Odeon Cinemas Admit The Experience At Their Theaters Is So Bad It Can't Compete With Your Home Theater

from the can't-compete? dept

We've seen this before, but it's still really incredible. The Odeon movie theater chain is apparently refusing to show the new Alice in Wonderland film, directed by Tim Burton, in the UK, Ireland and Italy, because Disney is (smartly) trying to shorten the "window" between the cinema release and the DVD release. Basically, what Odeon is admitting here is that it knows the experience of going to its theaters is so bad that it simply can't compete with watching the movie at home. This is a rather stunning admission by Odeon and probably should make you think twice before going to any Odeon theaters.

The reason that the box office had its best year ever last year was because people like going out to the movies, for the experience, even if they can watch the movie at home. Odeon's admission that it can't compete even with a 12-week head start is really incredible. Disney isn't even really pushing the bar that much. Many of us believe that there shouldn't be any window at all, but Disney is just trying to reduce the window on this movie from 17-weeks down to 12-weeks. And Odeon is giving up all the revenue from people wanting to see the movie because it's afraid it might make slightly less in just 12 weeks? This makes no sense at all. Not only is Odeon guaranteeing no revenue at all from this movie, it's publicizing the fact that it believes its theaters aren't worth going to.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    icon
    Robert Ring (profile), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 1:44pm

    I wonder how long the theater will last if it keeps up this boycott.

    (Answer: Not long)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 1:46pm

    Movie Returns...

    Isn't there some sort of inverse-relationship on how much revenue the theatre gets to keep and which week of showing the movie they're in?
    Something like:
    Opening Weekend - 0% to theatre, 100% to studio
    1st week - 2% theatre, 98% studio
    5th week - 30% theatre, 70% studio
    (and so on)

    I'm not sure what the scale is, but I think the theatre cannot keep all the revenue until week 24 (or something like that--this is why dollar theatres are always 2 months behind). If the ultimate effect is that the theatre's getting shafted due to prior contracts, I think their recalcitrance is entirely warranted.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      SureW (profile), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 1:56pm

      Re: Movie Returns...

      Is that only on ticket sales? Theaters make their money on concessions. So at 0% of tickets sales on the first week is still a bad move for the theater.

      Still, let them boycott and go out of business, maybe it will encourage getting rid of release windows even faster.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 1:58pm

      Re: Movie Returns...

      but isnt there some perverse-relationship on how much revenue the theater rapes by other means during those first couple of weeks.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Alan Gerow (profile), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 1:58pm

      Re: Movie Returns...

      But they are also passing up on all the concession monies, which is where most of a theater's income comes from with their ridiculous mark-ups.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Alex Bowles (profile), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 4:09pm

      Re: Movie Returns...

      Yes, that's exactly how the system works. And your percentages aren't that far off either.

      It's not that they can't compete with home theater, it's that home theater divides their potential market into 'people who want to see the movie in the theater' and 'people who just want to see the movie now'. Even the best theater experience comes with costs (both cash and transactional) that can tip the balance in favor of home viewing.

      If theaters didn't get so royally screwed in the opening weeks, they may be more amenable to erosion on the tail end of a release window. But what they're dealing with here is a ratchet from both ends.

      Obviously, this ratchet works to the advantage of studios, as DVD retailers get a smaller percentage of sales than theater owners who are showing movies that are more then 12 weeks into release. But the studios don't feel any need to share this benefit with their theatrical partners. Which is why this particular partner is telling Disney to go hang. If other chains feeling the same pressure do the same thing, they can inflict serious damage on a (very expensive) film's prospects.

      So consider this the opening shot in theater owners's fight to claw back a percentage of opening weekend grosses before release windows collapse for good, taking the theatrical business with them.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 8:34pm

        Re: Re: Movie Returns...

        If theaters didn't get so royally screwed in the opening weeks, they may be more amenable to erosion on the tail end of a release window.

        Sounds to me like they need to change their business model then. Oh, wait. They don't want to consider that, do they?

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 7:05pm

      Re: Movie Returns...

      This model of distributor/theater relations is entirely due to Star Wars.(George "screwed" the distributors out of the merch rights, and they decided they would make the venues pay up.)

      The supreme irony is that if SW was subjected to these conditions on initial release, it would have been a failure. It took MONTHS for it to get to 'blockbuster' status. How many movies get months in the theater these days?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Just Another Moron in a Hurry (profile), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 1:48pm

    unintended

    Pretty sure that wasn't the message they meant to send.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 1:52pm

    It's especially amusing because this is exactly the sort of movie that people want to see in theatres, and exactly the sort that could make an absolute killing in merchandise, even the stupid themed cups and other junk that cinemas love to sell.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      interval, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 3:40pm

      Re:

      "It's especially amusing because this is exactly the sort of movie that people want to see in (sic) theatres..."

