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Will the Video iPod Hasten Movie Theaters' Decline?
Friday, December 30th, 2005 at 2:45 PM - by Staff
As film critic Mick LaSalle pointed out this week in an article for the San Francisco Chronicle, box office ticket sales have been in decline for the past three years, with overall revenues down in 2005 for the first time in a decade. On the other hand, DVD sales are on the upswing, and, as Peter Howell noted in an article for the Toronto Star, the video iPod presents a new threat to Hollywood.
"We may look back on this year as the beginning of the end of movie-going as we know it," Mr. Howell wrote. While the past century offered a "magnificent ritual ... whereby film lovers congregate in dark public auditoriums to gaze upon a silver screen reflecting wondrous images," he saw "technological and cultural innovations of the past 12 months" that will turn movie watching into "a hermit's pursuit."
Mr. Howell acknowledged that the new iPod's small screen and battery life don't make it useful for watching full-length feature films, but he noted that Apple will likely improve on both features in the future. Such changes will "make it much more feasible for owners to watch a feature-length film whenever and wherever they feel like it."
"Just as the audio iPod has changed music appreciation," the writer added, "before 2006 is out, you'll be seeing people watching movies on iPods in cars, trains, restaurants and bars -- just about anywhere but in a movie theater."
To back up his claims, Mr. Howell noted two panel discussions scheduled for next month's Sundance Film Festival: "Stay-at-Home Movies: The Home Theater Experience and the Future of Exhibition" and "Going, Going, Gone? The Culture of Movie-going."
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