Piracy affects the smaller films the most. The blockbusters have no right to complain about piracy when they make the money that they make and it is infact the independent and smaller budget films, which are most vulnerable to piracy having a negative effect. These smaller films don’t get wide releases, aren’t available at any near cinemas and therefore if people wish to see them, they will turn to the Internet. If people were given the choice of downloading a high quality, legal version of the film on their computers for a reasonable price, I have no doubt that many would do it. A lot of this piracy may just be pure law breaking by people who have no intention of paying for a film, however in offering people a high quality version of a film when it is released, you are offering more of an attraction and alternative away from piracy, whilst also allowing them the freedom to choose when and where they view your film.
Most pirate copies of films are terrible quality anyway, people downloading or not downloading, want to watch films in good quality. Therefore through day and date, you beat the pirates to the punch, make camcorder copies of films that float around online worthless and give those who do not wish to see the film at the cinema, or cannot see the film at a cinema, a more legal, higher quality alternative, that in no way damages the potential profits of your film. It really is a win win situation for the studios as whether people want to watch their latest release in the cinema or at home, they are paying for it. Rather than having them pay for one way to see the film at one time (Either at the cinema, or on DVD) they are giving them all the options at the same time. The DVD/Blu-Ray market would flourish as a result and therefore home film viewing becomes much more profitable.
Now of course the ones who are most hurt by day and date are not the consumers, not the studios but the cinemas. With day and date there will of course be less incentive for people to go to the cinema. However this does not mean the end of the cinematic experience, it will in fact mean an improvement of it. Under day and date, those at the cinema are people who want to be at the cinema, who want to view the film in that way and have paid for the film in that way, behaviour will be golden. There will be no loud talking, shouting, texting or any other activities, which can ruin the viewing of films; people will be there because they want to be there.
As Mark Kermode rightly points out, under day and date, the cinemas that will survive are the cinemas that offer customers value for their money and an enjoyable experience. No longer will we have sloppy presentations of film, sticky floors and seats and be able to hear Footloose while you’re trying to watch Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy...cinemas will raise their game because they will have no other choice if they want to survive.
What cinemas sometimes fail to recognize as well, is that they drive people towards piracy. Going to the cinema is becoming more and more expensive and less and less enjoyable. If somebody paid a large amount of money for an experience, which was ruined by talking, poor projection, sticky seats etc., would they seriously pay for that experience again, when there is a significantly cheaper, more enjoyable alternative? The current state of cinema management in certain countries is driving people towards piracy more than anything else. Day and date would change that, cinemas would realize they have to be worthy of their customers and change their game.
It is a movement that may never be embraced because of the fear it would strike in the heart of cinema owners, however it is one that could at least give significant opposition to piracy and improve going to the cinema...isn’t that what everybody involved in film wants? Perhaps this movement would lead to a proper and deserved push of the IMAX format, offering a true big screen, unlike anything you can see anywhere else experience to customers. In my eyes, as long as all cinemas don’t wipe off the face of the earth (Which they won’t as even under this movement loads of people will still want to go to the cinema) then this release strategy has nothing but positive elements.
If we are serious about combating piracy and making going to the cinema a better experience then we have to seriously consider day and date.
What do you think? Do you agree that cinemas themselves contribute towards piracy? Do you believe that day and date would discourage people from piracy? And encourage cinemas to improve the experience they offer? Or do you fear that the movement could end going to the cinema completely? Do you think that piracy would still flourish?
By Movie Parliament Prime Minister,