Show Blindness (part 2)

Yeah, I’m still dwelling on the future of the film business…

I don’t mean to, and I promise you that this little corner of the web will not turn into just another kvetching post by just another dork with nothing but an opinion. I just have to share one more gem from the world of distribution and more specifically marketing.

As stated in a previous post, I heard some bewildering thoughts from some film executives recently. One particular kernel that’s been rattling around in my head since then came from the mouth of a marketing professional. The wisdom in what he said was as simple and accurate as it was soul destroying. He reminded his audience (an audience of filmmakers, I might add) that cinemas are not in the business of showing movies, they’re in the business of selling popcorn.

Also, the Easter Bunny isn’t real and there is no doggy heaven. You’re a man now. Stop crying.

I often call on examples from the beleaguered music industry to point to what I think we’re headed toward. This popcorn point casts a pretty dire shadow over this comparison. It’s my understanding that once upon a time, before there was a gramophone in every home, musicians made recordings in order to send them around to radio stations. These recordings were then used to promote the artist’s tour of live shows. This concept has basically come full circle. Musicians no longer make any money on the sale of recordings (truth is they never really did, most of that revenue went to their record labels). Either way, that revenue stream is drying up, yet recordings are more prolific than ever because musicians are realizing that these recordings are great promotion for their real income; selling tickets to live shows.

So what’s the film industry equivalent of that? If making a movie is the equivalent of recording and album then what’s the film equivalent of selling tickets to a live musical performance? I doubt that using a digital download of Avatar would be much good as a promotion for a stage version of that film. I suspect something may get lost in such an adaptation… So as far as this comparison goes, the closest I can figure is that if I make a movie what I’m really doing is promoting popcorn.

Hm.

Should I be allocating money for my next production to buy stock in Orville Redenbacher? Is that what it’s come down to?

Maybe there is hope.

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