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April 06, 2005

Subtitle Reality Check

So it's not really an Asian movie, but here's a dollars and cents reality check for folks who want more Asian movies to come to the US. According to a Variety story by John Dempsey (synergy!) Starz has picked up THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES for its pay TV premiere. This is a movie that grossed $16.8 million and won an Oscar for Best Song. The price for the pick-up? Under $1 million. Why? The movie has subtitles. If not subtitled, the movie would have cost "at least $2 million for pay TV and then another $2 million plus when it went to basic cable."

Every country in the world except the US has a tradition of subtitled films competing in the marketplace and not having subtitles affect their business in any significant way. But in the States we don't watch subtitles. And because of that movies with subs garner about a third of what they'd get in cable and television after-markets if they were in English.

Sometimes I feel like my American passport is the global equivalent of a dunce cap.

April 6, 2005 at 10:09 AM in News | Permalink


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How very, very sad.

Posted by: Matt | Apr 7, 2005 8:20:53 AM

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