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HBO Max streaming controversy - Christopher Nolan versus Warner


Andrew Reid

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Best blockbuster of the year!!

https://www.eoshd.com/news/christopher-nolans-fury-at-warner-in-streaming-controversy-they-didnt-tell-anybody/

And perhaps after the crisis, a real chance to reinvent theater-going.

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Well they had it coming... WB did not kill anything... Nolan did. as well all the top actors and top director...Movie budget are getting completely out of hand.. Nolan took 20 million salary for tenet

Here's how the music industry is... https://news.sky.com/story/nile-rodgers-calls-on-mps-to-tackle-unfair-streaming-system-12155250 Big profits for Spotify but talent kept completely in the

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Andrew,

I usually agree with most of what you publish, but this time I have to disagree, for the following reasons:

1. This move will encourage people to buy projectors, big-screen TV and audio systems for their homes. That unto itself if a big win for the industry as a whole. People will be more aware of the artistic aspect of movies by watching them on bigger screens and with better audio. This would also encourage the use of HDR.

2. Consumers should decide how they want to consume content, not studios o directors. Do note that I actually fall in the group of movie fans who prefers the theater experience (specially IMAX), but my folks and most of my friends don't think like me, and they also should be heard and decide how to spend their money.

3. Math is on the consumer side: A 75" TV a few feet away from you looks to the human eye as large as a bug movie screen because it covers a similar are of your field of vision.

4. In most markets, movie screens are usually crap save for a few places. At least in the latinamerican world, it's common to watch movies on screens with very low lumens, dark images, crappy sound, etc. We get a better experience at home in these markets. If Nolan ever visited one of these theaters he would get a heart attach and immediately understand that in these markets his movies look better at home.

5. The mp3 industry learned a huge lesson which I think carries over to movies: There was a time when most digital music was pirated, but then affordable music streaming services started popping up and now most people pay for their music.

6. I disagree that this will hurt movie bottom lines in the long term. The more people have access to same-day releases, the more people will be willing to legally pay for movies. In a small poll I ran with friends and family, most of them would pay US$20 bucks to see the latest James Bond film for example. Once people get used to it, I think most filmmakers could make *more* money than before, specially once you factor out all the savings they will get on promotion and distribution. About the only cases where people might stand to make less money us for huge blockbusters like Avengers or Star Wars, but that's a casualty of war.

7. As for piracy, whoever uses the argument that people will get access to high-quality version of movies the day after they are released online is missing the point entirely: Most people who pirate movies today are willing to see bad quality versions of these movies because what they care about is not really how good the movie looks (not saying that it is not important), but rather they care about being able to see the movie *itself* in the first place. Quality of content vs quality of imagery. If the industry wants to fight piracy they need to fight it by understanding this and releasing their movies on the exact same day on all markets worldwide so that people rush to pay to see it. They also should make these release affordable. I think US$10 is an ideal price to watch a new release, and US$20 is pushing it a bit for a blockbuster.

Bottom line: I think long-term this will be seen as a great success for the industry, and the numbers will show it 5 years from now.

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8 minutes ago, Elias said:

Andrew,

I usually agree with most of what you publish, but this time I have to disagree, for the following reasons:

1. This move will encourage people to buy projectors, big-screen TV and audio systems for their homes. That unto itself if a big win for the industry as a whole. People will be more aware of the artistic aspect of movies by watching them on bigger screens and with better audio. This would also encourage the use of HDR.

I can't see it myself. Those with an interest in cinema have already bought all of that stuff.

What changes?

Just because Matrix 4 comes to streaming first, and you can't go to the cinema - you are not, as an average mainstream ex-cinemagoer, going to spend $3000 on gear for that are you?

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2. Consumers should decide how they want to consume content, not studios o directors.

I disagree with that too I'm afraid. What is the point of a director at all if the customer makes all the decisions?

(Yes The choice of viewing device is a creative decision)

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Do note that I actually fall in the group of movie fans who prefers the theater experience (specially IMAX), but my folks and most of my friends don't think like me, and they also should be heard and decide how to spend their money.

