Maybe The Crappy Movies Have Something To Do With The Poor Ticket Sales

from the now-there's-a-connection dept

The Wall Street Journal has taken a look at the summer movie market, noting that this summer’s slate of blockbusters — founded on lots of sequels — isn’t looking so hot. For instance, Evan Almighty, the sequel to 2003’s Bruce Almighty opened this weekend, and pulled in $32.1 million. That might be okay, but the film cost a staggering $175 million to produce, making it the most expensive comedy of all time. The article also notes that the third installments in the Spider-Man, Shrek and Pirates of the Caribbean franchises are all expected to make less money in domestic box-office revenues than their previous films, though international sales are expected to be “healthy” and the movies will still be profitable. Furthermore, theater attendance this year is flat, compared to last year, defying expectations of a blockbuster-led surge. Perhaps what’s most striking about the article is what it doesn’t mention: piracy. Whereas pointing the finger at the availability of movies online gives reporters an easy story and provides a convenient excuse for studio execs, it’s clear that the movie business’ problems begin with its content. Spending hundreds of millions of dollars to make movies that aren’t particularly compelling to audiences — best reflected in the hackneyed continuations of existing movie franchises — and then show them in an unappealing environment isn’t a sustainable business model. The way forward for the movie industry isn’t by fruitlessly trying to crack down on piracy; it’s by creating a better product.

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Comments on “Maybe The Crappy Movies Have Something To Do With The Poor Ticket Sales”

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Andy (profile) says:

Yeah, word of mouth being so fast these days, the gotta-see-it-on-opening-night crowd (mostly composed of your friends or people you know, the people you trust more than the reviewers/screeners who see it ahead of time), opening night/weekend can cease to be the biggest money maker. Especially since they stop advertising movies three days after they come out if they didn’t have a significant opening weekend. I bet if the film industry tried to milk the moving going experience of the long-tail, the numbers might look a little better. I know we’ve been clammering for getting DVD releases soon after or at the same time as the theater release, but this is to make up for the crappy theater going experience. Sometimes, we don’t have time to see a movie during the opening week, before the theater gets rid of it to make room for the next blockbuster or moves it to the crappier theather in the multi-mega-plex — at which time it’s even less worth going.

Tyler Hellard (user link) says:

Knocked Up

The best example of good movies paying off is Knocked Up. In terms of cost/revenue, it’s probably going to be the biggest hit of 2007. I went the weekend it opened and it was packed. I went again this passed weekend, and it was packed again. A quality film that’s continuing to do well at the box office four or five weeks after opening, mostly due to word of mouth.

Casper says:

I was just at a movie...

All I could think while watching the movie was that A) it cost way too much to go and B) that the projection technology sucked. They kept advertising during the whole intro that they were using the latest DLP technology and such, but it really wasn’t impressive.

Why would I want to waist money and time going to see a movie that will suck? I only go to movies once every few months and only when people say it’s absolutely fantastic. If everyone who sees a movie only thinks it’s “ok” then I won’t waist the money. I’ll just get it through my subscription at Blockbuster.

Michael Long (profile) says:


I saw Spiderman 3 on an IMAX screen. Now THAT was a theater-going experience. Too bad too many movies are shown in shoe-boxes with postage-stamp sized screens.

I’ve also noticed that while many people have finally gotten the message that talking on cell phones while in a theater is a bad thing, they haven’t made the same connection in regard to texting. I hate having little bright beacons of light continually popping up in my field of view.

Theaters simply need to block cell connections. Period.

Hyrulio says:


Unimaginative title, i know.

I think Hollywood are just giving up.. ure’ they’re pumping out films as fast as we can gobble them up and spit then out again, but they’re ALL THE SAME!!

Think about any major release you’ve seen recently, and thnik about the plot:
Was there a love interest that the film could have survived without?
Answer: Yes.
They’re ALL following a Romeo/Juliet type plot somewhere in the film.. A guy like a girl, she doesn’t like him, and they get together by the end of the film.

