The box office slump. It's like this spectre hanging over Hollywood, like a big, goofy sheet ghost. Various pundits – most notably, Edward Jay Epstein of Slate – have opined that the only way to solve the problem is to close the window: make films available for home viewing shortly after, or even at the same time as, their theatrical release. But now one major Hollywood filmmaker has announced that if the studios shorten the window, he's jumping out. Speaking at ShowEast this week, M. Night Shyamalan blasted the owners of second-tier distribution models for chasing the cash. "It's greed. It's heartless and soulless and disrespectful," says the Artist Often Referred to as Night. "And of course, cable companies are behind it, and internet companies. They need their product. But they have to wait their turn. Wait for the thing to finish its life."

Some say that the major turning point in the window wars was Steven Soderbergh's deal with Mark Cuban and 2929 Entertainment, through which the Oscar winner will produce six films on High Def video for simultaneous three-platform release. Though Night's claim that "If you inspire audiences, cinemas will be packed" seems a little Pollyannaish, the Cuban/Soderbergh plan is going to take awhile to prove itself. I liked Bubble, but it doesn't strike me as the most commercial film; in fact, it's probably the least marketable thing Soderbergh has worked on in awhile. We actually probably need films like Shyamalan's to test the simultaneous release model. Or, at the very least, Ocean's 13.
categories Movies, Cinematical