Sure, and they can already spend their money on Netflix, or whatever. I don't care.

But depriving cinemas of content at a time like this is a bad move for culture.

We need the rousing blockbuster social experience like never before. New Bond film at Christmas. That kind of thing.

Short sighted beancounters at the studios risk killing that future.

It's short term thinking.

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3. Math is on the consumer side: A 75" TV a few feet away from you looks to the human eye as large as a bug movie screen because it covers a similar are of your field of vision.

The math and damn statistics are nothing to do with it. Emotionally I can tell the difference between a big cinema screen and a TV! It's a completely separate experience.

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4. In most markets, movie screens are usually crap save for a few places. At least in the latinamerican world, it's common to watch movies on screens with very low lumens, dark images, crappy sound, etc. We get a better experience at home in these markets. If Nolan ever visited one of these theaters he would get a heart attach and immediately understand that in these markets his movies look better at home.

sounds quite charming to me 🙂

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5. The mp3 industry learned a huge lesson which I think carries over to movies: There was a time when most digital music was pirated, but then affordable music streaming services started popping up and now most people pay for their music.

Music streaming has killed music.

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6. I disagree that this will hurt movie bottom lines in the long term. The more people have access to same-day releases, the more people will be willing to legally pay for movies. In a small poll I ran with friends and family, most of them would pay US$20 bucks to see the latest James Bond film for example.

They are not paying per film. It's a monthly sub, creative cloud style. Do you want to tie yourself into 10 of those all at once just to get the same selection of studio content you would at any one time in one cinema? Sounds fucking expensive to me!

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Once people get used to it, I think most filmmakers could make *more* money than before, specially once you factor out all the savings they will get on promotion and distribution. About the only cases where people might stand to make less money us for huge blockbusters like Avengers or Star Wars, but that's a casualty of war.

I can just see it following the music industry to a tee.

Smaller artists lose out from Spotify in big fashion.

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7. As for piracy, whoever uses the argument that people will get access to high-quality version of movies the day after they are released online is missing the point entirely: Most people who pirate movies today are willing to see bad quality versions of these movies because what they care about is not really how good the movie looks (not saying that it is not important), but rather they care about being able to see the movie *itself* in the first place. Quality of content vs quality of imagery. If the industry wants to fight piracy they need to fight it by understanding this and releasing their movies on the exact same day on all markets worldwide so that people rush to pay to see it. They also should make these release affordable. I think US$10 is an ideal price to watch a new release, and US$20 is pushing it a bit for a blockbuster.

Bottom line: I think long-term this will be seen as a great success for the industry, and the numbers will show it 5 years from now.

The pirated copies of HBO Max streams will be full HD, 1080p, probably identical quality to what you get from the paid service.

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Here's how the music industry is...

https://news.sky.com/story/nile-rodgers-calls-on-mps-to-tackle-unfair-streaming-system-12155250

Big profits for Spotify but talent kept completely in the dark.

We cannot have our culture controlled in this way and pimped out over the internet whilst live audiences become obsolete.

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Well they had it coming... WB did not kill anything... Nolan did. as well all the top actors and top director...Movie budget are getting completely out of hand.. Nolan took 20 million salary for tenet. How can that be justified? Top actor are paid tens of millions. Now, the last time I wanted to go to the cinema, probably 18 months ago, the tickets were £15.50 for their so called Imax experience... So 31 quid for my wife and me. imagine if we had the kids!! Well enough said... We simply didn't go. not because we can't afford it but because it's insane to spend such an amount to pay for a below par experience. the last few times I have been to the cinema in the last 5 years they were 10 to 15 people max in a 300 seat cinema... What experience is that? my suggestion... Bring actors and directors back down to earth, pay them decently.. make good film with good script and story for 25 million max, put the cinema ticket around £6-8, and I bet you that they will fill up again... or go on spending 200millions on some crap with high price ticket and the 20th century fox and the others will follow in the footstep of WB...

