Realities of the new entertainment economy: why it’s important for horse people to go out and see “War Horse” soon after it opens

If you can’t see the embedded “War Horse” Trailer video, click here.

Brace yourselves. I’m going to write several posts about the upcoming major motion picture version of “War Horse.” Here’s the first. BTW, I have no connection whatsoever to the production. This is all my own opinion.

In the world of horses and culture, the release of “War Horse” directed by Hollywood visionary Stephen Spielberg is a Very Big Deal. Like, a “Dick Francis Passes Away” kind of Big Deal.

I’m talking headlines, kids. Horses in the spotlight. Maybe not on the red carpet, but in the forefront of cultural consciousness at a point other than Kentucky Derby week.

So this is our chance. Our chance to show that good movies about horses will draw crowds and make money. And I’m going to tell you why that’s so important.

Mr. Spielberg has met us halfway. By all reports I’ve heard from advance screenings and the Oscar buzz I’ve seen, he and his team have made a good movie. A really good movie.

So, I think we should look at our calendars and pick out an afternoon or evening to go see “War Horse” pretty much as soon as we can. Don’t pencil it in. Write it in ink.

Especially in that first week

Pick out a day as soon as you can right after the movie opens. Opening day is always preferable, but for many horse people I know, problematic. “War Horse” opens on Christmas Day.

The Bean Counters who determine our choices for entertainment want to see who’s thirsting to see a movie, according to this blog post by marketing guru Seth Godin. If you’ve ever noticed on the news, the movie that had the biggest opening of the weekend is mentioned in the financial report, along with the amount of money made.

That said, I’m not sure how the bean counters determine the impact of a movie’s opening day when that day is a Sunday, pretty much at the end of the weekend. Usually, the box office for a first weekend is crucial.

Impress the Bean Counters

Still, the Powers That Be in entertainment make many decisions about what we’ll see in the future over the numbers they see during those few days of opening. Period.

Is it about making a fast buck? Sure. Bean counters, especially in this nervous economy, want to know that a market for a product or a movie or a book exists.

Even with books, there’s a term called “sales velocity.” If you want to help your favorite author, buy their books as soon as they come out. Even better? Reserve them before the publication date. Publishers give a book three months. Tops. Decisions about a movie? Made in that first weekend.

A career can depend on it. As can our choices of what to watch and read.

It’s all about the Timing

We’ve all remarked at one time or another about how we wanted to see a movie but that it left theaters before we got a chance to go.

The old rules of “I’ll wait to go see it” don’t apply anymore. Not if you want to see more of that kind of entertainment.

If we want to see more horses in the movies and entertainment, we need to make time to go see “War Horse” and as soon as we can after it opens. We also need tell our friends. Except we’ll tell them how good the movie is.

We vote with our dollars

Let’s show Hollywood that movies featuring horses are important to us.

So, the bottom line? We have more power than we ever imagined.

What’s next in my series about the “War Horse” movie? Talking about movies and our emotions. If you’re afraid to see “War Horse” because you don’t want to cry, you’ll want to read my next post.



  • Susie Blackmon
    November 29, 2011

    Yes! More horses in the movies, and more Westerns! Please.

  • Katy Lee
    November 29, 2011

    “The old rules of “I’ll wait to go see it” don’t apply anymore. Not if you want to see more of that kind of entertainment.”

    So true in movies, in books, in music, in all media. If you see something you like, speak up…or I should pay out. :)

  • Rhonda Lane
    November 29, 2011

    Then, you know what to do, Susie. “Vote” with your dollars – and “vote” often. :) =:-D

  • Rhonda Lane
    November 29, 2011

    I think it’s part of our fast-paced society, Katy. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Leslie Budewitz
    December 3, 2011

    My book club is reading the book (I’ve already read it — loved it!) and going to see it as a group in early January. Looking forward to it!

  • Rhonda Lane
    December 3, 2011

    Great! Have a wonderful time. Be sure to take tissues or grab napkins from the concession stand. 😉 Thanks for saying “hello,” Leslie.

  • Janet McCormick
    December 6, 2011

    Hope Spielberg didn’t do to this what Redford did to Horse Whisperer. That was a tremendous HORSE movie, and the movie was a romance. Big frickin’ deal. Those are a dime a dozen. Hidalgo, Seabiscuit, Secretariat (my 3 yr old grandson loves that one); horse movies are too few and far between. Now especially, we need to reconnect with the basic good that only animals truly exemplify and humans should emulate.

    • Rhonda Lane
      December 6, 2011

      I’m pretty sure WAR HORSE will pass muster, Janet. I remember THE HORSE WHISPERER book, which felt more like women’s fiction with horses as part of the setting and as catalysts for the plot. Technically, THW wasn’t a romance because the couple didn’t end up together. WAR HORSE is about Joey the horse and Albert the boy who loves him. Horses are much more than the setting in WAR HORSE. Anyhoo, thanks for stopping by and commenting.

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