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With no Avatar-sized blockbuster on tap to draw viewers into theaters, the fourth quarter of 2010 is looking to be a rough one for Hollywood. BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield believes that studios may accelerate their rollout of premium video-on-demand to compensate for the downturn in box office receipts.

The box office period from December 17-26, traditionally one of the strongest of the year, was down more than 28% from the same period last year, and the Christmas weekend box office tally was off a whopping 45% from 2009.

Greenfield believes that these terrible numbers will make it difficult for studios to maintain their traditional four-month window between theatrical and home video release. Says Greenfield:

“We continue to expect multiple studios to begin trialing early-release, premium-priced VOD by late [first quarter],”

Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes believes that his studio will be able to increase its return on films with premium VOD without harming their box office grosses. Said Bewkes:

“We think we can come up with an incremental, serve-the-consumer kind of offering that does not undervalue theatrical content and the consumer view of what that value is,”

How has your movie attendance this holiday compared to that of last year, Insiders? Do you think that Hollywood will be able to boost its bottom line with swifter implementation of expensive premium VOD options?

(via Home Media Magazine)

8 Responses to “Analyst: Q4 Box Office Declines May Hasten Premium VOD Rollout”

  1. Visitor [Join Now]
    Vernon Dent [visitor]

    Bad movies = bad box office.
    Bad movies *worse* VOD no matter what the time frame for release.

  2. Visitor [Join Now]
    Firstlawofnature [visitor]

    They can slice the pie up any way they want but it ain’t getting any bigger.

  3. Visitor [Join Now]
    will [visitor]

    It won’t fly. People pay a premium to go to the movies for the experience of seeing it on a really big screen, but they won’t pay big money to see a single exhibition on their smaller screens at home. If people don’t care about the 28-day delay for rental of new release DVDs, surely they will continue to wait for $1 rentals at Redbox or all-you-can-watch monthly rental plans at Netflix. The lack of big box office releases is the fault of Hollywood not giving moviegoers what they want, not the sign of a need to further erode the theatrical window.

  4. Visitor [Join Now]
    UBM [visitor]

    I agree with Will. It’s the studios fault…they could have held some of the summer blockbusters over to Christmas ( remember when Star Trek II came out around Christmas? or Superman the Movie?)

    The studios shoot themselves in the foot trying to ramp up summer , instead of spreading out movies year round.So consumer respond in kind..go to the
    theater in the summer, and rent heavily during fall/winter.

  5. Member [Join Now]
    Alan Smithee [8traxrule]

    Theater prices are just too high, plus they charge extra on top of that for 3-D. Most of the screens at current theaters are too small to even justify those prices. They need to learn a little bit of something is better than all of nothing.

  6. Visitor [Join Now]
    pootroot [visitor]

    I have not gone to a theater since 1991 when they raised the ticket price to $3.50.