Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Could this be the end of Oscar?

Don’t look now but the movie industry as we know it could well be going the way of newspapers and bookstores and Atari.

The movie industry’s target demographic (18-34) has been fleeing the Cineplex in alarming numbers. Double-digit defection. Other demographics have already abandoned the movie house – all in favor of staying home and watching on their own devices.

And why not? Ticket prices are absurd, popcorn is ridiculous, people around you are texting and talking, you have to sit through ten minutes of commercials before the show, and none of that includes the cost of parking, maybe dinner, a baby sitter, and online charges for reserving your seats.

Compare that with watching comfortably at home on a big screen TV with surround-sound and your own bathroom.

Yes, you miss the communal experience of seeing a film in a full theatre, and everyone is either laughing or screaming or cheering. But those experiences are happening less and less. Instead, we’re force-fed more TRANSFORMERS movies.

Studios are making fewer and fewer films and the ones they are making are expensive comic book action summer tent pole franchise flicks that hopefully will do well globally. The smaller budget films, like comedies and God forbid films for grown ups are being phased out. Again, do you want to spend $60 to see an Amy Schumer movie?

Streaming services are now picking up the slack. Netflix, and Amazon, etc. are making movies direct-to-TV and attracting top talent.

Pretty soon the only reason to see a film on the big screen is if it is a huge spectacle. No need to see LOVE SIMON in IMAX. Studios tried to sell 3-D but after a short while audiences found that meh. Now some theatres are offering waiter service, but that too is just a novelty (not to mention expensive). 

AMC stock dropped 70% last year. Mark Cuban is trying to unload Landmark Theatres. The writing is on the wall.

So my question is, if the movie industry essentially goes away, what happens to the Academy Awards? If they continue to insist that eligible films must be shown in theatres they’ll be left with DESPICABLE ME 9 vs. FAST & FURIOUS 17 for Best Picture. Vin Diesel will edge out the Rock for Best Actor.

And if they relax their eligibility to include movies made for Netflix et al, then what is the difference between the Oscars and the Emmys? Might the Academy Awards eventually become meaningless? Considering how ratings for the Academy Awards continue to dwindle year after year, we may just reach a point where they’re no longer relevant. Robert DeNiro’s statuette won’t mean as much when Vin Diesel has one too.

I guess the only hope movie studios have in turning things around is making better pictures, but I’m sure their analysts are working overtime to find solutions that don’t involve that. In which case, would the last person out of the door please turn off the lights.

49 comments :

Sean Robbins said...

I guess there's a stark difference in seeing a moving where you live and seeing a movie where I live. Tickets cost me $5.25 a piece, my theater has recliners, and serves beer. All with free parking and a reasonable local brew house pub next door.

But then, I am outside that targeted demographic.

Orwell said...

Wow, the young'uns are just now figuring out what I did 20 years ago. The last two movie I saw in a theater was My Big Fat Greek Wedding in 2002. I'd much rather stay at home, sit in my recliner and be able to use the pause button. Saves money, as well as aggravation with the people who insist on talking during the movies.

Full disclosure: We did take our kids to a couple of drive-in movies around 2005-2010. Not sure if that counts.

tavm said...

Speaking of "expensive comic book action summer tentpole action flicks", I just found out that today is the 80th anniversary of the first issue of Action Comics with a June cover date making it's debut on newsstands featuring the premiere of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's Superman on the cover. Supes also was the first to do movies (by animation from the Fleischer studio), to have TV exposure (via George Reeves), and to be starring in a major live-action feature 40 years later when Christopher Reeve made us believe "A man can fly". Not to mention having a musical on Broadway. I'm guessing many of the Marvel filmmakers are successful today because of the inspiration Richard Donner brought when he helmed his vision of The Man of Steel 40 years ago...

Daniel said...

Why not turn the Oscars into something more like the BAFTAs? Honoring both film and television. The line is already blurring anyway.

Sung said...

I always thought that the only reason why smaller movies were shown in the theater was because that was the only viable transmission medium. It certainly isn't true anymore. Look at big stars like Reese and Nicole going to HBO for a miniseries...can you imagine that ten years ago?

Great point about the Oscars. They lose relevance every year...it'll probably still take another twenty or so for it to really change.

McAlvie said...

