Sunday, February 1, 2009


An unabashed expression of joy from witnessing the misfortunes of others.

If something bad is going to happen in your life, it’s going to be this reject month of the calendar. February sucks, and for those of us who can remember when Lincoln’s birthday and Washington’s birthday were two separate holidays, know that nothing is safe from the ravaging misfortune that this month shall visit upon those of whom fate has deemed worthy of punishment. There is of course, an upshot to all of this, and that is every once in a while, you get to escape unnoticed and watch these horrible things happen to someone else. With the month of darkness only 24 hours old, there has already been an abundance of schadenfreude (thought it seems that it would have its genesis in the previous month, but lets not get all wiki-nerd about dates and shit).

First entry, very a unprofessional piece (No, really. This is not going to have any kind of relevance to actual industry topics and will be written in the style of a retarded 11th grader. If you’d prefer the regular dry and uninteresting banter that this blog has come to embody, skip to the next color).

Someone Set Us Up the Baum. Or, karma is a bitch. For so many years the walking pimple of the internet Eric Bauman of Ebaum’s World has made money off of other people’s work with his little tag and watermark. For years the virus riddled poorly run website supplied n00bs with cheap thrills until they learned that only n00bs go to Ebaums World and then quickly jumped ship like rats on the Titanic. If you actually know nothing about what I am talking about - you fail the internet. To avoid the criminal penalties as such, please inform yourself by watching this fine documentary film. (Links to Youtube).

Now I am not opposed to shamelessly making money by breaking the unwritten rules of the internet, but only if it’s me. This guy makes the mistake of taking some .com investor money a while back, and now he and that site are now a footnote of a footnote in the great economic collapse of the Bush years. Ebaum being fired from Ebaum is such a nice thing to find out, but then to see the little jerk try to rise from the ashes with some Tuvalu hosted (that means .tv) forum for expressing his butt-hurt lowers your cholesterol just be reading it. It just shows how things come back to get you in the end if you are a dickwad (although that’s not really true at all if you do the math).

It’s not a problem until it happens to you. Or, Poor baby. (Article)
Big name studios get all boo-hoo over DVD profit margins being too low, after forcing prices into the crapper in the first place. It is simply amazing but not at all unexpected that every American industry under the sun which has a publicly traded company or two in it, is now banging on the door of the U.S. Government with their hands out asking for bailout money. Enter the elephant in the room of the movie business into the equation: Movies don’t make the same amount of money as they used to.
  • Rather than rightfully placing the blame for this on the fact that all of cinema from America and the world hit the market almost all at once in such a new format, meaning sales of DVD titles were never going to even sustain a plateau at such levels.
  • Rather than rightfully placing the blame for this on the fact that this massive dumping of movies and TV into the market would force prices to stabilize at an incredibly low level. Only to be jacked up at whiplash speed thanks to price minimums.
  • Rather than rightfully placing the blame for this on the fact that Hollywood movies suck, and now have to compete with TV and world cinema at the exact same price.
  • Rather than rightfully placing the blame for this on a distribution and retail system gone wildly out of control.
The industry has hired a bunch of professional winers analysts to tell government and the news media, that it’s the fault of Netflix and you the consumer. Yes, the same flawed logic that lead our primitive ancestors to believe the earth was flat, is being employed to bolster the notion that every time Netflix rents a movie, it’s a lost DVD sale for a studio. Yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking only renting the special extended edition of Critters 2... now what am I going to put on my DVD shelf? What makes the situation worse for the industry is actually Blue Ray. This format hit just a bit too early, trying to capitalize on DVD momentum, but instead ended up on stage right when the market’s collective buyer’s remorse started kicking in. Not only has this new format created some resentment amongst consumers by creating the feeling that now they have to buy the same movies again on this format, but lack of affordable players have caused a slow down with many consumers simply telling themselves “I’ll buy it when I get a Blu Ray machine” about currently released standard DVDs. Finally, add to this the fact that international markets don’t sell crap compared to the U.S., and the studios have no way to maintain the massive upshot of sales with the hookers and blow at the yearly sales conferences and all that (actually I never saw hookers and blow at these things but I did once drink moonshine out of a jar and eat pulled pork in the shape of Dumbo at a show in Nashville once). These corporations have to realize that such a level of sales are never sustainable, and the correct business strategy is to plan for such things, not to plan on such things.

There are imaginable but not yet attainable ways out of this, one of the most impending of which seems that in the future, the studios will cut out the middleman. That’s right, Circuit City was just the beginning, and soon even Best Buy and the biggest of the big DVD sellers Wal Mart will eventually no longer bump up DVD prices to twice of what they really should be, while at the same time putting studios in danger of financial ruin from the dreaded “return.” It’s not there yet, but eventually movies will be sold directly by the studios to the customers. Welcome this, for it is your new god.

Now I’d be in favor of a government bailout if it meant it spread in such a way as to go into development of an infrastructure for digital film delivery or direct studio to consumer sales, and also go into funding of original films (no remakes, franchises, or otherwise shitty regurgitations), not because of some artistic integrity bullcrap, but so that the bailout money doesn’t just get funneled back into the same broken system that says it needs bailing out in the first place.

However, since the first industry to get a bailout was also the first to ruin it for everyone else by giving out billions in bonuses and trying to sneak $70million corporate jets through the back door, I doubt the U.S. congress (some members of which actually believe the earth is only 6,000 years old) is going to feel like bailing out Hollywood producer types like the Weinsteins or Eisners. So better grab that copy of “Critters 2” on DVD, since like the Hummer and the no money down McMansion, it’s going extinct.


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