Dreamworks CEO Wants Movies Buyable Three Weeks After Release

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Dreamworks CEO Wants Movies Buyable Three Weeks After Release

Jeff Katzenberg 310x

Jeff Katzenberg wants movies out of theaters and on your phones and tablets in less than a month.

Former Disney exec and current Dreamworks CEO Jeff Katzenberg knows a thing or two about the picture business (said Devin as he twriled his old-timey mustache). So his vision to bring movies from the big screen to your various small screens in three weeks time shouldn't be taken lightly.

During a talk at the Milken Global Conference (quote via Variety, Katzenberg laid out his movie math. "I think the model will change and you won't pay for the window of availability. A movie will come out and you will have 17 days, that's exactly three weekends, which is 95% of the revenue for 98% of movies. On the 18th day, these movies will be available everywhere ubiquitously."

Different screen sizes get different prices, so Die Hard 12 would cost $4 for your TV, while Star Wars: Episode X would be $1.99 for your smartphone or tablet.

There is the occasional The Dark Knight- or Avatar-level blockbuster that can make serious money past the third weekend, and I think those movies would continue to be in theaters past the 17th day.

But it's all still in the thought stage for now. No distributor has signed on for this process, so it could take a while before any sort of three-week window is put in place.

Would you be interested in such a process? Or do you like the theater system the way it is? Let us know on the forum.

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I don't care for movies on phones and tablets, but I don't care for movies in cinemas either.

I want to watch a movie at home first. If I like it, THEN maybe I'd go watch it in the cinema.

Not the other way around.

I want to enjoy the movie, rewind as I need to, take a bathroom break when I need. If I already saw a movie and know what's it about, THEN I can maybe stand sitting in a stinking warm hall for 3 hours next so people coughing, making out and answering their texts. IF the movie is worth watching on a big screen that is.

But movies smartphones, seriously... Last time I watched a movie on a phone was in 2005 when it was still cool and before I had a decent home screen.

i would really like this to happen, but i think if you knew a movie would be released only three weeks later, you'd probably hold off until its released on a more convenient format. the only reason i go to the cinema is to see a movie i really want to see, and can't possibly wait for it to be released (either due to anticipation or fear of spoilers), otherwise the whole experience tends to annoy me. other people are just awful in the cinema

suitepee7:
i would really like this to happen, but i think if you knew a movie would be released only three weeks later, you'd probably hold off until its released on a more convenient format. the only reason i go to the cinema is to see a movie i really want to see, and can't possibly wait for it to be released (either due to anticipation or fear of spoilers), otherwise the whole experience tends to annoy me. other people are just awful in the cinema

This is one of the reasons I like my current job schedule. I'm off Mondays and Tuesdays, so those are the days I would see a movie. And there is hardly anyone there on a weekday in the afternoon, so I pretty much have the whole theater to myself. And if that happens, then my movie experience is just fantastic.

As long as Different release dates for different regions stops becoming a thing, this would be awesome for movie studios and customers maybe. I don't see it happening though for Movie theaters to really make money they have to sell tickets and food, When you could just wait 3 weeks and not have to pay like 15 bucks for a movie ticket for each person they'll go out of business quick.

Something like this would probably gain a lot of lost money due to other ways of getting movies.

Uhm this guy is nuts...

If the public knows that they just have to wait 3 weeks to get the movie on cable... well who the hell is gonna go to a movie.... ahhh I get what it is. They want to cut out the theatre middle man all together.

Will never happen as Disney the most profitable studio makes a much larger percentage of there money over a longer period of time.

top 5 grossing Disney film's of 2013 US gross only

Iron Man 3 - 83% of gross in first 17 days.
Frozen - 41% of gross in first 3 weekends
Monsters University - 81% of gross in first 17 days.
Oz The Great and Powerful - 76% of gross in first 17 days.
Thor: The Dark World - 82% of gross in first 17 days.

If Disney does not play along others won't either as it will make it seem there films are flops.

Kumagawa Misogi:
If Disney does not play along others won't either as it will make it seem there films are flops.

Pretty much this. When I see a movie hit the shelves right away, I think to myself "Wow! That must have bombed in the theaters and now they're in a rush to try and squeeze as much as they can out of it before it becomes completely obscure." Green Lantern was available on DVD/Bluray in record time. Let's just leave it at that.

