How to save the movie industry! Guaranteed to work!

theis.jpgIn Slate, Edward Jay Epstein examines the fate of the failed summer tentpole ‘The Island,’ arguing, essentially, that it bombed because it wasn’t a remake and thus lacked built-in brand appeal. Of course, now that ‘The Island’ has been released, logic dictates that it’s ripe for a remake.

So here’s my formula for how to save the theatrical exhibition business: address the shrinking DVD window by pinning the theatrical release of the remakes of crappy movies with the home video release of the original.

For instance, ‘The Island’ opened on July 22nd. As Joe Roth pointed out on ‘Charlie Rose’ the other night, if DVD releases were within a 30-day window of a movie’s theatrical debut, then the two marketing campaigns could be more or less combined, thus dramatically reducing promotional costs. Simultaneously, brand awareness of the movie is at an all-time high in the weeks after a release, which means that audiences are hungry for the remake.

So if Dreamworks had released ‘The Island’ theatrically on July 22nd, the DVD on August 24th, and then got ‘The Island’ remake into theaters on August 27th, it would have been huge! Of course they’d have to shoot the remake more or less simultaneously with the original version, but, hey, Hollywood rewards risk-takers.