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The 'cinema experience' today is not fun, an often dirty venue, an overly loud 'coming attractions' soundtrack and grossly overpriced snacks.

Plus the attendance is usually paltry, even before the virus hit. I don't think most people will miss the movie theaters, except perhaps for teenagers with high hormone levels.

So I think WB is doing the right thing, ditching a decrepit distribution model at a convenient time. Presenting the industry with a done deal allows them to optimize their position.

Other than fulminating, I don't think the various players can do much about it.

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I agree with Etudiant, the cinema experience isn't fun anymore. It has slowly died a greedy death. We now have something that is designed by an algorithm, for a minority audience with the shortest attention span on earth. Then, they complain that nobody comes to see the movies anymore. What happened to something for everyone? Why does it have to be blockbusters or nothing?

It's not about distribution or what a director wants. It's about making art for an audience. If you do it right, people will come. It doesn't matter where it's shown.

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I think YouTube also will be a player. YouTube offers movies which you can watch for free with ads, some you can only rent and buy and some you can only buy.  It's kind of like watching YouTube with all of the ads, but the content is a step up from a lot of the YouTube content and as you get to pick, and it is better than the movie of the week on Television.  Stuff like Robcop, Mr. Mom... etc.

I'm not saying movies should be watched with ads in middle but giving the choice I would much rather watch a movie on YouTube that is not on Netflix than I would watch other YouTube content.

So if you are a movie maker and you don't mind ads playing in the middle of your movie there, may be a business case for releasing a low budget movie on YouTube, when I say release I mean with ads, rent or buy...  I know it is blasphemy, but some my choose to release their movie on YouTube and that is fine by me.

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I think the problem might be a little deeper than this. I fear that traditional films as a medium may be in jeopardy. Extrapolate this all out. Movies come to streaming, they don’t perform nearly as well as “binge worthy” shows because...how could they, if success is determined by watch time then a movie simply doesn’t have that on its side.

Audiences have shorter and shorter attention spans so I don’t think movies will perform all that well on these streaming services, certainly not well enough to justify the budgets. So you’re going to see budgets being cut...massively to continue producing films at a high level.

I just have a fear that the traditional 120 minute film medium is on the plank right along with the theater chains.

 

 

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15 hours ago, Andrew Reid said:

I can't see it myself. Those with an interest in cinema have already bought all of that stuff.

What changes?

Just because Matrix 4 comes to streaming first, and you can't go to the cinema - you are not, as an average mainstream ex-cinemagoer, going to spend $3000 on gear for that are you?

I disagree with that too I'm afraid. What is the point of a director at all if the customer makes all the decisions?

(Yes The choice of viewing device is a creative decision)

Sure, and they can already spend their money on Netflix, or whatever. I don't care.

But depriving cinemas of content at a time like this is a bad move for culture.

We need the rousing blockbuster social experience like never before. New Bond film at Christmas. That kind of thing.

Short sighted beancounters at the studios risk killing that future.

It's short term thinking.

The math and damn statistics are nothing to do with it. Emotionally I can tell the difference between a big cinema screen and a TV! It's a completely separate experience.

sounds quite charming to me 🙂

Music streaming has killed music.

They are not paying per film. It's a monthly sub, creative cloud style. Do you want to tie yourself into 10 of those all at once just to get the same selection of studio content you would at any one time in one cinema? Sounds fucking expensive to me!

I can just see it following the music industry to a tee.

Smaller artists lose out from Spotify in big fashion.

The pirated copies of HBO Max streams will be full HD, 1080p, probably identical quality to what you get from the paid service.

In my opinion, these will all be outdated ideals in the end.

im sure the drive-in theatres, beta-max, horse carriages all felt the same way. Poor horse carriages.

Time to pack up and move on.

 

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2 hours ago, Robert Collins said:

Top 30 grossing films in the US 2019 (all those that earned over US$100m at the box office)

I know it sounds selfish but I simply dont care....

