That's if you don't count Gone with the Wind.
The film debuted in 1939 and was finally aired on HBO in June, 1976. That was 37 years later, almost four decades. Millions died in the meantime.
Today studios release a new flick in four months, and I bet everyone knows someone who hasn’t sat their fanny in a large dark room with a candy counter just steps away for many many years.
But I like the movies. In fact, love them.
I like getting away from ringing phones, paperwork, and dryers beeping, so I’m wondering if these very early releases will be good. I personally don't like it. In fact I think it stinks.
But during a cable industry convention last May, Time Warner made a pitch to the studios about releasing films to TV in just 30 days. 30? Who'd ever bother traipsing to a show? Besides, this new luxury, if it's ever accepted, is a moneymaker, and it could cost twenty to forty bucks a pop to watch a film from your family room.
Even the concept seems insane.
A couple of years ago, the studios would’ve booted the cable companies out to Sarah Palin land, and though their profits are up 10%, thanks to 3D films, their DVD sales have slumped lower than my opinion of Lady Gaga after she modeled a dress of red meat.
The angriest folks against early release are the theatre owners. They need the four months to make money. If you cut their time, you cut their profits, simple as that.
And the studios, too, need time. They maximize revenues by staggering the months between the dates the film is released to theatres and when it’s released to DVD and TV.
So why are they considering early release? Because DVD sales are slow, and they could use a wallop of cash.
As of now, nobody's doing anything, and the studios know they'll have to jump through lots of hoops before signing the dotted line. It might be a convenience to the consumer, but it won't come cheap.
Yet who needs to sit home when you got neurotics like me, who can’t wait to see them the minute they open to the public?
Everyone knows the studios save their best for this time of year. If I had to wait a month, I couldn't guess the Oscar winners until after the holidays, until after the buzz is gone. It's like a gift with no wrapping; it's like turkey without stuffing or pumpkin pie without a hint of whipped cream.
So as long as Gone With the Wind has had its turn, I can wait four months to view the few things I missed at multiplex.
For the rest I'll wait in line.