It's true that going to the movies isn't the experience it once was. The main thing missing is movies that appeal to any age, that you might take your kids to or go see with your spouse. Everything is micro target demographics these days. I like going to the movies, and I'd do it more often, in spite of the cost, if I got value. But say what you will about comic book action flix, they are at least an improvement over stupid drunk loser guy/girl fart joke movies.

How is it, with so much of the entertainment media obsessed with reboots, they haven't figured out yet what made movies classic and why going to the movies used to be a popular activity.

Terrence Moss said...

The Oscars are over because they are choosing to remain elitist when the solution is to make as much effort to be sure audiences see the eligible films just as much as they do their voting members.

Glenn said...

We're reaching the point where if a movie doesn't make a billion dollars, it's a flop.

Stephen Robinson said...

I was talking to a colleague in his 70s the other day who commented on how when he was growing up, movies were almost like a "baby sitter" for kids: "Here's 50 cents, go see a double feature." Movie prices are significantly more expensive now, even accounting for normal inflation.

Also, the methods for seeing movies as a family have decreased (say, drive-ins). As Ken points out, who is going to spend $60 to see an Amy Schumer movie? I'm not saying this to slime her. It's just a cost-value point. Especially after the rise of TV, the Golden Age of film made a point of justifying filmgoing: Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn on the big screen and, let's say, actors not in that league on TV.

Mitchell Hundred said...

Some bookstores are actually doing quite well, but other than that your point is well taken.

Justin Piatt said...

The prices make it hard to want to go see a mediocre film at the theater. What was the last good comedy to come out? 15 years ago?

I love the theater experience. It's one of my favorite things! But lately I come out disappointed, either in the audience or the film or both. That's why I love that Fathom Events has been releasing older movies to the theater. You know you're getting a great film, and the audience that supports it is a movie loving audience. The closest theater that shows older films is an hour from my house, so I don't always get there, but love when I get to.

A. L. Crivaro said...

I myself have been trying to give up going to the theater all together. Not because of the prices or the adds, but because of the people. When nine times out of ten your experience is either diminished or completely ruined by the talking/texting/lung coughing up/smart watch notification receiving/COMPLETELY inconsiderate public, it doesn't make the expense hard to justify. It makes it unjustifiable. Not to mention most of the movies suck anyway.

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

My wife and I prefer the smaller art cinema (or is it 'cinema art?) houses close to the university to the mega mall, zillion screen, candy palaces.

Of course, some of the films in the art cinemas are pretentious drek but often Rotten Tomatoes will steer us to some delightful gems, and we'll sit among other gray heads with a small cup of wine and disconnect from reality for awhile. That's nice.

I honestly don't get the whole comic book-based CG extravaganza franchises, but I'm at least twice removed from the upper end of that target demo.

VP81955 said...

Somewhere in Hollywood heaven, Carole, Clark, Bill, Myrna and Cary are looking on and feeling sympathy for the actors, directors and writers who didn't experience the industry during their time. True, the money was nowhere what it is today, and there's no TV biz to fall back on if you can't succeed on the big screen. But in those days, moviegoing was a communal experience that united an entire society, demographics be damned. Nothing at all does that today.

Joseph Scarbrough said...

Why does everybody keep acting like newspapers don't exist anymore? They do!

Dave Creek said...

For better or worse, for me movies are all about those big, effects-driven productions these days. I live for the next MCU movie. Avengers Assemble!

I don't much care about seeing a sensitive exploration of the human condition in a theater. That's a quieter experience that I don't need to share with a bunch of strangers. Watching at home, my wife and I can pause it at any moment for a bathroom break or just to talk about what we've been watching, whether it's THE CROWN or OZARK.

And most of the excellent screen writing is for the small screen, not the large one. Whenever I see a promo for a movie that's a political drama, I wonder whether it will be better than anything from the first four seasons (the Sorkin years) of THE WEST WING. A crime drama? LAW & ORDER probably does it better. And comedies? Very few of them can sustain 90 minutes, never mind the two hour run-time that many of them insist upon. And few of them have as many lines you'd want to quote the next day as the typical episode of CHEERS or FRASIER (just to pick two shows at random).

