Monday, September 22, 2008

Entertainment Weekly Hates Me

How out of touch with the real world is Entertainment Weekly Magazine?

Last month Paramount announced they were forming a new division to make D-2-DVD movies. That means almost every major studio is now focusing on the very profitable direct to DVD market. Universal released a DVD original SCORPION KING sequel to coincide with the MUMMY 3 hitting cinemas (and the DVD did better than the theatrical!)... and they keep cranking out AMERICAN PIE sequels every couple of months. Warner Bros has a D2DVD horror label, but since horror is beginning to soften, maybe they’ll come up with another label for action and comedy and thriller DVD premieres. The big daddy of D2DVD is Sony, which seems to be actively working on sequels to everything in the Columbia, Tri-Star and MGM libraries for the D2DVD pipeline. Fox *claims* they have a direct to DVD division, but where are the films? They seem to make a film a year - at best - and ignore outside producers. This is big business folks! Get with the program!

As your local Blockbuster is flooded with these new studio made direct to DVD titles, and Netflix buys truckloads of titles to ship to consumers who need to know how that Scorpion King guy got his start; Entertainment Weekly Magazine has gone through a redesign... dropping the DVD section completely. Now, a handful of DVD reviews are included in both the Movies section and the TV section. So when DARK KNIGHT hits DVD, it will be in a sidebar in the movie section. When the new season of THE OFFICE hits DVD, it will be noted in the TV section of the magazine. But when all of these new studio made direct to DVD movies come out? There is no place in the magazine for them anymore.

I have no idea why they made this decision. They must read the trades, too - and know that all of the studios are ramping up production of direct to DVD movies... Have they just decided not to review them? Not even to acknowledge them?

You may think this might be a quality issue - but some of these studio projects have budgets equal to or sometimes even larger than a low budget theatrical film. One of the reasons why the studios are making sequels to their library titles as D2DVDs is that the cost of *advertizing* a theatrical movie is $35.9 million (average). You read that right. Sometimes the cost of getting the butts in cinema seats is more than the cost of making the film! So skipping the cinemas is a way to make money. DVDs make something like 3-4 times cinema box office on DVD, and a big chunk of the DVD market are things that have never been shown on a cinema screen. By making D2DVD sequels to popular films, the studios believe the original film works as the advertizing for the sequel.

So you’re walking through Blockbuster looking for a rental, or you’re in Best Buy looking for a DVD to buy, and you want to know - is the new AMERICAN PIE movie any good? How about that GET SMART spin off that was a DVD original? How about SCORPION KING 2? The new LOST BOYS movie? ART OF WAR 2 - is it better than the first one? There is no way to find the answers in Entertainment Weekly. There is no section for these films... And SCORPION KING 2 was the #1 rental in the United States! LOST BOYS 2 and ART OF WAR 2 were in the top ten!

So there is an audience for these films... and that audience can’t read reviews or get *any* information in Entertainment Weekly Magazine. They don't even have a Top Rental Chart or Top DVD Sales Chart - it is as if DVDs did not exist! Why did they get rid of DVDs at the very time *studios* are making more original movies?

Write ‘em and ask: Where are the DVD original movie reviews in the magazine?
Entertainment Weekly's e-mail

- Bill


Scott said...

Maybe, Bill, the studios do not want reviews of their direct to DVD movies. Think about it: the main point of reference for them would be the original movie. They liked that, they might like the sequel. If there are reviews of the movies (and lets face it, most of them would get pretty bad reviews) then the audience would not rent them as much.

I am not saying the studios control EW, but they would not be sad about it.

wcmartell said...

You may have noticed that most movies that end up in cinemas aren't very good either - the current issue is filled with Cs and Ds... it's that time of year.

And they also have reviews of HOLE IN THE WALL and *articles* about WIPE OUT.

Of course EW is owned by the folks who own Warner Bros.

- Bill

Scott said...

Hey, I am with you Bill, they should put them in. And being owned by WB did not seem to do them much favours when they came out with their fall movie preview, which was ruined when HP was moved back.

Anonymous said...

I cancelled my subscription right after the first "new look" issue because THEY SUCK now. It is a pale watered down fluffy version of itself now

Anonymous said...

>"*advertizing* a theatrical movie is $35.9 million (average)."

My guess is that that's the reason, right there. $35 million buys a lot of ads in EW. Whereas, in regards to D-2-DVD:

>"the original film works as the advertizing for the sequel."

which doesn't buy as many ads.

My 2 cents - Mark

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