31 10 2005

Shyamalan: Day-and-date ‘life or death to me’

So, this is going to get me in hot water with a lot of movie goers…I don’t care. This is about releasing movies simultaneously on DVD and in theaters. M. Night’s claim that the movie theater experience is the art form is an interesting one. If I watch a movie with my family in my “home theater” but don’t go out to watch it with 500 strangers, I agree my experience is different. But is the art form? Does it change the nature of the film? I don’t see how it would. The same messages, the same effects and the same characters are there. I’m just changing the venue.

Sporting events can be viewed in person or watched on TV simultaneously. Yes, it’s a different experience from being there but is it any less entertaining? Everyone literally can’t be there at a live event. The same is true of movies…no matter how many times it is showing. If people have a choice to stay at home for a movie release and the market finds a growing number would, why not allow this experience? For many, it’s the only experience they can afford. Paying a babysitter and going out to dinner and a movie at least doubles the price of the movie, if not more. I could own a copy of the movie for the same price a one-time experience in a theater costs. I don’t have to be bothered by the people talking around me, the obnoxious kids around front, inept parents who bring crying babies and “in your face” unsolicited commercials. I’m an introvert. I don’t thrive on this public experience. So why not make room for the rest of us?!

Will there be fewer theaters if this transition takes place? Probably. Will they go away completely? I don’t think so. You will always have people who want to see the “live event” but then you’ll have people like me. Isn’t there room for both of us?

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