Wait, are we talking about THE Jeff Katzenburg? The one that almost crippled the original Toy Story film in the name of 'edgy' characters and a script composed primarily of pop-culture references, all to make a quick buck? Yeeeeaah... As much as I'd like the DVD release window to be smaller, I'd be very wary of what this guy says.

The current system SUCKS ASS and your proposed system isn't any better!!

Simply sell the fucking things at the same goddamn time!! Sell them in stores, sell them online I don't care how just fucking sell them!

There are people who simply never go to theaters you dipshit, and there's people that don't like smartphones or tablets either. So just sell the damned things already for all systems.

You are losing out on money you dumb cunt! There, how much simpler can I make it for you?

I haven't been to the theater in years. Of course I haven't rented a movie either since blockbuster closed. I'm simply never going to pay comcast to rent a digital version twice what I used to pay for renting bluerays

It's a good idea and I'd be more enthusiastic about it if someone would just make a movie worth watching.

Valderis:
The current system SUCKS ASS and your proposed system isn't any better!!

Simply sell the fucking things at the same goddamn time!! Sell them in stores, sell them online I don't care how just fucking sell them!

There are people who simply never go to theaters you dipshit, and there's people that don't like smartphones or tablets either. So just sell the damned things already for all systems.

You are losing out on money you dumb cunt! There, how much simpler can I make it for you?

Because the people who never go to theaters are the majority, and people who can't wait and pay extra to see it earlier at a theater don't exist.

Stop being so antagonistic if you're not even going to address all sides.

OT: Meh. Can't say the theaters will be too happy about it.

Kumagawa Misogi:
Will never happen as Disney the most profitable studio makes a much larger percentage of there money over a longer period of time.

top 5 grossing Disney film's of 2013 US gross only

Iron Man 3 - 83% of gross in first 17 days.
Frozen - 41% of gross in first 3 weekends
Monsters University - 81% of gross in first 17 days.
Oz The Great and Powerful - 76% of gross in first 17 days.
Thor: The Dark World - 82% of gross in first 17 days.

If Disney does not play along others won't either as it will make it seem there films are flops.

Is that calculated after the international or domestic release? If it's domestic I completely agree with you, but if it's domestic I'd have to say you should probably add 9 or 10 days to each given that he's clearly talking about the US market, and all those films (or at least most of them) came out in the international market a week and a half before the US domestic (and also Canadian market for some reason *cries*)

Devin Connors:
Dreamworks CEO Wants Movies Buyable Three Weeks After Release

What's it like to want?

No, better question: How does this deal with the obvious piracy issue? Let's just face it. People DO get the movie three weeks after release. They decide to take matters into their own hands. Maybe this is an attempt to circumvent that, but of course it costs money, maybe more money for you than anyone else because of the rush and complexities involved. This may not be a realistic idea.

lacktheknack:

Because the people who never go to theaters are the majority, and people who can't wait and pay extra to see it earlier at a theater don't exist.

Stop being so antagonistic if you're not even going to address all sides.

OT: Meh. Can't say the theaters will be too happy about it.

I don't see how that gets me a better service. Their side is nothing but corporate interest, don't defend them.

I think we're already moving in this direction. Just look how quickly Frozen made it to DVD Blu-Ray. It was in theaters way longer than average, re-released in theaters almost immediately (for the sing-along version), and it was available for purchase within weeks after that version stopped showing.

I think three weeks from premiere is too soon for a lot of movies, especially the ones that people are likely to buy on release day, but three weeks after theaters stop showing it seems reasonable. The gap between a movie leaving theaters and being available for purchase is generally too long; usually about four months after first theatrical showing (and around three months after theaters stop showing it), but often longer. Katzenberg's idea is a bit extreme, but I can certainly appreciate the idea.

P.S. Thanks

Zontar:

Kumagawa Misogi:
Will never happen as Disney the most profitable studio makes a much larger percentage of there money over a longer period of time.

top 5 grossing Disney film's of 2013 US gross only

Iron Man 3 - 83% of gross in first 17 days.
Frozen - 41% of gross in first 3 weekends
Monsters University - 81% of gross in first 17 days.
Oz The Great and Powerful - 76% of gross in first 17 days.
Thor: The Dark World - 82% of gross in first 17 days.

If Disney does not play along others won't either as it will make it seem there films are flops.

