Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

Wolverine Leaked Online! What Does This Mean For Its Box Office?!

April 2, 2009

As you may have heard, late on Tuesday evening, a high quality version of Fox’s hotly anticipated X-Men Origins: Wolverine leaked online. The blockbuster wasn’t slated for release until May 1, and even though Fox quickly had the file removed, copies have been popping up quickly on multiple file-sharing websites. Fox released a major damage-control statement earlier today:

Last night, a stolen, incomplete and early version of X-Men Origins: Wolverine was posted illegally on websites. It was without many effects and had missing scenes and temporary sound and music. We immediately contacted the appropriate legal authorities and had it removed. We forensically mark our content so we can identify sources that make it available or download it. The source of the initial leak and any subsequent postings will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law — the courts have handed down significant criminal sentences for such acts. The FBI and MPAA are also actively investigating the crime. We are encouraged by the support of fansites condemning piracy and this illegal posting and pointing out that such theft undermines the enormous efforts of the filmmakers and actors and, above all, hurts fans of the film.

The question now is how this leak will affect Wolverine‘s box office performance. My answer is: not that much. I think there a few things at play, here. First off, as much as the TV and film industries want the public to believe that all entertainment is moving online, that’s not exactly the case. Internet viewing of movies and TV shows still represents the vast, vast minority of the viewing public. Most everyone sticks with the traditional way of watching movies in theaters, or waiting to rent them on DVD. Most people just aren’t internet-savvy enough to figure it out. (Hey, I’m pretty wired myself, and I can’t do Bittorrent!) Second, Wolverine is the kind of film people want to see on the big screen. It’s part of the fun, and I think that most people are willing to wait one more month and get the full, sensory experience instead of watching it on their computer early. Finally, there’s the fanboy factor. The only people that are clamoring to snag a downloadable copy of Wolverine are the ones who are going to see it 18 times on opening weekend anyway.

All in all, I sincerely doubt that Wolverine‘s box office will be much affected by the leak. Fox is doing a good job of controlling the multiple copies, and I really don’t think we need to worry too much. EW has put together it’s own collection of thoughts on the issue, which you should check out here. I still think Wolverine should be able to rake in $75 million in its opening weekend, no problem. What do you think? Am I being too lax? Could this leak really damage Wolverine‘s prospects at the movies? Let me know in the comments!

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Who’s To Blame: The Internet Or The Recession? DVD Sales Down In ’08

January 6, 2009

Amazon.com Widgets

Boy, the recession is truly upon us, and the DVD figures are showing it. Unfortunately, while there are still a lot of people are buying DVD’s, the number of DVD’s sold in 2008 was down substantially. Via Variety:

Final year-end results won’t start to trickle in for a few more days, but there’s little doubt that homevid spending ended down for the year. The vid biz is famously squishy about its sales figures, but all indicators point to a second consecutive decline, with Blu-ray gains unable to make up for declining DVD sales throughout the year.

The last available figures show DVD sales 5%-6% behind 2007 levels. Blu-ray sales jumped fourfold, making up a couple percentage points of the DVD deficit. Overall disc sales are expected to end 3%-4% below 2007’s $15.38 billion tally when the last disc sales for 2008 are calculated.

According to one home video executive, “As far as I’m concerned, down is the new flat and flat is the new up.” Hah! I don’t think that the DVD industry needs to worry too much, as I’d attribute most of this decline to people penny-pinching in these tough economic times. But there are other factors in play here, too, which could be contributing to the decline.

What kind of “factors” am I talking about? Why, that thing that makes the world go round: the internet! As online content on YouTube continues to get better, and made-for-internet productions like Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog (Amazon.com Exclusive) attract lots of traffic, people are finding that they don’t necessarily need to go to the theater to be entertained. You know, times are a changin’, and there is simply more entertainment available for people to consume. Look at TV- network television ratings are way down this season, but internet programming and cable are thriving. People are moving beyond ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC, and finding quality programming on cable and the web. The same sort of trend is happening in music, movies, and journalism as well, which is why print magazines that really invested in their websites years ago (like EW), are reaping all the benefits now.

You see, it’s not that people are taking in less entertainment. It’s how they’re taking in this entertainment that’s shifting. The movie industry needs to hurry up, and come to terms with the fact that the internet is quickly democratizing this industry, and if they want to keep their edge, they better start laying down a solid online infrastructure. I have a feeling that if they don’t, it could bit them in the butt down the road. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, Hollywood.

So which do you think caused the decline in DVD sales: our hyper-distracted, internet-obsessed, ADD culture, or the current recession? Most likely, I think it’s a little of both.