Theater Owner Begs Hollywood Not To Give Consumers What They Want

from the can't-compete,-huh? dept

It's always kind of amusing when you see a business owner make obviously false statements as they try to justify why everyone should be worse off, just so they don't have to adapt their business model. It's especially amusing in the movie theater business, where we keep seeing theater owners complain about shortening windows between theatrical release, and when a movie can be viewed at home. As we've noted over and over again, every time a movie theater executive makes such a complaint, they are effectively admitting that they're too clueless on how to compete. Even though they have huge theaters with great sound systems and seating, they're admitting that they either don't want to or simply cannot compete. If that's really the case, they don't deserve to be in business.

RickMan points us to the latest such example, written for the Hollywood Reporter by Gregory Marcus, the CEO of Marcus Theatres, where he runs through a whole series of fallacies in trying to convince Hollywood not to keep shortening film windows. Let's pick through a few:
I just saw Johnny Depp at the grocery store.

Dressed as the Mad Hatter, he was in the Redbox machine available for $1. All I could think was what a shame it was that this wonderful movie was being so terribly devalued.
First of all, it's not devalued. Price and value are not the same thing, and it's economically wrong to claim they are the same. Furthermore, it's not "devaluing" something if the market is pricing it more efficiently and accurately. Just because one part of the market artificially inflated the price through exclusionary and anti-competitive practices, don't blame the market for more accurately pricing things.
Windowed release patterns are brilliant. Release a movie to different outlets over time so it can be sold to the same person multiple times. First see it in the theater, then buy or rent it, then catch it on cable or TV. Shorten the window and risk losing the ability to sell the product multiple times.
When trying to convince the world that your system is better, it helps not to flat out admit that the system you like is the one that forces people to pay multiple times for the same thing. The reason windows are collapsing is because more and more people realize such windows are ridiculous and make little sense. And when that happens, they start routing around the legal ways of getting the content, and get it through unauthorized channels.

The real problem here, of course, is that Marcus is either too afraid or too confused to know how to compete. Even if all movies were released -- in an authorized fashion -- for free, I would bet that a smart theater owner could thrive. That's because a smart theater owner would recognize that people go out to the movies for the overall social experience. The better the experience, the better you can do. Everyone can always eat dinner for less money at home, but they go out to eat at restaurants for the experience and the ambiance and the fact that others do the work and take care of the details. The same is true for movies as well. But Marcus, here, is suggesting that his theaters are run so poorly that no one would want to come. That seems to be a problem for the board of directors of Marcus Theaters in reviewing the guy who is in charge of their strategy. It's got nothing to do with release windows.
Please don't say, "We need to give the consumer what he wants," because the historical implication was, "or your competitor will provide it," not "or the customer will steal it." The proper response cannot be to cede to the thieves' demands and earn less along the way.
If you don't realize that file sharing sites are competitors, you're never going to be able to adapt.
If I were the studio execs, I would focus on catching and punishing thieves and look for less destructive opportunities to grow my business.
Yeah, because so far, that's only served to draw more attention to file sharing and increase the rate at which it's done.

I'm sure it sucks to be in Marcus' position, where the old artificial scarcity he milked for profits is shrinking ever so slightly. I'm sure it must be tough to have to adapt and give people more reasons to actually come out to the theater. But his arguments make no sense for anyone other than himself. Shortening windows (or getting rid of them completely) provides more benefits to the consumers, and it's a move that the studios should have done long ago. It gives them more bang for the buck in terms of their marketing efforts, and it better segments the market. That theaters are unwilling to adapt to compete in a changing market is a problem for those theater owners alone.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    A Dan (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 11:00am

    Typo

    "every so slightly" should be "ever so slightly"

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    NAMELESS.ONE, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 11:02am

    reasons to never go

    17.07 crappy popcorn and watered down pop.
    YOU get some asswipe in nightvision equipment staring at everyone.
    THEY frisk you like your on way into a prison.

    YUP
    YOU SUCK AND DESERVE TO GO POOF

    and i have not even mentioned ticket prices

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 11:08am

    What happened to TAM?

    He'd usually jump all over stories like this :(.

    I miss TAM.

     

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

  4.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 11:12am

    An interesting notion...

    Imagine if someone started a movie theater (totally unlicensed) that played certain movies without a window.

    Imagine that someone could play movies like Steal This Film II, Sita Sings the Blues, or Avatar a day before it came out.

    Imagine that the movie licensing wasn't so expensive.

    I wonder what would really come out of this experiment with newer movies without worrying about windows?

     

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

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 11:13am

    "THEY frisk you like your on way into a prison."

