Regal Vs. The Studio Legion of VODoom

Not often that industry news revolves around film trailers (except of course, for the release of them), which is a segment of the film release process that hasn’t really changed all that much these days- at least not in a way that threatens anybody’s pocket books. That ain’t the case anymore, as Regal Entertainment has decided to play dirty with the batch of studios that are developing a $30 premium VOD service with DirectTV. Universal, Sony, Fox, and Warner Brothers are behind the idea, which would threaten theater chains even more by putting new release films in the cushy, flat-screened, HD’d homes of Americans within just a couple of months of the initial release. Regal is tossing out a clear “Fuck that noise!” by threatening to restrict the playtime and exposure of film trailers from those four studios.

Nikke Finke at Deadline has the scoop, and points out that not only will this directly limit the exposure of those four studio’s films, but it will inadvertently grant an advantage to Paramount and Disney, who aren’t on the day-and-date(ish) VOD train. With a summer approaching that is absolutely crammed with sequels, superheroes, kids flicks, and franchise starters… every poster and every minute of pre-show screentime is valuable. That gives Regal a genuine advantage in this stand-off, though it’s hard to say if it will be enough to make the four studios choke and abort their plans. Forcing studios to push harder with expensive TV ads and inconsistent online campaigns is a threat with teeth though, and it even has the added bonus of addressing the common theater-patron complaint that the pre-shows are too long.

One may wonder why the theaters are that threatened by film’s being released digitally after 8 weeks, when that clearly doesn’t overlap with the vast majority of releases in these days of blitzkrieg openings and quick departures. Well, first of all, it’s not a far stretch to assume less-enthusiastic film goers will skip the high prices and parking of a trip to the cineplex if they won’t have to wait all that long to get it at home. It’s unlikely that this VOD deal would affect opening weekends by much, but there’s no doubt there would be a measurable effect on the weekends that follow. Also, considering the revenue split on ticket sales becomes more favorable to the theaters with each subsequent weekend, anything to further front-load box office receipts is surely infuriating to them.

This smells like one of those situations where both sides will stubbornly push through with their plans and just end up fucking each other blind, but who knows? It’s a rough time for the ole thirtydollarodeons, even with 3D gimmicks to pump up prices and drive interest. There’s the sense that they’re both digging graves for each other, and as soon as they’re good and dug, the two will switch around and both end up buried.

The Hangover II Trailer Pulled

In less politically juicy news, Warner Brothers has ordered all copies of the current theatrical Hangover II spot pulled and destroyed at the behest of the MPAA. No specific reasons have been given, but the trailer was noticeably edgy for a green-band spot, and it’s likely that complaints or just plain ole cold feet have caused the studio to backpedal. I’m sure a newer, cleaner trailer will flow out soon, though as the news up above suggests- it might not have any screens to play on… (via JoBlo)

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