brad pitt

Yesterday, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas came down from their respective perches atop Mount Olympus and a huge pile of Disney Dollars to tell us all how the movie industry’s comeuppance was about to come: progressive pricing that would place a premium on big damn summer fare while squeezing smaller films out into the box office ghetto.

Coincidentally enough, today we’re getting a chance to sorta see what that looks like with Paramount’s World War Z Mega Ticket “Deal”. What does the mega deal get you? Well, according to Deadline, the $50 Mega Ticket includes:

[A]dmission to the June 19 3D showing of the flick, a download or stream of the film when it’s released on home video, custom 3D glasses, a limited-edition official movie poster and a small popcorn. […] The offer is good at megaplexes in Irvine, San Diego, Houston, Atlanta and Philadelphia.

Now, if you had already planned on seeing World War Z, you have a burning need for the above mentioned baubles, and you feel like that really is a value, then go nuts. But for people to think that this is a step toward the future that Spielberg and Lucas predicted, well, that’s hard to believe.

For one thing, the value of advanced screenings for the studios comes from word of mouth and buzz. That’s why such passes are often given away: the studios want to make the viewer (and potential viral marketing sleeper agent) comfortable with as little investment to justify as possible. That’s partly why some members of the press get into advanced screenings as well.

If you pay $50 to see World War Z early, that experience needs to justify that cost — moreso than if you had shelled out $10 bucks or seen it for free, because now your investment is much more than mere time or a few bucks and now it can be held accountable.

brad pitt

Put it this way: if I go to a fast food place and my burger is rubbery and tasteless, I’m going to be displeased. If I go to a nice restaurant and get a $50 steak that is equally rubbery and tasteless, I’m going to be pissed, I’m going to complain, and I’m going to let people know about it the experience.

Is Paramount sure that they’re offering up a $50 steak that is worth the price? For their sake, I hope so, but in light of the chatter surrounding World War Z, with stories about a set in chaos, re-writes, and no planned ending, well… it seems like Paramount could have used all the good buzz and word of mouth that they could get.

To the larger point, with regard to the theory about progressive ticketing, — and Luke did a nice job talking about that last night — I’d add that the embrace of that new model would have to assume that theater owners had suddenly become eager to be complicit in their own destruction, because I can’t imagine the National Association of Theater Owners fighting such a shift with any less ferocity than they have in the fight against smaller theatrical to home release windows ( a fight to keep the theater experience away from extinction).

Why is that? Well, the economics of the situation boil down to this: theater’s make a ton of their money on concessions, not the movie tickets themselves. What is required for concession sales? People, and if packages like this or progressive pricing become commonplace, it would price out a large segment of the market, because for most of us, this is a time of “No fucking around” when it comes to our finances, a time when the weighty line between the black and red of a budget jumps right off the kitchen table to crawl up our guts before sliding across our necks.

People can barely afford the cost of a standard ticket right now, let alone some ratcheted up price, and so while we shouldn’t hold our breaths for a break or mercy, we should be confident that for as long as the studio’s need to appease theater owners (and they will until such a time as our infrastructure can promise as impactful and lucrative a VOD release as the present model offers for theatrical releases), we won’t have to worry about progressive pricing being anything more than an annoying gimmick. A gimmick that, for now, only faintly threatens the magical and communal nature of seeing a movie in a packed theater and irreplaceable signature experiences like IMAX, the Alamo Drafthouse, the dying drive in, the reRun theater in Brooklyn, and several others.

Source: Deadline

Looks like the world eater known as Disney may be setting it’s sights on another license — the BlueSkyDisney blog is reporting that the Star Wars comic book license will leave Dark Horse Comics at the end of it’s present deal and return to Marvel Comics, a Disney owned company.

BlueSkyDisney — which was called “rather reliable” in Bleeding Cool‘s report about the possible switch– went on to say that:

The stories that Dark Horse have coming down the pipeline will be the last. And you can expect anything new from Marvel dealing with Star Wars to arrive around 2015.


A request for a comment on this rumor from Dark Horse Comics was not immediately returned, but we’ll be sure to update this story if we hear back.

As for the past, Dark Horse President Mike Richardson spoke about the future of the Star Wars franchise at Dark Horse to CBR at the end of October when Disney bought Lucas Film:

“Dark Horse and LucasFilm have a strong partnership which spans over 20 years, and has produced multiple characters and story lines which are now part of the Star Wars lore,” said Richardson. “‘Star Wars’ will be with us for the near future. Obviously, this deal changes the landscape, so we’ll all have to see what it means for the future.”

Confident, but certainly not definitive.


On paper, Disney’s move makes sense in a post Lucas Film/Disney… world: now they can use their comic division (Marvel) to help promote the upcoming slate of Star Wars films. That likely means prequel comics that may be used to introduce new characters prior to their on-screen debuts, tie ins, and a cross promotional bonanza. (more…)

Less than a week after the bombshell announcement of Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm, it seems that the House of Mouse is still in the mood to buy, and they may be shopping in the toy aisle.

The rumor du jour is that Disney has opened negotiations to buy Hasbro, the largest toy and game company in the world. Under the Hasbro banner are numerous billion-dollar franchise brands like Transformers, G.I. Joe, Monopoly, Nerf, Beyblade, Magic: The Gathering, and Dungeons & Dragons. Over the years, Hasbro itself has absorbed other toy companies like Parker Brothers, Kenner, Tonka, Milton Bradley, and Wizards of the Coast, so I guess with no more toy companies to monopolize, their only choice left is to be absorbed by another monopoly.

Sound implausible? If there are negotiations, they’ve only just gotten underway, but it reportedly only took six months for Disney and Lucasfilm to come to an agreement. The move would make sense for Disney, as Hasbro does produce the Star Wars line of action figures, plus they’d get access to hundreds of characters and licenses that could add billions to their coffers, and not just the obvious ones like Optimus Prime and Cobra Commander. Might Cabbage-Patch Kids, Mr Potato Head and My Little Pony soon become permanent parts of the Disney world? Time will tell.

I know we joke about Disney taking over the world, but it seems that the entire enterprise is no joke to the people in charge: Disney means to take over the world. Or at least the nerd parts.

We’ll keep you posted with developments.



Bruce Wayne may be the greatest business man alive. Wayne Industries is  effectively an infinite money supply, despite its CEO frequently  going missing or turning up sleep-deprived and with more bruising than a rugby team after a minor bus crash. There’s also the minor matter of  the frequent and literal hostile takeover attempts . Any company which  can continue to exist, never mind make a profit, under those  circumstances must be very well led. So what would Bruce Wayne tell  anyone getting a business degree?