    Really? I'm in Canada, and I admittedly don't go to movies very often, but if they tried to pull that on me, that would be the last time I ever visited a theater...

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 11:16am

    "If I were the studio execs, I would focus on catching and punishing thieves and look for less destructive opportunities to grow my business."

    Ban the internet then. Hype travels superfast due to the internet and hype is one of the reasons people just can't wait until a show/movie/song gets accessible in their area.

     

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

  7.  
    icon
    fogbugzd (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 11:18am

    Theater owners are in a tough spot. Their contracts with the studios give almost all the profit for ticket sales to the studios which means the theater owners have to make their profit from pre movie ads and concessions. They are also required, or at least encouraged to treat patrons like they are criminals.

    The theaters should be looking to the studios for better contracts and the flexibility to give customers a better theater experience.

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    Michael Kohne, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 11:22am

    "If I were the studio execs, I would focus on catching and punishing thieves and look for less destructive opportunities to grow my business."

    Do you think he said that with a straight face? Because that's worked pretty much not at all so far...

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    Patty, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 11:25am

    RE :: Theater Owner Begs Hollywood Not To Give Consumers What They Want

    I read something recently, maybe it was here, and that was that "the market doesn't care". I don't think anything sums up the changes wrought by ones and zeros more succinctly. The market doesn't care that the music and movie industries are crumbling. The market will be what it wants to be and all of their fighting against it is futile. As a writer recommended to our postal department, figure out what your business will be in 10 years (it is not that friggin hard to see the general outlines) and work back from there.

    Words to live by and certainly to emblazon on a T Shirt - THE MARKET DOESN'T CARE.

     

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

  10.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 11:26am

    Re: Typo

    "every so slightly" should be "ever so slightly"


    Fixed.

     

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

  11.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 11:27am

    Re: What happened to TAM?

    He'd usually jump all over stories like this :(.


    If his past practices are any indication, he tends to disappear for about a month every 2 to 3 months, and then return under a new "persona." He's done it 4 times already. Same pattern each time.

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    Rooker, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 11:30am

    What an idiot

    The smartest theater owner in the country ought to be demanding that Hollywood have a DVD already made when the movie starts in theaters. That way, when people walk out of the auditorium and are still blinking at all the lights, they can hit them with banners reading "See the version of the movie the Hollywood studios didn't want you to see. Buy the unrated, director's cut of %movie% at the concession stand. $5.00 off with your ticket stub!"

    But no, that would require someone from a slowly dying industry to understand they can no longer control how consumers get the products they want and would be better off selling it to them before they download the torrent. If these people had any brains or business sense, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    hank mitchell, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 11:31am

    I still think it's a little weird to argue that going to a movie is a "social" experience. Sitting in a dark room being still, not talking or moving and staring straight ahead for 2 hours is not terribly social. I tend to think of theaters as remnants of an era where the only way to show a film was in this manner. People may think of it as a social experience but it's really just a *nostalgic ritual* that provides excitement. I think its pretty hilarious that people also create home theaters with all the inconveniences of real theaters, like box offices and so forth. I think they probably overcharge themselves for popcorn as well.

     

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

  14.  
    identicon
    John Doe, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 11:32am

    Imagine a world without copyright...

    Imagine theater owners being able to buy a movie and show it without giving the movie producers most of the box office take. That is what is killing theaters, not piracy. As it is now, the movie companies get most of the take and leave the theaters to charge $20 for 2 cokes and a popcorn.

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    TDR, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 11:33am

    Re: RE :: Theater Owner Begs Hollywood Not To Give Consumers What They Want

    Yep. Definitely. The market will do what it does regardless. As the Borg say, "Resistance is futile." ^_^

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    Rooker, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 11:38am

    Re:

    More like antisocial experience. I can't stand going to theaters. I'd much rather have the DVD and invite a few people over than deal with hundreds of strangers who can't keep quiet for two hours.

     

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

  17.  
    icon
    PolyPusher (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 11:40am

    Re:

    I'm sorry but it is not just a nostalgic experience. In many situations it is a social experience. I remember seeing Shaun of The Dead in theaters. The entire audience was enjoying the movie so much that it contributed to my experience. Seeing a movie is an experience whether at home or in a theater. Being surrounded by other people can improve that experience. It also can ruin the experience...

    But it is a gross overstatement to say that the only point in going is ritual.

     

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

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 11:40am

    Re:

    Agreed. You'd think theater chains/owners would have much more leverage on this. Movies made for the big screen need the big screens, release windows not withstanding. Marcus is barking after the wrong car.

