This week Reuters has been holding a media summit in New York City, and many entertainment industry executives have not only been participating, they've been delivering some enjoyable quotes. Of particular interest to Cinematical are the statements from Regal Entertainment CEO Michael Campbell and Blockbuster CEO John Antioco. Campbell discussed the ever-threatening release window shrinkage, which he says he will continue to battle with strong measures. He claims that studios are okay to move up DVD releases for films that don't perform well at the box office, but he stands firm against even small distributors who wish to put out DVDs within eight weeks of their theatrical release. He won't give a minimum for acceptance regarding the window's time-frame, but he urges the film industry to recognize the importance of theatrical exhibition to the success of their product. Campbell also used the summit to announce that Regal has had success with their Guest Response System pagers, which are providing a solution to all the "physical battles" involving assaults with "bats, knives and guns" against cellphone users, and hopes to have them in theaters nationwide next year.
As far as the video rental business goes, Antioco said that it is a business that has reached a plateau, but is still the preferred way for consumers to see films. He is also quoted as saying that, "packaged media remains king for a long time." He claims that Blockbuster is not interested in fighting the digital alternatives (such as movie downloading), and says that it is a business they will need to be in, "for competitive reasons and for consumer reasons, to have a full-service brand." His company hasn't decided on a format for their planned download service, which might be provided through cable or satellite TV rather than computers, and they aren't ruling out any possibilities. On the subject of Blockbuster's rivalry with Netflix and the battle for the online rental market, Antioco says that, "if (Netflix CEO) Reed Hastings thinks he is going to be alone in it, I don't think he is correct."
In an unrelated article on AZCentral.com this week, the future of the movies is generalized into a nice package of things to expect. Little of it is news to us at Cinematical, though Harkins Theatres owner Dan Harkins, who is also the incoming treasurer for the National Association of Theatre Owners, does mention an agreement reached by Hollywood and NATO for a "virtual print fee" that studios will pay to theatres for each movie screened digitally in order to help the theatre industry with the cost of digital projectors, as well as an incentive for theatres to move in a primarily digital direction.