They need to step back, and start making decent movies again!

And they need to have NOT made the Bratz! movie. If I even hear people talking about it, people are going to be hurt!

Tom says:

Why pay 40 bucks to see a movie in the theater when my big screen at home has a better picture and I don’t pay 5 bucks for a coke. I wait, buy the DVD and relax on my couch with as many people I want and enjoy. Surround sound, high def, and a pause button so I can take care of business and not miss a thing. Make going to the movie more cost effective and I may go back.

Drama2Sell says:

Explain please

The current movie going experience:

1) Get times and make sure I am at the theatre at THOSE times

2) Find a place to park (Free – $3)

3) Stand in line and purchase tickets ($9 each)

4) Stand in line and get a small coke and popcorn ($6)

5) go to theatre and find a seat. Since everyone is spread out.

6) eat pocorn and coke while watching previews and commercials. Usually done before movie starts.

7) 12 minutes later watch movie, put up with babies, talking on cell phones, whispering, people getting up, coming back in. Laughing at private jokes, texting.

8) Finish up movie, crowd out of theatre, wait in line for bathroom.

9) Find car, drive home.

This is a horrible, expensive experience.


Sean Pisano (user link) says:

Re: Explain please

I agree but I can tell you do not live in New York City. Here we do not have to deal with parking so much. Our movies on the other hand cost $10.50 and our popcorn and soda combo now cost almost $8.00.

I have resorted to bringing my own snack.

Sean Pisano
Sapo Entertainment (
The Sapo Entertainment Blog (

Robert Krinsky says:

Completely agree

Yes, why pay so much money to see a movie that you may not like. Going to a movie costs more than my netflix subscription and I have total comfort in my own home (recliner, surround sound, great and inexpensive food) without subjecting myself to the (sometimes) total inconsideration of others and a disgusting bathroom that makes me feel like I need a shower as soon as I enter it.

Anyone noticed the length of trailers these days. I pretty much have seen the movie and know almost everything about it if I sit through an entire movie trailer, leaves very little to the imagination.

Industry is sooooo slow to change.

Anonymous Coward says:

Movies - completely unimpressive so far this summe

I’ve seen Ocean’s 13, Spiderman 3, Shrek 3, and Fantastic 4 2 so far this summer.

They were all pretty much terrible. Fortunately I go to matinee showings so I don’t pay full price. I almost walked out of Spiderman 3 it was so bad.


1) Ocean’s 13 plot holes were so huge even a willing suspension of disbelief wasn’t enough.

2) Spiderman 3 didn’t bring anything new to the table. Even the fight scenes were stale. From a cinematography standpoint, do you think you could shoot Tobey Maguire without focusing on his double chin?

3) Shrek 3 completely ruined Banderas’s Puss in Boots character, which was one of the best comic devices in Shrek 2.

4) Fantastic 4 2’s mutilation of the Silver Surfer and Galacticus is incredible. Morpheus does not make for a good Silver Surfer voice characterization. From a cinematography standpoint, how do you shoot Jessica Alba and make her look unattractive? They managed.

At the end of the day, do actors, directors, producers, and cinematographers weep about the poor product they create?

Or do they just laugh merrily all the way to the bank?

I’m guessing the latter . . .

Bill says:

Theaters and the studios just suck

I don’t like going to the movies. To take my family to a weekend morning movie is about $50 by the time it’s over. $70 if it’s non-matinee. Just not worth it to me. I have a 50″ HDTV, HD DVD, Netflix, and HD Cable. I’d much rather sit in my living room and watch a movie in HD then go to a theater ever. It looks and sounds better and you don’t

The movies they make now are almost all sequels or awful remakes of 70s TV shows or movies that don’t need to be remade and ruined. For example: Dukes of Hazard. Take a hokey classic family friendly show from the 70s and then remake it so that the main characters are taking bong hits on a college campus? Brilliant, and they wonder why people aren’t hyped up on going to the theater anymore.

