Megawide releasing a foolish film trend - link to Hollywood Reporter article. I know I post a lot of stuff from Hollywood Reporter, but so what? I subscribe to their daily emails blasts, so I read them... and there's generally something to comment on. In this case, it's about how ridiculously greedy the studios are.
I've never really thought of or heard this term 'megawide releasing', but I'm definitely going to add it to my repertoire of things to bitch about whenever I see fit. It just goes to prove something that we all already know, the studios are greedy. First off, to preface my point on 'megawide releasing', I think we can agree that the studios aren't really making movies anymore, they're making products that are a result of market research and spoon feeding it to the public, hoping that it makes enough money to warrant a sequel. Further to that, they want to spam out this pablum to as many people as possible and I don't doubt that part of the reason they want a 'megawide release' is to simply say just how big of a release they have. However, there's another a more important reason, one that they touch on in this article, but don't really explain...
The way they explain it is that with so many widely released films coming out every weekend, you need as big a release as possible to get all those people in before they go see the other movie the next week. Let's think about that, though... you're willing to pay (potentially) millions of extra dollars in prints to make a few extra bucks on opening weekend? Why not just cut back on the releases and leave it in the theaters? Surely, someone who was planning to see it on opening weekend, but couldn't get in, would see it the next weekend or the weekend after that, right? Why wouldn't they? Well, here's why - negative word of mouth. Your 'film' is, for all intents and purposes, gunning to be average, catering to mass audiences, and it's bound to get people walking out of it saying, "it could've been better". So, you've got a multi-million dollar marketing campaign around it and you have it on as many theaters as possible... which makes it really kinda like a robbery - distract everyone, then get in and out of there as quick as possible with as much cash as possible. It's big business, they just want your money and they really don't care how good the film is.
Now, I'm not the type of guy who is opposed to big business and making money. In fact, I'm all for it. What I'm against is crappy movies... and this system breeds crappy movies. They're starting from the end and working back. They think about the audience, create a marketing plan, then make the film. How about we start with the idea, then film it, create a marketing plan around it and put it in as many screens as the market will bear? If it's good, who cares how many theaters it plays in? You should run for months on your good word of mouth and everyone will have a chance to see it. If not, I'm sure there's some good indie films that are playing in limited release or just available on DVD, having never even had a chance to run on one screen.