      I dunno. I used to think "Yeah, there's some movies you just have to see in the theaters." But then every time I go to a theater to see a film now (which is rare), I see mostly empty seats (good), and usually some kids making noise (bad), and some one's baby crying (the worst), and I think to myself "How is this so much better than watching the film at home, where I can kick back, watch the thing on my big screen LED, and have a gin or a whiskey or something and maybe some chips 'n salsa for MUCH, MUCH cheaper than I could ever buy them at a theater lobby."

      I mean come on, its a no brainer. The only thing missing from the mix is the "shared experience" thing, and I really despise the masses for the most part, so I can do without that.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        Marcus Carab (profile), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 3:55pm

        Re: Re:

        That's kind of my point though. Maybe I should extend my statement:

        This is exactly the sort of movie that people would want to see in theatres if the theatres still made any effort to provide a valuable experience.

        (p.s. I don't know what your "sic" is referring too, but if it's the word "theatre" I'd like to point out that mine is a perfectly acceptable spelling. If, on the other hand, it's referring to the grammatically dubious structure of "see in", then kudos for that, because I love such fastidiousness in grammar, though I don't always abide by it in internet comments)

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          interval, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 4:23pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Firefox flagged it as incorrect. Perhaps you're from Englaland. In which case anything goes. Cheers, mate.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            icon
            Marcus Carab (profile), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 5:27pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Canada, actually. Although oddly my mactionary lists "theatre" as alt. spelling rather than chiefly brit. which is what I (and you) expected.

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            icon
            Alan Gerow (profile), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 6:10pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I spell it "theatre", and I'm born & raised US southern. I just like it more.

            Word 97 once flagged it with spell check with the note (this is really what it said): "Theatre is a British spelling. Try an American one."

            I stopped using spell check after that and just worked on spelling better. But I still spell it "theatre".

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 4:01pm

        Re: Re:

        "The only thing missing from the mix is the "shared experience" thing, and I really despise the masses for the most part, so I can do without that."


        I like your style.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    bishboria (profile), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 1:54pm

    Wow. Odeon are being so short sighted that they may have to register themselves as blind.

    From BBC's site: "The negative impact on cinema attendance that such a reduction in the [dvd release] window will have will threaten the continued existence of many cinemas, especially the smaller and medium-sized cinemas."

    Does this mean that reducing the window to combat "piracy" actually reduces net profit for cinemas!? HA

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 2:12pm

    I wonder

    If there isn't some kind of analysis going on here that is suggesting to them that the movie won't do well enough to make them profitable through their normal means (concessions, merch, etc.) for a 12 week run as opposed to some competing movie that will be coming out around the same time for a 17 week run. That's the only way I see this making any kind of sense at all. Yes, they'd still make money for the 12 week run, but maybe not as much as some other movie they could be screening for 17 months instead?

    Given how relatively well movies involving both Johnny Depp and/or Tim Burton do, that'd have to be a prety damn good movie....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Ryan, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 2:47pm

      Re: I wonder

      Yeah, that's what I thought. Odeon has to choose which movie to show in each theater, and the terms are very poor for them early in the run. Perhaps it's more profitable for them to show one with a longer window, although you'd think they would come out and state this.

      The bigger issue I see is that theaters continue to pay ridiculous sums to show the movie and then pass on costs to consumers in higher ticket prices and absolutely ridiculous concession prices...but they can do it because people will pay $5 for a medium Coke. Then we get mad at theaters for charging huge margins that we go ahead and pay anyway instead of studios for making them necessary in the first place.

      Similarly, it annoys me that the public seems to get mad at cable providers like Time Warner for not paying premium prices for such channels as the NFL Network, thus keeping down the overall cost. The NFL refuses to allow a tiering structure or to allow it all in any terms other than it's own, directly making it more costly for all fans; yet, we're mad at Time Warner for trying to save us money? And the same thing for education - teacher unions and college boards suck up more and more funds for nothing, and then we get mad at governments for not taking our money and giving them more every year.

      It'd be nice if the public would stop and think about who is actually causing price increases to more effectively channel our criticism.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2010 @ 4:14am

        Re: Re: I wonder

        yet, we're mad at Time Warner for trying to save us money?

        What planet are you living on? On my planet, Time Warner does nothing but try to extract money from me.

        Time Warner is a horrible company. When I was canceling my service because a competitor opened up that allowed me better service for less money, I offered to stick with them if they price-matched. The service agent sort of chuckled and said, "Sir, we don't compete on price."

