MPAA Brags About How Awesome The Movie Business Is; Right After It Claims File Sharing Is Destroying The Industry

from the two-faced dept

You gotta love the MPAA for the sheer Hollywood brashness of two recent press releases, that the Washington Post’s Rob Pegoraro decided to compare and call the MPAA on its blatant dishonesty. The first press release, from back in December, was all about how the internet and file trading were killing the industry:

Yet our industry faces the relentless challenge of the theft of its creative content, a challenge extracting an increasingly unbearable cost.

Now, we already knew that wasn’t true, and were among those who pointed out that the industry had just experienced its best year at the box office ever. And, of course, that’s what the second press release was about. It was the MPAA bragging about what an awesome year Hollywood had in 2009.

Of course, the MPAA spokesperson that Pegoraro spoke to pulled out the usual claim that while the box office may be doing great, it’s the secondary market (DVDs and such) that are suffering from all those nasty internet people. Of course, this is quite ironic, since the MPAA fought about as hard as possible against the very concept of a secondary market, with former MPAA boss Jack Valenti once declaring: “I say to you that the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone.” For the MPAA to now whine that the very secondary market it fought so hard to prevent from existing is now shrinking is the height of ridiculousness.

And, of course, even that claim by the MPAA isn’t accurate. It pointed Pegoraro to a report that it claimed supported this claim of file sharing killing the DVD market — but Pegoraro notes that the report actually notes the decline in sales of DVDs isn’t because of file sharing, but because of a better, more efficient rental market. Of course, the MPAA and Hollywood are also trying to stop that new rental market from existing as well (another Boston strangler, huh?) by falsely pointing to a study which it pretends says that Redbox and Netflix are killing jobs in Hollywood — but which actually notes jobs will grow.

Basically, it looks like Hollywood will repeatedly say the exact opposite of what research shows in its quest to get ever greater protectionist policies out of the US government, even as it’s absolutely thriving, despite an economic downturn.

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Companies: mpaa

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Comments on “MPAA Brags About How Awesome The Movie Business Is; Right After It Claims File Sharing Is Destroying The Industry”

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64 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Best year ever is deceptive...

The “movie industry” may have had its best year ever in terms of gross revenue, but ticket sales continue to head down. Of course, when it costs $30 to see a movie, have a soda and some popcorn, what do you expect? I would see way more movies per year if my wife and I could see a movie, have a drink and some popcorn for even $20.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Best year ever is deceptive...

“didnt they just implement a law to allow private theaters to search backpacks looking for video cameras, pop corn, candy, and soda.”

Dear God, PLEASE tell me that is true, and that they actually pull stuff OUT of the backpack. I can’t tell you the shit I will put in my backpack for the sole reason of them searching for it.

I never had a reason to buy dildos or pocket vaginas before, but now?

Monkeyboy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Best year ever is deceptive...

At the theater I worked at, we wouldn’t search backpacks. We just wouldn’t allow you to take it into the theater. We’d keep it locked in the manager’s office and you could pick it up on your way out. If you refused, you could get your money back and leave. If we found anyone with outside food, we’d confiscate it but usually allow you to stay and get your food back after the movie. Or we’d tell you to finish it outside or in the lobby. Of course, a lot of how we treated you depending on how you treated us. Cooperate and there was no problem. I might even be willing to let it slide. Get an attitude, though, and we’d ask you to leave. At that point if you refuse, the police are called. Although when it came to outside concessions, I never saw anyone refuse to let us take it until the movie was over.

And I honestly did feel bad sometimes with people that were late to their movie with full ice cream cones that they obviously just bought next door telling them to either throw them out or miss 10 minutes of their movie while finishing their ice cream. It’s amazing how many people would just throw the ice cream out.

Jeff (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Best year ever is deceptive...

Where I live if they catch you with an outside food or drink they will call the police, and then when the police get there come in and ask you to leave. On the way out, the police will cite you for it too.

I never have heard of a particular law, but know a few who have had to go to court to get it thrown out, but they keep on doing it anyways.

I have never been caught, but it’s just insane how much crap they put you through over this, and then whine because they are loosing money selling $15 tickets and 20 oz cokes for $7.50.

Eldakka (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Best year ever is deceptive...

This and many comments above about searching your bags etc are rather interesting.

Here in Australia, it is not legal for private individuals/organizations to forcibly search your person.

