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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

CMG's Cinema BuzzFEED

Chinese Hold Back on Admission Payments to Hollywood Studios

In following-up to a post of last week - "Chinese Censors Ban Minions But Cuddle-up to Smurfs" - where I addressed the issue of censorship by the Chinese government of U.S. and other imported movies,  I discovered that the Chinese were also holding back box office receipts owed the Studios.

The China Film Group, the organization which represents Chinese cinema distributors, has not paid the six major Hollywood studios for a number of months, during which time the summer blockbusters grossed hundreds of millions at the Chinese box office. The China Film Group says they are holding back admission receipts because of a disagreement over a newly imposed 2% tax on all admissions that Beijing wants the studios to pay.  The studios insist that the tax violates the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, but thus far have not withdrawn any movies from distribution, fearing retribution by the Chinese government regarding censorship or shortening of play-dates.

The studios are arguing that under WTO rules, they are to receive 25% of Chinese box office gross receipts with no additional payments coming out of the studios' share.  The Motion Picture Assoc. of America (MPAA) is now involved in trying to settle the dispute and hopes to avoid issuing a formal complaint with the WTO. 

Estimates have monies owned the studios at: Warner Bros. - $31million, Sony - $23million, Disney - $35million, Paramount - $30million.  Large amounts are also owed to Fox, Universal, and MGM.   However, the studios are treading lightly as they are looking at a very rapidly expanding Chinese cinema market, where over 25,000 screens are scheduled to open over the next 5 years.

The Chinese do not deny that they want to promote there domestic film industry, and part of making it possible for 'home-grown' films to find an audience, against better quality content from Hollywood, is to manipulate release dates, issue phony censorship restraints, shorten play-dates, etc.  Chinese critics say that the worldwide movie market is dominated by Hollywood - this is very true.  But Hollywood produces more films than anyone else - over 600 major releases in 2012, of which only 50 were released in China.  The reason Hollywood dominates is because the U.S. film industry has players willing to risk hundreds of millions of dollars on products (movies) that have reason to fail but for the uncontrollable whims of moviegoers.

Chinese officials can't force movie going, but the Chinese film industry can risk millions and produce films that attract moviegoers; however, they must be prepared to lose millions on box office flops - as Hollywood does on a daily basis.

I'll keep you updated on this story as it unfolds.

Jim Lavorato

Monday, July 29, 2013

Does James Bond Need an Older Woman ?

Through the decades, James Bond has gotten older while his 'mates' have stayed young and beautiful. Times change however, and even given the superspy's perpetual virility and magnetism, the Bond  'girl' was due for a new, more mature look.

Not that there is anything wrong with older men dating younger women, but perhaps at this stage in the mega-successful franchise, Bond needs an age appropriate 'mate'.  Enter Penelope Cruz, who at 40 and a new Mom, looks terrific and proves, again, how woman are defying Hollywood's fixation on female age.  Cruz is being cast as the next Bond 'girl' in the upcoming Bond film, currently named, "Solo", opposite Daniel Craig (currently 45).

Sean Connery, at 32 in the first Bond film - "Dr. No" (1962) - where the first Bond 'girl", Ursula Andress was 26.  In his last Bond film, "Never Say Never Again" (1983), Connery was 52 and his movie mate was 29 year old Kim Basinger.  But should Cruz's Bond 'girl' portrayal be seen as a feminist breakthrough - breaking a stalwart glass ceiling of cinematic chauvinism as the entertainment press is touting.  I don't think so.  Let's see.

Penelope Cruz

It's true, that at 40, Cruz will be the oldest Bond 'girl' ever, but Honor Blackman (see insert), 39 at the time, played a very enticing and beautiful Pussy Galore in "Goldfinger" (1964)  So, the "oldest Bond girl" label for Penelope kind of falls flat.  James Bond, to be James Bond, must have a suave, sophisticated, sexual persona that attracts young and old women (and men for that matter) alike.

To be fair, the 'oldest Bond girl' was Judi Dench. She was 77 when she last played "M" in "Skyfall"  (2012). As Bond's mentor and counterpoint, it's M's feminism that he adores - M is strong, determined, and yet uses her wiles to manage and 'run' MI6s top spies, including Bond.

I don't think a Bond 'girl' needs to be in her twenties - she must beautiful but importantly equal to Bond in terms of
wit, smartness, and ability.

