Is Audience Greed Good?
Variety published an article today about the strong move that Netflix is making into motion pictures, and if it is nearly as successful as their move into original TV programming, studios better watch out. The latest and perhaps the most damaging blow against release windows was struck when Netflix announced it will produce and distribute a sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, that will be released in IMAX theaters and the Netflix streaming site on the same day. The four major film exhibitors (Regal, AMC, Carmike, & Cinemark) have all said they will NOT release the film on any of their IMAX screens in solidarity for the tradtional release architecture.
For a thousand years, the belief has been that greed is good for Hollywood. Any captain of this industry has always had to be wiling to go the extra mile(s) to make an extra buck(s). Even if they don't always get what they want, simply by constantly asking for more they were starting conversations that would ultimately/ hopefully move the business forward. What I believe is happening now is we are seeing that greed spread to the audience. Studios and exhibitors hate the Crouching Tiger 2 release idea, but audiences are becoming more and more platform-agnostic. Their only concern is to be able to watch what they want, when they want, however they want. This is their greed, and we will see if their greed wrests control of the wheel and begins driving the business.