But you know, it's hard to kill an entire medium. Radio is on the decline, but another audio-only medium, the podcast, is growing more popular all the time. And movies employing spectacle to combat television isn't anything new, either. Remember Cinemascope? 3-D movies were around then, too. The medium will adapt, and I'd bet with people shooting movies on their phones or other inexpensive equipment, allowing more diverse voices, that we could see a cinematic renaissance somewhere down the line.

Peter said...

The imminent death of cinema has been proclaimed many times before. I still believe it will survive. Yes, too many franchise type movies are made, but when films like Birdman, Ladybird, The Neon Demon and Get Out can still get made, there's always hope.

Mike Barer said...

The Oscars will be like Miss America. It will happen, but no one will care.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to watch Star Wars: The Last Jedi in the theatre because it is a big picture with lots of special effects. I knew it would be loud, but my ears hurt for hours after. I don't know if they sped up the pace of the movie to get in more viewings, but I couldn't keep track of what the hell was going on and couldn't understand the dialog because it was so loud.

I'm of the generation that turned up the rock n roll to blow out your ears. So I don't hear that well, lol. But this was ridiculous. I said something when we left and the kid said, "Well, most people want it that loud." Uh huh. I won't go back. Well, at least until Star Wars #9 comes out.

Pam, St. Louis

Brian said...

"Vin Diesel will edge out the Rock for Best Actor." Was that an allusion to the supposed fight between the two while filming "The Fate of the Furious"?

Theo said...

$60??!!! I wont watch her movie even if you offer me $60 😒

E. Yarber said...

Before I came to Los Angeles, I spent over two years studying the movie business because I knew my only chance to get a foothold there was to know how to make money for people, not assume executives would find me adorable. And yes, I did make a lot of money for some people, but I also saw a lot of denial, ego games, and outright strip-mining of assets by opportunists who realized the party was winding down. Even with the example of entire distribution companies collapsing in the midwest, very few of the people I worked for saw a need to consider long-term restructuring of the industry's model.

It's ironic that Marvel Comics have become the major success story of these times, since they were the beginning of the end for the comic book market as well. Like the internet hitting movies today, one can find a strong correlation in the 1950s between television sales and the decline of magazines, including their fellow travelers comics. Marvel established the concept of comic books as an ongoing franchise of continued stories. This created a regular readership that gave the impression of stable distribution, but it didn't address the loss of a general sales base, which dropped by nearly two-thirds from the 1950s to the 1970s. By the 1980s, comics had become a speciality market and depended on a small super-hero fan base that were expected to blow huge sums of money at comic book shops instead of catering to a variety of genres consumed by the general public. In the mid-1990s, however, the market imploded as the small readership began to collapse.

Likewise, Hollywood began to focus on high school and college kids that wanted somewhere to go on the weekend. As screenwriter Frank Pierson once put it, this was the easiest crowd to please. Give them something flashy and let them yell at the screen. Like Marvel, and now AS Marvel, the secret was garnering repeat business through the franchise model. Like comic books, this model depended on a limited demographic to keep pumping money into the industry while everyone else lost the habit of going to the theater. But what happens when the incoming crop of students have grown up with an entirely different experience of media through computers?

There's not much you can do once these things become obvious. You might realize you're living below sea level and prepare a few levees. but back when business was booming and DVDs were taking up the slack of declining attendance, the suits acted as though the status quo was permanent.

cd1515 said...

Great points Ken, I haven’t been to a movie theater in years for all the reasons you listed.

Tom said...

Agreed, content is the problem, but that's because the talent is currently decamped over in TV, at least for any viewer older than 12. So for me the likely health of movies depends on the current TV landscape proving to be unsustainable — the era of Netflix buying almost anything won't last and then there'll be just as much interference producing just as much homogenisation as there was before streaming. Netflix already mainly produces rubbish and has started aggressively cancelling.

But while people will pay money to watch things, writers will find employment somewhere, and interesting content will be made.

Matt said...

::: Friday Question :::

Again involving Stage 9. How often was the OR, Post Op or Blake/Potter's office re-purposed for scenes taking place "off-base'? For example, I was recently watching "Adams Ribs" and Hawkeye and Trapper had to go to the Supply Depot in Ouijongbu to pick up the ribs. When they get there, I noticed the Supply Depot (and camera angles) looked suspiciously like either the Post Op or OR. They then had to go to a Master Sergeant's Office and it looked like the same location only with a false wall to make the space look smaller.

