Dreamworks honcho Jeffrey Katzenberg has been addressing Milken Global Conferencem taking part in a panel called Entrepreneurial Leadership in the Corporate World. This gave him plenty of license to look into his crystal ball and predict the future of the movie industry.
And what he saw was cinema in a battle with TV, or perhaps more aptly home cinema, in which the home cinema was winning.
Here’s one extraordinarily thought-through quote, as transcribed by Variety. Thought-through but not necessarily accurate.
I think the model will change and you won’t pay for the window of availability. A movie will come out and you will have 17 days, that’s exactly three weekends, which is 95% of the revenue for 98% of movies. On the 18th day, these movies will be available everywhere ubiquitously and you will pay for the size. A movie screen will be $15. A 75” TV will be $4.00. A smartphone will be $1.99.
The most succinct phrase that Variety pulled was the plain and simple:
Movies are not a growth business.
Dreamworks Animation have just now written off a big loss on their Peabody and Sherman film, and meanwhile they’re pouring lots of efforts into shorter form and smaller-screen output. Either Katzenberg is right, and is living out his prediction in realtime, or his comments may turn out to be some kind of self fulfilling prophecy.