It's been clear for quite some time that the movie theater industry don't know what business they're in with all the complaining about how they can't compete with the growing competition from home theaters and DVDs. For years, plenty of people have been pointing out that it's actually quite easy for the theaters to compete if they just recognized that they're not selling "movies" but the social experience of going out to the movies. Instead, they've made the experience increasingly bad for theatergoers, so they actually feel even more compelled to stay at home and spend their money on the competition. While some theater owners have started to figure this out, many are still falling behind. Theater owner Marcus Loew once famously said: "We sell tickets to theaters, not movies." Yet those who have followed him in the industry (including the chain that once bore his name) seem to have forgotten that very fact. In fact, it's almost amazing to find out that theaters are just now starting to think about more actively responding to demand by using digital distribution systems that not only allow them to boot out bad movies after just a few showings, but also bring in more independent films for special showings for smaller audiences. Being able to better target more markets is a huge step up -- but it's something that the theaters should have started preparing for a decade ago, rather than today.
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