Buttermilk Sky said...

Sorry to sound like I'm 120 (close), but movies started out as an on-demand medium for individual viewers. You put in a nickel and watched a brief film that played on a nickelodeon (also known as "Automatic Vaudeville"). The huge movie palaces with orchestras and eventually talkies came much later. So we're coming full circle, if you can take comfort in that. As for the Oscars, there are so many awards now that they hardly matter.

For the record, the last movie I saw in a theater was EIGHT MEN OUT.

MikeN said...

Waiter service isn't that expensive. I can get burger fries and drink for $21(with tip and tax). Five Guys is $16. Alamo isn't as good as Five Guys, but they are good quality burgers.

VincentS said...

Although it's hard to dispute the facts re AMC and Landmark Theaters I don't share your conclusions, Ken. Didn't they say that movies were going to go away in the 60s and 70s when television was cutting into their audience? I think the business model has to be restructured (I may not be using the right terminology since I'm not a business person) so that movies can be more profitable with lower-cost movies and all it will take is one person with vision the way Lew Wasserman USED the television division at Universal to finance the movie division in the 60s and 70s, if I'm not mistaken. One thing I've learned is that nobody can predict which industries will disappear in the future any more than one can predict which ones will be the most profitable in the future. And nothing beats the experience of a shared event and I think the more people watch things at home and on their phones the more that will leverage a visceral desire to have a shared experience which is why people still go to sporting events, for example, even though they can also access those events on their phones and TVs.

Anne said...


I just read Bill Mechanic's resignation letter to AMPAS. "Board decisions that are reactive rather than considered... a long and boring Oscars show...No popular film won in over a decade: the Oscars now feel like they should be handed out in a tent."

Sad evidence that Ken is right about the movie business. It's Atari time.

Joe Blow said...

I hope Peter is right. I have always loved movies, and I have a very real need to see them in a theatre. When I need a rest from every day struggles or I need to just turn everything off and be transported to another world, a movie theatre is the only place where I can do that. Reading is a close second, but other thoughts often manage to creep in, and I soon have no idea what I’ve read. Give me a darkened theatre and a world that surrounds me.

Mike Bloodworth said...

I have to concur with some of the responders. There's no reason to go to the theater to see a talker or romcom. I'm not a fan of the whole "comic book" genre, but an ostentatious, visual display is the only reason to see a movie on a big screen these days. That also includes beautiful views of nature. The last movie I saw in a theater was The Last Jedi and the movie before that was also a Star Wars. Some things like certain special effects just don't translate to television, even on HD. And most of these effects-driven movies aren't going to win many Oscars©, (Except for special effects) Conversely, I don't see how anyone can watch a movie on a phone or even a tablet regardless of genre. Now, I may be contradicting myself here, but several years ago I saw "Bugs Bunny on Broadway" at the Hollywood Bowl. That's where they show the old Warner Bros. cartoons on a big screen backed by a live orchestra. Even though I've seen these cartoons a thousand times on T.V., seeing them on a big screen with a crowd was an incredible experience.
M.B.
P.S. I'll probably go see Pixar's Incredibles 2 in a theater when it comes out.

Richard Pryor said...

I was watching the latest STAR WARS movie last night and had to put up with cell phones going off, people talking back to the screen, people getting up and down for snacks and bathroom breaks, significant body odor emanating from the person next to me...but then my brother and his wife went home and we were able to enjoy the rest of the evening watching BOSCH for a few hours.

Seriously, we no longer go out to the movies. Besides the obvious plethora of content available at home via streaming, the ambiance is far superior, the food better and a screen and sound system and seating better than 99% of the old fashioned event theaters. Yeah, I'm 70 and came up with Saturday kiddie quarter matinees and loved going to the theater for movies...right up until I bought my first Mitsubishi projection TV in 1980 and had a kid at the same time. From then on, with a few exceptions which dwindled as the decades passed, we enjoyed our movie entertainment at home. My generation is lost to theaters...more to follow. Excuse me while I go watch a few more episodes of HOMELAND.

Loosehead said...

