Okay, I’m going to give this one last shot. Regardless of whether I know what I’m doing as a filmmaker, what I do know is that in the spring of 2006 I spent two weeks at the Tribeca Film Festvial meeting with theatrical and home DVD distributors along with my sales agent, Jeff “The Dude” Dowd, the guy who sold the Coen Brother’s first film, “Blood Simple,” and they based the Jeff Bridges character, “The Dude,” in “The Big Lebowski,” on him.
Two things that Jeff said from the outset, over and over again, is that first, “home DVD is your cash cow — its the biggest revenue stream for most any movie,” and second, theatrical distribution is often a “loss leader” meaning the movie may not make its money back at the box office, but by getting it into theaters you score all the major reviews, purchase ads, get much wider media coverage, and create a general awareness that pays off later when the home DVD comes out.
These are the basic rules I was taught. And this is why I found it baffling that so many people, including P.Z. Myers, would weigh in so confidently that “Expelled” was a financial loser overall just based on the box office performance. How can you draw this conclusion? It hasn’t even come out on home DVD. I simply don’t get it.
It’s not that I’m cheering for the movie. I think the movie stinks as much as anyone else with a background in evolutionary biology. I just simply don’t understand how all these people can come to such a solid conclusion about the financial success or failure of a movie that hasn’t run it’s course. And even if they do get a ruling against them on the rights issues regarding a song or animation sequence, it only takes a day to cut those bits out. (It’s not like the movie is some finely crafted masterpiece that can’t afford to be altered)
I simply don’t understand why so many people from the science community feel compelled to draw a conclusion without any data.
Box office vs. home DVD sales: Is anyone qualified to predict the outcome?