Fred Barzyk Has an Idea For a Series

Reading Time: 3 minutes

An idea shared by Fred Barzyk

Please forgive me, but I just had to share this with you all.

Fact: GBH has not had a major new hit in 20 years.

So what are the new ideas?

Could an old fool from the alumni present an idea so audacious that it might work?

Probably not.

But what the hell, here is an audacious and delicious idea.

 SEE YOU AT THE MOVIES!

Coming to your Home and your local Movie Theater

A celebration of Movies. A TV and streaming series will explore the amazing range of great films worldwide. The series will examine the scope and importance of the world’s finest movies.

In a relationship with theaters worldwide, the series will also be aired in the movie theaters. The audience in the theater would also be shown a classic movie.

This concept is based on the fact that audiences do not know or have seen some of the greatest films of all time. Maybe on TV, but never in the movie theater. This concept will generate interest in the art form, showcase the classic films to a new audience, and begin to excite the audience to the joys of watching a film in a movie theater.

Imagine the TV show explores “mob” pictures from the past and then the theater crowd is shown “Godfather”. Most people have only seen this film on TV. This time they would experience the magic of seeing it with others.

This cooperation between media and the movie industry could once again spur interest in the history of film. It could generate new audiences who will be anxious to see the next major film in a movie house. Also, PBS could sell DVD’s of the TV and streaming show. A new source of revenue.

The expense of re-releasing the film is cost effective. The cost of the movie ticket should be underwritten. It should be extremely low so that most people could attend. It could be low as $3.00 ticket. The theaters could keep whatever profits come from the sale of popcorn and other items.

It is assumed that this would be funded by foundations, the movie industry and the theaters in hopes of bringing a new awareness and appreciation of film making at its finest. It will increase the potential size of movie goers for the next big film.

How is this shown in the movie theaters?

It is based on the successful screenings of the MET operas in theaters across the world.

Research: Last season, 10 operas were transmitted via satellite into at least 2,000 theaters in 66 countries, including more than 800 U.S. theaters. Box office hit $60 million worldwide (average ticket prices were $23 last season), with theater owners splitting sales 50–50 with the Met (insiders say the split is more advantageous to the Met in North America)

Who would host the TV streaming show?

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon

From Wikipedia:

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are American actors, screenwriters, and producers from Cambridge, Massachusetts who have frequently collaborated throughout their careers. The duo first gained recognition in 1997 after they were awarded the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Good Will Hunting, which they wrote and starred in together. Since then, the two have kept a close public relationship, often working on projects and establishing businesses with one another.

In 2012, Affleck and Damon established Pearl Street Films, a film and production company based at Warner Bros. Studios. After 10 years, the company was dissolved in 2022 with the final production being The Last Duel, a film starring the two founders. The duo instead shifted their focus onto their own independent film company, Artists Equity, which was founded in 2022. In 2023, the new studio released its first film, Air, which was directed by Affleck and starring them both, with Damon playing the lead role…

As a result of their shared upbringing and frequent collaboration, Affleck and Damon’s friendship has garnered a lot of public attention, with Us Weekly dubbing it “a bromance worth celebrating.”The two frequently mention one another in interviews and other public forums, including hosting political fundraisers together. On his relationship with Damon, Affleck said: “This friendship has been essential and defining and so important to me in my life. There were a few critical times, which are private and I don’t want to share, but where [Damon’s] support was so profoundly meaningful to me that I don’t think I would’ve been able to be successful without it.” Referencing his experience working with Affleck again on The Last Duel, Damon said “Why aren’t we doing this more often? And getting into your 50s you just go: if we don’t make it a priority, it just isn’t going to happen”, seemingly alluding to more collaborations between the two coming in the future.

Thanks for indulging me.  It would be amazing if it happened.  Fingers crossed.

14 Comments

  1. Susan Brennan (WGBH TV audio engineer circa 1979-1981; now Prof @ Stony Brook University) on March 15, 2024 at 3:03 pm

    See you at the Movies is a great idea, and reminds me of the Criterion Collection (https://www.criterion.com/), which contextualized classic films and distributed them on videodisk. Criterion was founded by Bob and Aline Stein, whom I knew from their consultancy with Alan Kay at Atari Research in the mid-80’s.

    • Jay Collier on March 15, 2024 at 3:33 pm

      We love the Criterion Channel! Much less expensive than buying disks, and a month costs less than one movie ticket. https://www.criterionchannel.com/

    • Caryl rivers on March 17, 2024 at 12:00 pm

      I agree, Susan. Fred, no moss is not growing on you, that’s for sure. It’s a great idea and getting Matt and Ben involved would be terrific. They seem interested in new ideas. Caryl Rivers

  2. Jay Collier on March 15, 2024 at 2:28 pm

    Is this a fact, Fred? “GBH has not had a major new hit in 20 years.”

