“Again, other markets”
again, don’t buy it, even if you accept the mantra that a theatrical release is essentially an extended advertisement for dvd(which isn’t as much of a factor as it was 10 years ago now).
I agree there are other markets, but i don’t think they are quite as supplementary as what it often assumed.
DRUNKEN: Wiki, but that figure is old news. i’ve read it in film books too. it might be exaggerated, since tracking was more difficult then, but the point is that it’s was a very popular film that people saw at the time in droves. It wasn’t just attracting the ‘art house’ crowd.
“To believe Santino, i’d have to see hard numbers first. i.e how many people are requesting these films, the demographics involved etc.”
What do you need hard numbers for? Isn’t my word good enough?
So you are willing to adjust their market for ours, but not ours for theirs?
When we compare players from different eras in sports we always do so with the understanding that the rules of the game can change. So we say things like, “People were hitting a lot of home runs in the late 90s, but a lot of players were juicing, too.” or “We didn’t have as much goal scoring in the 90s NHL as we did in the 80s because the style of play and rules changed.” Definitions of success change over time. We measure things differently. You may think that ancillary markets are an overblown factor, but if you’re not willing to factor them in, then you’re making your case weaker in my opinion.
That’s what keeps the fantasy alive.
^^No, it’s not that your word isn’t good enough as such. It’s more that, just because something is available, it doesn’t mean people are necessarily buying it. Of course in the society we live in it’s safe to assume that if something isn’t at least relatively popular, nobody would bother investing in it. Having said that, it’s no secret that distribution companies often make losses or tiny profits on certain kinds of films and make them up the numbers elsewhere.
“The point is that revenues are spread around more now. So, no, an art house movie may not make the top selling DVD or BO or cable, or whatever, but they are making money through these different platforms."
I agree with this. Companies like Oscilliscope, SPC, IFC, Strand Releasing, Zeigeist, and Magnolia (among others) are thriving (particularly IFC and Magnolia) because there is a demand for the product they are selling. Fifty years ago there wasn’t nearly as many companies distributing small titles like this.
“’I’m probably just one of many examples here, but I’m not made of money right now and therefore don’t see first run movies often.”
I feel like that was a dig at me and my wealth.
@ Joks -
“Blow Up made around 120 million when adjusted for inflation. Even ‘big’ art films like White Ribbon with budgets can’t even make a fraction of that, despite all the great reviews and publicity.”
That’s because The White Ribbon had a ton more competition to contend with. As I said before, if Blow Up was the only game in town, it will invariably do well. But having a monopoly doesn’t really mean anything, does it?
I feel like that was a dig at me and my wealth
I know how to hit you where it hurts.
You can take this for whatever it’s worth, but we have Sundance, an “independent” film festival. If you don’t think rock star status is gained through Sundance (no matter how brief that status may last), then you crazy. And we also have alternative festivals, Slamdance, trying to one up on how independent you could be. Where was the market for that in 1966?
“Just because something is available, it doesn’t mean people are necessarily buying it.”
Actually, that’s exactly what it means. You think SPC would still be in business after 20 years if they were releasing stuff that people weren’t buying?
“I know how to hit you where it hurts.”
And that one hurt!
Would it be weird if I was typing this from an actual movie theater? haha
Ok, I’m sold. I think it’s all just cause things are more fractured now – there are more movies to see and more ways to see them.
I saw Meek’s Cutoff at a theatre and loved it. If we didn’t have DVD, and I knew that I may not see the movie again for years, I probably would’ve seen it at least two more times before it left town. But we do have DVD and I rented it from my local store, a piece of revenue that doesn’t show up on the BO chart.
^I think that’s most people’s behavior. “Oh, I’ll just wait for the DVD”.
I might venture to guess that more people are watching arty films than ever before, in part because of the access (On Demand, streaming, DVD, Netflix, cable, etc) and in part because of how much variety is out there.
The difference that I do see is that mainstream cinema is less arty than it was 30-40 years ago. That position I can get behind.
Yeah. And for me the repeat viewings is an important piece of the puzzle. If you thought Blow-Up kicked ass in 1966, then you’d better see it more than once, because you can’t yet imagine a world in which you will sit in your living room and see it as many times as you want.
There was an immediacy to theatrical distribution in 1966 that we don’t have now.
^ Yes, because 30-40 years ago we are looking inside one of the smallest windows in Hollywood history, a time in which major studios were banking money on counterculture pictures.
“an age where people seemed more excited about those kind of films?”
How do you know that this was the case? And which group of “people” are you talking about. As Nathan said, “cinephilia” was always a subculture, and it was always, relatively speaking, a small one.
“I’m not sure I agree with you that art house theaters are dead today.”
