In January 2007 I wrote a blog called I Want My Downloadable Movies.
While this dream is coming closer to reality due to better technology and more favorable DRM practices, I think I can give Hollywood an even greater reason for setting up either direct movie downloads or DVD releases to coincide with a movie’s premiere: Making more money in a short period of time than Walmart.
Game-maker Activision released Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 on Nov. 12, and it made $310 million in one day, selling 4.7 million copies
Here is an interesting comparison. According to an article in the N.Y. Daily News, the best opening day movie take in history was for “The Dark Night,” which over three days grossed $158.3 million. The game Grand Theft Auto 4 sold 3.6 million copies on its opening day.
Then there is the sensation the “Harry Potter” book series caused, with kids and their parents camping out to get a copy as soon as it was available.
This proves to me that if the product is good enough, like a hit movie, consumers will go out of their way to make sure they have it the second it becomes available. (Oddly, Hollywood has no trouble pawning off its crap to consumers, as can be seen by the steady stream of direct-to-video movies available.)
“The Dark Knight” take was limited by the number of movie seats available in theaters on that first day.
However, there are millions of DVD and Blu-ray players sitting in living rooms across America, each technically capable of playing the movie. So if everyone could have bought the DVD that day, “The Dark Knight” could have potentially made several hundred million dollars more.
And, from a CE perspective, such a move would spur a huge uptick in home-theater product sales.
The movie theater chains might not be all that happy, but their audience will not disappear - not as long as there are millions of teenagers eager to get out of the house on Friday and Saturday night.
But for the tens of millions of parents who can’t get or afford a sitter for the night, or who would rather not deal with 150 screaming kids at a movie theater, picking up a DVD for $20 or $30 is a great option.