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 11:43am

    Re:

    I know I didn't read it with a straight face. The way that sentence is written it sounds like 'let's destroy people so we can be less destructive'...*headshake*...parse malfunction.

     

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

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 11:43am

    I suppose exploitation is brilliant, in some strange twisted sense.

     

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

  21.  
    identicon
    Silver, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 11:46am

    Maybe the theaters should start to offer 'adult-only' time slots for all movies - from the cartoons to the ones filled with gore and nudity. That would bring some people in who don't want to deal with immature brats and whiny children.

     

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

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 11:48am

    I wanted to comment this (or send a link, but I couldn't find anything good) and since it's almost on topic, here goes:

    During the world cup here (Argentina) movie theaters played the transmission of the games. The exact same one you could get for free (over the air) at home, or sometimes DirecTV. They charged 2 or 3 times the cost of a regular movie ticket. And people went, because it was fun. So much for windowed releases. They actually half-succeeded at making movie theaters appealing on a market that's not theirs and where they can't ask for windows because they don't make sense. It must be noted that during the world cup, people in Argentina don't do anything but watching the world cup.

    Just saying.

     

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

  23.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 11:49am

    shrinking every so slightly

    should be ....

    shrinking "ever" so slightly

     

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

  24.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 11:53am

    Re:

    forget that didnt refresh the page in a while ....

     

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

  25.  
    icon
    ervserver (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 11:54am

    going to the movies a lesson in germ warfare

    we rarely go to the movie theaters anymore, the popcorn doesn't taste as good as it used to, a bunch of crowded seats with people coughing, farting, text messaging, etc. Then there is the cost of all this so called entertainment. I'm in the process of putting in a projector and screen at hone, maybe one of those popcorn machines on a cart as well.

     

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

  26.  
    icon
    Trails (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 12:04pm

    It's not that someone suddenly figured out that windows don't make sense

    It's that online file sharing has removed distribution control. If the studios don't release movies sooner people will just download. In fact, this is great for [good] theatres since it highlights their experiences. The difference between watching a download and a dvd are trivial. The differnce between watching a download and going to the theatre are huge. If their only competitive advantage over home viewing was timing (and that assumes it even is an advantage), then they would be toast already. Talk about terribly devalued good or service...

     

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

  27.  
    icon
    Paddy Duke (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 12:06pm

    Multiplexes, you’re doing it wrong.

    I saw Inception in the cinema on the second day of its release in the UK. It was a Saturday night, a prime cinema-going time, and I was on a rare trip to one of the local multiplex cinemas. At a guess, I would say there were around 45 people in the screening. In a theatre with a capacity of somewhere around 400, that’s a lot of empty seats.

    Now Inception is a spectacular blockbuster; the kind of film that really benefits from being seen on a big screen with booming sound. I very much doubt that the other 350 potential customers were at home watching downloaded screeners on their 15" notebooks.

    Clearly there’s a problem with the cinemas themselves if they are not drawing the customers in. I regularly travel to a little university-run, independent cinema about half an hour from me and, despite being (50%) more expensive than the multiplex, at weekends it is always packed.

    The difference is the little indie cinema has built a loyal following of film lovers who want to spend their money there and see the films on a big screen surrounded by like-minded souls. They are a case study in CwF + RtB.

    I’ve even been invited to FREE (Shock! Horror!) previews of new releases. And make no mistake, they got cash out of me at these free showings. I spent money in the comfy bar, and told everyone I know to see the film. On top of that, it endeared them to me greatly.

    There’s also a two tier membership program with benefits including discounts on tickets (for you and your friends), discounts at the bar, free access to matinees, discounts from partnering TV providers and magazines, and even discounted membership of a local sports facility.

    I am certain that in the long run the clever little indie cinema will outlast the clueless multiplex, and the world will be a better place for it.

     

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

  28.  
    identicon
    Rendarkin, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 12:10pm

    Alamo

    Alamo Drafthouse (www.drafthouse.com) successfully sells a wonderful theatre experience and I know it's not the only chain that does so.

    You can buy (alcoholic) drinks and dinner before and during the show. The service is usually great. The atmosphere is casual and fun with silly pre-shows (like YouTube clips and bad 50's previews) instead of normal ads.

    When I went to see a movie there a week or so ago, it also flashed a warning saying "You get one warning from an usher, if you make noise during the film. The second time, they are coming to remove you."

    So some theaters still get it.

     

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

  29.  
    identicon
    Tom The Toe, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 12:21pm

    A Real Social Experience

    Here we have a couple of theaters that have adults only seating areas (balcony)where instead of popcorn and sodas you can order dinner and drinks. Pizza and beer and a movie, no kids, now that's a movie going experience. Small tables and chairs with arm rests instead of cup holders and small uncomfortable seats. These theaters show first run movies and make the experience worthwhile.

