business news in context, analysis with attitude

Advertising Age reports that even as Hollywood suffers one of its worst-ever slumps at the box office this summer, there also has been a corresponding decline in DVD sales.

Perhaps the biggest surprise – and an indicator of just how serious the problem is – was when “Shrek 2” sold only 35 million DVDs, and not the 55 million that had been expected.

DVD sales can account for as much as 60 percent of a film’s total revenue.

However, the fourth quarter of 2005 – when films such as “Batman Begins” and “Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith” come out on DVD – is expected to be better times for the movie business.
KC's View:
Sometimes it is hard to figure out exactly what moviegoers are thinking.

On the one hand, we understand why movie ticket sales are off this summer…it’s because there are a lot of lousy movies out there. (Though we still can’t figure out why nobody went to see “Cinderella Man.”) But why people bought fewer copies of “Shrek 2” and “The Incredibles” (two really good movies that we have in our library) than expected – well, that’s hard to figure.

Maybe, in the age of Netflix, people simply don’t feel the need to own copies of movies as much as they used to. As we move quickly toward the popularizing of technology that will allow people to download movies off the Internet, this will occur even more.

But we do. We love having a library of films as much as we love having a library of books. Today, for example, Clint Eastwood’s fabulous “Million Dollar Baby” comes out on DVD, and we plan on picking it up.

The other great thing that DVDs do is allow us to build a library of favorite films from the past – not just “Citizen Kane” and “Casablanca” and “Raging Bull,” but also under-appreciated gems not often seen.

Recently, for example, we picked up a copy of one of Burt Reynolds’ best movies, the rarely seen “Starting Over,” which has aged surprisingly well.

And today, a terrific Gene Hackman movie from 1975 comes out on DVD – “Night Moves,” a private eye thriller directed by Arthur Penn. Great stuff, and we can’t wait to see it again for the first time in years.

But we digress...