My local fleapit does an "all you can watch" monthly subscription, with the monthly price set so its worth while if you see at least two films a month (provided, of course, you would have seen those films anyway). Managed to see at least two a month so far, so I'm winning. If I didn't have the Limitless ticket, I'd prolly wait for the Blu-Ray.
Just saw Rampage (it was pretty good, for that type of movie), but the auditorium was empty, and it was only released last weekend. I don't know how the cinema makes money, especially since their admission takings go to the movie supplier and they only get to keep the popcorn money. My guess is that cinemas are going to start disappearing next, or be bought up by Disney/Marvel/LucasArts, and movies will go straight to internet.

RR said...

I am sorry but I cannot agree with many of the points here. Now, I don't live on either of the coasts but in the midwest. The movies seem to be doing just fine out here. Yes, I wish there were more variety of films being released at the multiplexes but heck my family and I saw Wes Anderson's "Isle of Dogs" with a near full house last Sunday. And they were laughing and enjoying it.

Yes, the sound seems to be cranked way up but I think that is done to cover up the talking in the audience. However, for the most part, talking ain't a problem here.

If I want a sensitive drama about the human condition then I just go to one of the multiple local art house theaters in our area. And thanks to digital technology it has never been cheaper to make a good independent film with a projection quality image. I don't see that changing because there will always be filmmakers who want to express themselves through art.

Yes, I could watch these films at home but, guess what, I love seeing them on the big screen. I don't think there is anything better than seeing emotions ripple across an actor's face when seen on the big screen and you feel like you are staring into their soul. That just doesn't happen when seen on a smaller TV screen.

As for these big huge franchises, even if they don't score big here, they double or triple their money overseas. They ain't going anywhere.

And, yes, the Oscars have been giving their love to rather obscure films the last ten years but that is all going to change next year when the new members nominate "Black Panther" for a ton of awards and it wins them all -- with huge ratings to go with it.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Daniel: I was thinking similarly that merging the Emmys and the Oscars would work. Then you have the movie category (minimum length 80 minutes...), the long-TV category (30-73 minutes), the short TV category (20-30 minutes) and the clip category (10 minutes or less). For each of drama and comedy.

Justin Piatt: I liked THE BIG SICK. And THE DEATH OF STALIN is pretty funny, though bitter. I also just saw ISLE OF DOGS and people were laughing. (I just found it strange...)

I do go to theaters, in part because although I *can* watch movies at home I find it hard to relax and concentrate on them. I am fortunate enough to have a repertory theater (London's Prince Charles Cinema) in free-travel distance, and can see movies in the afternoons for about $8. At that price, I'm willing to take chances on some things if they sound interesting...and unlike most theaters it's commfortable, well-run, and well-designed. (This is the theater that does Quote-along-The-Big Lebowski and Sing-along-A-Sound-of-Music showings... They appear to be very successful in making movie events that people really want to attend.)

wg

Andy Rose said...

@Sean & @RR: I agree, these complaints about theaters seem to be more of a coastal lament. When I was a kid in a small town, our theater (we were down to just one by the time I entered elementary school) was complete and utter garbage. Bland building, uncomfortable seats, lousy concessions, sticky floors, bad sound, and utterly terrible prints. Now even small-town theaters know they have to put some effort into their presentation, and the experience is much better.

It reminds me of Quentin Tarantino complaints about digital cinema replacing film projectors. Well, if you lived in LA and got to see every film on brand-new, highest quality celluloid, I'm sure it was wonderful. But for the rest of us who got hand-me-down roadshow prints after they'd already been through a gate 200 times and had big scratches and frames missing, I'll happily take digital, thank you very much.

James Van Hise said...

Studios make the movies people want to see. The latest Star Wars film and The Black Panther each grossed over a billion dollars in less than 30 days. Studios pay attention to that. But there are a variety of films out there to see. Just recently I saw FINDING YOUR FEET (a film in which all of the main actors are over 50), ISLE OF DOGS (an imaginative stop-motion animated film), THE DEATH OF STALIN (an odd satire to be sure but all adult actors and no special FX), BIG FISH AND BEGONIA (a very imaginative and adventurous Japanese animated film unlike anything US studios make), but I also enjoy popcorn films like RAMPAGE which is exactly what the trailer for it tells you it is. One of the best films I saw in 2017 was A MAN CALLED OVE (a foreign language film based on a best seller which was also nominated for the foreign language Oscar and which is getting an American remake. It is all adult characters and is a character story about an old man who rediscovers his purpose in life just when he's ready to give up). Also I have to agree with the late Roger Ebert who talked about how important it was to see a film in a theater because watching a film at home on video was to him no different than just remembering what a film is like rather than really seeing it in a theater. I recently finally saw CASABLANCA in a theater on a big screen are it was a terrific experience. In the last couple years I got to see PSYCHO, NORTH BY NORTHWEST and REAR WINDOW in theaters are it was wonderful, clearly the way they were meant to be seen.

sanford said...