Is that calculated after the international or domestic release? If it's domestic I completely agree with you, but if it's domestic I'd have to say you should probably add 9 or 10 days to each given that he's clearly talking about the US market, and all those films (or at least most of them) came out in the international market a week and a half before the US domestic (and also Canadian market for some reason *cries*)

All those figures are for the US only just as I wrote US gross only.

Boxoffice mojo does not give a breakdown of foreign gross apart from opening weekend.

I can't see this plan working out, at least not for the theater chains. Sure, you get the occasional movie that you know is going to be better in the theaters with amazing special effects and great surround sound, so you want to make sure you see it in the theater, but your average drama, comedy, mystery, etc. usually don't benefit much from those things. I'm usually willing to wait on most movies to hit BluRay or cable unless it's something I REALLY want to see, as I don't want to wait for months and months. But I could wait three weeks. If people just had to wait three weeks in order to purchase a BluRay copy of a movie, or rent it from Redbox or something similar, I'd bet there'd be around a 90% drop in theater attendance.

I don't hit the theater very often, so wouldn't be too upset at my loss if they were to go under, but there are a lot of people employed by them and I'd hate to see thousands of people lose their jobs (especially in this economy) over this.

His system does have merit but I would have to see what formats the movies are released on and at what price. $2 for viewing on a phone/tablet I think is rather high. $1 at most would probably get more customers since they would probably choose to watch it on a larger screen if what little they could see looked good. Then if you look at the amount of piracy via cam quality torrents and streaming there's a huge market being flushed down the toilet of customers who hate theaters and do not want to wait 6 months to buy/rent it. If they release better than cam quality at a reasonable price during opening week I bet they would make record profits between theater and streamed purchases.

I like the idea, although I suspect a more realistic time frame would be a bit longer.

A few years ago I read a great article about ways theaters could improve their sales. My favorite was to allow anyone with a ticket to purchase a vanilla copy of the movie after seeing it.

Would you be interested in such a process? Or do you like the theater system the way it is? Let us know on the forum.

I live in Australia so all I really want to see is EVERY movie come out in cinemas and on DVD on the same day as those things happen in the USA. When a 20 GB video game can do that over here on our crappy internet then surely a 1080p movie which can be squeezed into 900 MB can do the same thing!

It doesn't necessarily have to be 3 weeks but something needs to be done about release windows.

Why on earth does it take months and months (up to 6 months in some cases) to release a purchasable version of a movie that left theaters a month ago?

I don't get to the theaters often but I do enjoy going when I can, it just frustrates me that movies I don't get to see in cinemas are all but forgotten when they finally release on DVD.

Take Captain America 2 for a current example, I watch Agents of Shield and I know that there is quite a lot of cross-over between the series and the movie at the moment, I attempted to see it in cinemas but work, friends and general life was in the way. The estimated release date for a purchasable copy isn't until August... So I'm going to have to wait 3-4 months (depending on the day of August) to see the movie that heavily ties into a series I'm watching and for what reason?

In a world where digital distribution is a thing why can we not have a digital release well ahead of a physical release? (If a physical release taking extra time due to manufacturing is the problem)

The thing that really gets me is movies that are delayed for long periods before releasing in theaters here in Australia (sometimes months after their cinema release in the US) also have their DVD release delayed by several months... this is literally just delaying for no reason. The movie is out of the cinemas, half the world got the DVD release a month ago, what reason could you possibly have to delay releasing it us for another month?

I like the idea of having movies available for retail purchase faster but I'm not quite understanding what he is talking about with the price variation on some products.

I like the way this guy thinks! I'm sick of waiting for the Lego Movie to come out on VHS, I want it NOW! God dammit!!

I think this is a great idea, except move the DVD release to a week after it leaves theaters, it will just help it a little more I think.

I'm in the "too little" group. I rarely ever go to the theaters anymore, since for the most part I can get a better, more reliable experience at home.

The difference in release dates is mostly one of avoiding spoilers and being able to join discussions about the movie. The difference between three weeks and two months is negligible in this regard, in that either way I as a home viewer can only catch that wave after it's already crested and mostly spent.

If Katz wants any consumer in similar shoes to give a used fig about such changes, he should go all the way and have all digital download formats* be released at the same time as the theatrical open. In the long term, that's how it's inevitably going to be anyway, so you might as well suck it up and become the future instead of fighting it.

