UNIVERSAL ACKNOWLEDGES THE EXISTENCE OF MOVIE THEATERS:
First Universal Pictures announced that they were going to release their upcoming action/comedy The Tower Heist on video on demand (VOD) for $59.99 just three weeks after its theatrical debut.
As if the price wasn't idiotic enough, Universal's "experiment" really pissed of the theater owners. One, by one, by one, they threatened to boycott the film unless Universal changed course.
Then someone at Universal told the people running the studio that theatrical releases actually needed theaters playing the movie, and Universal promptly changed course. They've given up on their VOD plan.
Now back in April I wrote a piece about a similar proposal put out by a coven of major studios, including Universal, to do premium VOD with shortened release windows. I said that this plan wasn't worth it, and a few months later the whole thing started to fizzle out, because someone higher up the corporate food chain agreed that it wasn't worth.
Though I guess someone at Universal mistook fizzle for sizzle, or they wouldn't have tried this hare-brained idea.
First there's the price, which is promises all the expense of going to theater, without the social aspect or large screen, but the thing that sticks out to me like a sore thumb is the lack of acknowledgment.
Universal refused to acknowledge that the theaters are an essential partner when it comes to feature films until it was almost too late. The arrogance of corporate bulk convinced them that since they are so big, they didn't need anyone else, only to realize that they do when it was almost too late to save one of their tent-pole films for the season.
Oy, will some people ever learn.
PITT WHIPS CLOONEY, BUT WHY?
Steven Zeitchik of the LA Times wrote an interesting piece about how Brad Pitt out-performs his friend George Clooney both critically and commercially.
While Mr. Zeitchik acknowledges that Clooney might be better served career-wise by imitating Pitt, he really doesn't plug into the real reason why Pitt outperforms Clooney.
It's not because of the constant tabloid coverage of his relationship with Angelina Jolie, or the constant media posturing of ex-wife Jennifer Aniston, because that sort of thing does more harm than good in these media saturated days.
Pitt does better than Clooney because of something that he might not consciously decide, but is really important when you're picking movie projects.
It's called acknowledging that there is an audience outside of Hollywood.
Clooney is Hollywood's star. Most of Clooney's films are made by Hollywood for Hollywood, and centered around making Hollywood feel important for supporting him and keeping him on the A-List even when his box-office doesn't really deserve it. For the most part Pitt seems to choose roles that are not only interesting for himself to do, but what the audience might find interesting to watch him doing.
It's not a perfect plan, Pitt still has misses, but it's still better than Clooney's Hollywood only plan.