374145302_ClipboardImage(115).thumb.jpg.68c8985ef975d2b3c563834315af7846.jpg

Def could live without all those movies, but the shit netflix is producing is even worse. I def see value in the fact that cinema plays movies at a certain time. There is no pauze, everybody needs to be quiet, so the movie has your full attention. While at home there are thousand distractions (please pauze I need to go to the bathroom or I need a snack, oh I forgot to start the dishwasser, smartphones, kids, friends/wife/kids start talking when bored, or commenting and the list continues)

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30 minutes ago, zerocool22 said:

Def could live without all those movies, but the shit netflix is producing is even worse. I def see value in the fact that cinema plays movies at a certain time. There is no pauze, everybody needs to be quiet, so the movie has your full attention. While at home there are thousand distractions (please pauze I need to go to the bathroom or I need a snack, oh I forgot to start the dishwasser, smartphones, kids, friends/wife/kids start talking when bored, or commenting and the list continues)

You must go to very different cinemas than me.

I would rather see a movie at home than at the cinema, precisely because at home I can focus on it. At the cinema there's a high chance for people to talk during the movie, kick seats, etc. plus as mentioned before, it's a total rip off with the snacks and all. Last time I was at the cinema I paid 50 CHF (47 €, 57$) for two people. That's just not worth it to me tbh. And then chances are your movie isn't even in the best setup (biggest screen, high res, good audio, etc.) unless it's Marvel Avengers or so.

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Following up on my first comment at the beginning on this thread, there's another larger issue at play here which is an issue that has greatly affected the advertisement industry as well...

It so happens that not too long ago advertising for anyone would be an usually very expensive proposition, specially if you wanted to advertise on popular TV, Radio or print media. And the main reason this was accepted is because there was no way to reliably determine the effectiveness of the ads. This was a business mostly running on faith, and the power was on the side of the advertising agencies and channels, not on the companies and people who wanted to advertise.

As the internet and social media took off, it became obvious that you could reach a much larger amount of people with a much smaller budget, and directly targeting your users who are most likely to buy, all with a simple app (like Instagram). The money now went to the creative people creating the ads.

Similarly, in the movie world, people have been spending very large amounts of money going to movie theaters for the simple reason that there was not other choice. I understand that some of us love the movie-going experience (so long as it's a real good theater with a good movie), but the reality is that most people would rather stay at home to watch it from the confort of their sofas and beds.

Some might object to this saying things like "it defeats the purpose of enjoying a movie", but who are we to judge how other people wish to spend their time? Saying stuff like that is analogous to us trying to dictate if gay people should marry and live together or not: it is not our business to decide how people decide to live their lives. Sure, some Nolans and Tarantinos (two of my all-time favorite directors, btw) might want their creations to be seen on an IMAX screen with Atmos sound, but that's not what most people want.

Just last night I watched at home a real nice movie on my 75" HDR TV, and the sight was glorious, a much better experience than most theaters near where I live, and I got to eat whatever I wanted while watching, all in the confort of my underpants. And like me, there are countless other very valid reasons why people rather watch a movie at home, like for example:

1. Parents with small kids who don't have a nanny to watch over them while they go out to the movies.

2. Couples who rather have a private meeting while watching a movie.

3. People who simply can't afford the very high expense of going to a movie theater nowadays, where you have to factor in the high ticket prices, the exorbitant prices of snacks, transportation costs, etc.

4. People who simply live far from movie theaters (remember folks, hundreds of millions of people don't have access to a close by or decent movie theater).

5. People who simply have little time and prefer to watch the movie at home in whatever little time they have.

After saying all that, and going back to the advertising industry example, we're entering a new era in movie watching, an era where the movie industry won't be able to charge the customary high prices to consumers, an era where prices will need to come down to a more balanced level. This will definitely be an issue for huge blockbusters, but it will also encourage a larger participation of filmmakers to get in the game, and the more people get into the film industry the more chances of discovering new Nolans and Tarantinos we will have, and organically the quality of film productions will go up.

