by Dennis Yang

Moviegoers Not Going The Theater To See Movies

from the wouldn't-they-be-called-moviestayers-then dept

For the past three months, movie box-office sales have been down in comparison to last year, due to moviegoers spending more time staying home watching movies and playing games on their own televisions. TiVo is teaching us to demand entertainment on our own schedules. Moviegoers prefer the flexibility of watching movies on their own schedules, in the comfort of their own home, on their own fancy home theater setups. In addition, time spent playing video games and on the Internet has increased greatly over the past few years. Add these factors to deceptive show times, price gouging refreshments, and rising ticket prices, and you get a lagging movie theater industry, who aren't doing a very good job wooing customers. Some are even suggesting now that the DVD be released at the same time as the movie itself. Are megaplexes doomed? Not quite, the Chinese recognize that movie going is a social experience and have made improvements that have resulted in growing revenue. So listen up US theaters: install more vivid picture and better sound, put in better seats, make it worthwhile to pay for good food, hell, even GIVE away a copy of the DVD after you watch the movie. Make it fun again to go to the movies, and maybe people will come back.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    mhh5, May 27th, 2005 @ 1:15am

    what *I* want to see...

    I'd like a theater that lets viewers vote which movies it will show.

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

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2005 @ 2:52am

    Re: what *I* want to see...

    Wow that's a good idea, I wonder if it's patented...

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

  3. identicon
    jojo, May 27th, 2005 @ 4:25am

    Re: what *I* want to see...

    I rarely go to movies anymore. The last movie I saw in the theater was Lord of the Rings. It's too expensive, the advertising is annoying, the sound is often turned up too loud, there are always boorish people talking or acting like fools, etc., etc.

    True video on demand over REAL hi-speed lines will kill the movie industry and the video rental industry.

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

  4. identicon
    dorpus, May 27th, 2005 @ 6:32am

    Social experience?

    Talking is "social", do we want more talking during the movie?

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

  5. identicon
    Galley, May 27th, 2005 @ 6:46am

    Give them something they can't get at home

    I went to the theater for the first time in more than six months last week. What got me to go was the fact that a new theater in Greenville had installed a Barco DLP system in a Lucasfilm-licensed theater. Star Wars Ep. III in all its digital glory on a 60-foot screen. That's what it's going to take to get people back into the theater. Give them something they can't get at home!

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

  6. identicon
    eAddict, May 27th, 2005 @ 7:18am

    Re: Give them something they can't get at home

    That and being able to smack the person on the phone who is sitting near you.

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

  7. identicon
    Scott Peterson, May 27th, 2005 @ 7:56am


    The first thing that studios need to do is improve the quality of the product: 80% of films released widely are schlock. Plus with gas prices going up I believe people are less willing to cough up $9 in the hopes that a film won't be a piece of crap. Better to wait 'till it comes out on video.
    The studios freely admit that they release the movies that they think are good only at a few times a year: Christmas, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving. They reserve the rest of the year for dumping out the crapola that even they admit is lousy.

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

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2005 @ 8:42am

    Re: Give them something they can't get at home

    You have a point - I saw Star Wars ROTS on a DLP screen and aside from some digital artifacts, it was an improvement over the film version.

    On the other hand, I should not have to sit through crass advertising after I spent $20 on the price of a ticket, food, and drink. Maybe I could stomach it a bit better if that coke came with a double shot of Jack Daniels, but it doesn't. Seems to me that the income from the ads should be driving the prices DOWN instead of the continuing price hikes that will never end.

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

  9. identicon
    Permanent4, May 27th, 2005 @ 9:05am

    Theaters don't interest me anymore

    The last movie I saw in the theater was The Incredibles, which I saw toward the end of its run at a Saturday matinee with a friend of mine. There was nobody else in the theater that afternoon. We danced the balboa in the aisle to the closing credits music. =^)

    Before that, I saw Friday Night Lights with some friends on its opening night, paying full price for the ticket and the concessions. It was a good movie, but the whole experience left a bad taste in my mouth, because for the $15 I spent on that one flick, I could have rented three, and I already had the popcorn and soda at home.

    Since then, I haven't been back to the cineplex, and I don't think I've even seen more than one or two movies. When it comes to media, I'm listening to a lot of podcasts, keeping up with RSS feeds and trying to stay caught up with Doctor Who and everything on my DVR. Nothing I've seen in theaters this year is grabbing my attention, and I can wait until it comes out on DVD. Who's got time for Hollywood if that's all they're giving us?