Sanguine Dream says:

Some coworkers of mine saw Fantastic Four 2 this weekend and they all agreed it was a so so movie. In the comics Sue Richards was a plain jane but very attractive woman. Why go get one of the most attractive women in Hollywood today just to turn her into a plain jane?

Commentor #14 said that Fishburne did make a good voice for the Surfer. I have yet to see the movie but from what I’ve heard of his voice I thought it matched up pretty well but like I say I have yet to see the movie.

So are this year movies have been better than the last 3-4 years but thats not saying much.

The way forward for the movie industry isn’t by fruitlessly trying to crack down on piracy; it’s by creating a better product.

Actually I would say that by creating better product and offering it in a more useful way would indirectly crack down on piracy. The movie (and music) industry would like for consumers (and more importantly politicians) to believe that the only way to end piracy is to lock product down with draconian laws and sue alleged offenders (regardless of evidence or guilt) into bankruptcy. Scare tactics aren’t the only way to prevent crime. Take away the motivation of piracy it won’t become worth it.

whocares says:

re: wifezilla

Maybe they should serve alcohol at movie theaters. Get people so drunk that they think they enjoyed the movie so they can go post on the internet that night about how good it was. =P Of course, at the going rates at the theater, you’d be paying the same for a glass that you would for a bottle.

BTR1701 (profile) says:

Re: Alcohol

There’s a place in Austin called the Alamo Drafthouse that serves alcohol and food during the movie. Not just popcorn and candy, but full meals– burgers, steaks, salads, etc.– along with beer and margaritas. The seats are all arranged around little tables so that you can watch the movie and eat at the same time. The first time I went, I thought it would be distracting to have waiters serving food during the feature but it turned out to be no worse than a typical movie with people constantly walking in and out going to the bathroom, getting snacks and kids running up and down the aisles.

Awesome Mr Ethan says:


Umm, I guess I’m a minority here, but I actually like going to movies. It’s a good tradition. I went to see Nancy Drew yesterday, I’ve seen Pirates 3, and I’ve seen Spider-Man 3 four separate times… and I think I saw another one that I can’t remember too. They were all incredible.

Meanwhile, imagining them shown on my home entertainment center seems so boring. I don’t go out, I just sit around at home and get to pig out EVEN MORE from the kitchen ’cause it’s closer and costs less. YAY GETTING FAT!!

All you people who don’t like going to movies, please, stop- people like me who enjoy it will love it all the more without having to listen to people behind us bitch at every little thing that’s different from their house.

simon says:

movies hmmm

i like to see them, i download the ones i missed, or can’t wait for them to get here and find them on a dvd rip release before they hit cinema and then try again

like to go see a movie on big screen, but on not busy shows , even if they cost about 8.5 euro (in belgium now) but at least i have option for DLT screenings or regular , depends on movie

with a drink and a pop-corn i can get to about 15 euro/person experience, not cheap at all, but seems that people still like the big screen here

use off gsm in halls is forbiden, but signal is not jammed, so ppl still use’em

i guess i will never understand why MPAA stays so close focusing on product then on service, when selling service regarding product can be way more profitable then only the product itself, but i guess, old folks don’t enjoy .com experience too much, some of them got fried on initial .com boom, but anyway, after getting some experience in field you might think they got the rules of game play on .com theater, cause if not, they gonna end spending more money in defending against piracy with police then with a better service with revenue and let little guys getting off value they could get from their own products, well, hopefully one day will get some more out of movies, including quality, of course :))

Frank (user link) says:


According to movie execs, more money spent on a movie = better movie. Whether or not this is true, it sure seems like it. Or, how about the price of tickets skyrocketing? Even movies that i’m excited to go see aren’t meeting up to the hype. It’s their own fault for spending so much money and forcing people to wait until it comes to DVD, or pirate it.

