already watched the movie a few more times and may not want to pay $20 for it. I’ll continue to download movies I enjoyed with P2P until the DVD comes out.

    I have no problem with the MPAA uses night-vision to catch people recording a movie, but was unaware of patrons getting patted down when they attend a movie. That’s just wrong.

    Dee Ann: Yes, I meant to say movie studios make the majority of their money off the sale of DVDs. Thanks for catching my mistake.

    Comment by Chris Decker -

  44. I don’t think the current average window between theatrical release and DVD is unreasonable. It used to be a lot longer to buy a copy of a movie with the old VHS rental/nosale window model.

    Plus it gives extra time for the DVD producers to work on bonus content, commentaries, packaging, QC, etc. to get a better product out to market instead of a rushed release.

    A trial has been done with releasing self-destructing movies (Flexplay EZ-D or DVD-D format, I don’t remember which one was used) the same day as limited threatrical release. I’m mixed on that. I’m unhappy with more films just hitting New York and L.A., so on one hand it’d be great to be able to see it at the same time, on the other hand it has the potential to create a lot of waste because I doubt most people would actually send the disk back to the recycling plant.

    I do think the MPAA is being overzealous when it comes to camcorders. Patting down patrons and reviewers at sneak and review screenings and placing their own “security” staff in the booths to monitor the projectionists isn’t winning them friends in the theater business or the general public.

    And yes, the broadcast flag is just stupid. Time/spaceshifting is well within fair use and if either the “Copy 0” flag or downerezzing component or DVI without HDCP decoding is activated it’s just going to piss people with non-compliant devices (like me, my display is older with component) off. Plus the conception the MPAA has that digital media is ‘perfect’ and will last forever is just wrong. Especially when it comes to DVDs and CSS encryption (which was long ago defeated anyway). I have a couple of ‘perfect’ DVDs that won’t play anymore on any of my DVD players due to layer separation, but since the problem isn’t generally recognized by the studios and the receipts are long gone the choice is to either move the content (if still readable) or purchase new copies and hope they didn’t come from the same replication plant. I’m actually going to have to deal with this issue on the non-consumer end pretty soon as my husband and starting a small DVD authoring and production house.

    Chris, did you mean movie studios studios instead of theaters in your second paragraph? Movie theaters don’t make money off of home release (well, not directly anyway). They make some money from box office returns, but most comes from concessions.

    Comment by DeeAnn -

  45. I agree with your comments, but have to agree with Chris in that simultaneous release of movies would spell the end of the movie theater buisness… unless they changed their buisness model. With a decent projector, a large expanse of wall, and a couple of surround sound speakers, you can surpass the movie theater “experience” without the expense or hassle of going there.

    But the entertainment industry had to change with the introduction of consumer-grade recordable media, such as the cassette tape and the VCR. I don’t see the current digital revolution to be any different than what was experienced before. But it will take a big paradigm shift for the “biz” to accept it and make the best use of the new technologies.

    Comment by Senor Pez -

  46. What’s more annoying, is that quite often movies are out on DVD in america before they even hit the streets here in New Zealand.

    If they don’t want me to download movies, perhaps they could release them here for me to see. Until then, I’ll always be tempted to jump on BT and grab a copy of that new block buster everyone’s talking about.

    Comment by Michael Koziarski -

  47. Mark, I agree with you. I can understand a movie going to the theatre’s first for maybe a month or two before bringing the movie to video, but this waiting game they make you play is ridiculous. As I talked about on my blog today, I think a movie should be released no later than 2 months after it’s been in theatres. This gives the movie theatres time to make their money, while allowing fans to get their hands on movies shortly after the film’s release. I think distributing the movie the same day as it’s release would destroy the movie theatre businesses. Then again, people enjoy the atmosphere and AV setup of a movie theatre (though not the prices).

    Also, let’s not forget that movie theatres make the majority of their money when they distribute their movies onto media. It’s my opinion that movie companies are looking for a way to hype a movie, and also to force people to pay for a movie more than once.

    Comment by Chris Decker -

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