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Screener Ban Revolt Grows

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Jack Valenti and the seven dwarfs just don’t get it, and still the revolt escalates. Let them eat cake until your head rolls down the hill.

    Rarely in recent Hollywood history has there been an uprising of this magnitude over such an apparently trivial matter. But ever since the Motion Picture Association of America announced two weeks ago that studios had to stop sending out free DVDs of their movies to voters during the coming awards season, the mob has been storming the castle gates.

    ….Hundreds of movie stars, filmmakers, producers and writers have signed statements opposing the ban, among them Robert Redford, Nora Ephron, Samuel L. Jackson, Susan Sarandon, Keanu Reeves, Holly Hunter, Faye Dunaway, Francis Ford Coppola, Spike Jonze, Wes Anderson and Adrien Brody.

    The Screen Actors Guild president has officially joined what Variety called the “tsunami of opposition,” as has the Writers Guild of America, the British motion picture academy, and all the heads of Hollywood’s art-house studios, from Miramax to Fox Searchlight to Sony Pictures Classics.

    The vehemence of the response seems to have surprised both the moguls who run the larger, mainstream studios and MPAA chief Jack Valenti, who met with disgruntled art-house executives last week.

    ….Producer Ted Hope, founder of the respected independent production company Good Machine, called the screener ban “arguably the biggest movie blunder since ‘Cleopatra,’ ” in an article in Variety this week.

    “The widespread opposition to The Ban comes as no surprise, though, and is due to a number of factors: the arrogant and underhanded manner in which it was implemented, the MPAA’s failure to consider critical positive effects screeners have had on the film industry and The Ban’s failure to seriously address its purported goal of stemming piracy,” he wrote.

    ….Many observers suggested that the ban could turn out to be Valenti’s final gesture after heading the MPAA for 37 years. The industry’s 82-year-old chief lobbyist has said he is expecting to step down in the not-too-distant future. Last week he further angered opponents of the ban when he was quoted saying that people who wanted screeners were too “lazy” to go to the theater.

    In an editorial, Variety opined: “After his long and distinguished service to the film industry, it seems a shame that the contentious issue of the ban on Oscar screeners could be Jack Valenti’s lasting legacy.” [Washington Post]

Oh, the wages of hubris.

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About Eric Olsen

  • jadester

    tbh, the few (well, two) screener rips i have downloaded did not affect in either case whether i bought the film or not – in fact they were both of films i saw at the cinema first, i just wanted the chance to watch them without distraction. If i think a film is good enough to own on dvd, i’ll buy the dvd. obviously sales and offers help (e.g. i bought The Silence Of The Lambs half price with not much thought, when at full price i probably wouldn’t have) but ultimately, the film has to be worth owning on dvd. bearing in mind i have a very limited budget, i only buy those that fit into both of the following categories:
    1.are memorable films. Truly memorable. I have watched ALOT of films, i even own many VCD versions but the large majority i have only seen once and probably never will watch again. i’ve also forgotten much of them because the sad fact is there is alot of “mush” out there – films that aren’t especially bad but aren’t especially good either
    2.Are films with a style i like. I’m afraid i like violence. I like action. I absolutely love comedy

    The way i treat copying of films is, if it fits my 2 points, i’ll buy it as soon as i can. Otherwise, i wouldn’t buy it and therefore by copying it i’m only theoretically depriving the company of money. If i didn’t have the means to copy it i would simply do without.

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