James Lavorato

Thursday, July 25, 2013

CMG's Cinema BuzzFEED

Chinese Censors Ban Minions But Cuddle-up to Smurfs

Banned in China
This week, Chinese film censors rejected the animated mega-hit Despicable Me 2 (Universal) and ordered that it not be exhibited at any movie theatre on the Chinese mainland. This followed the earlier banning of the zombie thriller World War Z.  The censors did give the go-ahead to The Smurfs 2 (Sony) although its distribution has not been guaranteed.

What's behind the Chinese government's banning of certain U.S. films and not others? Do the Chinese censors have an agenda?  The censors gave no reason for the rejections which leaves one speculating about their motives.  Through the first half of this year, the Chinese box office grew by 35%, but revenue from foreign films shrunk by over 21% during the same 6 month period.  This data was reported by the China State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television and points to the government's efforts to thwart the popularity of  U.S. and other imported movies.

The Chinese government has been hard on Hollywood this summer, for example, Fast & Furious 6 (Universal) which opened over two months ago in the rest of the world is to 'premier' in China this Friday.  For a non-3D movie, like Fast & Furious, this spells box office disaster as pirated versions have been on sale for the last 8-10 weeks.

The decisions to ban, pull, or postpone U.S. movie releases is the Chinese government's way of controlling the flow of  imported films, particularly animated ones, in favor of  Chinese films even if those films aren't up to Hollywood creative and production standards.  In the case of the recent animated film The Croods, (DreamWorks) the film was pulled from Chinese cinemas  two weeks early, with sources in the government hinting that the abrupt move was because the film was surpassing homegrown animated films at the box office.

The Chinese may be inscrutable but they are also predictable, and in the end it will all be about money, and that is what will crack the censors' blocks.

Movies or TV Shows - Which Do Viewers Stream

According to media research firm GfK, a recent survey showed that Netflix and Amazon Prime users prefer TV shows over movies by a margin of  3-to-1. In a statement, Netflix maintained that GfK's research validates their own data and further stated that "no one piece of content accounts for a massive amount of its viewing".

Mad Men and Breaking Bad, the most popular shows streamed, only garner 3% of all views each, with other popular TV shows only amassing 2% or less of total views.  Of the top 10 movies, only the Hunger Games topped 2% (with 7% viewership). The next most popular movie views were Mission:Impossible, A Dark Truth, and Thor.

According to David Tice, SVP at GfK, "We see that, streaming services generate episodic, niche viewing - more broad and unpredictable than even the 200 channels on your cable TV menu."  The research also showed that a significant amount of video-on-demand viewing takes place on internet connected TVs, followed by connected gaming consoles or Blu-ray players.  Note: GfK's research studied 2,300 viewing segments of more than 500 service subscribers over a one week timeframe.

The Heat is On

Back in April when I posted my Summer Movie Review (see post of 4/14/13) I said that The Heat, would be a box office 'sure thing' - as it has become.  The Heat, starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy as cops with very different work ethics and styles is a very funny movie. Although the casting and acting are very good it is the film's screenplay and script that made The Heat - not only a box office  sure thing, but this summer's mega-hit, amassing a gross of over $160 million to date and costing only $43 million to produce.

That screenplay and script was the work of Katie Dippold, the 31 year old comedy writer, who sold the screenplay (her first) of The Heat for $600,000 and was then asked by Director Paul Feig to do the film's script. Starting out as a staff writer for the sitcom "Parks and Recreation", Dippold's The Heat features two straight female characters with only vague romantic dalliances. "I felt that, for this movie to be made, there would have to be a rewrite - like, one of them had to get married in the middle - but it was never forced on us" recounts Dippold. "There's a female friend I have, another comedian, and when we became friends, she was very frank and very direct and honest. If I asked this friend her opinion, she was never overly polite, It was jarring but refreshing.  You see that in the Melissa McCarthy character who chisels away at Sandra Bullock's character the whole movie".

Dippold lives in LA and is working on another script based on the idea of a mother-daughter action comedy.  Good job Katie.

Jim Lavorato

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Is Ugly A Disability ?

Should 'Bad Looks' be classified as a disability?  Ready for this one. Several advocate groups have called for a boycott the movie The Lone Ranger because one of the bad guys in the film, Butch Cavendish, is portrayed as having a cleft palate, highlighted with a gold tooth.
William Fichtner as Butch Cavendish

According to Esteban Lasso, of the Canadian based, Transforming Faces (a "cleft care" charity) "It's disheartening that a major motion picture would perpetuate this negative perception and we hope that in future, birth defects and facial differences will not be used to portray 'evil' characters."  Hmmm.... haven't all sorts of cinematic and literary characters exhibited abnormalities - Captain Hook, Quasimodo, and Long John Silver quickly come to mind. So why the fuss.

