By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

The Cinea thing

The Hollywood Reporter tells us that Cinea finally landed one… Disney… for this year.
So far, no one else. And apparently, Universal, Sony, and Paramount have passed on the technology.
But here is where it gets interesting. With Cinea in place, Disney could be comfortable sending out all of their films (Chicken Little, Shopgirl) )almost immediately. I mean, if they could get them, they could send them out tomorrow. And within the community of people with Cinea machines, which is about 8000 strong, they would have a big competitive advantage. (Narnia, which I am sure is a key piracy protection issue for the studio, won’t be ready until late November.)
I’m sure they want Academy members to have the fun of seeing the flouncey Casanova on the big screen at the Academy. But if that shows up in the mailbox in a week or two… not in the rush of Thanksgiving DVDs… it will get watched and watched in much bigger numbers than when the crunch is on. It’s not like sending out movies from earlier in the year now. If you can see a movie that won’t officially screen until late November in early November, the wanna see factor has to be higher. And Cinea makes the move relatively safe.
On the flip side, when is Universal going to put a copy of King Kong or Munich in the mailboxes of awards voters? Will groups that give out awards in the first 15 days of January get either film? Munich is more of a delivery issue. But the pressure on Kong is similar to the pressure New Line felt on Rings… which is that piracy of quality DVDs could well have an actual multi-million effect at the box office in the first weeks of January.
Realities of the mediums suggest that a comedy like The Producers will play really well on the small screen, though a musical always sounds better in the theater and you want to hear voters hear others laughing. The film goes pretty public this week at ShowEast, so I expect it will start screening in earnest for everyone very soon. But will Universal send out a less-protected DVD of the film before Thanksgiving?

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