I don't know how many places you have to park when you go to a movie. Most or many theaters are in malls so you don't have to pay for parking. Maybe I am oblivious but I don't find audiences texting or looking at their phones. Of course I normally don't go to big budget movies. We did go to Black Panther, but I did not find the audience noisy or texting on their phones. That happen way more at sporting events. I would like to know where the person who pays 5.25 lives. Food and drink is certainly over priced. https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/personalfinance/cost-of-a-movie-ticket-the-year-you-were-born/ar-AApSYNq#image=AApT1ft|2 If you go to the year you were born or at least started going to movies this will give you an idea of inflation. At our theater if you reserve a seat it is 10 but if you are a senior it is 7.50 only a few dollars above the inflation of 1954 or 55 when I started going to movies. I think if you buy at the door it is maybe 8.50. Compared to sporting events and I am sure going to theater, what you pay for movie tickets is not terrible. We do buy popcorn but we bring our own drinks.

MikeN said...

You laugh about The Rock vs Vin Diesel for Best Actor, but what's wrong with picking people in popular movies? Mike Myers should have won for Austin Powers, playing so many different characters convincingly. Furious 7 should have won Best Picture, if only because most of the people reading this unless they make specific instructions will have its song playing at their funeral.

Coram Loci said...

Movies were a communal event, a shared cultural experience.

Our culture is fractured, silo-ed.

The Academy Awards are for Hollywood. Likewise the movies that win are for Hollywood.

The message from Hollywood is clear: we don't want you at the Awards. We don't care if you like the Awards or the movies that win. But do keep spending your money so we can afford to make the movies we want, send the messages we want, and live the lifestyles we want.

I don't know what brings people back together and back to the movies. But I'm sure it won't be things that remind people of their differences.

Coram Loci said...

@Stephen Robinson:
"Babysitter for the kids" -- your acquaintance put it well.

My movie years were pre-teen/early teen, spending afternoons at the nearby $1.00 theatre, watching, rewatching, and re-rewatching Adventures in Babysitting, Top Gun, Crocodile Dundee, and Star Trek IV, among others. The fun was more than the movie: it was the time with friends...and away from parents.

I wonder how many tweens today have similar opportunities our outlooks regarding movie-going. Although my experience didn't sustain my movie-going much beyond High School, I can imagine that some tweens never even get their foot through that door or come to have those same feelings of camaraderie and independence associated with moviegoing.

Keith Nichols said...

I have yet to see a movie in a theater or elsewhere that's worth $9 or more for one viewing. There are a couple that I might buy for $9 on DVD, which is the medium by which I see movies nowadays. And most of the DVDs are from the local public library. I stopped going to theaters when matinees were still $4, because I found the prints of poor quality, the sound often too loud, and the smell of that butter substitute that assails you in the lobby almost nauseating. The last movie I saw in a theater was a documentary about the writer Charles Bukowski. That was in about 2004.

YEKIMI said...

