Various "other sides of the industry" pieces over this weekend, in which "War of the Worlds" managed to take in $77.6 million â€” impressive, but not enough to end the now 19 weeks down from last year’s box office. The New York Times‘ Franz Lidz kicks off with an awesome piece about the ballooning industry of cheapo DVDs:
Because of lapsed or improperly registered copyrights, even some very watchable movies – among them, Howard Hawks’s "His Girl Friday," Marlon Brando’s "One-Eyed Jacks" and Francis Ford Coppola’s "Dementia 13" – are now in the public domain and can be sold by anyone.
Given the bare minimum of dressing (most don’t even have menus, and begin playing as soon as they load), packaged in cardboard, they’re intended as impulse buys at prices from $1-2. There’s something deliciously late-night-public-access-channel about these titles, which range wildly in both print quality and in the quality of the titles themselves, with the aforementioned classics tossed in with forgotten B-movies of the past and present ("An American Vampire Story"?).
The LA Times‘ Elaine Dutka covers the another part of the cheap sell-through market, talking to Andre Blay, one of the pioneers of the home video revolution (in 1977, after convincing 20th Century Fox to license 50 of their titles from the early 70s, he set up the subscription-based "Video Club of America," which allowed its members for purchase movies on cassette for a mere $49.95) about creating niche original content, like sports specials and docs, that go straight to DVD.
And back in the New York Times, Saul Hansell reports on how the big studios are, with all the blinding swiftness of a Warhol film, girding themselves to offer films for pay download. We, personally, loathe watching films on our computer (with its just adorable, useless little 12" monitor), but tolerance for the portable small screen seems to be growing (or maybe not), what with Sony’s PSP and all that chatter about cell-phones as the future of entertainment (god forbid).
+ Attack of the $1 DVD’s (NY Times)
+ Selling home movies (LA Times)
+ Forget the Bootleg, Just Download the Movie Legally (NY Times)