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          Ryan, Feb 25th, 2010 @ 7:06am

          Re: Re: Re: I wonder

          Okay...then don't subscribe to them. But the fact is that whatever their baseline price, them paying more for their channels will merely get passed on to their subscribers by raising that price.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Xip Pie (profile), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 2:13pm

    If you have a really good home theater system, BIG screen, 5.1 or 7.1 sound, etc.. Its better to see it at home then in a theater; No noises from other people, you can pause the movie, start over again, see it lots more then once, with your friends, have a beer, and so on.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Not Xip Pie, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 9:16pm

      Re: At home

      I have a 65 inch HiDef TV, 7.1 surround sound, Blu ray player and I can assure you, my local theater is an experience I still enjoy weekly. I don't go on Friday or Saturday. I also go first thing in the morning. I have a great experience.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    JerryAtrick (profile), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 2:29pm

    WOW gonna have to completely disagree with you there. That's not what Odeon is saying. They are basically telling the studio that it doesn't make sense for them to make an exception for Disney's desire so that they don't have to deal with every theater only running their movies for 12 weeks. Major movie studios don't make as many movies as they use to, therefore the extended period is crucial for theaters. What's next, people can watch first run movies from their TV the night the damn movies are released? Would that make you happy, just cutting out theaters all together?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      DockEllis (profile), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 2:31pm

      Re:

      Actually Jerry that would be absolutely fabulous! Isn't there already a company that is in the process of making this technologically possible? I believe so, you will have your wish soon enough! I'll get back if I can find the name of the technology, but I read it on another tech site...

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 2:44pm

      Re:

      Has it ever occurred to you that if studios release on DVD *before* they release at the cinemas, the cinemas might actually benefit? Some movies are just made to be watched on a cinema screen, and the DVD will just create hype and get people interested.

      As for Odeon cinemas.. yeah, they are piss poor in my experience. The screens are like biggish TVs and there's zero leg space.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      cennis (profile), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 3:11pm

      Re:

      "What's next, people can watch first run movies from their TV the night the damn movies are released? Would that make you happy, just cutting out theaters all together?"

      Yes, this would make me happy. In a capitalist society, is that not what is important?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Marcus Carab (profile), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 3:57pm

      Re:

      If you don't realize that's exactly what's "next", then you need to take a good look at the modern trends in content discovery and consumption.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Cynyr (profile), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 4:46pm

      Re:

      Yep, i'd love to get it streamed via say 1 of 3-4 dozen places on launch. Hell i'll give you 3-4 dollars to view it over a week. TBH there is a large market being missed by the MPAA, Parents. Hmm pay baby sitter, leave kids with baby sitter, pay $20 for prime hours tickets, and then $20 for drinks, then some dumbasses phone goes off, or the teenyboppers in the front row are being loud, My wife has to get up to pee, but i can't pause it for her, etc. So yes, for the most part movie theaters cannot compete, seeing as you can get a decent entry level system for around $2000(100 movies a year or 50 over 2 years, or 25 over 4) and i'm willing to bet that you can keep at least 90% of that for several years. $1800/6years = $300/year now if a movie costs $40 + $40(babysitting) thats $80 a movie(ignoring gas, and car repairs). so less than 1 movie every 3 months, or it's cheaper(hypotheticly) to just stay home. That is ignoring things like, being able to pause, not having anyone else's cell phone go off.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 4:59pm

      Re:

      Uhh...

      "What's next, people can watch first run movies from their TV the night the damn movies are released? Would that make you happy, just cutting out theaters all together?"

      If that would "cut out theaters all together," then...YOU just admitted that the theaters are so bad they can't compete with the home experience.

      ...which is exactly what Odeon is whining about.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    fogbugzd (profile), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 2:36pm

    If they are going to window it...

    If they are going to window movies, they should at least sell the movies to people as they leave. There would be so many benefits to that. People who really want the movie would effectively be paying double -- to see the movie and then to buy the DVD. They would show it to their friends and say "But it is even better in the theatre." Well, they would say it if the movie was better in the theatre, but that is another problem.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Pete, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 2:57pm

    For christ sakes. This is a HUGE stretch even for you. I normally agree with many of your points. Reasoning behind this is they want to be able to recoup the costs of upgrading their screens. Plain and simple. Having a shortened window destroys every bit of financial planning that went into upgrading the theaters.
    This post shows you have no better motive in this regard than any other sensationalist publication.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 5:00pm

      Re:

      "Having a shortened window destroys every bit of financial planning that went into upgrading the theaters."

      And? Tough luck. Most businesses have to deal with their "financial planning" being "destroyed" all the time. Most of them then choose to adapt instead of throwing a tantrum.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 8:46pm

      Re:

      Having a shortened window destroys every bit of financial planning that went into upgrading the theaters.

      Why? Nobody is saying the theaters won't be allowed to shoe the movie after 12 weeks. And if they're providing a better experience that watching it at home then people will still be buying tickets.

