Thursday, February 01, 2007

"Night At The Museum" Gets Shunned By UK Exhibitors

In a move that is to my knowledge unprecedented, British exhibitors are pulling the movie "Night At The Museum" from their theaters. It was ranked #4 last week in the UK and clearly would still be profitable for everyone involved. Plus, the longer movies run in theaters the more of the grosses that stay with the exhibitor. There are no hard and fast rules, but in the first two or three weeks, more of the cut goes to the studio and that percentage switches in favor of the exhibitor the longer the movie is in theaters. In short, even though "Night" isn't number one any more, it is arguably entering the most profitable weeks as far as exhibitors are concerned. They love long-running hits. And WHY are they pulling the movie? Because FOX is breaking the traditional 4 month window and putting out the DVD of the film just 13 weeks after it debuted in theaters, three weeks earlier than usual. It's one thing to play around with release windows on indie flicks like "Bubble." But exhibitors are NOT happy that studios want to shorten the already tight window of four months. It's already darn quick -- it seems like movies come out on DVD in the blink of an eye now. What possible advantage does FOX gain by doing this? A similar standoff took place in Germany over "Eragon.

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