×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

CinemaCon: Universal’s Fogelson Touts Year-Round Scheduling

Exec also pushes for narrower release windows

Addressing a longstanding complaint from theater owners, Universal Studios chairman Adam Fogelson declared that studios should mimic U’s strategy of releasing major titles all year — rather than opting for just the summer and holidays.

“There are very few reasons why almost any film can’t open any weekend,” he said during Wednesday’s “Meeting the Expectations of Today’s Savvy Moviegoer” at CinemaCon at Ceasars Palace in Las Vegas.

Fogelson said U lacks the “luxury” of having intellectual property-based films that tend to be placed in the prime summer and holiday slots — such as the “Harry Potter” and “Spider-Man” franchises. Instead, he noted Universal has seen outstanding grosses from the past two “Fast and Furious” entries, both of which opened in April with record-setting launch weekends above $70 million and $85 million respectively.

Fogelson cited 2005 horror movie “White Noise” (pictured), which opened on the first weekend in January to $24 million and went on to take in $55 million domestically. He said the only reason why films don’t open on such weekends is “historical behavior.”

Fogelson and Carmike Cinemas’ David Passman disagreed with the idea that an excess of R-rated films had held down grosses during the first quarter of this year.

Popular on Variety

“Blaming R is overly simplistic,” Fogelson said, adding that “Django Unchained” and “Ted” would have been hits had they opened in January.

The panel included producer Michael De Luca, producer of adult-themed dramas “The Social Network,” “Moneyball,” “Captain Phillips” and the upcoming “50 Shades of Grey,” set at Universal.

De Luca said studios remain reluctant to greenlight such fare. “If one drama doesn’t work, there are no dramas that year,” De Luca said. “They are dropped off the development slate.”

Fogelson also revisited the notion of narrowed release windows — despite the problems that emerged two years ago when U attempted to show “Tower Heist” to Comcast customers a mere three weeks after its theatrical release. The studio ditched the idea in the face of strong opposition from exhibitors.

“I don’t know what the answer is,” he said, adding that sliding DVD sales are making it imperative for studios to recoup that lost revenue.

Fogelson stressed that exhibitors should not fear shorter windows, under which studios could offer a premium VOD version while a film is still in theaters — because it will serve the desires of the most avid consumers.

“Viewing begets more viewing,” he said and cited NBC’s Olympic programming on multiple platforms as driving more viewers into primetime network viewing.

Passman said the exhibitors are willing to search for common ground. “We need to jointly think of a way to grow the pie.”

More Film

  • Better-Days

    Macao: Hot Bets, Short Odds And Sure Things in the 2019 IFFAM Program

    Macao may be renowned for gambling, but the 4th International Film Festival & Awards of Macao (IFFAM) features more than a few sure bets. Oscar-watchers should look out for Taika Waititi’s opening film “Jojo Rabbit”; Rupert Goold’s biopic of Judy Garland, “Judy,” which looks likely to land Renée Zellweger a best actress nomination; and Terrence [...]

  • Yao Chen in “Send Me to

    'Clouds' Director Teng Congcong on Being a Conservative Chinese Feminist

    As hot money flees the China film market and financing dries up, the romantic film genre will actually become more attractive for investors, assesses Teng Congcong, director of the recent Chinese romantic drama “Send Me To the Clouds.” “Things used to be moving in the direction of big budget blockbusters, but the financing that’s leftover [...]

  • I'm Livin' It

    Films From Macau and China Take the IFFAM Spotlight

    The fourth edition of the International Film Festival & Awards Macao (IFFAM), which opened last night (December 5) at the Macao Cultural Center, is positioned as one of the key events celebrating the 20th anniversary of the handover of the former Portuguese colony to the People’s Republic of China. Five Macanese features are among the [...]

  • Grand Isle

    Film Review: 'Grand Isle'

    A sub-Tennessee Williams potboiler triangle between restless sexpot, impotent husband, and hunky handyman ever-so-slowly congeals into a lumpy gumbo of thriller elements in “Grand Isle.” This third directorial big-screen feature for veteran Steadicam operator Stephen S. Campanelli has plenty of potential guilty-pleasure signifiers — not least being top-billed Nicolas Cage’s sixth vehicle this year — [...]

  • Nour-Eddine Lakhmari on Documentary 'Turn the

    Moroccan Director Nour-Eddine Lakhmari on Documentary 'Turn the Light On,' and New Feature

    Moroccan director Nour-Eddine Lakhmari – whose trilogy of films, “Casanegra,” “Zero” and “Burnout,” were major local hits – is completing a documentary for the Marrakech Film Festival Foundation, entitled “Turn the Light On,” about the Foundation’s medical-social campaign, that provides free cataract surgery treatment. The campaign is organized in partnership with the Ministry of Health [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content