     

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

  30.  
    icon
    danto10 (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 12:45pm

    Re:

    Ever seen Rocky Horror Picture Show? The Room? Any of the other classic available-on-dvd-but-still-plays-to-packed-audiences movies?

     

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

  31.  
    identicon
    Not Single Anymore, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 12:46pm

    Re:

    Theatres are still a public place to watch a movie. This is a huge, unchanging, advantage they can use. Good luck inviting a girl to your place to watch a movie for a first date.

     

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

  32.  
    identicon
    DS, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 12:50pm

    [Playing along with the argument in the initial article, just to see if it makes sense]

    You know, I really DID want to see the Tim Burton version of Alice in Wonderland in the theaters, and really wanted to spend $9 a ticket for the chance to do so. And, if it was as good of a movie as I had hoped it would be, I was FULLY prepared to spend that kind of money multiple times. Of course, figure in the cost of a second ticket (I am a married man after all), the cost of a beverage and a snack just increased my wanting to see the movie at a theater.

    Alas, I was busy that month, and never had the chance.

    So as I spotted it in my local Redbox, I thought "Great, now I can see it". But when I saw that it was only $1 a night, I scoffed at such a cheap movie, and vowed never to watch it. Ever.

    [Nope, still does not make any sense.]

     

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

  33.  
    identicon
    bfos, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 1:13pm

    Well, it kind of is devalued

    Looking at Alice's DVD sales, they seem to be down noticeably when compared to movies that performed similarly in theaters with a more traditional windowing schedule.

    If the creators of Alice could have generated more revenue, as indicated by solid but lagging DVD sales, then Marcus is correct in saying the product has been devalued.

    Alice was a worthwhile experiment for studios to test changes to the windowed release schedule. It didn't work out (nor was it the major failure that it could have been). Marcus really doesn't need to be concerned about this becoming a trend.

     

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

  34.  
    icon
    interval (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 1:23pm

    Re: A Real Social Experience

    Excellent. I was racking my brain trying to come up with a model that would make me want to go back inside a theater. I guess that's why I don't run my own business. Another idea, one that's been around for a while, is to run older films and charge a discount. My and my wife some times go to a local theater that does this. Works out nicely for us.

     

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

  35.  
    icon
    chris (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 1:25pm

    Re:

    I still think it's a little weird to argue that going to a movie is a "social" experience. Sitting in a dark room being still, not talking or moving and staring straight ahead for 2 hours is not terribly social.

    going to the movies can be part of "a night out" the way that sugary cereals are part of a nutritious breakfast.

    theaters ought to focus on making films more accessible to the "night out". getting 4 adult humans in and out of a restaurant before a showtime is a total pain, and finding a decent place that is still open after a movie is equally painful.

    i'd love to go to a place where dinner is served during the show, like they do at cabaret clubs in some casinos and cruise ships, with intermissions and the whole bit.

     

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

  36.  
    identicon
    RD, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 1:33pm

    Re: Well, it kind of is devalued

    "Looking at Alice's DVD sales, they seem to be down noticeably when compared to movies that performed similarly in theaters with a more traditional windowing schedule."

    Not necessarily. Correlation does not equal causation.

     

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

  37.  
    identicon
    Jeremy, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 1:37pm

    A lot of it is the price

    My wife and my daughter went to see the latest Twilight movie on opening night. The local megaplex chain charged $9.50 per ticket, so there is $19. They bought one large drink, a large popcorn, and a "theater size" candy item, and the ticket was $18.75. For two people to see the movie and get a snack it cost nearly $40. I can buy the movie on DVD at full retail price, get a couple of 2 liter bottles of soda, a bag of "fun size" candybars, and a couple of bags of microwave popcorn, invite a few friends over to watch, and still be $10 ahead of the game. Add to this that if someone needs to use the restroom we hit the pause button and nobody misses anything. No missing a key point in dialogue due to a screaming kid or cell phone ringer. A $1 rental instead of buying it brings the cost down even further for the same if not better experience than the overpriced theater!

    My wife and I do enjoy going to a local theater called the Northern Lights Cinema Grill. All evening showings are 21 and over since they serve alcohol. When you walk in you buy your tickets at $3 (second run) and you can order dinner. They serve burgers, nachos, that type of food, and desert if you like. Next you go sit in the theater which is a renovated theater that closed down years ago where they took every other row of seating out and put tables in their place. As the previews are running just before the movie starts they deliver everybody's dinners to them. About half way through the movie they deliver deserts to those that ordered them. All in all it cost us $20 for us for the traditional "dinner and a movie" in an enjoyable kid-free atmosphere.

