The Crimson White

Film industry finds profits in re-release trend

Adam Greene

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A lawyer by the name of Clarence Darrow once said, “History repeats itself, and that’s one of the things that’s wrong with history.” However, Hollywood seems to disagree.

At the date of this publication, movie theaters across the nation, including the Cobb Hollywood 16 Cinemas in Tuscaloosa, are showing “Raiders of the Lost Ark: The IMAX Experience,” which is the original “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark” simply adapted to the IMAX format.

This seems to have become a new trend in Hollywood, as just a few months ago, “Titanic 3-D” premiered, a 3-D re-release of James Cameron’s 1997 film. I cannot help but wonder why, in our world of 3-D televisions and Blu-Ray movies, the film industry is choosing to premiere movies in theaters that have already been available on DVD for years. I believe the answer is, in short, profit.

After all, before James Cameron’s “Avatar” came around, the highest-grossing film of all time, not adjusted for inflation, was “Titanic.” People will pay to see a well-received film on the silver screen when it becomes available again in that über-cinematic environment, as proved by the $944 million that “Titanic 3-D” grossed worldwide.

The industry has taken note of that and understands that successful re-releases mean easy money for the studios, advertisers and everyone else involved with the making of the original film. In a time of tighter budgets for everyone in the film industry, if people are willing to pay for a second release, why wouldn’t studios take advantage of that?

While not everyone may enjoy the fact that Hollywood is making money from reintroducing its older films, I think that it is an enjoyable trend. It reminds me of how my parents told me the cinema used to work, before DVD and VHS, when movies were released in theaters and that was all, unless the film was lucky enough to be screened on television or re-released for moviegoers.

There is a quality of agelessness, a sort of backstroke in time, in returning to the theater to experience a film again as it was during the first viewing. After all, the ultimate goal of a movie is to entertain. If it can bring in audiences a second time in theaters, why not screen it again? Of course, only certain types of films could get away with that tactic. I seriously doubt that run-of-the-mill movies would bring in a large profit the second time, but it is quite another story with the blockbusters. “Indiana Jones,” “Star Wars” or any of the Disney/Pixar films would certainly draw larger crowds due to the caliber of the films.

The re-release trend is definitely a fascinating concept to consider, and I think it is a positive shift in the world of film. After all, there is no comparison between watching the theater screen versus watching a movie at home, just as there is no comparison between using headphones versus listening to IMAX audio. As long as people are willing to pay and still get the enjoyment that the cinema can bring for a second round, then the film industry is smart to understand that history repeating itself isn’t necessarily always a bad thing.

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Film industry finds profits in re-release trend