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Sunday, December 22, 2019

How Cinemas Survive The Next Decade

 The debate over theatrical release vs. online streaming of films has every player is the entertainment industry choosing sides. CMG, is taking a different tact. 

Online competition is fierce, but cinemas will survive
We believe the theatrical experience of movie viewing is highly desired by consumers and content providers (studios and streamers) alike. Viewing of movies on the silver screen with proper sound and proper scale is a requirement for enjoying great entertainment the way it was meant to be viewed. Yet, for many consumers, the convenience of watching a film on a PC, tablet, or phone is the only way to view it.

So the answer to the debate, from CMG's viewpoint, is that all content providers are needed  as the studios alone can't produce nor finance enough quality content to quench the consumers' thirst for quality entertainment - the Netflixs of the world are needed. There is no logical reason why cinemas can't screen the streamers original content in addition to studio generated films.

Entertainment Equipment
Humans communicate through stories and movies are a great storytelling medium. We need cinemas as the conduit to see what artists have to say about our society, our culture, our world in a provocative and entertaining way.

Cinemas provide the venues for great stories to be told by great artists and it is not only the high-impact action super hero films but all types of films.

This is not an either/or issue it is about providing cinemas with a steady stream of good 'big screen' content of all genres from all sources.

Jim Lavorato
Entertainment Equipment Corp.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

2020 - A New Year or Perfect Vision

2020 - a new year or the benefit of perfect vision, perhaps both, at least in regards to my prognostications.

Trend-predicting is always fun but few get it right; otherwise, everyone in HWD (or for that matter anyone in the film industry) would have bet-the-farm on streaming 15 years ago. But, I am not deterred that easily and I'm going out on the proverbial limb to predict the following for 2020.

- The streaming war will continue. Disney, Apple, AT&T, TCM, and others have entered the fray to dethrone Netflix - more will join them. How many platforms consumers will subscribe to is anyone's guess but we do know cable-cutting in on the rise. 

- Oscar fatigue will continue and the Award Show's audience will continue to shrink. Prediction: the Show will go 'hostless' once again.

- The lion will be gobbled up in 2020. MGM will be sold and at a very high price - don't discount the 'Bond' franchise.

- Disney Plus will introduce original streamed content from Marvel in an effort to lock-in an older demo from the Mouse's animated, ie. younger audience, content.

- The streamers will lock horns with all of the major unions and guilds. Battles with the Screen Actors Guild and Writers Guild are foregone conclusions. The battles will be over higher compensation and larger piece of the residual pie. Look for mid-year strikes and the streamers and the studios cutting different deals.

- The film studios, sans Disney, will increase production of sequels, reboots, and spinoffs. The day of the one-off film is dead for the time being.

- Entertainers, on all sides of the political spectrum, will be spouting their views regarding the 2020 Presidential election. Fence-sitting will not be an option - it's going to be an all-out donnybrook.

- Baby Yoda and Baby Sharks will dominate the screen for all age levels and all classes.

That's it. Go forth and place your bets.

Jim Lavorato, Founder
Entertainment Equipment Corp.


Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Film-maker Sues: Has Free Right To Film In Natl' Parks

Gordon Price, an independent film maker, was prosecuted for filming on public lands without a permit and is now counter suing the U.S. Government. The premise of Price's suit is that it is unconstitutional for the federal government to charge fees for commercial filming in national parks. 

The current law states that the Departments of Agriculture and Interior have the right to require a permit and establish reasonable fees for commercial filming activities on Federal lands and violations carry criminal charges.

Price is basing his case on 'free speech' as the permit system is akin to paying a license fee for speaking and the First Amendment to the Constitution does not allow the government to make money by "taxing expressive activities".  Additionally, Price's attorneys are arguing that the permitting and fee process restricts the use of federal lands and is no more harmful than a news report or still photography.

CMG believes that unlike a tourist taking photos or a reporter doing a news story, the filming of a for-profit movie should carry a fee for the use of a National Park setting.  The fees are simply a cost of doing business and the expense incurred in maintaining the Parks. All National Parks charge an admission fee as do most public museums, art galleries, and other cultural sites and venues.
The Agencies managing the Parks are not restricting Price's use of his 'free expression' but he needs to pay-to-play in the Parks.

Nuff said,
Jim Lavorato

Monday, December 09, 2019

Where Have All The Studios Gone? Ex: Disney

Disney is killing-it at the boxoffice. It recently became the first studio in history to surpass the $10 billion worldwide boxoffice, crushing its previous record of $7.6 billion in 2016. Question is: where are the other studios?

Disney's achievement is even more glaring given the final chapter in the 'Stars Wars Skywalker' saga - scheduled to screen on 12/20 - will be another $1billion buster. Also the $10 billion figure doesn't include  "Ford vs. Ferrari' or 'Dark Phoenix' and other titles Disney picked-up with its purchase of the Fox studio - if included the number goes to $11.9 billion.

Additionally, the Mouse-house hit another mile-stone as it had six films breaking the $1 billion mark thus far: 'Avengers:Endgame', 'Aladdin', 'Toy Story 4', 'The Lion King', 'Captain Marvel', and 'Frozen'. 'Star Wars' will make it seven!

Coming in 2020
So, what happens when Disney has an off-year, as it certainly will.  Can the other studios, whose films have essentially seen no-shows at the admission window, pick up the slack? Or will they leave it up to the streamers and view content on mobile devices vs. going to the cinema.

The Disney dominance is not a good omen for cinemas. It's great that they are bringing moviegoers into auditoriums but it's not a sustainable (or healthy) phenomena for the movie distribution or exhibition industries.

Just saying,
Jim Lavorato, Founder - Entertainment Equipment Corp.