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Franchise Withdrawal

6 Jun, 2005 By: Stephanie Prange

Wouldn't you know it — just as DVD seems to be maturing, the franchise juggernaut is running out of steam.

Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith isn't just the end of one franchise; it's a coda for several. The great “Lord of the Rings” series is played out. “Harry Potter” has a few more to go, but doesn't deliver the same excitement as the first few — mostly because the core audience is growing up quickly. The “Matrix” series went out with what some called a whimper. And the “Shrek” juggernaut has taken some hits with DreamWorks reporting lower than expected returns on the DVD for Shrek 2.

“We've been through these types of situations before over the years, and it always comes back,” noted Sony Picture Home Entertainment president Benjamin Feingold.

Certainly, but the low of the trough we're experiencing can seem even deeper after the tsunami of franchises and DVD surge that we surfed for so long.

I remember walking out of a theatrical showing of The Matrix a few years back and thinking things were looking up after the doldrums of VHS. While we've got a few more crutches to hold us up in TV DVD, UMD movies and remaining catalog, it's the box office hits that really get home entertainment moving.

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