Saturday, April 08, 2006

Halt Global Warming. Stop Making Movies.

This is off-topic, but somewhat timely...

Global warming has become has become the cause celebre amongst, well, celebrities. What’s the single best way for Hollywood to decrease greenhouse gases? Buy more Prius hybrids? Nope. Stop making movies.

The MPAA reports paid theatrical receipts of $8.99 billion in 2005, at an average ticket price of $6.41. Dividing ticket price into receipts you get 1.4 billion people who attended movies. How did they get to the theatre? For the most part, they drove, let’s say in a average group of 3 to a car. That means that 468,000,000 car trips were made going to the movies. The average passenger car gets about 22 miles to the gallon. Lets assume the average trip to and from the theatre totals 4 miles.

468 million car trips multiplied by 4 miles per trip equals 1.87 billion miles driven getting to the theatre. Divide that 1.87 billion miles by 22 miles to the gallon and you get a total of about 85 million gallons of gas burned by the simple activity of going to the movies. It takes 4.4 million barrels of oil to produce that much gas. My math may not be exact, nor my assumptions correct, but you get the point.

Going to the movies creates a whole lot of greenhouses gases. Shouldn’t Hollywood demand theatrical exhibition be halted in the name of global warming, and distribute films solely on DVD and VOD?

Notably, if Al Gore’s upcoming global warming film grosses $20 million, then 189,000 gallons of gas will be burned into the atmosphere driving to see his movie about, well, gas being burned into the atmosphere.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Wal-Mart Won't Quit Brokeback

The Huffington Post was gracious enough to print my comments today:

Standing up to protests from a prominent Christian organization, Wal-Mart is not only carrying the DVD of Brokeback Mountain in its over 3,600 American stores, it is featuring ads for the film in the front of its stores. 138 million Americans pass through the front of these stores every week.

According to the L.A. Times, the American Family Association accuses Wal-Mart of pushing a gay agenda and is encouraging its purported 3 million members to boycott the store. So why is Wal-Mart risking alienating part of its red-state base?

Remember, Wal-Mart is a business committed to delivering products its customers want at prices they can afford. BoxOfficeMojo reports Brokeback has grossed $82 million domestically. King Kong has grossed $218 million domestically. King Kong moved 6 million DVD units in its first week of release. We can infer that Brokeback will sell around 2.4 million DVD units initially. Wal-Mart is 40-45% of the domestic retail DVD market, so Wal-Mart will probably sell at a minimum 1 million copies of the Brokeback DVD.

Brokeback Mountain is a movie the public clearly wants to see. Wal-Mart will offer it to them at the lowest price possible. In fact Wal-Mart will offer it at such a low price, many video rental stores will buy their copies from there. Imagine the howls of protest from liberal activists had Wal-Mart decided not to carry the film, even though these activists claim not to shop there. Will the progressive community applaud Wal-Mart's smart business decision to carry and promote the film?

Probably not. Brokeback's director was outsourced from Taiwan.