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Bang for Your (Inflated) Buck August 18, 2011

Posted by bobv451 in business, e-books, fantasy, movies, New Mexico, VIPub, writing.
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The newspaper this morning said that movie box office receipts were up 5% for the year, thanks in (almost toto) to Harry Potter, Transformers and, remarkably, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Without them and their billion dollar takes, the receipts would have been down, in spite of 3D and otherwise increased ticket prices.

The problem with all 3 is that they are franchise movies, sequels that play on prior popularity. HP is dead now, so…. There hasn’t been a single 2011 movie that launches a new franchise. And some of the franchise movies, such as Cars:2, faltered. This doesn’t bode well for future box office. Of course, there are always reboots of old movies, but the only one of those that worked (fabulously well) was Batman. And that was because of Christopher Nolan’s genius.

I saw a sneak preview of Fright Night 3D last night (movie filmed here in Abq). In its way it is a remake and sort of a reboot, but hardly a franchise movie. It was enjoyable but frankly I cannot say it would be worth 3D prices and only dollar theater prices for 2D. The exploding vampire scene was maybe the best. David Tennant as Peter Vincent worked well but I thought he was Russell Brand for a while. Colin Ferrel was kinda funny as Jerry the vampire but somehow not *that* menacing. I kept thinking about the ‘40s movies where you could tell a werewolf by the human’s eyebrows growing together. Maybe he should have been a werewolf? Imogene Poots (you know that cannot be a stage name, right?) was winsome as the love interest and Anton Yelchin did an ok job as the hero. Marti Noxon did the screenplay and it was a good one. But in its way, a movie like this reminds me of a wolf with its leg caught in a trap. Hollywood is chewing off its own leg repeatedly, over and over, redundantly remaking movies of other movies.

So, consider this. A couple hours of having vampire guts sprayed out in 3D might cost $12 (or more–NM is the Land of the Impoverished). $6/hr entertainment, a whole lot more if you spring for the $10k/ton popcorn or soda pop that costs more than gasoline by a factor of 5. Or you can buy a book. Five, six hours of reading for $5? $1/hr and you can reread it. Cost of Kindle? Less than 10 3D movie tickets. And you can d/l millions of books, a lot for free. Of course, you have cities like Detroit with 45% illiteracy (but that means 55% can read at some level, whether they read for pleasure or not.) And Liberty Media seems to have pulled out on the capital infusion to Barnes & Noble, so another brick and mortar store might bite the dust. John Malone reputedly only wanted the Nook business, anyway.

What’s working? VIPub. Go out there and corral a book or two. Price isn’t onerous, you can sample a chapter or two before buying, and if you get hooked on a series it might just continue for a very long time (without costing $250mega per installment).

I leave you with this look at Fright Night

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