The idea here is that you purchase a film through iTunes and then they store it for you and allow you to watch it from any device with access to the Web. Currently Apple accounts for 2/3rds of online film rentals and purchases, so they are the 900 pound gorilla here. Moreover, unlike Ultraviolet, you don’t have to purchase a DVD to have access to this “cloud” feature, you simply make your purchase online.
Essentially, this is more of move on UltraViolet than a way to boost DVD sales.
What I would like to see this “cloud” feature do is what iTunes did and that’s to create a service that allows consumers to store what they’ve already purchased online, namely their music collections. To me, the “cloud” feature’s main attraction is that I would have a back up copy of my DVD stored online in the event something happens to the physical DVD.
If Hollywood wants to wring a little more cash out of movies already sold, they should consider a few things:
- Charge us per terabyte to store our current DVD collections online.
- Charge us a minimal per-copy fee to upgrade our current DVDs to Blu-ray online (as titles become available).
- Allow us to access our “cloud” from our Blu-ray players.
There are hundreds of titles I currently own that I would gladly pay a buck or two per-copy to upgrade to Blu-ray and store online. But there is no way in hell I’m purchasing them all over again at $10 to $15 a pop.
Do I think about this stuff too much? I’m worried that I might.
This is purely a tactical move on Universal’s part. The studios get a bigger cut of the theatrical box office in the first few weeks. After that, the theatre cut increases. And so, releasing a film on VOD three weeks after the theatrical release makes perfect sense because the studios will receive something closer to 100% of that.
There’s no way the studios are going to let that money remain on the table.
VOD is the future and it will live to fight and win another day. The customers want it and the content-providers want it. The only people standing in the way are crybaby theatre owners who are the ones responsible for making the theatrical experience awful in so many ways, starting with the obnoxious cost of concessions and ending with not controlling obnoxiously loud patrons.
It’s never made sense to me why Hollywood doesn’t do this all the time. If I ran the studio I would retain every costume, prop, car, and stick of furniture used in most every film and sell it on eBay, or something. People love this stuff and most of it sits in a prop warehouse and even gets tossed out. Even if the movie flops, the star can be the selling point. A hairbrush used by Hilary Swank! You now, that kind of thing.
Okay, I’ve definitely thought about that too much.
SCOTTDS’ EPIC LINK-TACULAR
LAST NIGHT’S SCREENING
Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010) — To say I love this franchise would be an understatement as would my saying that the always-simmering fanboy hate for director Paul W.S. Anderson confuses me.
Milla Jovovich is far and away my favorite action star working today. She’s tough as a hickory knot without ever losing an ounce of femininity, sexy as all get out, and oozes intelligence. There’s nothing strident about her, nothing that ever comes off as posing, and that smoky voice of hers can deliver a catch-phrase as well as a 1980’s Bruce Willis.
The movies themselves are beautifully plotted. All four produced thus far (a fifth is currently in production), have a very simple plot structure (the most difficult kind to create) with loads of action and a dynamic use of the camera that always let you know where you are.
Anderson’s great gift as a director is screen geography. Whether it’s as small as a fight scene or large as the whole planet, the director makes sure we always know exactly what’s going on and where everything is. In this horrible age of the goddamned lazy shaky-cam and goddamned lazier hyper-editing, this is a very, very rare talent. The man knows how to plant and move a camera like no one else working in the action genre today.
Another genius move Anderson makes is creating a completely different world for each film. There’s something to be said for a franchise retaining its look, the Indiana Jones films being a good example, but each “Resident Evil” film introducing a new terrain and look which gives the story an individual stamp and adds to the sense of adventure and discovery. Of course, the cold, sterile look of the sinister Umbrella Corporation remains the same, which always contrasts well with the rest of the film.
And finally, there are a number of conservative themes at work in this franchise, something I hope to have the time to go deeper into at a later date.
But I’m telling you, this is the best franchise Hollywood’s producing today. There isn’t even a close second.
CLASSIC PICK FOR FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14
3:00 PM EST: Goodbye Girl, The (1977) — A dancer discovers her runaway boyfriend has sublet her apartment to an aspiring actor. Dir: Herbert Ross Cast: Richard Dreyfuss, Marsha Mason, Quinn Cummings. C-111 mins, TV-MA, CC, Letterbox Format.
One of the funniest movies of the seventies, thanks mainly to Dreyfuss absolutely owning the screen in his Oscar-winning role. Quinn Cummings’ memorable performance as a little girl more mature than her neurotic mother (before this became cliché) delivers some on-the floor moments as does the refreshingly politically-incorrect humor surrounding the Dreyfuss character’s acting gig.
Honest laughs inspired by character as much as situation are a rare thing, but few films do it better. Neil Simon’s brainchild is also heartwarming and able to laugh at itself.
Not to be missed.
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