Patrick Goldstein's column in today's L.A. Times reveals that DVD sales, like most other commodities, are in a slump, and studio execs don't know what to do about it. In recent times DVD sales have been the studios' bright spot -- even when a flick dies at the box office the studios could count on sales of those electronic discs to make up for hundreds of ridiculous projects that should never have been green-lighted.
But suddenly, no one is buying the DVD releases of all those awful movies they were duped into seeing in the theater. And, guess what? Theater attendance is up some 18 percent over this time last year. That includes box office hits, such as "Quantum of Solace," "Seven Pounds", and "Saw V."
Gosh, what do you make of that?
Perhaps it's just a case of people being a little more careful about the DVDs they buy. After all, when buying a DVD the customer obviously expects to see the film numerous times in the comfort of his living room. And, let's face it, movies like "Quantum of Solace" are pure crap, so who would want to replay it, anyway?
However, "Iron Man," a higher quality tent pole, has been selling just fine, thank you.
Here's the bottom line: In better economic times movie audiences might be willing to shell out for DVDs even if the movie is crappy, but when budgets are tight consumers are going to be a bit more discriminating about which films they put on their living room shelves. The studios have become too reliant on the international DVD market as the saving grace that would bring in a profit on the garbage that they've been producing.
So, how about this studios: Why not concentrate on making better quality films rather than making a bunch of crap that you hype the hell out of with the dire hope of making the real cash-o-la on the DVDs. Incidentally, DVDs are more attractive to studios because the stars are less able to track what money is actually earned on the discs and are therefore less likely to demand a bigger slice of the electronic profit pie.
In these uncertain economic times, studios, why not just concentrate on making better movies. Drop the hype and get into quality. We'll all be happier for it.