    This is how theaters need to treat their customers. Treat them (and their wallets) with respect and provide an experience. Theaters that just provide a large screen and poorly tuned audio system just aren't worth it anymore with the quality of today's (even low end) "home theater" systems. I remember watching plenty of movies back in my school days with over-driven bass and ear-splitting treble. I did that because it was still better than watching it on my crummy TV at home. Now that just isn't the case, my TV and stereo in the house look and sound just as good and usually better, and it is by no means a "top of the line" setup. Far from it actually.

     

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

  38.  
    identicon
    NullOp, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 1:37pm

    Competition

    Having been in the theater business I can tell you absolutely the industry does NOT know how to compete! They know about movie promotion and how to service lots of customers, but compete....no. They have for decades had an audience they have taken for granted. Play a movie and they will come, there were no choices. Now that there are choices the industry is scratching their heads.

     

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

  39.  
    identicon
    Chris, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 2:03pm

    Re: Alamo

    A co-worker told me the Rolling Movie Show (also done by Alamo Drafthouse) is awesome. The one experience he was telling me about was a showing of Jaws they had on Lake Travis in Austin. They set up a screen on the shore and had everyone watching from inner tubes in the water. They even had scuba divers in the water toying with the viewers. Sounds like an awesome experience.

    Looks like they had one last month http://www.jawsmovie.com/2010/06/jaws-floating-roadshow-on-lake-travis/.

     

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

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 2:17pm

    What? you mean cramming as many people as possible into a room, like sardines, that has a giant movie screen on one end and charging outrageous prices for unhealthy snacks, isn't a viable business model anymore? OH noes!

     

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

  41.  
    identicon
    bfos, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 2:34pm

    Re: Re: Well, it kind of is devalued

    "Not necessarily. Correlation does not equal causation."

    Right. And it's just one point of data.

    But, I'm just pointing out that all indications that are available to me, if anything, suggest the shortened window led to a devalued product. If Mike wants to show data that proves otherwise, that would be interesting. Responding to Marcus's letter with "Nuh uh. $1 movies are sweet for me. Therefore, they must be best for Hollywood." isn't too convincing.

     

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

  42.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 2:34pm

    Re: Well, it kind of is devalued

    Looking at Alice's DVD sales, they seem to be down noticeably when compared to movies that performed similarly in theaters with a more traditional windowing schedule.

    Others have questioned this claim, but in the interest of fairness and openness, would you care to share who your employer is?

     

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

  43.  
    identicon
    bfos, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 2:41pm

    Re: Re: Well, it kind of is devalued

    http://www.the-numbers.com/

    That Alice topped DVD charts for two weeks isn't that telling, as it was a huge movie. It's still the 2nd largest grosser this year in theaters. Considering that fact, it doesn't seem to me to have done as well on DVD as the theater grosses would suggest.

     

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

  44.  
    icon
    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 3:12pm

    Re: Re: Typo

    While you're fixing things, perhaps double check that the top-level menu item Entrepreneur’s should have that apostrophe. :-)

     

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

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 3:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Well, it kind of is devalued

    What is telling is that Shawshank Redemption keeps popping up at the most sold DVD's after 16 years. WTF!

    http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/1994/0SHWS-DVD.php

     

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

  46.  
    icon
    BigKeithO (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 3:26pm

    Re: A lot of it is the price

    This.

    Your theater sounds awesome. I would totally take the wife to this place over a traditional megaplex any day.

     

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

  47.  
    identicon
    disillusioned, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 4:32pm

    never again

    It's because you are all greedy money-grabbers. I went to America, my then-boyfriend took me to my first American movie theatre. I had a packet of some sort of lollies in my hand, and he said "you'd better hide those". ... I'm like "what? why??". .. "because you're not allowed to bring food in; you have to buy theirs".
    Excuse me, but WTF??
    As for being frisked. Good god .. if they tried to do that to me I would leave.
    I'm glad I don't ever have to go there again (and I'm talking about the country, not just the theatre).

     

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

  48.  
    identicon
    Godric, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 5:44pm

    Re: Re:

    I remember watching Saving Private Ryan on a military base, and having everyone yelling at the one soldier that just sat there and cried as his fellow soldier was being murdered.

    I also remember watching GI Jane and everyone Cheering and yelling HOOAH at the screen as O'Neal kicked the crap out of the Master Chief. To me that is a social event. It is that way when large groups with the same interests go to the theater together.

