George Lucas gave a rare, in-depth interview to The Hollywood Reporter last weekend, in which he liberally parcelled out his views on the future of motion picture techology. Some highlights:
- The window must be collapsed. "I think it'll happen— it'll have to happen... because of piracy. It's the only way you can stop piracy; there is no other way...It won't be DVDs—DVDs aren't going to be around too much longer. If you can get it at home for $2, then why would you go on the street and get a bad version?"
- iTunes will keep the home entertainment industry alive. "Pay-per-view [will replace DVD]. It's the way kids do it today. It's how you do it on your iPod: They just download it. You pay 99 cents for music, and movies will be like two bucks. That will definitely change the economics of the business because (studios) are losing money now."
- American movies are too expensive. "The average [Hollywood budget] is something like $60 million, [but] the average cost of making a movie in Europe is $3.5 million. That's the way things are really competing. I think the American film industry is going to become like the rest of the world -- and people won't get paid as much."
- Movie theaters don't matter... "For studios, the fact is that the theatrical film market is less than 10% of their business -- it's very, very small. I mean, you could chop that off in a second, and it wouldn't even bother them -- they're just doing it as a promotional thing."
- ...but they're not going anywere. "I don't think the theatrical exhibition business will go away because I think people will always want to go to the movies, just as they go to the opera, they go to the ballet, and they go to football games. Football is a perfect example, where you can stay at home and watch it in the comfort of your own home and see a much better presentation, but people still sit out in the cold and cheer."