Despite numerous studies and an abundance of research indicating that it would be more cost-efficient for studios to put less effort into theatrical promotion and more into DVD and VOD promotion, and that home entertainment sales are generally far more profitable than box office take, studios still keep this release gap to appease theaters and to ensure you have to sit next to someone who brought their kid who's terrified of raccoons to see and cry through Guardians Of The Galaxy. Despite the fact that eliminating it also virtually eliminates the piracy issue, and people have known since the Napster days that people who pirate content are still willing to pay for that same content if it can be made available, Hollywood lumbers on like some kind of village oaf chasing an uncatchable bunny through a pasture, causing more damage than it realizes with each stupid step.
The recent release of The Interview, a movie no one even liked (full disclosure, I laughed my ass off at that movie. It's funny; folks need to lighten up), has shown that a movie just released digitally can rake in a pretty fat wad of cash. It made $15 million in a weekend, more than any digital release ever, and passed $40 million before it went to Netflix, meaning it grossed more than past films starring Seth Rogen such as Observe And Report, 50/50, and The Guilt Trip, which were all released theatrically. Even though The Interview was all kinds of unintentional and half-assed, it's impressive. And it shows you can roll a movie out in nontraditional ways, and they can still work. People will still watch. And probably you don't need terroristic threats and a potential war with North Korea as part of the PR campaign. Now imagine a highly anticipated film, like Avengers 2, released to VOD and DVD the same day as it hits theaters. Of course it's still going to make a fortune; the only people who'd be pissy about it are theater owners and maybe popcorn jockeys.
That would make a hell of an ARG, though.
"Hollywood is run by your grandpa" is likely the best way to account for this issue. Grandpa hates change. Grandpa understands you go to the theater to see a double feature and a news reel for a nickel. He does not understand that most people consume content in 2015 on mobile devices -- smartphones, tablets, laptops; these are the tools people use to watch television and film, and they don't watch in traditional two-hour blocks over dinner with the family like Nielsen thinks they do.
For more from Felix, check out 4 Things People Get Away With At Work (And Nowhere Else) and The 6 Deadliest Foods Ever.
Are you on reddit? Check it: We are too! Click on over to our best of Cracked subreddit.
Cracked is up for a Webby Award! Click here and give us a vote for "Best Humor Website."