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Break Out the Popcorn....

17 Jul, 2003 By: Thomas K. Arnold

I saw an incredibly entertaining movie this week, Pirates of the Caribbean. And side from the fact that director Gore Verbinski and I are both alumni of the San Diego club scene, I have to say that this type of spectacle movie will likely be the harbinger of more to come — and that's a very good thing, in my book.

I liken it to Gangs of New York — period setting, lots of action, great costumes and a defining role for a veteran actor (Daniel Day Lewis in Gangs, Johnny Depp in Pirates) — except not as dark, not as violent.

But in any event, these big, gorgeously shot spectacle movies are massively entertaining, and while they look great on the big screen they're perfectly suited to both DVD and to high-definition, which is why we're going to see what at this point is still a trickle begin to accelerate.

Films like Pirates are the New Las Vegas of the movie world, not the dingy Circus Circus or the ritzy, high-brow Bellagio, but rather the Venetian — grand and glorious, beautiful and just ever-so-slightly cheesy.

I'm going to get bold here and make two predictions:

    Come Sunday night, we're not — I repeat, NOT — going to see the significant dropoff from first-week box office proceeds that we've seen with practically all the other highly touted summer theatrical releases, including The Incredible Hulk. I don't see Pirates having a Titanic-like marathon run, but I do think the film will make nearly as much money its second week in theaters as the first.

    That said, regardless of how well Pirates does, and regardless of how long Pirates does well, we're going to see it hit video before Christmas. As one longtime video industry observer noted, “This year, there is no fifth quarter—all the summer movies will be in stores by the holidays.”

Retailers can expect to reap considerable booty from Pirates, just as exhibitors are now. I predict this will be one of those movies to score really big in theaters and on home video — a win-win that gives further fuel to my contention that this is the start of a new trend.

A real “spectacle,” if you will.

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