Meanwhile, the British based Cleft Lip and Palate Association was even more pointed, as it issued this statement, "Not only is this incredibly lazy storytelling, it's also sending a deeply harmful message that will impact the 90,000 people that were born with a cleft in the UK, as well as, worldwide. A congenital abnormality is not something to be made fun of, a cleft lip does not add to the 'look' of a villain, a character like this will not help the public's perception or understanding of cleft."

All well and good for the cleft associations but the larger question is - whether or not any facial deformity should be classified as a disability and, as such, be off limits in movie character portrayals. Or, are we pushing the envelope too far and letting every sensitivity dictate our judgment. Is bad looking a disability? You judge.

As for me, Stacy Keach has always been one of my favorite, can-play-any-role actors - he was Mike Hammer.  And he has that unmistakable, recognizable voice. He overcame his cleft deformity and has become a major advocate and spokesman for cleft corrective surgery.

Movie bad guys are usually less good looking than good guys and if they aren't bad looking naturally they are made up to be.  Nobody likes really good looking bad guys - they are bad and they need to look the part.   

Sunday, July 21, 2013

10 Best Summer Romance Movies

Best Summer Romance Films

The 10 Best of anything always leaves out some really good candidates, so when I saw that Liz Hoggard, a great film critic that I really enjoy reading, came out with a list of the Best 10 Summer Romance Films I had to take a look see.
Julie Delpy

Her list reads as follows (in best order):
- Roman Holiday ('53) w/Audrey Hepburn & Gregory Peck
- Before Sunrise ('95) w/Ethan Hawke & Julie Delpy
- The Talented Mr. Ripley w/Matt Damon, Jude Law, & Julie Delpy (catch the French version Plein Soleil ('60) w/Alain Delon  (in my opinion a better film).
- Vicky Cristina Barcelona ('08) w/Javier Bardam, Julie Delpy, Penelope Cruz et.al.
- Summer Madness ('55) w/Katherine Hepburn & Rossano Brazzi
-The Green Ray ('86) Le Rayon vert w/Marie Riviere
- A Room With A View ('85) w/Helena Bonham Carter & Daniel Day-Lewis
- Desert Hearts ('85) Helen Shaver & Patrice Charbonneau
- Grease ('78) wJohn Travolta & Olivia Newton-John
- Love is All You Need ('13) w/Trine Dyrholm & Pierce Brosnan

When I read the list, two, no, three things popped out. First, the majority of these films were shot in Italy. That's easy to understand given Italy's romantic cities. Second, that Julie Delpy stars in three of the films, and who is Julie Delpy you ask. Well, Julie was born in France in 1969 and has starred in over 30 major films. In addition to acting, she is a film director, screenwriter, singer and songwriter. She studied at NYU and moved to the U.S. in 1990, she became a U.S. citizen in 2007. Third, there were several changes I would have made to the list.  My additions, if anyone cares, would have been: Chocolat ('00) w/Juliette Binoche & Johnny Depp, Casablanca ('42) w/Bogart & Bergman, and Fountainhead ('49) w/Gary Cooper & Patricia Neal (which lead to a real love affair between the two stars - see photo insert).

Any movies you would have added or substituted? Let's have them.
Best and here's to romance!

Saturday, July 20, 2013


Happily Ever After ?

Two 'royal' biopics are scheduled to be released this year about two for-real Princesses.
Naomi Watts will portray Diana, Princess of Wales, and Nicole Kidman will star as Grace Kelly, the Princess of Monaco.  Both roles, it is rumored, have Oscar potential.
Grace Kelly

Unlike fairy tale Princesses - who live happily ever-after - both of these real-life Princesses died in car accidents and both led roller-coaster lives.  Therefore, as you would expect, how these iconic figures are portrayed in these films is not sitting well with many British (who venerate Diana) or with the Royal family of Monaco which has already issued a statement claiming the Kelly film "contains important historical inaccuracies, as well as, scenes of pure fiction" and has been "pointlessly glamorized".