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

  10. identicon
    fizzle, May 27th, 2005 @ 9:17am

    No Subject Given

    I'm probably a minority, but I haven't been to a theater in 3 years - ever since I moved from SF to Brooklyn. I used to go to a theater in the Castro that showed schlocky or arty movies, and there it was all about the socializing. I dislike typical theaters, and have no idea why people seem to enjoy it. Saw something at the Metreon, once, and that was enough - expensive, filled with rude people, too noisy, and I can't remember what I saw. Why would I go back?

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

  11. identicon
    Alex Ezell, May 27th, 2005 @ 11:05am

    A Festive Atomsphere

    I live in a small Southern town where there were three movie theaters three years ago. There are still three, but now 2 are owned by the same folks.

    What they decided to do was to make one a nice multiplex with stadium seating and all the bells and whistles. The other smaller theater (2 screens) they turned into a bar/restaurant/comedy club/movie house where on any given night, they might be showing the latest movie (SWIII for example) along with comfortable chairs around table where you can get good food similar to a Chili's or Applebee's quality and you can get beer or liquor. The addition of alcohol means that there are no kids either which some people prefer.

    That's a pretty good plan, but what makes it genius is that on off nights for movies - Monday and Tuesday, say - they have comedians come and perform, or they show old movies or have mini-marathons of say the 3 Die Hard movies back-to-back. And of course this always has the same good food and drink.

    This seems like a great way to run a theater to me while it also provides an outlet in the community for smaller, more independent films as well as local talent and events.

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

  12. identicon
    Cereffusion, May 27th, 2005 @ 11:43am

    The problem with Theatres

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

  13. identicon
    Joe Baderderm, May 27th, 2005 @ 12:27pm

    It's all about the popcorn

    I won a gift card for a local cinema and I'm in no hurry to use it (this is after a couple of years, I think it falls under the CA gift card regulations). Even though the tickets are free, I make better and healthier popcorn at home. That's what the movie experience is to me, good popcorn. The movie is secondary. If I want to bust a lot of money to see a movie, I'll head to the Metreon in SF and watch it on IMAX and make it worth my time.

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

  14. identicon
    TJ, May 27th, 2005 @ 1:51pm

    One other thing I didn't see mentioned

    Went to see The Fockers with family last year; someone else's idea. Yes, commercials are tough to swallow, but more than the principle, they did interfere with the popcorn and a movie experience of my youth. Either the popcorn gets cold or you have to run back to get it while the previews show or during the movie. People had already thrown things at and damaged the screen in a fairly new theatre. People brought screaming kids, etc.

    The most annoying thing though was an 'usher' peaking in every five minutes and dosing the back half of the audience with bright light in the process. I finally went and complained, and was told they had to be on the lookout for video cameras and other problems. Well then sit the usher's ass in the theatre where he might actually see something, or use a night-vision camera aimed at the audience and watch it remotely.

    It was a miserable experience, and from then on I've successfully pushed to watch a DVD in my home theatre. I haven't bought the huge wide flat-screen yet, but it is still a far more pleasant experience.

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

  15. identicon
    nerts, May 28th, 2005 @ 9:43am

    No Subject Given

    The of course, there's the Alamo Drafthouse, which makes going to the movies actually pleasant. Decent seating, a good menu (amazing for a movie house), and a good selection of old and new movies. It'll cost you, but it's worth it.

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

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 29th, 2005 @ 4:54pm

    Sticky floor’s palace of crappy-ass chairs

    Every time I ask my wife is she wants to go to a move, I get the same answer:

    “Sticky floor’s palace of crappy-ass chairs”

    I think if you could build, and (and this is the clincher in the US at least) maintain a theater that does not degrade my humanity, or at the very least disgust me, or make me as depressed as a nursing home does… I might just be willing to drop $10 to see a move in the theater…

    But as long as the seats are stained, the smell is bad, the place is in poor condition, and the other people are the same way… I will gladly keep my distance, and my money from sticky floor’s palace of crappy-ass chairs.

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

  17. identicon
    jj, Jul 4th, 2007 @ 1:50am

    movies suck now, because hollywood is rich from the 80s and 90s. so say good bye too good movies, sellouts suck

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

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