They can refuse you entry if you do not allow them to search your belongings, or ask you to leave if you are already inside and they ask to search your belongings (and forcibly eject you/call the police if you refuse to leave).

However, not allowing them to search your belongings is not a criminal act, it is merely a breach of contract with the remedy limited to ejecting you/not allowing you in, thus you lose the ticket, no refunds.

And considering the volume of customers going through into movie cinemas, it is simply not practical (from a cost perspective) to inspect more than a small random sampling of customers. So, put the food/drink in your bag, if they ask to inspect your bag and find these goods in there, chuck em in the bin and proceed inside (never seen anyone refused entry after agreeing to dispose of the goods). I’ve probably been done once in 20 years, going 5-10 times a year, and that was because I had a bottle of coke (TM) in my coat pocket on the side the usher was standing on with half the bottle sticking out. I stood there and drank the coke (TM) and chucked the empty bottle in the bin then proceeded into the cinema.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Best year ever is deceptive...

The “movie industry” may have had its best year ever in terms of gross revenue, but ticket sales continue to head down.

Did you not even read what the MPAA said?

“Ticket sales in the U.S. and Canada rose more than 5.5% from 2008…. Per capita ticket purchases in the U.S. and Canada also increased 4.6% to 4.3 tickets per person”

So, nope, ticket sales are not heading down any more.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Best year ever is deceptive...

I am not sure what “any more” means in this context. I offer up the article in the link below which says that attendance has been nearly flat for a decade. The peak year, according to the attached chart, which, interestingly enough, also comes from the MPAA, was 2002.

Now, attendance may be up 5.5% from 2008, but that is still less than the attendance in every year from 1999 to 2005, and more than 10% down from 2005; i.e., having increased attendance from last year is fairly meaningless.

dorp says:

Re: Re: Re: Best year ever is deceptive...

I am not sure what “any more” means in this context. I offer up the article in the link below which says that attendance has been nearly flat for a decade. The peak year, according to the attached chart, which, interestingly enough, also comes from the MPAA, was 2002.

So you are telling us that despite economy going down the drain, pirates taking over everything from Somalia to StarTrek and ticket prices going up, we should still ignore the fact that there was a considerable increase in movie attendance? That’s not to count the fact that more people can have a 50″ TV in their living room than 10 years ago and PS2/3, Wii and Xbox has invaded just about every living room.

Poor bastards, how will they ever survive if their revenue and attendance keeps on going up in the face of increasing competition.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Best year ever is deceptive...

Ummmm…no…Their attendance may have gone up 5.5% over LAST YEAR, but it is still DOWN 10% from the peak. I think what we are seeing is recovery to where it would have declined had the recession not hit. Attendance is still going down, it just went down more than it should have because of the recession. It will likely continue to drop after a small recovery – unless the film industry changes something.

dorp says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Best year ever is deceptive...

Ummm… no. You are now simply lying about reality. Most of the economic downturn was in 2009, not 2008. And it’s in this downturn that the attendance increased, despite piracy and other entertainment options that I already listed which any anti-piracy mouth piece will of course ignore as competition.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Best year ever is deceptive...

If anyone is lying about reality, it is the ignorant individual who provides no facts.

http://www.bea.gov/briefrm/gdp.htm

You will note that the downturn was at its worst by the end of 2008 and the economy has improved steadily since then. The fact that attendance has improved with the upturn in the economy is no great surprise.

I have no idea what you are talking about with respect to “anti-piracy” mouthpiece. Since I am neither anti-piracy or pro-piracy, the statement is irrelevant. However, you have done a nice job of making an ass of yourself.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Best year ever is deceptive...

I read your chart and it shows that most of the downturn was at the first quarter of 2009 with more downturn during the second and some recovery in the third and more recovery in the fourth. The down turn seems to have started in the third quarter of 2008 and ended around the third quarter of 2009

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Best year ever is deceptive...

It was the “Best year ever” only if you disregard inflation.

As for theater attendance, it may have been up in 2009 but it’s still considerably down from the highs seen in the early-mid 00’s.

With inflation factored in, “Avatar” isn’t even in the top 10 highest grossing films of all time, despite having the benefit of IMAX/3D ticket surcharges and a much higher number of screens available to it in foreign territories.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

I am enjoying this ...

Everything they say contradicts everything else they say. I agree with what he says they are dishonest.

