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Fox Defends Theatrical Window

2 Dec, 2005 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Twentieth Century Fox Filmed Entertainment co-chairman James Gianopulos Thursday defended theatrical's exclusive release window while admitting the three-to-four month time frame continues to shrink.

Gianopulos, who participated in a panel discussion at the Reuters Media and Advertising Summit in New York, said eliminating the theatrical window could harm longterm growth.

"The hysteria about a momentary blip in the attendance levels [and] the fact that a mature business stops growing at double digit rates is just completely out of proportion to reality," said Gianopulos, according to a Reuters report of the event. “It is still an extremely lucrative and successful business."

The studio executive's comments appeared to be in response to Walt Disney Co. CEO Robert Iger's recent remarks that DVDs should be released day-and-date with the film's theatrical release in addition to being sold at theatres. A disappointing summer box office combined with flat DVD sales and rising video-on-demand use has prompted scuttlebutt the traditional theatrical window is becoming economically unviable.

"The amount of money we spend on marketing films is an incentive to bring windows forward," Gianopulos said. "On the other hand you never want to bring the window so far forward it impedes vitality and growth."

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