      But if they aren't providing a better experience, then who needs them anyway? There's no reason they should be "entitled" to ticket sales regardless of the experience.

      This post shows you have no better motive in this regard than any other sensationalist publication.

      Your comment shows you have an entitlement mentality and no regard for free markets.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Jake, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 2:58pm

    Frankly, cinemas really can't compete with the home theatre experience any more, and for the most part it's their own damn silly fault. The 'social experience' aspect is severely limited; the last time I was in the cinema with a group of friends, if we'd wanted to comment on some aspect of the film we would have had to pass notes, the soundtrack was so loud.
    The cost of going there has also become ridiculous. Ticket prices might be governed by studio royalties to some extent, but there's no excuse for banning people from taking their own food in with them and then charging £2 for a Happy Meal-sized Coke. Nor is the shift in emphasis towards huge, 10+ screen cinemas in out-of-town areas helping bring in traffic, since they're usually off the major bus routes. Has it occurred to any cinema chain to sponsor a shuttle service from more residential areas? Has it hell.
    Seems to me that the big cinema chains are so convinced of their own indispensability to the film industry that they've become complacent. Let them reap what they've sown.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Ryan, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 3:25pm

      Re:

      I think it has more to do with running a business than illusions of invincibility. Specifically, concessions are pretty much where they make their dough, because we will pay it. If we didn't, then theaters wouldn't be able to stay in business and studios would be forced to adjust their terms. But since we do, theaters charge huge margins to compete with other theaters. And correct me if I'm wrong, but I would think a shuttle service from residential areas to the theater would be phenomenally expensive for not much benefit.

      They certainly have become complacent in providing a service, however. In order to sell popcorn and cokes, you still have to get customers through the door in the first place...

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Jake, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 6:48pm

        Actually, I suspect plenty of people won't pay it. They'll either go without, sneak their own food and drink in or just torrent the film instead. Concessions in cinemas are an artificially-imposed monopoly with artificially-inflated prices, and it sure isn't helping their competitiveness.

        And a shuttle service need not be all that expensive. A fifty-seater running a half-hour service between the cinema and a major bus interchange between say six and ten in the evening wouldn't be a huge undertaking, and nor does it necessarily have to be free; the cinema chain could simply throw in an e-voucher for half-price bus fare with every advance booking. It must surely be worth a try, at any rate.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    anon, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 3:08pm

    Not just Odeon...

    So far, no AMC location in the US, Canada or the UK has enabled ticketing for Alice...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Daniel Bodle, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 3:19pm

    I think what not many people know is how much film distributers charge cinemas to provide consumers with our great viwing experience. Well Done Odeon I say dont show it at all. If the cost income ratio is such that they arent going to make enough revenue from the ticket sales because of greedy distributers why bother showing it at all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Regular Reader, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 3:41pm

    Mike, Mike, Mike

    Oh, my. I normally enjoy your sarcasm, Mike, but this is going too far. Of course it's a short-sighted move, but I'm sure you can see where they're coming from, and they're not at all arguing that they can't compete with home cinema in quality.

    They're legitimately worried that if people can get a really high quality version, legit, they won't pay the rather silly cinema fees (I buy most UK DVDs for £5-£10, and pay around £7 to visit the cinema). And really, they're right. For the most part, it ain't worth £35 to take my family out to see a movie rather than just watch it at home.

    Give me £3 cinema showings, OTOH, and I'll be at 'em like a /shot/.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Marcus Carab (profile), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 4:03pm

      Re: Mike, Mike, Mike

      How can you both acknowledge that it's short-sighted and also defend it?

      I can see how it might make sense on next month's balance sheet, but that's exactly the kind of thinking that is sinking other content-delivery industries. I fail to see how not showing the movie does them any good. This move by Disney should be a good kick in the ass for them, to get them moving on staying relevant so they can compete.

      "... they're not at all arguing that they can't compete with home cinema in quality.

      They're legitimately worried that if people can get a really high quality version, legit, they won't pay the rather silly cinema fees


      I really feel like the second statement refutes the first. Sounds to me like you agree that they can't compete, and they know it too - and instead of trying to do anything about it (in the short- or long-term) they are throwing a temper tantrum.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 8:49pm

        Re: Re: Mike, Mike, Mike

        How can you both acknowledge that it's short-sighted and also defend it?

        Shill (n) - one practiced in the art of defending the indefensible.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 4:05pm

    DVDs at the movies.

    I've never really thought about why the gap exists between the release of a movie to theaters and its release to DVDs until I read this post. How awesome would it be to go see a movie at the theaters, then buy the film as you leave? Okay, it wouldn't be that awesome for a lot of movies, but I still think it'd be cool.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 4:10pm

    DVDs at the movies.