They also have no real plan, continue to change course mid stream, implement things that are self defeating long term to make a short term profit, dont think about their long term viability, use intimidation to get people to buy their product, dont listen to what the consumer wants, continue to try finding a magic fix instead of taking risks and making tough descisions, dont do any financial analysis other than to show its “those pirates that are at fault”, continue looking for scapegoats, and are generally fraking up everything they touch.

Its a good thing for sure. As long as they are dishonest with others and themselves, they will never get their act together, and eventually fail.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

While it will almost certainly rile the “It ain’t theft” crowd, this post does sound somewhat like a bank posting good earnings despite its branches being robbed on a regular basis.

Uh, no, it doesn’t. Not even close.

The MPAA clearly stated that the “cost” of file sharing was “unbearable.”

That’s provably false.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: umm

Just speculating here — I don’t know what the standard contract between theaters and movie companies looks like, only that there certainly is one. But here’s my speculation:

The theaters protect themselves through the contractual agreements they have with the movie companies. Which is what would prevent the movie companies from releasing first-run stuff directly to the consumer: the theaters would have stipulated this to protect themselves. This would cut both ways, though — certainly the theaters cannot do anything they want to with the movies they show. They are likely contractually restricted to showing them in their own facilities.

JerryAtrick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 umm

But I guess what I’m looking for is this… There has got to be a way for the studios to release them to the public directly and make more money. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that more people would watch a movie if they could do it directly from their living room. You see how much a diet coke and a bag of popcorn is these days?

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 umm

There’s pay-per-view which deos that now, of course.

People go to the theaters for the experience more than the movie. Aside from folks willing to fork over the bucks for a home theater setup, you can’t replicate the experience in your home. Avatar would not have been a blockbuster if it wasn’t shown on a huge screen in 3D with surround sound.

But as to the prices of the concessions, that’s because almost all of the ticket price you pay goes to the movie company, not the theater. The theater makes its money on the concessions.

ECA (profile) says:

dont ya love these folks?

HOW many releases last year?
500?
Direct to DVD
RELEASE TO TV ONLY
MOVIES..

How many Theaters could a person afford to goto last year?
IF you afford more then 1 per month, You are rich.
Out of the ones you saw..
how many did you LIKE?
How many were OK?
HOW MANY WERE Ehhh!
How many were CRAP?

The DVD releases were OLD crap/TV SERIES and SifiTV movies..
The NEW movies are almost ALL remakes. (still waiting for BEN) I wont even TOUCH 3D and paying 3 times the price to watch..
Thinking about $1B in sales for 1 movie..at $30 tickets..
Even at $10 tickets..its only 100,000,000 SALES world wide. Which is 1/3 the USA population.
AND on $30 tickets??? for 3D? IS NOTHING.
If you cant get 10% of the world to watch a movie at $10 Each???

Popcorn Mule says:

High Price of Popcorn

What I do is get that large bucket of popcorn which sells for a ridiculous price, but they do say you can keep refilling it. Yeah, how much can you eat.

However, they didn’t say you couldn’t share it.

So, bring the entire neighborhood with empty bags (no law on bags) and keep refilling and refilling and refilling. On the way out, sell the full bucket for half price.

Anonymous Coward says:

i dont know about anyone else but i go to the movies alot but only when there are movies that are good and only in theaters that offer good seating the only movies i see in theaters are epic adventure movies and action so you get the full effect of the movie horror comedy romance all can be viewed on movie night from my 200inch screen

Anonymous Coward says:

Cinema is OVERPRICED!!

I would see a lot more movies if it was not for the price of seeing them, I am happy to let most movies make its way to DVD before watching.
LOWER PRICES!! I can eat a meal at a restaurant for those prices.

Only see the big ones like avatar, maybe just me, but the 3d version hurt my eyes and forced my focus points. 2d was way more relaxing and you can focus on any point in the amazing 3d environment.

The stuff that floated out of the screen was blurry and annoying as I instinctively tried to look at it but its blurry nature hurt my brain.

Never buy the food, sneak it in. the food is way overpriced.
They check my bag, but they never check my girlfriends handbag!! 😀

JerryAtrick (profile) says:

Re: Cinema is OVERPRICED!!

Even going just a few times can be a hassle. There may be one or two movies a year that I actually enjoy going to, the others I would love to just sit at home and watch with my family, but how annoying is it to wait for them to come out on DVD or VoD? That takes the excitement out of it, no one wants to be the last guy to see a movie…

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