Tag Archives: News

3D Already Dying?

Slate has published a great piece on the decline of 3D, which outlines how the format has gradually been losing its profitability since it re-emerged with Polar Express in 2004.  As thousands of new 3D screens opened up, the profits from 3D screenings have been tapering off, which Daniel Engber surmises, “There’s either too much supply or not enough demand.”

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London Burke and Hare Photos

Blog reader Stefanos sent these:

Stefanos says he did not see these cranes being used. Possibly unrelated construction.


Hearse and Horse (butt)

The scene being shot.

PS
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Coming This Summer: Lots of Losers

After seeing the trailer for The Losers, it reminded me of the trailer I saw for The A-Team and then Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables: All ridiculous action films featuring losers and mercenaries for hire.

The Losers

The A-Team

*no official trailer for The Expendables is available yet; it’s a project by Stallone that he describes as a throwback to the 80’s and 90’s action films that he and many others were a part of.  The long list of fellow cast mates includes Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren,

Though all of these look like films you’d watch with your buddies with bourbon (extra class points if it’s in a plastic bottle and the guy sitting next to you in the cinema can smell it), I’m most excited about Kick Ass:

Red Band Trailer

It will be nice to see Nicolas Cage back in some zany stuff after films like Bangkok Dangerous.

Joe Johnston’s Captain America: Shelved?

A source at John Landis’ Burke and Hare film shoot informed me that due to The Wolfman’s poor performance, the Captain American film (set to be released 2011 according to imdb) has been pushed back.

Considering a look at boxofficemojo.com reveals the $150 million dollar werewolf flick has grossed under $100 million worldwide, this doesn’t seem too unlikely. The delay in shooting could indicate a change in directors.

Can’t say I’m too disappointed. Johnston directed Jurassic Park III and The Wolfman, both of which weren’t very impressive.

UPDATE:

Since io9 and some other sites picked this story up, Marvel has issued an official response to my post, saying they are not delaying the film.

Doom for Indie Flicks and Netflix?

Over at gawker.com they’ve had a recent spat of articles on the film industry written by Edward Jay Epstein.

In the first piece on independent cinema, he argues that Avatar’s huge success is one cause of the death of independent film financing.  Citing one example, a film was offered that could earn back 100% profit, but was turned down by big studios so they can seek even greater financial returns by blockbusters like 2012.

Epstein goes on to explain that the major source of funding for indie filmmakers was through pre-selling the distribution rights to foreign territories and using this as collateral to borrow from banks.  Due to the large amount of indie distributors in the U.S., these deals were passed assuming there would not be difficulty in finding a release Stateside to pad promotion in other parts of the world.

For the independent distributors in the U.S., the major funding came from deals with cable companies like HBO.  However, cable companies realized they didn’t need as many films to keep subscribers and less cash went to these distributors, like New Line Cinema, Fine Line Features, Picturehouse, Warner Independent, Fox Atomic, Paramount Vantage, and Miramax: all of which have gone under or have been bought out by the big guys since the cable company cutoff their cable deals.

If you have the time, read the whole thing

http://gawker.com/5465348/can-indie-movies-survive

And on the Netflix front, Epstein says they don’t have the type of collateral to compete in the long run with cable.  Currently they’re still doing most of their business with DVDs mailed to subscribers because of a legal loop-hole:

It gets its DVDS from wholesalers and even retail stores. It can then rent them because of a court-approved “first sale doctrine,” which says that once a person buys a DVD, he can re-sell it or rent it out.

However, this “first sale doctrine” does not apply to streaming films, where Netflix is trying move it’s business.  Thanks to a deal with Starz, Netflix has acquired the digital streaming license to many newer films from Disney, Sony and other studios.  However, both cable companies competing with Netflix’s (why subscribe to HBO when you can rent their content through Netflix?) and the film distributors are invested in closing Starz’s sub-lease agreement with Netflix.

Epstein says Netflix can’t compete with HBO, who is rolling out its own streaming services, but since Netflix’s main business comes from older titles, it won’t necessarily die out.

Again, if you have the time, read the whole thing

http://gawker.com/5471943/why-netflix-wont-be-the-hbo-of-the-21st-century

It’s interesting to consider the film ecosystem and one area’s shift causes such drastic consequences.  Especially in regard to the first piece: what’s going to happen to independent films now that drive-ins are dead, independent distributors are an endangered species, and less money is available at major studios for smaller films?

I imagine one of these major blockbuster films is going to flop and that’s when studios will watch their budgets.  Carolco Pictures (Terminator andTerminator 2) collapsed due to Cutthroat Island and all it would take is the failure of a 2012 or a Transformers to kill a company.  With smaller budget films like District 9 (it had a $30 million budget, but that’s small compared to the $200-400 million summer blockbusters) and Paranormal Activity, there are obviously companies thinking of their wallets.

Also, the independent distribution market will come back at some point (maybe with the aforementioned blockbuster flop).  Right now one business model has disappeared, but someone will find a new one.