Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sony Ticks Off Theatre Owners

Gee. For some reason Sony has irritated AMC and others.

Exhibitors are hot over Sony's decision to release animated feature "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" digitally on Dec. 8, or less than three months after its theatrical opening.

Sony stirred the "Meatballs" controversy by announcing this week that the $121 million domestic grosser would be made available for early home entertainment viewing by owners of Internet-enabled TV sets and certain Blu-ray Disc players ...

I can understand theatre chains not liking early DVD releases of hit films still in circulation. It smothers grosses as soon as the news gets out. And theatre owners, of course, have ways of fighting back.

... "Meatballs" ... played last weekend in a total 1,126 venues and was expected to shed at least a few hundred engagements starting Friday. As a result of the exhib protest, "Meatballs" could play in as few as 300 theaters beginning this weekend.

"Meatballs" rung up $1.3 million last weekend. So the accelerated wind-down to the pic's theatrical campaign likely will cause a modest but quantifiable revenue loss for Sony.

I hope Sony makes up in DVDs sales what it loses in theatrical revenues. (Christmas comes but once a year.) This kind of wheeling and dealing is probably going to increase as we move deeper into the 21st century.


Anonymous said...

"Internet-enabled TV sets and certain Blu-ray Disc players ..."

Sounds like an anti-trust lawsuit waiting to happen. If they only release it for Sony Blu-Ray players, they're gonna piss off consumers. Not that many people are dying to own this film. It's a cute kids film, but one wonders why it didn't do better at the box office. It'll probably make it out of the red on video though.

Anonymous said...

Sony Pictures Animation just wants $$$ over the Holidays. This is their first hit.

Unknown said...

"I hope Sony makes up in DVDs sales what it loses in theatrical revenues."

I've long suspected that theatrical releases are just advertising for upcoming DVD offerings anyway. Advertising that we pay to sit through for two hours.

Anonymous said...

Why can't it be in the theatre AND available for purchase. I think this is a pretty cool idea. You go to the theatre, watch the movie, and if you like it, you can head home a buy it while you still have the warm fuzzies for it. They could even print a discount code for you on your movie ticket.

Anonymous said...

Why can't it be in the theatre AND available for purchase.

Uhhhh...because no one would choose the hassle of a theater over a DVD. Duh.

Anonymous said...

Ah, I see so you're saying watching a DVD = seeing a movie in the theatre. I do agree with you on the 'Duh' part.

Anonymous said...

For most movies, yes. Absolutely. Actually, for most movies, watching a DVD on a nice large flatscreen in your livingroom with a good sound system is INFINITELY superior to the shitty experience you get at most movie theaters with dumbass teenagers yakking on their cellphones and kicking your seat.

And it's for less money. Especially if you rent the DVD.

So yeah. Duh.

Anonymous said...

True. If you have a 'nice large flatscreen' and a 'good sound system'.

Do you think most people do? How about the not-a-flash-in-the-pan 3D. How's that on even your (I'm assuming awesome) home theatre?

Kids: Do you have them? Going to the movies is an event, and even though I have the aforementioned home theatre, it's still something they enjoy, and I enjoy it with them. We go to see nearly everything they can handle (Something like "Coraline" being the ceiling).

So yeah.. for the well heeled single twenty something... DVD > Cinema. Otherwise, apples and oranges.

Aaron Hazouri said...

Gotta agree with anon regarding watching DVDs at home vs. going to the theater. I am not a "well heeled single twenty something," I'm a 30 year old married man, and we both prefer staying in and watching DVDs to paying a small fortune for a movie, popcorn and a single soda.

My fiftysomething father and his wife agree. Cousins with three and four kids also concur.

As home theaters improve, and as the costs come down (my 47" flat panel TV was under $800), going to the movies will be consinged to a "teen hangout" type of thing, like walking the mall on Friday nights used to be. Sure, theaters are angry that the distribution models are changing. So are recording industry execs. But you can't stop progress...

Anonymous said...

I agree with the other anonymous guy. I love going to see movies in the theater. I'm an unmarried, childless, 20-something with a 50" plasma, bluray and surround sound, but going to the theater is a different experience. Going with a group of friends and laughing and screaming together with an audience. I love it!!

I dunno...it makes me kinda sad people don't enjoy going to the movies anymore. I wish they weren't so darn expensive.

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