    I also enjoyed going to the premiers of the Star Wars prequels and Lord of the Rings trilogy and seeing all of the costumes.

    This is when it is a social event. Screw what the theaters want... Make the experience what the customers want and the money will pour in.

    There was a theater in the Arena District of Columbus OH that had it right. Leather seats, real snack bars with real food at a reasonable price. You could even order beer from the taps or bottle. Yes, the ticket price was fairly high, but that was to keep out the shitheads that clearly did not belong there. (I have moved away and have not been able to go back in years) If they kept up the momentum, they would have no problem raking in the dough!!

     

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

  49.  
    icon
    Karl (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 7:12pm

    iTunes killed the Pirate Bay?

    You missed this howler:

    Thanks to iTunes, a legal electronic music market now exists. Theft has been reduced.

    Um, since when?

    He obviously believes that since labels are making money off of iTunes, "theft" has been reduced. The real story is that even though infringement has been constantly rising, iTunes allowed labels to make some money off of the same product that infringers got for free.

     

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

  50.  
    icon
    Mikael (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 10:00pm

    Re: never again

    They don't want you bringing in your own food for a variety of reasons. The main reason is that they make almost no money on the ticket prices. They make the majority of their revenue on concessions. I used to work at a Rave Motion Pictures theater as a supervisor and a projectionist. I was told that for a $9 ticket they maybe get $0.30 of it. Ever wonder why you're not allowed to uses passes or discount tickets for the first two weeks of a movie release? It's because the theater has to make back what they paid to show the movie in the first place, and then provide a profit to the movie company that provided the film.

    The Rave theaters are pretty good, but could be better and are only getting worse. I was one of the first employees of the one I worked at and it was the best theater I had been to in a long time. The two biggest theaters in it were 400 seats, thick cushioned chairs with padded arm rests, tiered seating (never staring at the back of someone's head), and at least 2+ feet of leg room. The concession prices weren't that bad with combos and free refills on the large drinks and popcorn. They used hot cheese on the nachos and took zero shortcuts with any of the food. Now...it's a different story. They raised the ticket prices without giving anything "extra" to justify the price raise. They stopped using fresh, hot cheese on the nachos in favor or pre-packaged cheese cups which makes a huge difference if you love your nachos. They started to sell pizza slices and other foods like chicken strips which are really no more than very over priced quick cooked finger foods that suck. I gave those a shot and was very disappointed. The employees aren't that great anymore and the ushers don't really try to keep "disturbances" down during movies.

    When I worked there I cared about my job and making sure people enjoyed their movie, which meant that I made sure people causing problems were promptly kicked out. Anyone under 17 without an adult in an R rated movie was kicked out. People don't understand that theaters get fined for that. They also get fined if someone pirates a movie in one of their theaters. They have "signatures" in the movie that are detectable even in a video recorded version that identify where the movie was recorded. This is why if you come in with a backpack you are probably going to be thoroughly searched.

    I haven't been to a RMP theater in a long time because I now go to the Movie Tavern chain that's around here. The particular one I go to was made from an older theater so it's not as fancy as the newest ones, but it's still pretty damn good. The evening movie tickets were $6, but when they added all digital projectors they raised it to $7 which is still pretty good. You have a bar in front of your seats in the theater to set your food/drinks/feet on during the movie. You can order your food before going into the theater and they bring it to you. For just a little more money you can go to one of the newer Movie Taverns and be seated in nice big leather seats, have someone come to your seat to take your order, and even call someone during the movie (via call button at your seat) to come take your order if you want something else so you don't even have to get up. The only time I really drink there though is when I'm with a group of friends since they have a discounted price on a 5 bottle bucket of beer lol

    Oh and after 6pm there is NO one under 17 allowed in the theater without a parent. Ids are checked and it's enforced as well.

    Even if a movie was on DVD I would still end up going to at least a Movie Tavern to see it. The ticket prices aren't bad at all and the food is worth it's price too. Plus, I don't have to worry about making any of the food myself :D

     

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

  51.  
    icon
    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 28th, 2010 @ 12:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Typo

    "While you're fixing things, perhaps double check that the top-level menu item Entrepreneur’s should have that apostrophe. :-)"

    Shouldn't it be The Entrepreneurs' Corner? Otherwise I feel like I'm intruding on someone's private space.

     

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

  52.  
    icon
    mkam (profile), Jul 28th, 2010 @ 6:15am

    Re: Well, it kind of is devalued

    I saw Alice in 3D and thought it was not worth it. I therefor didn't get the DVD when it came out. I just thought it was the same movie done over again and the visual effects weren't that good. Maybe DVD sales are an indicator of it just being an 'average' movie.

