Thursday, November 17, 2005


Okay, here's an idea.

A new movie hits theaters. You go to see it. You like it, you really, really like it. You think, when this comes out on DVD, I'll buy it.

Then you go into the lobby, and there's a machine. You slip a ten dollar bill into it, plus maybe your ticket stub as sort of a proof-of-purchase thing...

And the machine burns you a copy-protected DVD of the movie you just saw. With bonus content. Plus it prints out artwork you can slip into a keepcase when you get home.

Cool? Yes? No? Piracy killer? Or enabler? Theater saver? Or wrecker?



Anonymous said...

An extremely interesting idea -- I like the concept of having to see the movie in theaters first before actually getting the movie; requiring some form of proof (the movie ticket) that you saw it...

Immediate problems this would cause: DVD production would have to correspond with the release of the movies in theaters. While it's true that a good deal of the special features (audio commentary, mostly -- and really, that's the only special feature I have a particular interest in most of the time) are created/available not long after the film comes out in theaters, it doesn't change that the DVD production/graphic design/creation probably takes a bit longer. Would this delay the films being released in theaters, or would this cause half-assed DVD releases? Or...worse...DVD releases in theaters and then, 6 months later in stores, "Special Edition" DVD releases...they're already doing that (well, something similar to that; obviously the DVD's not coming out when the movie is), and it's rather annoying to have to buy two copies of a DVD just because you want the director's commentary -- which I've done many, many times...thank goodness for used bookstore trade-in abilities.

Admittedly, this would NOT be worse for the film companies, who would make money thrice on the same person; the cost of seeing it in theaters, the cost of the DVD after seeing it in theaters, and the cost of the Special Edition DVD later in the year.

You would lose the whole expectancy of getting it on DVD, however, which with the crappiness of movies lately, is something I've come to look forward to. I don't want to pay $8 (plus the $10 to buy the DVD) to see a movie that I would rather rent for half the price and laugh at the horridness at home. There's nothing quite like a Good Bad Movie night. I blame Bruce Campbell. So I suppose this would bring up the question: how would the movie rental places get the DVDs? Would they get it when it came out in theaters, or when the DVD version was officially released to those who hadn't seen the movie in theaters? As horrid as it may seem, places like Blockbuster do have some say in how the pulic reacts to movies.

As for piracy...piracy is going to happen no matter what the movie industry does, I firmly believe, unless they plan on not making money ever and letting everyone into the movies for free...or they start executing people who steal movies. The Insta-DVD concept, while I'm sure would have its followers that would say, "Well, I can download that when I get home...or I could get the official version here and it only costs $10..." will have just as many pirates as the movie industry does now. Technology has gotten to a point where it's unavoidable -- people just aren't honest anymore. Or they never were honest and now they're finally showing it, one or the other.

My final opinion: a good idea, but I suspect it would get a rather mixed reaction from the public. Not to mention the degree of people who consider most movies today "rental movies," since for the first 10 months of this year, the movies have almost all sucked completely. The movie industry would either be making money thrice over, especially from those hardcore movie fans, or it would be making a lot LESS money from those folks who went and saw the movie, bought the DVD, and then sold it on eBay for 6 bucks.

Martin Wagner said...

All excellent points. Perhaps Insta-DVD's could be super-cheap, say three bucks, and contain the movie only with no extras. (Production time on these wouldn't be any problem at all, as every film today is edited on computers, and DVD screeners are created throughout various stages of post anyway.) $3 would be a low enough price to prevent someone selling it on eBay for anything worth their trouble. Then, when the commercial, special edition, or whatever version pops up in stores months later, the person who bought the Insta-DVD could send in their machine-printed receipt for a $3 rebate on the store-bought version, to sweeten the deal.

You're right, it would have a mixed reaction from the public. But it might cause less marketplace angst and confusion than some folks think 2929 Entertainment's plan to release movies in three different venues simultaneously will. And hey, another revenue stream is another revenue stream. While piracy in its worst forms (like, overseas) would hardly be curtailed by this, I think it could certainly render moot much of the domestic piracy (camcording) that goes on. Why buy a shitty, $5 camcorded DVD from a guy on the NYC subway when a snazzy $3 version can be gotten legitimately?