"There is a general recognition that the world of entertainment is
opening up in ways that we can’t imagine today, we are launching into a
whole new era," [Frank J. Rimkus, the chief executive of Galaxy Theaters] said. He added, with a note of self-confession: "We
are trying to understand what the public wants. And Galaxy does not yet
have a handle on it."
But we seem to remember everyone being at the same place six months ago at ShowEast, though perhaps with less a sense of glum urgency. Where’s our revolution, by golly?
Scott Bowles at USA Today sees less grimness than what may be delirious denial:
"We see all of this hand-wringing, people saying that it’s the end of theaters," says Peter Brown, president of AMC Theatres, the nation’s second-largest movie chain. "And, to be honest, we’re laughing a little. Business is actually pretty good."
And another money quote:
"The movie business is a little like the drug business," says Greg Laemmle, president of Laemmle Theaters, which operates 16 theaters in Southern California.
"We are the pushers, and our customers are the users. Even if business is good, you have to keep giving people what they want."
Mark Caro at the Chicago Tribune is tickled by MPAA chief Dan Glickman’s plans for a "Pork: The Other White Meat"-type campaign touting the movie industry as a whole:
We all love movies, right? So let’s help Hollywood out and come up with a really nifty slogan that will get the theater turnstiles spinning by the time "Dallas: The Motion Picture" hits the multiplexes.
I’ll go first:
"Movies: They Can Be Excellent!"
And Wired News‘ Scott Kirsner, checking in on the digital projection front, sees reluctant cinema owners more excited about the new dark-chocolate Raisinets ("two thumbs up").
At the Hollywood Reporter, Anne Thompson devotes a column to the state of day-and-date (not a popular topic at the conference), turning up some interesting tidbits, including the fact that Ben Rekhi‘s widely reported high numbers distributing his film "Waterborne" on Google Video success were actually the result of a programming glitch, and that "Bubble" "was a sleeper hit in hotels, where it was the third-biggest seller last month."
And at his blog, filmmaker Caveh Zahedi, who published a manifesto on the pleasures of self-distribution in Filmmaker before going on to set up a distribution deal for "I Am A Sex Addict" with, yes, IFC Films and their fledgling day and date program First Take, mildly recants.
Well, I still agree with what I said, but it’s also true that having an established distribution company on your side is also fun, and is also arguably less alienating, more organic, and more human than doing it all yourself. Because while self-empowerment may be an asymptotic ideal (however eloquently Ralph Waldo Emerson may argue for it), we are all ultimately parts of a larger human community and the do-it-yourself ethos is ultimately a myth. No one makes a film alone, and no one distributes a film alone.
+ When Moviegoers Vote With Their Feet (NY Times)
+ What, movies worry? (USA Today)
+ Hollywood needs a catchy slogan (Chicago Tribune)
+ Digital Cinema Show ‘n’ Tell (Wired News)
+ Distributors hold firm against day-and-date (Hollywood Reporter)
+ Apologia Pro Vita Sua (Caveh Zahedi Blog)