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Wednesday, December 07, 2005


The linked article below is about movies going to simultaneous release - meaning they release a movie in theaters, dvds, online, etc at the same time. This sounds so nice, but I think it is going to spell the end to movies as we know them. Maybe that happened a while ago, but there are still a few good ones out there. The move to a new release format though seems like it will completely transform the process and the quote below pretty much proves that we can say goodbye for now to movies as we know them.

Just like there are now 26 different versions of Star Wars available, so will there be 26 versions of pretty much any movie in the near future. Any movie that makes any kind of money will be recut over and over until they have milked the cow dry. The movie theater will show one version. Another will be on DVD. There'll be a few extra scenes in the online version to entice you to download it (hopefully you've already paid to see the theater version). And the movie critics - which version will their review apply to? Two thumbs up for version 6.7 of Star Trek 18. Two thumbs way down though for version 8.9.

There will be some financial formula and break point developed for this. If a movie makes 'x' amount of money and meets a few other bits of criteria they come up with, another version will be released. All of this happens now with certain movies - and I'm sure there are already formulas they use to come up with when they'll release a new version, but I think this is different. This seems as though it will be much more real-time...weeks and months between versions (and probably not too far after days - especially online). In most cases today, I think, new versions/cuts of movies come out every few years. It all sounds like an editors dream, but I think it's going to turn out bad. Maybe I'm just getting old like Joe.

This is from a Wired Q & A with Steven Soderbergh.

What's the biggest impact technology is having on filmmaking?

When the changeover from film to digital happens in theaters in five or 10 years, you're going to see name filmmakers self-distributing. Another thing that really excites me: I'd like to do multiple versions of the same film. I often do very radical cuts of my own films just to experiment, shake things up, and see if anything comes of it. I think it would be really interesting to have a movie out in release and then, just a few weeks later say, "Here's version 2.0, recut, rescored." The other version is still out there - people can see either or both. For instance, right now I know I could do two very different versions of The Good German.

By the way, I think Wired has been shelling out some cash recently for linkage or something. Over the last week I've been linked from blogs and other news sites to them.