And a final word: We don't need US$100M-plus budgets to create great movies. Look at classics like Pulp Fiction and Leon: The Professional, these were productions made with a fraction of a typical high-gross movie budget. And if you prefer movies like Avengers, technology is advancing so fast that soon we'll be able to make an Avengers-like movie at a 10th of the cost (just look at the new technologies being used to produce The Mandalorian).

I for one, think that this is one of the best news that have reached us in decades (ever since the advent of IMAX and HDTV ), and time will tell if we were right or not...

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$858m from 94m views.

Try replicating that on streaming services.

Not going to happen.

So a lot of talent going to be cut back, budgets slashed and diverted, it all trickles down to the grass roots of the film and cinema industry - small guys will lose their jobs too.

Does anyone really think smaller, indie musicians are better off from streaming compared to CD sales, financially? Not a chance.

So a big correction on the way if they follow the trend to streaming and away from ticket sales at the box office.

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3 hours ago, Robert Collins said:

Top 30 grossing films in the US 2019 (all those that earned over US$100m at the box office)

I know it sounds selfish but I simply dont care....

374145302_ClipboardImage(115).thumb.jpg.68c8985ef975d2b3c563834315af7846.jpg

Add up the total box office revenue for those 30 films. Streaming will not pay out.

This isn't about streaming being evil and multiplex experience being great. Actually it has left a lot to be desired for a long time and is overpriced.

Streaming is great.

But it cannot come at the expense of cinema culture, independent cinemas, art-house cinemas, and millions of jobs. That's what is on the line now.

As far as what's popular, of course it's all going to be comic book escapism and family friendly - that's what consumers want. You're not going to have dark, brooding 18 rated stuff dominating the box office! It doesn't dominate Netflix by view-count either! If you look at the top 100 of the music charts, that's 99% artistically shallow as well - you don't expect to find complex themes appealing to the mainstream, because most people just want some escapism or a family day out... most people don't care about cinema and craft, like we do. It's obvious every time you go to a cinema isn't it?

Mainstream and popular has always been derivative and lowest common denominator stuff. Although I think Joker at $333m box office isn't to be sniffed at, for what's essentially an art-house movie... Albeit one that uses a super hero carrot to entice the general public! And you have the occasional Nolan, or quality popcorn movie doing well. 007. Lord of The Rings etc.

But if we destroy those communal cinema experiences and box office revenue by making all new major releases come to streaming at same time as cinema, you really damage the entire movie industry financially, not to mention piss off a lot of talent who as Nolan said, went to sleep one day working for cinema, and woke up working for a HBO Max bait and switch.

It's a great thing to have your work destined for the big screen and illustrious cinema-land.

What would David Lynch make of it? Can you really experience cinema on a laptop screen? 

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I think the comparison to the music industry is apt. I think we need to figure out an economic model for digital goods that doesn't rely on supply and demand, because digital-only goods which can be exactly duplicated indefinitely don't behave like normal products. (CD's or DVD's are still physical objects that need to be bought and owner, despite being digital files.) There is no easy way to determine the value of "a stream," and how that value compares to an actor, or a cinematographer, or hairdresser working for x number of hours.

I read an interesting book called Who Owns the Future by Jaron Lanier that talked a lot about this, and extrapolated to the buying and selling of digital money and futures, which led to the 2008 financial collapse, and a prediction that in the far future once 3D printers are good enough, other industries will go the same way. We can see the same thing with our software and increasingly-software-driven cameras. What is the cost of a copy of Adobe CC? Does it have to be the same for every customer? Is it ethical to have two identical models of a camera, but one with software crippling, if if not, why is it okay to have free vs. paid versions of DaVinci Resolve? Tesla cars are doing it too.

Ultimately, we can't get rid of streaming. It's too convenient and cheap. But like the music industry, we'll need to figure out how the economics will work otherwise it's not sustainable long term--or maybe it is, and we just will never see big budget, quality movies ever again and everything will be split into either big budget crap, and a few self-funded gems.

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