3 Dramatic Ideas for the Movie Industry from a Broadway Producer.
Here’s something I never thought I’d say . . . thank God I don’t produce movies.
Why sure, sure, the theater ain’t no producin’ picnic, but . . . well, let me just ask you this . . . when was the last time YOU went to a movie? Seriously, how many movies did you go to in the last 12 months? And how many movies did you go to in a 12 month period 10 years ago?
That’s what I thought.
The very thing that makes movies so profitable – only having to “make it” once and then monetize it forever – has made it less rare and therefore, less valuable. Anyone can make a movie . . . anyone can start a streaming platform . . . and with the high quality of TV technology . . . not to mention the high-quality free TV programs, is it any surprise that people stay home and pop their own popcorn?
This challenge led the NY Times to ask some of the top filmmakers if the movie industry can even survive the next ten years, You can find their answers here.
Certainly, Hollywood will survive, it will just look a lot different than it does now. The same way the music industry had to reinvent itself fifteen years ago when Napster and Limewire disrupted the world (remember those platforms?).
But the movie industry is going to have to shake it up, not stir it up. . . so I thought I’d offer three ideas on how to bring audiences back to the movies.
- Release a film in one theater at a time.
Do you know why Broadway is so hot right now? Because when there’s a hit show, you can only get it in one place. And that scarcity drives up prices.
So, why not try it with a film? Put it in NYC. Put it in Chicago. LA. And nowhere else. Make it rare. Which will make it valuable.
Now, studios, this is going to @#$% with your business model like crazy. Because you can’t make a $100mm film this way . . . just like we can’t make a $100mm musical (as Spider-Man proved). The answer is . . . DON’T make $100mm movies. Slimming your business model will force you to slim your budgets, which have gotten out of control anyway. And that’s coming from a Broadway producer who makes less when producing a show than most of my vendors!
- Give it away for free.
The current Hollywood model is all about trying to get the biggest gross on opening weekend as possible. How’s that working out for you, folks? Time to flip it on its head. Try giving it away on opening or that first weekend to generate so much word of mouth it gets more people talking than any amount of advertising could. And hey, make the theaters give you a deal for doing it this way . . . because they’re going to sell a @#$% ton more popcorn.
- Forget theaters. Stream it on THIS.
No, I’m not going to say Netflix. I’m not going to say Hulu. Or Amazon.
Stream it on your OWN site. That’s right, give it away, or charge a few bucks, but make people sign on to YOUR website to do it. Get that data (which is worth bucket loads of $$$). Get that contact info. All of which will allow you to market your next film much more easily.
Movies, Broadway, and Book Publishing are similar industries. Our “products” are all sold through 3rd party providers (Telecharge, Fandango, Amazon, etc.). When we give our customers to another party, we lose massive amounts of power.
Maybe it’s time we all try to take it back.
The movie industry has already been disrupted . . . and it still hasn’t found its way through yet (except by licensing their IP to Broadway Producers). And yeah, I’m predicting we’ll see a lot of empty movie theaters in the next ten years.
The good news?
Maybe we’ll be able to turn them into real theaters.
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Are you interested in getting rights to a project from the movie studios? I’ve got reps from all the biggies coming to the SuperConference to give you tips and tricks on how to do just that. Click here and get your ticket now, before the price goes up on August 31st!
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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.