Lower the prices Hollywood, and the people will come back. Quit paying your actors these sums of money that could feed small countries for years. Give us better scripts.

Theebigham says:

I love the movies

I love going to the movies.. the whole atomsphere.. playing in the arcade waiting for the now seating light to come on.. while the anticpation builds haha. I live in Gburg PA i guess people here arent as rude as everywhere else. The only thing is dont go to a kid movie until after their bedtime.. such as shrek. We have a nice RC theater just built last year with atleast 2 huge screens. I mean its a little pricey bit to me going out being sociable is worth it. I understand watching movies at home i do the same thing but nothing compares to the theaters.

Johnny #5 says:

hype is a lost cause

I have not been compelled enough to go out this summer to see a movie…yet! I check out the trailers online and wait for that word of mouth dis/approval from my friends and family before I go to see it. The only movie this summer that I am going to see on opening night, and the only one that honestly have been waiting for is Transormers. I saw the trailer last summer and have been excited ever since. Granted I am a nerd, but even my sister who claims to be a pirate 200 days out of the year didn’t like the pirates 3 movie. I totally agree that if hollywood would put out a better product, I would actually pay to see it in a theater and not rent it. Perhaps the plan is to put out crappy movies until piracy is pointless. My only hope lies in the dollar theather in town. Not even that; fifty cent tuesdays.

Sean Pisano (user link) says:

Movies Stink

Movies Stink! They stink because they have lost what made movies great. They make movies now using the advertising format. Hype Hype Hype That will bring enough people into the theater to make a profit. That’s the key word “PROFIT”. Movies are not made to create a good product. The easiest way to make a profit it to stick to a formula then dress it up.

You add all that then give people the ability to build a small theater in their home and you have the makings of an art form that will continue to lose its way.

If you want it to change stop going to the movies and stop buying movies. Watch movies that are create on a small budget by unknowns trying to create something good. Don’t buy the Hype.

The last thing I would like to say is…No Die Hard 4 is not going to be a good movie, it’s going to be over done and stupid .The Transformers will also be a big disappointment. Anything they are going to recreate and change is going to be a big disappointment these day.


n3rdkw says:

Maybe it's not that bad

Like most of you, I do agree that most movies that came out this year SUCK, and that they’re mostly made on sequels to gobble up more customer’s money.
Well, if you think about it, it’s all right. If every movie was so great, then you would not have contrast to show you what a great movie truly is. I mean, granted, without those crappy movies, you probably won’t know that the good ones are… good. I hope you see my logic here.
There have been a couple of good movies out since this YEAR, such as 300 (or was that last year?) and Knocked Up. To have two great movies come out in a year, it’s actually quite an accomplishment. It’s just like books, only way larger in proportions. You don’t encounter good books every time you pick one, just like you don’t see good movies everytime you go. There are the horrible ones and the good ones. Not every novel is written so perfectly, and you shouldn’t expect most movies to be made so awesome. In all seriousness, do you really expect more than one spectacular product to emerge EVERY summer? Think about it, it takes quite a long time to produce a movie. It goes from book, to adaption, or straight from screen play, to costume, directors, management, acting, filming, editing. That’s quite a LOT to do. And to have all aspects of the movie to make you say “wow,” it is really incredible. Some of you may be taking good movies for granted, but they are made, by people just like you. Even though I understand most of your contempt for lack of great movies, but please try to appreciate the work to produce a great one, and understand how easy it is to make it… horrible.

BTR1701 (profile) says:


> Theaters simply need to block cell
> connections. Period.

I wholeheartedly agree, however the few theaters that have tried it have run afoul of the FCC. Apparently there’s some federal law against jamming cell phones, even on private property. This law needs to be changed.

Like most people here, my movie-going trips have drastically decreased in the past few years. I used to go at least once a week, if not more. Now it’s once or twice a year, and that’s usually because I’m out with friends and it’s what the group wants to do.

Not that I watch less movies– I don’t. I just don’t see them in the theater. My 60″ plasma and Dolby surround home theater offers a far superior experience than going to a movie theater.