Royals, like other larger-than-life celebrities, have no private life, everything is public no matter how hard they try to hide - it's part of the 'job'.  So, great movies about real-life Princesses can't be all goody, goody but have to expose some warts.

Both Diana and Grace Kelly chose to be princesses and at that decisive moment gave up more than their private lives but their individuality as well.  These two biopics demonstrate that if  'you wish upon a star' the reality can be quite different from the dream - which was very true for both Diana and Kelly.

Getting Better With Age

Vogue Daily recently ran a piece on how some actresses are more fit and better looking as they have aged.  This runs against very Hollywood standard where beauty and youth dominate and the pressure to 'stay' marketable is huge.  Lets look at several of these myth busters and their before and current photos.

Gwyneth Paltrow, at 40, credits her "best shape in life" to healthy eating habits and trainer, Tracy Anderson's assistance.

Jennifer Aniston, at 44, looks better now then she did a decade ago. Her "arms" are one of the most oft-heard requests among personal trainers.  They are muscular without looking bulky. She credits her fit body to dedicated yoga practice.

Robin Wright, at 47, who stars in the Emmy nominated Netflix hit House of Cards, is super fit and credits her role, which is a character that is an avid jogger, as motivation for her fitness.

Others celebs with ageless beauty
Vogue noted were Gabrielle Union, who at 40, looks leaner and more trim and attributes her youthful looks to a mix of cardio, pilates, and yoga.  And, Katie Holmes, who at 34, seems to be enjoying the single life, as she is more healthy looking and fitter than ever.

So, there is life after 30 in Hollywood  after all.  And youthful, sexy roles can be had for those that seem to be defying the ravages of age.

Photos courtesy of Vogue Daily

 The Floating Cinema

Started in September of last year construction of the Floating Cinema took 10 months to build and launch. A converted 60ft. canal boat, the Floating Cinema was conceived by UP Projects and designed and built by Duggan Morris Architects in Chatham, Kent, England.

The Floating Cinema will feature a variety of film programing from Horror Weekends, to screenings.  The boat will also be used for educational and historical tours along the waterways of London.

Jim Lavorato

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Weekly CineBUZZ Report -

Downey, Hollywood's Comeback Kid

It wasn't long ago that Robert Downey, Jr. was in rehab for addiction to heroin, cocaine, and alcohol which followed several arrests for drug possession and a few bouts in prison. Fact, his vices had gotten so bad that he had become uninsurable for acting roles in movies, but his skills - playing Charlie Chaplin to Sherlock Holmes - could not be denied.

Presto! A decade later and he is now King-of-the-Hollywood heap earning the highest salary of any actor - $75 million over the course of the last year.  His portrayal of Tony Stark, in the Iron Man movie franchise and The Avengers pushed him to the top spot of Hollywood earners.  Iron Man 3, the latest installment, has grossed over $1.2 billion to date and the trilogy of Iron Man films over $2 billion.

As the top earner, Downey beat out some stiff competition - the other nine in the top 10 were: Channing Tatum - $60m, Hugh Jackman - $55m, Mark Wahlberg - $52m, Dwayne Johnson - $46m, Leonardo DiCaprio - $39m, Adam Sandler - $37m, Tom Cruise - $35m, Denzel Washington - $33m, and Liam Neeson - $32m.

Who was the highest paid female actor, you ask? It was Kristen Stewart (of the Twilight saga) at $35m.

Internet Content Provider Netflix Vies For Emmy Awards

Emmy nominations are Thursday and it appears that two entries - House of Cards and Arrested Development - which are produced and distributed by Netflix (the on-line content streamer) will be nominated in the best actor and best program categories. This would be the first time that programs not specifically produced for television would be nominated and there is a very good chance both programs will win Emmys.

Equivalent to the Oscar in the world of television, the significance of this event is that an Emmy will be awarded to programs produced exclusively for distribution via the internet and this is of major concern to the broadcast and cable TV channels, as it portends the beginning of the end of their monopoly over made-for television content.

Taking a cue from the movie studios which expanded the number of best picture nominees to 10 in 2010, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the sponsor of the Emmys, wants to go with the best content in its award giving.  By doing so, it gives credibility to Netflix and the myriad of other content streamers (from Google to Amazon) that are developing content for the internet.  The competition for viewers is getting more and more intense so cinemas must be at the top of their game to compete as we move forward. 

