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The Walt Disney Company Discuss Iger makes comment about simulataneous DVD and Theatrical movie release in the Miscellaneous Disney forums; Movie Slump Stirs Tensions in Hollywood By SHARON WAXMAN Published: August 19, 2005 LOS ANGELES, Aug. 18 - The tension in Hollywood over declining box-office receipts heated up on Thursday ...
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    Iger makes comment about simulataneous DVD and Theatrical movie release

    Movie Slump Stirs Tensions in Hollywood

    By SHARON WAXMAN
    Published: August 19, 2005

    LOS ANGELES, Aug. 18 - The tension in Hollywood over declining box-office receipts heated up on Thursday as the head of the trade organization for movie theaters accused the chairman of the Walt Disney Company, Robert A. Iger, of leveling a "death threat" against his industry.

    The trade official, John Fithian, president of the National Association of Theater Owners, was responding to a statement by Mr. Iger to Wall Street analysts this month that movie studios need to accommodate changing consumer demand by releasing films simultaneously in theaters and on DVD.

    "Simultaneous release would seriously damage the theater industry," Mr. Fithian said in an interview, referring to the prospect as a "death threat to our industry."

    "It would substantially weaken the marketing potential of the theatrical release for the ancillary markets," he added, "and it would devalue Hollywood movies."

    Mr. Fithian said Mr. Iger was drawing the wrong conclusion from a 10-percent drop in box-office revenue this summer, namely that some consumers prefer to watch movies at home.

    Instead, Mr. Fithian said, the slump was a result of the poor quality of this summer's movies, observing that declines of this magnitude did not happen because consumers suddenly decided they preferred DVD's.

    "The reason for short-term peaks and valleys is the product," he said. "There aren't long-term structural things to industry that change in a one-year time span."

    In his comments on Aug. 9, Mr. Iger said the box-office decline was an alarm bell for the industry.

    "I think windows in general need to change," he said, referring to the time between the theatrical release and the introduction of the DVD.

    "They need to compress," Mr. Iger said. "I don't think it's out of the question that a DVD can be released, in effect, in the same window as a theatrical release, although I'm sure we will get a fair amount of pushback on this from the industry."

    Mr. Iger declined to respond on Thursday to Mr. Fithian's comments.

    The decline at the box office has been the subject of debate all summer. Attendance has been down even more than revenue, a dip of 12 percent from last summer, according to Exhibitor Relations, which tracks box- office data.

    NYTimes article
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    shadesofgreen's Avatar
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    Sounds like Disney is doing better with DVDs than at the theatre. By severely narrowing and even eliminating the window between theatrical and DVD release, I think the movie industry in general will pay the price. Maybe in the future EVERY Disney release will be DVD only. Let's hope not, I love going to Downtown Disney and seeing a movie up on that huge HD screen.
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    MandaBella's Avatar
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    I can actually see Iger's point. We see more movies on DVD than in theatres now. Going to the movie theatres isn't what it used to be. I used to enjoy it. The movie industry and the theatres need to so something soon. We see less than 10 films a year now in the theatre...and that's mainly because all the negatives associated with the movie theatre experience. I'd love to see more movies in the theatre, but the cost and the atmosphere now make me very, very selective about what I am willing to pay $10 a person to see.

    It'll be interesting if this ever comes to pass.
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    My husband and I were discussing this very thing just the other day. Our favorite summer past time for more years than I care to count has been going to the Drive-In movie theater every weekend. When our kids were home several years ago, it was $5 a car load for a double feature. The price has since gone up to $8 a car load and the kids are no longer home, so it is just the two of us. For $8 we can rent two DVD's, sit in the comfort of our own home, not have to fight mosquitoes, heat, humidity, make the long trek to the restroom in the dark, and try to remember where the car is when the visit to the restroom is over. Needless to say, we have made the trip to the Drive-In once this summer (Fantastic Four and War of the Worlds). It was a waste of money. We should have stayed home and rented DVD's.
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    It's the price of a ticket that keeps me away. I love the popcorn but it isn't quite worth to pay the money to get in. We usually go to our local historical theater and watch classic movies. It has been a great thing to do with my older children and the movies are great.


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    The only thing that stops us from going is the price(well that and a very active 2 yr old...lol)by the time we would pay for a sitter it is an outrageous cost. I pay my sitters well unlike my nieghbor who only wanted to give me $5 an hour to watch a 5 month old and a whiny toddler---yeah right...lol Anyway..we do try to hit the drive-in at least once a summer( she can run and be annoying there without disturbing too many ppl) I hope they do NOT do this simultaneous release thing...it really would kill the theater industry if one would only have to go to the rental store and see the same thing at the same time as someone else. Its fun to have one up on your friend by saying HA HA I saw it b4 you....lol. Besides the fact that there is just something magical about seeing these characters on that HUGE screen to children--my DD was mesmorized the first time we took her to the drive-in. Cutting back the time between out of the theater and onto DVD would not be unreasonable but to release both at same time...***shakes head in disgust****NO Come on Iger where's your sense of family outing and togetherness time? Dont ppl spend enuf time sitting on their butts in front of the TV now? Even just getting in and out of the car is better then no exercise at all.
    Stepping down from the soapbox now.. Sorry ppl but passionate about this being a former AMC employee and loving every minute of it
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    shadesofgreen's Avatar
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    I don't mind the ticket prices, but popcorn and sodas for $20!!!! That's what needs to change before more people go back to the theatres. I'll spring the movie theatre money to see big special-effects blockbusters and Disney movies, but for talking heads we will rent DVDs anytime. I still like the option to go out for a night to the movies, Vixen is right. . . . don't we spend enough time on the couch?
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