    I've never really thought about why the gap exists between the release of a movie to theaters and its release to DVDs until I read this post. How awesome would it be to go see a movie at the theaters, then buy the film as you leave? Okay, it wouldn't be that awesome for a lot of movies, but I still think it'd be kind of cool. What if you went to see the last movie in a trilogy, then you could buy the box set as you leave?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      interval, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 4:31pm

      Re: DVDs at the movies.

      OR: what if you could simply buy the movie anywhere, even over the internet, and then store it on your own equipment to view it later at your leisure, whenever you wanted to, and avoid the noisy, stinky, refuse-covered, disease-ridden theater altogether?

      That's the kind of world I want to live in.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 5:30pm

    I'd rather watch a cam version then go to the theater anyways.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Pedro, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 5:56pm

    Cinemas need the distributors more than the distributors need them, and that's been the case since broadband took off. When there are no technical boundaries to a film being streamed remotely and securely to a consumer's living room on the day of release, then operators of communal living rooms are in trouble.

    Unless they have something you can't get at home, a 'reason to buy', like 3D. Avatar, Alice etc are now seen as premium 'events' that cost more money per ticket, but this creates a problem for distributors.

    DVDs of 3D films are, at present, hugely inferior to the cinema experience, so inferior that they can hardly be considered to be the same product. Just as Fox might have a hard time convincing you to watch Avatar at home sans the crazy SFX, Disney seem rightly worried about marketing a film as a 3D extravaganza, then trying to sell a slimmed-down version to home audiences. They're the ones with the real problem, as their long tail may well be about to get a damn sight shorter when audiences realise what's up.

    Yet Odeon say that bringing an inferior version of a film to market 3 months after release in cinemas will dent the sales of tickets for performances of the work in its full glory. Three words; 'gift', 'horse' and 'mouth'.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    R. Miles (profile), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 6:12pm

    I may be a little off here, but...

    ...do movies even stay in the theater for 12 weeks? Unless it's some huge blockbuster, I rarely see movies last even 6, so I'm not sure why Odeon's so concerned with this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Dirk Belligerent (profile), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 6:28pm

    "Many of us believe that there shouldn't be any window at all"

    No, Mike, YOU BELIEVE that movies should be released on home video the day they hit theaters. Just as with the your insipid Avatar thread, you have decided that the whole world is in tune with your childish impatience and are now spewing baseless dreck based on it. Where the hell in the linked article does it say that "Odeon [admits] the experience of going to its theaters is so bad that it simply can't compete with watching the movie at home."?!?!? Once again, you are projecting YOUR demand that you not be bothered with going to the cinema with the peasants all over any story even tangentially related to movies.

    Seek counseling before you hurt yourself.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2010 @ 3:04am

      Re:

      New obvious troll is already old.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      techflaws.org (profile), Feb 25th, 2010 @ 3:52am

      Try harder

      No, Mike, YOU BELIEVE that movies should be released on home video the day they hit theaters.
      Right, and what about all those people who download cam rips?

      Where the hell in the linked article does it say that

      You didn't actually take Mikes interpretation of what was said as being a verbatim quote of Odeon represantitatives admitting failure, did you?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      BigKeithO, Feb 25th, 2010 @ 2:57pm

      Re:

      I ALSO BELIEVE this! It seems that Dirk Belligerent, DOES NOT BELIEVE this should be. Childish impatience? How about offering up a method to combat online piracy? It may be hard to believe but some people would rather just watch it at home. Right now you can go to the theater and watch it and wait for the DVD or you could just download it. You don't like that from the sounds of things but welcome to 2010, that is the way things are. If you'd rather make money off the people downloading why not offer steams/downloads/DVD's at the same time it is in theater to compete with the pirates? Because the is the way it has always worked so it must be best? Because pirates are morally wrong? I don't think they give a shit, pirates are competition and you need to compete with competition.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 8:56pm

    The Theater Experience at Home?

    I don't know about you, but I don't have sticky floors and chewing gum on my upholstery at home. Heck, I don't even have any night-vision goggle equipped goons scoping me out at home. So how can my home experience compete with that of going out to a theater?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2010 @ 1:03am

    The reason that the box office had its best year ever last year...


    Wrong.

    And it will still be wrong no matter how many times you repeat it.

    Adjust for inflation and things look a lot different.

    if we'd wanted to comment on some aspect of the film we would have had to pass notes, the soundtrack was so loud.


    Jesus man, what are you going to whine about next? How you have to set your cellphone to max volume just to hear it ring in a crowed theater?

    Do everyone else a favor and stay home.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2010 @ 11:53am

      Re:

      Wrong.
      And it will still be wrong no matter how many times you repeat it.

      It's true and it will be no matter how many times you deny it.

