I realized today I had forgotten a very important point from the weekend's post, and I am making it a separate one to try to make sure everyone sees it.
Ms. Obst talks a lot about the obsession with a film's first weekend gross, and at one point, in a footnote, she explains why it's so important: because the distributor receives a higher cut of the receipts during the first weekend. After that the exhibitor does better. This obviously makes the marketing ten times more important than it otherwise might be and it is probably one of the biggest reasons that studios don't want to take a chance. I can't imagine why they ever wanted to make this deal, unless they are confident that they can consistently fill the first weekend by sticking to the same formulas. Obviously more good movies would be made if the studios could allow them to take some time to discover their audience, and vica verca.