Theaters Boycott New Film Over Simultaneous DVD Release

from the you-have-got-to-be-kidding-me dept

It's really amazing how badly movie theaters are being run these days. We've already discussed to death the many, many, many reasons why people are avoiding the theaters. It's got almost everything to do with the overall experience (that includes everything from price to movie quality to overwhelming ads to theater noise to uncomfortable seats to being treated like criminals and so on and so on). These are all things that the theaters have some control over -- but they refuse to do anything about it, preferring to blame just about anything else. The latest move is especially ridiculous. Steven Soderbergh announced his plans last year to release new movies and DVDs simultaneously. Instead of looking for ways to leverage that, now that the release is happening, major movie theater chains have decided to boycott the film and they will not show it. In other words, because of their own misguided fear that it could take away from revenue, they won't even give people the choice of watching it in a theater -- instead making more people go get it on DVD. The whole point of simultaneous release is to give people a choice of where and how to watch it. The theaters should embrace this. They should recognize that going to the movies is a social experience along with the ability to watch it the film on a big screen in a theater setting. If they played up the social experience and made it more enjoyable they could attract a lot of people. In other words, make it a choice worth making. They could even do something (gasp!) creative, like offering discounts to buy the DVD right as you come out of the theater (or a combined ticket that gets you both the DVD and an in-theater screening). Imagine the additional sales from anyone who really liked the film. Instead, by refusing to show the film, these theaters are more or less admitting that they don't think they have anything special to offer movie watchers other than the movie. If they really believe that, then they deserve to go out of business. Update: Mark Cuban, who backed the Soderbergh film, rips into the theater owners and gives plenty of other examples that fit with what we said above about the theater owners not understanding what business they're in.
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  1. identicon
    Max, 19 Jan 2006 @ 9:15am

    The Theater Experience - My 2 Cents

    There are two major movie theaters in my area. We only go to one, but we do that rarely. It does get expensive to take myself, my wife and the kids to the movies, mostly because of the WAY OVERPRICED food there.

    The experience is pretty good, we have a pretty well-behaved crowd all the time, the seats are comfortable, there's enough space so nobody feels crowded, the heat stays on in the winter, although it can get cold in the summer. So, yes, I guess I'm bragging about the theater here, but the experience tends to be very good, if expensive. We don't go to all the shows, but the ones we do go to, we end up buying on DVD. If the Extended Version of the DVDs came out at the same time or maybe 1 or 2 months lates, that would be great, but it seems like we end up having to wait 3/4 of the year for the DVD to come out.

    I would actually pay extra for a theater that had couches and real food.

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