    Now Avatar in 3D was worth it and would love to see it again in IMAX.

     

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

  53.  
    identicon
    Anon, a mouse cowered, Jul 28th, 2010 @ 6:19am

    Simultaneous release would be good

    As someone with busy job & kids it is rare I get to the cinema / movies (pick your version of English usage) - when I do it is normally taking one of my kids (& sometimes some of their friends) to a film I am not particularly interested in. It is very rare I get to see a film I want to see.
    Friends of mine with no kids & thus lots of free time often give me the buzz on this or that movie (in addition to me being exposed to marketing), IF the DVD was available at the time there would be many occasions I would watch it if a friend (with views on film quality I generally shared / trusted) enjoyed the film (plus, quite importantly I could partake in chat about it with my friends - sharing experiences / opinions about it)
    When the DVD finally dribbles out (& here in the UK massively overpriced & later than US release) - the buzz is long since gone & the time for a shared experience with friends is long past (they are all now talking about the next big film) so as a rare cinema goer my rtb is massively reduced by the huge delay in DVD availability & the film studios lose out on my cash as no point paying a lot of cash for a "non fresh" film... I then only tend to buy when the film is several years old (& so at a low price) as if I cannot get it when it has a "buzz" its value becomes far less to me & so I wait until the cost reaches MY valuation of it (my valuation differing from retailers / studios for quite a few years!).

     

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

  54.  
    identicon
    Jerry, Jul 28th, 2010 @ 6:35am

    Re: Alamo

    *** LOVE *** the Alamo. When I see all these comments about the crappy theater experience all I can think about is how great it is to live in Austin and be able to see movies at the Alamo. I am at the point where I really agonize about seeing a show if I can't see it at the Alamo. When you see how they are selling out even matinees all the time (you can forget about just walking up for a ticket on Fri/Sat nights) it is obvious I am not the only one. Tim and Carrie League deserve all the props they get for creating such a great product.

     

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

  55.  
    icon
    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Jul 28th, 2010 @ 7:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Typo

    Well, it can be "The corner of the entrepreneur", so singular possession can work too.

    The thing is, isolated from the context of its expansion, "entrepreneur's" doesn't really read so well. Because of over-familiarity with spurious possessive apostrophes, the apostrophe in this case looks spurious - even though it can clearly be argued otherwise.

    I think it just makes a rod for its own back.

    I'd change it to "Entrepreneur's Corner" or "Entrepreneurs" as in "Entrepreneurs click here for The Entrepreneur's corner".

    YMMV

     

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

  56.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Jul 28th, 2010 @ 7:10am

    Re:

    I disagree, for several reason. First of all, most people go to the movies with friends. It also often forms a part of a night or day out - maybe a meal, a game of bowling or something else as well as just the movie. There's nothing quite like chatting with friends about the movie you just saw, and it's a great excuse to hang out.

    As a movie geek, I might be biased as I attend festivals on a semi-regular basis. I'm hyped for the upcoming Frightfest in London next month, nothing but movies & beer for 5 days. I get to meet new people (including many directors and other industry folk) and chat with people I only get to see every 6-12 months when I'm in the UK for the festival.

    While the actual experience of sitting in the dark and watching the movie itself might not be 100% social, the activities surrounding it definitely are.

     

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

  57.  
    identicon
    Danny, Jul 28th, 2010 @ 7:15am

    "The reason windows are collapsing is because more and more people realize such windows are ridiculous and make little sense"
    Exactly. This isn't 1985 when it really would have taken a long time for a movie to get from theater to VHS/Betamax. These days it is technically possible for a movie to hit theaters, iTunes, Pay-per-View, DVD/BluRay, etc... nearly on the same day. The only reason those windows are still in place now is because people want those windows in place.

    "Even if all movies were released -- in an authorized fashion -- for free, I would bet that a smart theater owner could thrive"
    Yeah all they would have to do is charge reasonable prices for snacks. I mean really $3 for a box of M&Ms that would cost about $.79 in a store? $4 for a baggie of popcorn? $2.50 for a 20oz soda? Hell even if the movies were free people would still smuggle in their own snacks.

    "I'm sure it sucks to be in Marcus' position, where the old artificial scarcity he milked for profits is shrinking ever so slightly. I'm sure it must be tough to have to adapt and give people more reasons to actually come out to the theater"
    When you're the old incumbent that means more than likely you have the advantage of money and name recognition. These movie theaters had more than enough opportunity to figure out how to use file sharing to their advantage but they didn't. And its not because they didn't have a chance, its because they had the chance and chose not to work with it. I really didn't have much pity for them before but given how they're acting now I am starting to actively dislike them.