      Do everyone else a favor and stay home.
      Do everyone else a favor and hang yourself.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Webwych, Feb 25th, 2010 @ 4:04am

    And another article written by the "me" generation.

    For those of us remaining who love film, there is NOTHING that comes close to seeing a film in it's proper setting, a cinema. Unfortunately it is the audiences who have absolutely no idea of how to behave in such a social environment who make the experience awful - adults who can't whisper, and no, I have my own opinions so why do I want to listen to yours until AFTERWARDS? Children who have no concept of sitting quietly and watching for any period of time. People who can't stop eating for longer than an hour - unfortunately, a global practice. If I want to speak, eat, take a phone call or generally run around and perform other activities while watching a film, I will have the common good courtesy to do it within the confines of my home; if I wish to pay for a big screen experience then I will go to a cinema.

    If Mr Masnick had chosen to look beyond the "Odeon bans Alice" headline and actually read what the company was saying, it would have been obvious that the company was simply trying to protect it's business and so preserving the big-screen experience for audiences.

    Distributors are aways trying to wring more money from the box office (let's see US cinema owners gave Paramount 90% of the Jurassic Park for the first month of release and similar deals have been dictated by distributor/studios for every major box office since), so the first opportunity for operators to get some of the box comes in week 5 or so - most observers are aware that the vast majority of box office is taken within the first month, so please where is the business sense? Distributor/studios don't like the fact that all the concession sales are retained by the theatre, but then they have the home entertainment sales (which have longevity) and global TV sales to look forward to. The name of the game for the distributors/studios is now how quickly can we start to recoup our costs regardless of the cost in terms of the cinema end of the business.

    UK's Odeon cinemas is one of the longest surviving cinema exhbitors in the world - it has embraced many aspects of the changing market (and that means the bad - adding screens when may be it shouldn't have in their cinemas) as well as the good (no other UK exhibitor has supported digital more). There are good and bad Odeons in the UK, but all of them are more than capable to giving your living room a run for it's money.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      nasch (profile), Feb 25th, 2010 @ 8:09am

      Re:

      so the first opportunity for operators to get some of the box comes in week 5 or so - most observers are aware that the vast majority of box office is taken within the first month, so please where is the business sense?

      So what difference does it make if the DVD goes on sale in week 12 or week 17?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2010 @ 8:46am

      Re:

      I'm confused how you "preserve the big screen" by...refusing to show a movie on the big screen.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Ross Muir, Feb 25th, 2010 @ 5:33am

    Fanatical About Film?

    More like Dedicated to the Dosh.
    The bottom line in refusing to take Alice in Wonderland was of course the shortened Film release date to DVD release date which reduced the period in which the Odeon chain can make its money on overpriced tickets, food and drink.
    However articles like this, my own, direct communications to Odeon (they would be inundated), plus a bit of a kicking on BBC Breakfast time when Tim Burton was a guest, probably led to the "detailed negotiations" (I'm reliably informed from Mr Odeon) that themselves led to the confirmation that the Odeon chain can, and will, show the movie.
    Sometimes the Vocal Minority can be quite loud, and not as much of a minority as the big boys may think.
    Sanity prevails and, quite frankly, the Odeon would have been Mad as Hatters to ignore the shouting and continued bad publicity.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    LostSailor (profile), Feb 25th, 2010 @ 9:08am

    Wrong Headline

    The correct headline would be: "Mike Misinterprets Article to Accuse Odeon Cinemas of Crappy Theatrical Experience".

    Of course, Odeon admitted no such thing, at least not in the article Mike links to. Quite the opposite:

    Odeon also highlights the additional costs the chain has incurred making its screens suitable for 3D movies.

    "Odeon/UCI has invested considerable sums of money, especially in the UK, over the past 12 months to install digital projection systems in its cinemas," it said.

    "The proposed reduction in the window on a high-profile 3D title like Alice in Wonderland undermines the investment made."
    So, cinema invests likely millions of dollars (or pounds) into improving the theatrical experience and objects to a release time shorter than standard that directly affects their revenue...and Mike claims that they "admit the experience at their theaters" is bad.

    Well, at least even erroneous leaps of logic and jumping to conclusions is a form of exercise.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 25th, 2010 @ 10:54am

      Re: Wrong Headline

      Of course, Odeon admitted no such thing, at least not in the article Mike links to. Quite the opposite:


      Uh, of course Odeon didn't blatantly say that their experience sucked, my headline was making the point that that IS the message they're giving out by suggesting they can't compete with home theaters.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        LostSailor (profile), Feb 25th, 2010 @ 11:17am

        Re: Re: Wrong Headline

        "Odeon Cinemas Admit...."

        That's pretty straightforward statement. It's your interpretation (and not one I'd agree with) that this is an admission of any kind.

