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Q&A: Following a film, from big screen to small

Movies' path, from release to TV

Can you please explain the cycle a movie goes through from the time it is released in theaters until it is shown on network TV? Is it movie theater, pay on demand, DVD, then television? And what's the time between each of these? Why is It that no major networks show movies anymore?

We turned to our in-house movie expert, Tampa Bay Times movie critic Steve Persall, for help with this one. He writes:

"Major networks (NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox) rarely broadcast movies these days since there are dozens of cable movie channels showing them commercial-free, which has proven to be much more appealing to viewers. It was an expensive proposition for networks to buy the rights to show movies just a few times, anyway.

"The rare exceptions are traditional classics that HBO, Showtime and the rest won't bother with, like holiday broadcasts of The Ten Commandments and It's a Wonderful Life. There are also mid-sized cable channels (TBS, TNT, USA) broadcasting perennials like The Wizard of Oz and occasional Hollywood blockbusters.

"As far as the timeline from theater to television, there is approximately a three-month gap between the time a movie is played out in theaters (first-run, not discount theaters), and it appears on home video in some kind of format, typically DVDs.

"That 'window,' as it's known in the industry, is shrinking, and theater owners aren't happy about that. Hollywood is edging toward simultaneous releases in theaters and on-demand channels, experimenting with small, independently produced films like Bachelorette and Melancholia, and doing promising business in theaters and homes.

"Typically, however, the order is: theaters for three months, then DVDs, on-demand and paid downloads (since the studio keeps more of the money), then outlets like Netflix, Blockbuster and Redbox, and finally cable TV movie channels, around six months after the movie debuts in theaters."

Why Neil Armstrong?

How was Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong chosen to be the first man to step on the moon?

Armstrong was the commander of Apollo 11, which put him in line to be the first man to walk on the moon on July 20, 1969, the New York Times reported after he died Aug. 25 at age 82. NBC News space analyst James Oberg wrote: "Armstrong wound up as commander of Apollo 11 through his methodical progression of backup and primary crew assignments throughout the Gemini and early Apollo program. Nobody knew when he entered that flow how many Apollo missions would be needed before the actual first landing attempt."

Armstrong also was the backup commander on Apollo 8, which was the first flight to circumnavigate the moon in December 1968.

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Q&A: Following a film, from big screen to small 10/01/12 [Last modified: Monday, October 1, 2012 5:37pm]
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