     

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

  58.  
    identicon
    Danny, Jul 28th, 2010 @ 7:29am

    Re:

    I agree with you on this....to an extent.

    And I think its going to vary from person to person, crowd to crowd, and movie to movie.

    As others have said if you go to see a Star Wars movie in theaters chances are you will see cosplayers, lots of socializing, and people getting their geek on (I remember when I went to go see Attack of the Clones when ObiWan told Anakin, "You're going to be the death of men." the entire theater just busted out laughing.).

    On the other hand when I went to watch Shutter Island a earlier this year it was an entirely differnt affair. No loud fanfare. No getting of one's geek on. Just a crowded room paying attention.

    Personally for the most part I'd rather go to the movies alone because I don't want to pay lord knows how much money to go see a movie just to chat with my friends. I can do that at home, at a bar/club, or restruant. But sometimes I really do like the idea of socializing at movies. And I have to say how amazing it is that something as old as Rocky Horror Picture Show can STILL draw a packed crowd full of people who singing, dancing, and socializing along with the movie.

     

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

  59.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Jul 28th, 2010 @ 7:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Well, it kind of is devalued

    ...and this proves what, exactly?

    There are numerous other factors that might be involved that have nothing to do with windowing. Perhaps people just didn't like the movie enough to buy the DVD (it only has 51% on Rotten Tomatoes). Perhaps it's a bad month in the overall economy, and people have just not been buying new (pricey) DVDs. Meanwhile, the short window allowed people who didn't want to go to the cinema to obtain the movie without resorting to piracy.

    There's also the 3D aspect. For some people, 3D is the only reason they'd have seen the movie theatrically but this experience is not reproducible at home. Why would someone want to buy a DVD at full price that's missing the one part of the movie they wanted in the first place? It's not surprising that the DVD sales of the movie would suffer compared to movies that didn't depend on that theatres-only gimmick.

    I also notice that you fail to mention any titles that "performed similarly". Are you talking internationally (Alice made over $1 billion worldwide) or domestically ($334 million)? Either way, that leaves very few movies that have performed similarly (only 6 have made over $300 million domestically in the last 12 months and of those available on DVD, all except Transformers 2 were better reviewed).

     

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

  60.  
    icon
    slander (profile), Jul 28th, 2010 @ 1:58pm

    Re:

    Problem with that is that too many of the so-called "adults" are immature brats and whiny children

     

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

  61.  
    icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Jul 28th, 2010 @ 6:12pm

    Re:

    There is a zeitgeist that comes from the crowd in the theater. You get immediate feedback on what the group thinks. You laugh, boo, and scream together. You laugh at the one lady with the weird way of laughing. It's hard to deny that humans have tribal instincts, and are influenced by others in a common experience.

    At Inception, in the final 2 seconds of the movie, a lot of my audience were disappointed. I got something out of their reaction (mostly surprise that they weren't certain about the ending without being shown.) Can't say more without spoiling.

    Anyway, that's only the start of the "Social moviegoing experience". Usually, people meet with friends. They might have dinner or a snack before, or might have drinks after. They will surely discuss the movie - what they liked, what they interpreted, acting, etc.

    Hank, don't be fooled by the 90 minutes in the dark where you're not supposed to talk. Think more about the entire experience. It is highly social.

     

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

  62.  
    icon
    TtfnJohn (profile), Jul 28th, 2010 @ 6:17pm

    Re: Ahhh, the multiplex!

    Once upon a time there were theatres that were actually comfortable to sit in, that didn't charge an arm, leg and require a mortgage for bad popcorn and snacks, had ushers who took you too your seat politely and not like cranky prison guards, had full sized screens, played fewer ads and had sound systems that didn't distort silence.

    Then came the multiplex. Yes, movies were once important social events. Then came the little airless boxes in "the multiplex".

    Then came the internet.

    Movies can be social events again in a big theatre. Just kill the f-ing multiplex, make the place interesting and comfortable again and people will come to see a good (hell, even average) movie cause once we see it we want to talk about it with other human beingṡ.

    We're social critters, remember? Hell. Even put in a little bar or a little coffee shop.!

     

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

  63.  
    icon
    TtfnJohn (profile), Jul 28th, 2010 @ 6:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Well, it kind of is devalued

    Could it be that there's something in The Shawshank Redemption that people find compelling, resonating and important while they don't find the same with Alice?

    I've noticed on "pirate sites" that it's also one of the most downloaded too.

    Hmmmm, most downloaded, most sold, probably among the most rented.

    Wonder what THAT says? :)

     

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


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