        Further:
        Basically, what Odeon is admitting here is that it knows the experience of going to its theaters is so bad that it simply can't compete with watching the movie at home. This is a rather stunning admission by Odeon and probably should make you think twice before going to any Odeon theaters.
        This is contradicted by the article, where they talk about their investment in digital and 3D equipment, making the theater experience, especially in viewing 3D movies superior to current home theater technology. It's your suggestion that they can't compete with home theaters, one that I think is not supported by the article you linked to. Indeed, other theaters seem to be able to compete with "home theater" this film (or are at least willing to accept restrictions that could lessen their revenue).

        I can make no judgment of the quality of experience in their theaters, since I've never been in one. If you had independent support, you didn't link to it.

        A more accurate statement would be that Odeon spites itself by foregoing some revenue for the sake of making a stand on maximum revenue and is misguided. I don't know that this is true, but it is supported by the article.

        I just don't think that your interpretation is merited on the facts in the article, and the headline is at worst a false misrepresentation and at best misleading.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2010 @ 12:13pm

          Re: Re: Re: Wrong Headline

          This is contradicted by the article, where they talk about their investment in digital and 3D equipment, making the theater experience, especially in viewing 3D movies superior to current home theater technology.

          And yet they still suck? That takes a special kind of screw-up: your kind, apparently.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            icon
            LostSailor (profile), Feb 25th, 2010 @ 12:38pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong Headline

            Ah, yes, the content-null personal attack. Well-reasoned drivel.

            and they still suck? The article presented no evidence that their theaters "suck." You have provided none. The conclusions you leap to are not worthy of consideration or comment.

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2010 @ 1:54pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong Headline

              The conclusions you leap to are not worthy of consideration or comment.

              And yet you do. That's rich!

               

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            •  
              identicon
              BigKeithO, Feb 25th, 2010 @ 3:07pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong Headline

              Is the movie being forceably removed from the theaters after those 12 weeks are up? I didn't think so. So let's explain this slowly.

              The theaters can continue to show the movie after the 12 weeks are up. The theater chain is upset because they feel that releasing the DVD that soon will cut into their ticket sales to see said movie. Ergo the theater chain is basically admitting that people would rather buy/rent the DVD and watch it at home than come to the theater.

              You can talk about upgrading their screens or sound systems or whatever you'd like to talk about but the bottom line is they feel they cannot compete with DVD's. Shouldn't a theater be able to add some sort of value to the movie that people would rather see it there? If they can't they are doing it wrong.

               

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 25th, 2010 @ 7:01pm

          Re: Re: Re: Wrong Headline

          That's pretty straightforward statement. It's your interpretation (and not one I'd agree with) that this is an admission of any kind.

          Yes, welcome to Techdirt, where we interpret stuff.

          Did you not know where you were?

          My point was that the actions of Odeon *implicitly* admit this. Everyone else seems to understand this. I'm confused that you do not.

          This is contradicted by the article, where they talk about their investment in digital and 3D equipment, making the theater experience, especially in viewing 3D movies superior to current home theater technology.

          Indeed. So why are they afraid?

          It's your suggestion that they can't compete with home theaters, one that I think is not supported by the article you linked to

          It absolutely is supported by it. They admit that they won't show this movie because home theater business will take away their revenue. They are admitting that they can't compete. I can't see any other explanation.

          A more accurate statement would be that Odeon spites itself by foregoing some revenue for the sake of making a stand on maximum revenue and is misguided. I don't know that this is true, but it is supported by the article.

          And the implicit admission for why they would spite themselves is they don't believe they can compete.

          I just don't think that your interpretation is merited on the facts in the article, and the headline is at worst a false misrepresentation and at best misleading.

          I'm sorry, you are wrong.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2010 @ 12:10pm

      Re: Wrong Headline

      Odeon also highlights the additional costs the chain has incurred making its screens suitable for 3D movies.

      "Odeon/UCI has invested considerable sums of money, especially in the UK, over the past 12 months to install digital projection systems in its cinemas," it said.

      "The proposed reduction in the window on a high-profile 3D title like Alice in Wonderland undermines the investment made."


      Are the studios violating and contract they had with Odeon? If so, then Odeon should consider a lawsuit. Otherwise, that's the way investing works. Odeon seems to have some kind of warped entitlement mentality.

      So, cinema invests likely millions of dollars (or pounds) into improving the theatrical experience and objects to a release time shorter than standard that directly affects their revenue...and Mike claims that they "admit the experience at their theaters" is bad.

      I'd say that if it can't compete with home viewing, then yeah, it's bad. And if it's bad, then who needs it anyway? Oh, wait. They think they're somehow entitled.

      Well, at least even erroneous leaps of logic and jumping to conclusions is a form of exercise.