Yeah, they are not dead, they’re just mostly concentrated in larger cities . . . which is pretty much how it always was. It the historical distance that gives the arthouse audience of the ’50s and ’60s the appearance of width, depth, and breadth.
“These films don’t perform all that well in the cable or video market though, do they?”
Compared to what? . . . again, to observe they’re not as popular as more popular things is relatively meaningless, as this was always the case. Even at its height (whenever one supposes that to be), art films were never more than, to borrow a term from Robert Christgau, “semi-pop.”
Was there a more cohesive, coherent community of cinephiles in days gone by (that is, people who had seen, were interested in, and were talking and writing about the same things . . . and many of them actually knew one another)? There’s where there might be a case to be made.
I rarely see a movie more than once in the theater (the exception being if it’s free – such as test screenings). But if I didn’t know that I had the DVD coming in six months, I probably would stock my brain full of rewatches of Melancholia while it was in theaters.
“Yeah, they are not dead, they’re just mostly concentrated in larger cities . . . which is pretty much how it always was.”
Yeah but compared to say, 30 or 40 years ago, there aren’t that many though, are there? Heaps of cinemas have closed down in N.Y. For every 20 that closed, how many were actually replaced with something new? maybe 1?
Yes, but it was more than just the stereotypical Louis Garrel character who actually went to see films by Bergman, Fellini, Bunuel, et al back then. That’s part of the point, even if cinephilia was a small subculture back then. Bergman was bourgeois dinner table conversation fodder at the time.
Also, compared to 30-40 years ago there are fewer porn theaters today.
Is porn dead?
^^Porn is a completely different thing altogether and you know it! plus there are figures to actually back up what’s going on in the porn market.
and besides, men enjoy jacking off in the comfort and privacy of their own home
Why did the porn theaters die? Did you learn nothing from Boogie Nights?
“Even ‘big’ art films like White Ribbon . . . "
Again, White Ribbon was in no way “big” . . .particularly in the U.S., where it barely made it to 100 screens. And even with something like Blow-Up, you’re talking about something that was probably often running in theaters on the same screens for months, while White Ribbon was in a U.S. for maybe a couple of weeks before it was pushed out for something else.
Here’s Adrian Martin on the kind of change I’m talking about, only in a different country:
“I personally remember a time, twenty-four years ago, when American films such as Milos Forman’s Amadeus (1984), a big US production by a central European director about a central European composer shot largely on location in central Europe, would run for more than a full year in a large movie theatre in downtown Zurich, Switzerland, before it even began to roll out to theatres in the smaller cities of that small country in Western central Europe. Switzerland alone, a country with somewhat over 600 cinema screens, had more than 100 prints of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith playing simultaneously on the first weekends.”
“Why did the porn theaters die? Did you learn nothing from Boogie Nights?”
It’s ironic that you are talking about learning something from Boogie Nights, a film that romanticises the plight of a porn director that actually belives he is making ‘real films’ ;-)
Also Brad, the analogy is flawed because theatres closed down due to low demand. Art films weren’t made for video, that is just what they had to settle for. and the directors were not always happy about it. that is the cruelty of the market. Porn moved to video for financial reasons. it was more profitable that way. a way of lowering costs. different kettle of fish.
“Again, White Ribbon was in no way “big” . . .particularly in the U.S., where it barely made it to 100 screens.”
that’s my point though, it cost like 18 million to produce. compare that to the average film made by Joe or Carlos or something. it’s quite ‘big’ really.
whispers to Joks – Brad isn’t here
Although Nathan does look a little bit like Brad so the confusion is understandable.
Too bad there isn’t someone around Mubi who actually was an adult in the 1960s to tell it like it is, right here, right now.
“again, don’t buy it, even if you accept the mantra that a theatrical release is essentially an extended advertisement for dvd(which isn’t as much of a factor as it was 10 years ago now).”
OK, look though, as we said earlier, if you wanted to watch a film a second time in the ‘60s, and the theatrical run was over, the had to wait until god-knows-when for a re-release. Now you can buy it on DVD or Blu-ray new or used, or you can download it, or you can stream it. So a film has a very long viewing window, as long as it is see-able in some form, there’s the potential for growing a larger audience.
^ I still think this is missing the big picture. It’s not just the matter of quibbling over who watches what and how it is released and viewed but what impact film has a medium. This is what I think has inarguably diminished today. Film no longer sets the agenda or shapes the wider culture the way that it did in the 1960s.
I didn’t live in the ‘60s and I’m no expert, but wouldn’t it be prudent to say that rock n’ roll had a heavier hand in shaping wider culture and setting the agendas of that decade? I’m not trying to deny cinema’s place here, but when I think about American culture in the ’60s, one of last factors to come to my mind is movies.
Now I’m the one who’s relying on vague notions of a past that I wasn’t a part of.