There’s an interesting article circulating around the trades this week which relates to ‘day and date’ releases.
For those who have not heard this term before, the concept of ‘day-and-date’ releases has been a matter of much contention and debate over the past several years. Credited with hatching the idea of releasing movies in theatres, on DVD and on the network they owned, NHMet Movies on the same day were Mark Cuban and his long time business partner Todd Wagner.
This posed a major challenge to the status quo, where for the past 25 years prior to this bold move, the studios operated on the assumption that the best way to maximize revenues from a film’s release was to control the public’s access to it though a series of “release windows”. First they would be released in theatres, followed months later by the DVD release, pay-per-view, cable, and finally free tv.
By releasing a film on multiple platforms on the same day, Cuban and Wagner believe that they could maximize revenues as well as create the efficiency of utilizing the marketing money set aside for the film (studios generally set aside a marketing budget for the theatrical release, and another for the DVD release months later).
Cuban’s theory was that if the potential viewer missed the theatrical release, they often had the intention to simply buy the DVD when it eventually came out, but by the time it did, for some, their attention had moved on to fresh releases, hence the opportunity to have sold the film to them in an alternate media form to the theatrical experience was lost.
Whether films make more money or less when released day and date is still a matter of debate. But this week it took a different turn. The Directors Guild of America has taken the stance that films that are released day-and-date will no longer be considered for the top DGA award. According to this release, their reasoning, as the article states, was made “in recognition of the unique cultural importance of the theatrical experience to audiences and filmmakers alike”. It’s an interesting read…