      At which you seem to be well practiced.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        LostSailor (profile), Feb 25th, 2010 @ 12:40pm

        Re: Re: Wrong Headline

        At which you seem to be well practiced.

        More meaningless blather. I'll respond if you ever make an actual, fact and evidence based argument.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2010 @ 1:23pm

          Re: Re: Re: Wrong Headline

          Don't hold your breath. Judging by his many obvious (despite being anonymous) posts in this thread, he sounds like yet another teenage, torrentfreak refugee.

          You'd sooner squeeze blood from a stone then get a reasoned, intelligent point out of him.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    JerryAtrick (profile), Feb 25th, 2010 @ 9:33am

    This entire discussion will become a moot point within 2-3 months when this technology group (sorry I don't want to spoil the release) comes out with a software and hardware product that allows consumers to watch first run movies from home the night they come out... Are you thinking piracy? Yea me too but apparently they have a plan in place for prevention and detection of that stuff. Still though, the argument remains interesting.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Matt, Feb 25th, 2010 @ 10:46am

    Ug, someone innovate please.

    I think the whole supply chain (theaters, distributors, producers, studios, etc.) is more concerned with how they squeeze someone else in the supply chain rather than looking at what consumers want. The theaters seem insistent on this idea that it's home viewing that erodes their sales, which may be partially true but the important thing to understand is that the home viewing scenario is filling an unmet consumer need/demand that the theaters are not. The response? Try to protect the revenue stream by preventing others from filling the unmet need.

    There is another approach though. The theaters could look at what makes a compelling experience rather than using gimicky ways to get customers. For instance, we have a few theaters that do second run movies and I can sit on a big comfortable leather couch with a pint and some really good pizza. Will I pay more than I could rent it for? Absolutely. Or how about a place right next door to the theater where I can drop the kids and they have fun working on art projects while I get a movie in peace and quiet? None of this requires that much clever thinking or investment, but it does create a better experience that is sustainable over time rather than trying to ultimately squeeze me the consumer for no increased value.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    micmac, Feb 25th, 2010 @ 7:15pm

    Theater costs

    I can only conclude that most of the people commenting are very poor shoppers when it comes to movie theaters. I regularly go to movies at the Northfield Harkins Theater in Denver, Colorado. The theater is comfortable and clean with stadium style seating. The seats are large and spaced for good leg room. The price on Saturday afternoon is $7 ($9 for 3D). Having paid $20 once a year for a special T-shirt and $5 once for a special cup, I get FREE pop corn (as much as I, personally can eat), and $1 for a large drink. While this isn't cheap, it is a very reasonable deal.

    If the theater depends on the high cost of concessions to make a profit, how is Harkins surviving??

    Of course, I could go to an AMC in town and pay $2 to $4 more for the movie and $5 to $7 for each refreshment item, but why would I?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Nick Burns (profile), Feb 25th, 2010 @ 11:48pm

    Just playing devil's advocate here:
    Is it possible that the box office had a "record year" is that they've upped their prices again? Granted, because of that less people would go to the theater and with the shortened window would rather just wait it out and put the money towards the DVD/BR.

    Depending on how the theaters raised their prices, they could have still made just as much money or more, but their attendance was actually less.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 1:13am

      Re:

      Depending on how the theaters raised their prices, they could have still made just as much money or more, but their attendance was actually less.


      Attendance has remained pretty flat for a long time. 2002 had the highest attendance seen thus far. The MPAA will release their 2009 TMS report this spring detailing more of these figures.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    ODEON Employee, Mar 15th, 2010 @ 11:49am

    ODEON was addmitting no such thing.

    ODEON care more about the "guests" than they do about the employees so don't think for one second that they would want to upset people by not showing a film.

    ODEON realise that the WORLD is in recession and that it is cheaper to buy a DVD than to go to a cinema.

    Yes they make their money on refreshments BUT they are the only cinema chain that OPENLY allow people to take their own refreshments!

    ODEON simply know what they need (revenue) to stay afloat and are trying (and actually succeeded) in obtaining this.

    There is a fact of life and that is that people (you ODEON bashers on here) like to have a dig at any company that is "the biggest" in a country or the world because it's "cool".

    Look at those that "bash" Microsoft. Yes they make some bad software but they also make some great software. EVERY company is the same. They don't get it right every time.

    They are after all only human.

    And those that stated the information about how much of the ticket cost ODEON would be allowed to keep, they get 10% at the start of a films run.

    I bring you this information not to take a dig back because I am only a part time employee and frankly am not that far up the ladder that I would care what you think; but to give you that facts so that you can make your own minds up about the situation.

    And ODEON are owned by "Terra Firma" a company that owns companies which is in turned owned by a billionare. Even 1000 people refusing to use ODEON cinemas anymore wouldn't be enough to make them go out of business.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This