    20 Days in Mariupol just won an Academy Award. Have you seen it? https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/documentary/20-days-in-mariupol/

    And digital content has been receiving awards for more than a decade: https://www.wgbh.org/foundation/awards#digital-awards. And television awards: https://www.wgbh.org/foundation/awards#television-awards

    We’ve had this discussion before and I only added those 2 cents to make sure others have a fuller picture.

    Since our family went TV-Zero 15 years ago, we have been thrilled with the number of classic movies (and PBS series) available on the several streaming services we pay for (equivalent to a few coffees a month). And they’re projected as large (effectively) as a cineplex screen and sometimes with as many people watching :-)

    https://video.mainepublic.org/shows/?search=&genre=all-genres&source=all-sources&sortBy=popular&stationId=48bc2487-14e0-4875-a893-58a0b06ec29e
    https://lifehacker.com/best-classic-movies-on-streaming-1850951262
    https://www.netflix.com/browse/genre/31574?bc=34399
    https://www.glamour.com/gallery/best-classic-movies

    Our 20-year-old daughter and her generation have been dancing through many genres and decades of film, music, and information at the tap of the finger for 15 years, and are better for it. And we all still do go to movies, new and revivals.

    As was mentioned in an earlier comment, the web of distribution is much more complicated in 2024 than it was before. As to the opera and National Theater Live: they own the rights.

  3. Paul Noble on March 15, 2024 at 1:11 pm

    Have you explored what Fathom Entertainment is doing with older films for new audiences? One should look at their business model for methodology and costs of presenting classic films. What are local colleges and universities doing to keep film as an art form and as part of their course structures? A really worthwhile project which could help re-infuse the movie bug in our streaming society……

  4. Merry Maisel on March 15, 2024 at 1:49 am

    If Fred can sell this to Damon/Affleck, it can certainly have a shot. The collaboration among theatres (most shows today are empty because it became a habit during the pandemic to stay home and watch, stream, feed from YouTube, etc.–so theatres NEED THIS) and PBS-TV and radio can help to call in all audiences except the nits who watch everything on their phones. Hell, it could be streamed to phones just to frustrate them…

    The “reshow” part, however, will run into rights issues, where music, especially, is a problem (ever watch a rebroadcast of Dragnet with different music for the theme?) Here, it might be helpful to approach the choice of film to show after the Damon/Affleck pre-discussion by checking in with film buffs (easily found at film festival venues). They will know what silents, what slinky idols of the teens, what glamourous/sharp stars of the Golden Age, and what forgotten great dramas of the last 50 years are undershown, with rights available. Stuff very similar to what is seen over and over on TCM–but not the same films!

    Nothing produces the wilfull suspension of disbelief like a good movie, and a highly energetic proof of that proposition could spell salvation for the new shorter-attention-span-and-less-memory generation.

    Count me in.

    Merry Maisel
    San Diego
    (“volunteer” 1962-63)

  5. Bob Nesson on March 14, 2024 at 10:00 pm

    As expected, another creative idea from Fred! I think this has deep meaning. So many films in the past played significant roles in shaping our appreciation for cinema, but these are all too often not available to screen today. Yes, bring it on. Are the costs/legal/logistics issues manageable?

  6. Fred Barzyk on March 14, 2024 at 7:20 pm

    No one knows of this idea except you wonderful alumni.
    Everybody put your creative hats on and lets offer exciting ideas
    to the station. Who knows… some of them might happen.

  7. Peter Swanson on March 14, 2024 at 4:31 pm

    Having been amazed at the quality of the MET ‘casts out here on the Cape, I could see similarly equipped theaters loving your your concept, Fred!

  8. Deedee Decker on March 14, 2024 at 4:18 pm

    My dear Fred — I love, love this idea. I’m old as I sit watching the snow fall in Denver, but let me know if I can have an assignment to help you. Deedee

  9. Leslie Warshaw on March 14, 2024 at 3:57 pm

    Great idea–as a former radio person I have no idea of the logistics, but as a viewer i’m panting.

  10. Jack Gill on March 14, 2024 at 3:51 pm

    Fred, You are supposed to be resting, you devil, you!

  11. Susheel on March 14, 2024 at 2:52 pm

    Exciting idea. Huge rights-distrib issue . I’d like to see it. it sounds wonderful and intimate and informative for the home, especially with intermission interviews or sharing, for in-home. I don’t know about going to the theater to see it, but it’s definitely an exciting idea

  12. Jack on March 14, 2024 at 2:46 pm

    Fred- have you sent this idea to Damon and Afleck?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.