The recent television-program-into-motion-picture development is certainly a product of modern economically-minded creaters. Back in the fifties when television first came on the scene it was a huge threat to the cinema industry, because of its convenience, diversity, amongst other things. Films, diegetically, even made overt attacks in (well devised and convincing) attempts to devalue its rival medium and steer audiences back to the cinema.
Then, current and former film stars began to use TV as way to further their image and popularity, and possibly resurrect sinking careers (Lucille Ball, Doris Day, Alfred Hitchcock…).
But now creaters of TV shows seem to be using film to expand their commodity. And for what purpose? Shows like The X-Files and The Simpsons have been made into films and distributed across the Western world perhaps on the logic that, in a reverse situation of the 1950s, the cinema is a threat to television? I doubt this is the case, although it could quite convincingly be argued (it could also be argued that neither have much of a hold over entertainment in a world of DVDs). The contained narrative requirement of mainstream Hollywood destroyed the relationship tension in The X-Files film, and I would think that lots of shows work on television because they work with a certain family dynamic and emotional level that is also often found domestically. The two are entirely different mediums and this, for anyone to succeed in their craft, is a definate need-to-know (and for those who have succeeded, we must assume that they do know). And I don’t think that such a change has taken place without economic targets in firm motivation mode. Definately not a recipe for the future of a good motion picture industry.