Jim Lavorato

Saturday, July 13, 2013

CinemaBUZZ Weekly Report - 11 July 2013

United Nations Honors Hitchcock

The United Nation's Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) added nine of Alfred Hitchcock's silent films to its Memory of  the World Registry.

Dating from 1925-29, the films underwent a three year restoration and are described as "among  the greatest achievements of British silent cinema and blueprints for the rest of Hitchcock's body of work."  The films include: The Lodger, which was Hitchcock's first major success, Champagne, a social comedy, The Ring, and Blackmail, which was released in 1929 in both silent and sound versions.

"The restored films are attracting not only new audiences around the world but the acclaim of the international community as important works of world cultural note", states Robin Baker, Head Curator of the British National Archives. "We are very pleased to see that the early films from one of the world's best-known film makers are taking their place alongside some of the greatest cultural artifacts in the United Kingdom."

The UNESCO registration of these Hitchcock films provides a great opportunity for any cinema that has converted to Digital Cinema projection.  Running a Hitchcock retrospective of these and other Hitchcock classics on mid-week days/evenings could be a good box office draw and all of these movies are available on BluRay discs.

Europeans Push for New Film Rating System

The British Board of Film Classification is developing a system which will allow the public to rate online content, including movies.  The BBFC, which uses trained examiners to rate movies and DVD releases is being joined by Dutch media regulators to rate user-generated content.  The system would involve viewers providing details about on-line content and would be tailored for different countries to reflect local sensibilities.  The system is now ready to test and Italian commercial broadcaster Mediaset has agreed to trial it.

BBFC Director, David Cooke says, "There was a paradigm shift in terms of the increasing acceptance by European politicians that ratings for online content was a good idea."  Although the BBFC has no authority to rate online content, a number of companies have been keen to seek classifications on a voluntary basis, including video-on-demand service Netflix, which sought a rating certificate for the online-only series House of Cards.

In 2012, the BBFC rated 850 movies, which was the highest number of film ratings in its history. 

Tiered Admission Pricing Gets Closer to Reality

Last week I posted that over 4 years ago in my crystal ball I envisioned that one day movies at cinemas would have tiered admission pricing.  Blockbusters earning a premium admission over more 'regular' movies.  We now are seeing this prediction being tested as last month, Paramount introduced the $50 MegaTicket for World War Z.  The $50 admission included a ticket to the movie in 3D, an HD digital copy of the movie, small popcorn, and movie poster.  Available through Fandango, participating cinemas included, Regal and Edwards Theatres (a subsidiary of the Regal Group), and United Artists Theatres.

This weekend, Cineplex Odeon, a Canadian theatre chain, introduced the $20 Super Ticket for the opening of Warner BrosPacific Rim.  The $20 admission includes the movie and a digital copy of the film.

The premise for tiered admissions pricing is that the public is willing to pay a premium to attend a blockbuster film, and the Studios want to test this premise. It doesn't take genius to have seen this coming and I believe it will become the norm for cinema admission pricing.

Why should all films be priced the same? Why should I pay $10 to view a 'B' film and the same for a mega hit?  Problem being: the 'B' film should priced less than $10, but I doubt this will happen. What you will see is a high premium price for the big hits but no reduction in price for the lesser films. There is a lot at stake with this strategy and the Studios must be very careful (as should exhibitors) - as they run the risk of public backlash and being left with only die- hard fans willing to pay the expensive admission.

Only time will tell, but the independent exhibitor should be aware of what is transpiring and prepare for the reaction to a tiered admission pricing policy from their local moviegoers.

Jim Lavorato

Sunday, July 07, 2013


Cathay's Movie Promotions Set The Standard

I have given kudos to Cathay Cinemas novel and varied ways they promote movies, and they continue to impress and set the bar ever higher.

Examples of their marketing skill can be seen in several of their recent ads (inserts).  These ads not only cement the strong bond with their patrons but convey to new customers that with Cathay you get more than a movie for your admission - its all about the value added

Cathay is run by a  young (late 20s) mostly female management team. When consulting, however, I'm very aware that I'm addressing a  team with defined goals that puts great effort into keeping their finger on the pulse of the demographic they serve.

Although located in Singapore, Cathay's movie promotion techniques and programs are universal and should be copied by very cinema with a desire to keep themselves as the center for "local" entertainment.  

A good example is The Smurf promo which is  targeted to parents.  It is geared toward offering an 'experience' for small children, in which, you get two movies, and concession, and costumed Smurf characters for photo taking, and a take-home toy for one price. It is a whole evening of entertainment for parent and child.