But lets not kid ourselves: he's not pitching this to or for consumers. Whenever you see any exec talk about any business plan-related stuff in the news, they're not talking to us; they're talking to the shareholders and fellow execs who might be reading/watching. We're just the ants that happen to overhear the message in transit, and they don't really care if we (or the news media itself) mistake their words for being directed at us.

I'm half-and-half on the charging for different formats/resolutions thing. I could see it driving the cost up and availability down for higher quality encoding, since it would separate the audience out in a way that might break the economy of scale for higher quality. I'd like to hope that everything would be available in all formats, but that would require a much more standardized "plug and play" pipeline for high-quality encoding, and I don't see that happening if they decide the demand is too small a slice of the overall pie (as they often already do with the current release formats).

Music is already doing what he's suggesting, and just ask an audiophile how much of the stuff they'd like is actually available in high-quality formats.

On the other hand, I imagine a lot of people would say that an iPhone resolution copy should logically cost less than a full Blu-Ray or DVD grade version. And I'd totally agree with them.

*Discs inescapably need at least a week more. They'd need to be manufactured and distributed in advance in order to hit shelves at the same time as the theatrical open, and these days editing, fx, and other post work can continue right up until opening day due to digital theater distribution.

an annoyed writer:
Wait, are we talking about THE Jeff Katzenburg? The one that almost crippled the original Toy Story film in the name of 'edgy' characters and a script composed primarily of pop-culture references, all to make a quick buck? Yeeeeaah... As much as I'd like the DVD release window to be smaller, I'd be very wary of what this guy says.

Thanks for that. Now i can see what corrupted Dreamworks.

Whoa-whoa-whoa there, Mr. Katzenberg!

Three weeks is too short of a period for a movie to even be in a theater, let alone the time it should take before it reaches digital, which, I'm assuming, would be days before the Blu-Ray release of said digital movie respectfully... Why not make it a minimum of three months or something practical like that? I mean, movies that have came out in January of THIS YEAR are already getting Blu-Ray/digital releases this month, so at least when you claim to want digital releases out sooner can be backed up by pre-existing data, basically...

Or, you know... Just keep saying stuff that may never happen when you say it should happen... I'm sure you'll make the "right choice"...

While a movie theater is becoming an increasingly expensive proposition (more a problem with the studio's exacting a heavier ticket price) to change the culture of movie-going like this would be the death knell of the theater industry.

If I know I can see the movie in 3 weeks vs. paying the high cost to see it in a theater I'll just wait and watch it in the comfort of my own home, on my big TV, with my killer SS. Not to mention eat and drink whatever I want.

Now if the movie is only available for purchase vs. rental at 3 weeks out, MAYBE that might strike a balance between the two. But either way I don't see a change like this doing anything other than destroying the movie theater.

Well this is a nice idea, I'd still rather they both release on the same day though, sometimes I don't go to the cinema for expensive reasons and 3 weeks I could be spending money on something more appealing, movies aren't exactly my go to source for entertainment these days as much as they used to around 7-9 years ago.

The video industry tried this sort of thing once before, with VHS. They kept pushing up the VHS release dates until they discovered that there was a corresponding drop in theatre attendances. And they never got to a three weeks window. They never even got to a three months window.

I'd like same-day release, but as long as there's more money for them in staggered releases, it won't happen.

The Oatmeal already covered this, and its accurate for me.

Valderis:

lacktheknack:

Because the people who never go to theaters are the majority, and people who can't wait and pay extra to see it earlier at a theater don't exist.

Stop being so antagonistic if you're not even going to address all sides.

OT: Meh. Can't say the theaters will be too happy about it.

I don't see how that gets me a better service. Their side is nothing but corporate interest, don't defend them.

The problem is that they need to make money or we all lose. Your side is nothing but extremely short sighted self interest. Frankly, I think they have the moral high ground here.

I like this business model better than waiting 6 months to a year for a DVD. They'll probably get more sales when a movie is fresh in people's minds. Liked the movie in theatres? Just like a music concert, you can get the content right afterwards.

I don't think it'll drastically change theatre sales because people still go to the theatres for just simply having public entertainment. You can't really ask a girl to come watch a movie at home on the first date. Unless she's slutty, of course.

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