Since I am now managing a Drive-In Theater [Yes, Virginia, they DO still exist] I'll throw in my three cents [inflation, people]. I went to a competitors {Regal} indoor theater and got their just as previews started so I have no idea if there were commercials before hand but I sat through a preview, then another one, then another one. By the time they were done they had show TWELVE FUCKING PREVIEWS!!!!!. Since most previews are roughly 2 minutes 30 seconds long that's THIRTY minutes of previews of shitty movies that I have no intention of seeing because they weren't even relevant to the picture that was being shown! I was so pissed that they had wasted my time that I never plan on going back to ANY Regal theater. Now at my theater if the movie is 2 hours or longer I'll put on 2 previews and a next attraction. 90 minutes, 3 previews & maybe a next attraction. If I have a crapload of people coming in, I'll hold up the start of the movie for maybe 10 minutes. A lot of the problems can be traced to the owners of the theaters [I'm talking talking Mom & Pop theaters and sometimes the big boys]. When the owner crows "I was able to get this feature for only 5 percent instead of 10%!" Well guess what? There's a reason it was given to you for 5%; it's a turkey and the film company is desperate to get any money for it that they can. But when no one shows up to watch it....what's 5% of ZERO? Should have paid that 10% [or more] and gotten the movie that people want to see. So what's 10% of 137 cars that show up to see it? He does this week after week after week and complains he's not making any money. Now let's REALLY piss off people by showing the movie that was the main feature the first week it was out....as the SECOND feature of the new movie that just came out. Watch them froth at the mouth that they have to pay $20 a carload [or more] just to see a new movie with a second feature that they had JUST WATCHED LAST WEEK as the main feature! And then listen to the owner rip you a new asshole because the intermission for concession was absolutely dead and there were more flies in the stand then there were people! Hey owner, maybe it's because they were leaving the theater at Warp 39 after the first movie ended because they had seen the first movie already last week....so why would they want to stick around and spend MORE money in the concession when they could stop at a steakhouse on the way home and get a nice Sirloin Steak and a Margarita for less than half the price of one of your burgers?

Bryan L said...

More and more with me it's the other people in the theater. Texting, talking, moving, eating, it's gotten to where it drives me nuts. To be fair, the same damn thing is starting to happen at live theater. I went to see The Book of Mormon and, I kid you not, a fight broke out. I'd actually pay good money to go to a movie theater where ushers patrol regularly and enforce behavior.

John Blahut said...

Ken, what are your thoughts on MoviePass? I hear their goal is to get people to see more of the more artistic films and help people get out to see movies more often. I have it and I can tell you that I've seen a lot of movies I would have passed on if I had to pay the ticket price to get in. Mother! for instance...

Pat Reeder said...

I second Justin Piatt's recommendation about seeing older movies on the big screen. I have no use for today's comic book movies and other mindrot that "blows up real good." But it's still worthwhile to see older films the way they were intended to be seen. Out of the last seven movies I've seen in theaters, five were classics ("Gigi," "Roman Holiday," "The General," Harold Lloyd's "A Sailor-Made Man" - the last two silent films with live orchestras - and "Casablanca," which managed to nearly fill the huge Majestic Theater in downtown Dallas) and one was a documentary on Hedy Lamar. They were all great, with appreciative, respectful audiences.

The only new one was "Chappaquiddick," which I saw in an AMC mall multiplex. Made it almost to the end credits before the emergency evacuation lights came on and we were forced out into a freezing parking lot on the opposite side of the mall from our car. Turned out it was due to idiot teenagers pulling the fire alarm as a prank. I can readily understand why most of the movies made for that demographic strike me as the work of chimps flinging feces. I wish I could have forced the little SOBs to be driven home by Ted Kennedy.

BTW, I hope nobody in Hollywood is counting on restaurant cinemas saving the industry. I went to one once; never again. If someone getting up to go to the bathroom or crunching on popcorn distracts you, try concentrating on a movie when you have waiters walking in front of you, people around you placing drink orders and clinking glasses, and fellow moviegoers sucking on ribs and cracking crab legs. If I want to watch a movie in an atmosphere of gluttony, I'll take my cell phone out at Golden Corral.

MikeN said...

I like the previews at Alamo. For a Marvel movie, they will show previews of the previous movies, so you can follow what's happening. For example, for Thor Ragnarok, they showed the clip of Hulk flying off in Avengers 2, everything Loki did, etc.
Before Molly's Game, they had a special Talk like an Aaron Sorkin Character

Anonymous said...

I wonder - if the broadcast crew didn't show up one year, would anyone outside of Hollywood truly care? (Net of the jewellers and dressmakers who loan their stuff for the endorsement/advertising)

blogward said...

Ah, me. Remember actually enjoying the 'big screen' versions of ads that were on TV?

Let's not fall for the lie that 'the money just isn't there'. Corporate globalization means that local income-earners (eg cinemas) often need to earn more money to pay the parent company's debt than their own overheads and working profit. That's why non-blockbusters are judged flops, and why hotdog prices are gouged.

We're looking at the result of mass media/property development/hedge fund cocaine burnout. Ask the President.