The industry needs to stop blaming the piracy bogeyman for its declining ticket sales and realize that– unlike in years past– consumers have a wider range of entertainment alternatives in general and they have a wider range of alternatives to seeing those specific movies in a theater.

Anonymous Coward says:

Lost luxury...

The film industry used to have the luxury of making mediocore movies and getting people come see them in droves. But now that people have home theaters that make the movie watching experience at home just as enjoyable as (if not more than) going out and today’s technology which makes piracy a breeze the movie watchers are no longer forced to go out to see the lastst movie or see a movie with the best picture/sound.

BTR1701 (profile) says:

Re: Transformers

Talk about a perfect movie for product placement. It’s amazing that all the “good-guy” robots in the movie just happen to pick GM vehicles as their camouflage. (With the exception of the leader, Optimus Prime, who changes into a semi-truck because it’s so physically big, I guess).

And all the “bad-guy” robots aren’t brand-name vehicles at all– so as to avoid negative product placement. They’re all things like F-22 fighter planes, CH-53 helicopters, mine-sweepers and Abrams tanks.

I never really minded product placement when it was just a Coke can stuck in the background of a scene or something similar. But when the entire story/plot of the film is altered to specifically accommodate the sponsor or the movie becomes nothing but a glorified commercial, I’m less than enthused.

(Lest anyone think otherwise, I’m not one of those hysterical people calling for government regulation of this sort of thing. Let them put all the products they want in movies, I don’t care. It’s just disappointing.)

SP says:


Umm, I guess I’m a minority here, but I actually like going to movies. It’s a good tradition. I went to see Nancy Drew yesterday, I’ve seen Pirates 3, and I’ve seen Spider-Man 3 four separate times… and I think I saw another one that I can’t remember too. They were all incredible.

It’s a good tradition to blow over $9 PER PERSON to see some lame sequel or “remake” or “adapation” from a book?? Spider Man 3 – SUCKED. Boring. No movie should EVER have a 3rd installment, I don’t care how “good” the first one was. Pirates, same thing. BORING. They do the same shit in EVERY movie. Boring, way too long fight scenes…all the same moves. Same plot just different scenery. Why pay $9 for that? Nancy Drew? You’ve GOT to be kidding me! Are you noticing a pattern here? Like the others have said — Hollywood/MPAA hasnt come up with anything NEW and ORIGINAL in YEARS. All the CRAP they put out now isn’t even worth watching when the DVD comes out. HEll, not even worth my time to pirate (download) ’em. And I am SO sick of the MPAA using that excuse for declined movie ticket sales. People aren’t going to the theatres because 1)new movies lately TOTALLY SUCK! THERE’s NOTHING NEW ANYMORE and 2)movie theatres SUCK.

Meanwhile, imagining them shown on my home entertainment center seems so boring. I don’t go out, I just sit around at home and get to pig out EVEN MORE from the kitchen ’cause it’s closer and costs less. YAY GETTING FAT!!

Hmm, let’s see here… If going to a movie at a threatre makes you think you’re cool cause you’re “going out” and “doing stuff,” you’re pretty pathetic. You’re “going out” to go SIT DOWN for two hours and pig out on greasy popcorn and sugared sodas. Yeah, great work out plan there. Pigging out even more from my kitchen? Not quite. At home I have the option of eating snacks that are actually HEALTHY. I can drink WATER (that’s FREE verses $6 for a bottle) or I can drink juice or anything in my fridge for far less than the theatre charges for their sugar water soft drinks. I’m not eating more and pigging out. It’s actually completely different. Why the hell would I want to “go out” to some overpriced theatre and actually PAY to sit with a bunch of inconsiderate assholes who talk on their cell phones, light up the room with their cell phones (texting), whisper, spill soda on the floor and make it sticky as hell to where I’m GLUED TO THE DAMN FLOOR…screaming kids saying “Mommy I gotta go potty!!!” every damn 5 minutes… oh yeah… That’s a GREAT EXPERIENCE I tell ya… Fuck, sure glad I just blew $50 at the theatre see a crappy movie and be annoyed to the point where now I feel like ripping someone’s head off. Yep, you’ve got me sold on the “traditional experience.”