In the RUSH promo , the cost of which is shared with Coke and Imagine Entertainment (the film's distributor),  a trip for two to attend the Los Angeles red carpet premier of RUSH is the grand prize. To qualify you only need to purchase a Regular (medium) popcorn combo. Other prizes include winning  a pair of tickets to the RUSH opening in Singapore (10 pairs to be given) or a free case of Coke (25 cases to be given). Obviously teens and young adults are the target for this promotion. For Pacific Rim, the promotion is targeting couples (any age group) for an evening of entertainment which includes a full dinner and a movie for a one price package.

Cathay pushes all of the right buttons in its promotions and varies them, targeting all age and gender groups.  This is the way to promote a cinema. It is constant. It is ever changing. And it has reached a point where moviegoers await the next promotion.

The Cathay model of movie promotion is just that, a model. However, any cinema can take advantage of  promotional tie-ins available for almost all Hollywood distributed films - T-shirts, key-chains, toys, soda cups, etc. etc. are available upon request.  Just make sure you request them well in advance. Cinemas need to be proactive in their marketing.  It's not enough to just exhibit movies. To be really successful a cinema needs to exhibit showmanship, and take a page out of Cathay's marketing book.

3D TV - Another One Bites the Dust

Last week we reported that ESPN would be shuttering its ESPN-3D network by year's end.  This week it's the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) that announced it was going to cease 3D broadcasting by year's end at least until 2016.

Kim Shillinglaw, BBC's Head of 3D stated, "I have never seen a very big appetite for 3D television in the UK.  I think when watching TV people concentrate in a different way.  When people go to the cinema they go and are used to doing one thing - I think that's one of the reasons take-up of TV 3D has been disappointing".

It was originally thought that sports and old movies would be major draws for 3D TV but it hasn't turned out that way, as consumers never warmed to the format.  In the cinema, 3D films have failed to live up to the Avatar (released in December 2009) model and after a great 2010 (3D films generated a fifth of all U.S. box office admissions that year) the format has waned even as the number of 3D equipped screens has doubled. See insert of bad cinema 3D - Clash of the Titans.

It appears that 3D TV, for the time being, is in limbo.  For cinemas, I think the format has appeal but only for the high-impact blockbuster, others steer clear.

Jim Lavorato

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Is The Film Industry Set For An Implosion ?

What's In Hollywood's Future

Hollywood has changed.  Movie-making has become a game of Texas hold'em where you're either 'all in' or 'out'.  Movie-making and distribution is currently all about the mega-blockbuster or the low-budget indie - there is no middle ground.

The film business, like all other businesses, is about making money and the best way to accomplish that, right now, is with high-impact, big budget, action movies with oodles of special effects and stunts, and a simple theme that appeals to a global audience. Studio execs bet big that their mega-blockbusters - ranging in cost from $200-400 million - will reap larger returns and that worldwide audiences will continue to demand more of the same.

Have movies reached a point where the art form has become a wasteland where story-telling and meaty scripts have given way to fantasy, illusion, superheros, and the undead? I'm afraid so. But, is that bad?  Steven Spielberg and George Lucas believe so.  At a recent conference at USC's School of Cinematic Arts, both moguls predicted that the current path Hollywood is on will lead to an "implosion" - and all it will take is one summer of mega-flops.

Spielberg told USC students that even established film-makers were struggling to get their projects into cinemas. citing the Oscar winning Lincoln which came very close to being an HBO pay-per-view.  Lucas, reiterated saying, "The pathway to get into theatres is really getting smaller and smaller.  Red Tails (Lucas's war drama) barely scraped into cinemas last year.  You're talking about Spielberg and Lucas can't get their movie into a theatre."

I think both Spielberg and Lucas are right. I don't know if there will be an implosion, but I do believe the dynamics of the industry are going to change.  I think two major  changes will occur. First, there will eventually be tiered pricing for movies at cinemas. Moviegoers will be asked to pay one price for a mega-blockbuster, say $20 but only $10 or less for other films which cannot garner a large audience.  Second, movies will be released day-and-date across all digital platforms.

The movie industry is changing. Yes, it will be harder for young aspirants to break into the 'game' and it will be a free-for-all regarding content that grabs eyeballs, but hasn't the entertainment piece of  'arts & entertainment'  always been the elusive factor.

Best & Happy Moviegoing
Jim Lavorato