Can the Film Industry learn from Modern Warfare 3?

After shifting 6.5 million copies in 24 hours, Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 earned $400 million in sales, smashing records for a single day release of any entertainment product. The question is can the film industry learn from the success of the gaming industry?

The gaming industry has crossed over to cinema turning towards ‘Hollywood’ style marketing campaigns to promote new game releases. With ‘epic’ trailers, and superb sound design, trailers for video games are becoming a big viral phenomenon to spread the word, and get people excited about new games.

Modern Warfare 3 Trailer

Hollywood studios have long used trailers as a means to promote their big releases, but why is it that no movie has ever grossed $400 million in one day? One thing’s for sure; the price of a game is roughly 3-5 times more than a movie ticket. However, the experience of a game lasts much longer than a 2-hour film. So in terms of product duration, games are always going to exceed the running user time of a film.

However, could we not envisage an immersive experience for film releases that brings the value and hype up to a new level to warrant a higher price? Going to the cinema is an outing for friends and family, but tickets remain below the price of a physical DVD or Bluray. Why would you want to spend more than the actual product when you could just buy it and skip the cinema?

3D has come closer to that reality, but charging too high a price for a movie ticket has put audiences off, and a slate of bad releases, according to DreamWorks Animation CEO, has done damage to the brand of 3D. Although 3D provides a new interactive experience, you are still getting the same value: a 2-hour movie that happens to have more of a visual ‘wow’.

So is there really any way for Hollywood to achieve the same success with movie releases? Perhaps. Digital sales could boost profitability on day 1 of release.

Here’s how:

People wishing to go to the cinema can check out the screening on the very day, but those who wish to stay at home could pay a ‘premium’ price to get a digital download (more than a DVD or a movie ticket). With the rise of home cinemas, audiences could share the box office experience in their own living room, which could boost box office revenues for studios and reduce losses to digital piracy.

The flip side to this is that digital copies would be available on the web and box office takings would fall. If there was a better way to control digital sales and piracy, this kind of ‘premium’ digital downloading could be rolled out as an alternative to the cinema.

In the end its only a matter of time before audiences fully embrace digital downloads, and the tangible product of a DVD or Bluray disappears.

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