Don says:

I’m trying to figure out where this “poor sales” idea comes from. Spiderman 3 is already #15 on the all time US box office and has a good chance to surpass Spiderman 2 and break the top 10. Pirates 3 has a good chance to break the top 25 and maybe surpass Curse of the Black Pearl. $35 million is not a bad take for an opening weekend take for a comedy, especially one squeezed in between the likes of Spiderman 3, Pirates 3, FF 2, Die Hard 4 and the Transformers.

Just because Hollywood can’t manage a budget and spends $175 million on a comedy, and actors think they are somehow justified in $10-20 million paychecks is not the fault of the movie going public. Clerks 2 was made on a budget of $5 and still made a very respectable $25 million, so I find the claims that a $35 million opening weekend was “bad” as being somewhere north of ludicrous.

Sorry but most of us have to live on this little thing called a budget, and “cost overruns” are not really an option for most of us. Things like movies and music are something we call luxuries, something the entertainment industry doesn’t understand. And most of us aren’t going to work unlimited overtime at our jobs (or get second jobs) just so somebody can earn an extra million dollars or three.

Sorry, but I’ve seen the box office receipts and the movie industry is doing a very healthy business these days, especially given they aren’t just competing with the current crop of movies, but every movie made in the past 50-70 years, not to mention other industries like the music industry. Even if we all had the money, there simply isn’t enough time to do and see all the things we’d like to. Apparently, not only are we suppose to have unlimited bankrolls, we don’t have to do little things like work or sleep and can devote 24/7 to the entertainment industry.

Benefacio says:

Been there, Done that, nobody learned from it...

Three problems I see repeated on this site whenever this topic comes around:

Pixar has as much influence over the operation of Cinemark as Ebay has over the operation of Google. It amazes me that the various writers here get the second part but turn a blind eye to the first. Again, what is Pixar going to do, refuse to allow Cinemark to show their movies unless they clean up their act? Been there, done that, got the Boobie prize!

You can not please everyone, no matter how hard you try. The movie going experience is a subjective one and what might be perfect viewing for you might be lousy for me. Businesses that try to please the greatest amount of people end up going for the most common denominators, also called dumbing down the experience, which is exactly what we see happening.

Lastly, how does a corporation fix what are social problems to begin with. Do we really want them to try? The majority of complaints I see on this topic do not have anything to do with the business but rather with fellow patrons. We have already been down the road of movie theaters trying to enforce better behavior. It does not work. Police on duty inside? That will certainly bring customers in droves. Exclusive membership? I can see the ACLU falling right in line with THAT!

BTR1701 (profile) says:

Re: Been there, Done that, nobody learned from it.

> Exclusive membership? I can see the ACLU falling
> right in line with THAT!

Why would anyone care what the ACLU thinks about that? A movie theater is free to market itself as a private club if it wants to. There’s nothing illegal about it and the ACLU certainly has no say in the matter. So long as the theater doesn’t discriminate based on a protected class– race, gender, etc.– it’s perfectly within its rights to have an exclusive membership list of patrons, the same as any golf club or other similar business.

Turd Ferguson says:

Hollywood needs an enema.

There is absolutely no effort in Hollywood these days. They’ve realized the masses will gobble up anything, so long as it’s over-hyped…hence the sequels and trilogies, and quadrilogies..etc… (attempting) to build on the previous successes is a common trend these days. Every movie I’ve seen in the past 2-3 years, with the ironic exception of Pirates 2, has left me utterly dissapointed. Creativity has taken a backseat to marketing and merchandising and the like. Not to mention the video game spin-offs. Don’t even get me started on those….

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