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
    Rikko, 19 Jan 2006 @ 9:29am

    Re: No Subject Given

    As an avid movie fan - I think this is ridiculous. There is a certain flair to watching a movie on the 'big screen' and I'm not referring to the 50" at home.

    There is no reason why home viewers can't wait the 2-3 months for DVD release...get a grip!

    And what if the "big screen" has big globs of crap stuck to it from some kids that threw things A YEAR AGO? What about the seats that feel like they're broken and you're afraid the move. What about that sticky armrest? What about the volume level that's just too high for enjoyment? The 18 degree "room temperature"? Coughers? People who laugh loudly at things that aren't funny, but laugh at simple jokes that don't deserve a laugh? Why is it they can't get a simple mop and some bleach and run it along the floor every couple nights? Why does this $7 popcorn taste like.. meat? The guy in the row behind me with the loud crinkly packing of his gummy bears? The little kid who keeps asking questions because he's too young to understand the movie? That dude who keeps clearing his sinuses by sniffling something very large and wet sounding back through his head - every thirty seconds?

    Why did all this cost me 10 bucks to get in the door and another 10 if I were stupid enough to buy their food?

    Flair? Flair?!

    That argument is stupid. They should release the DVDs first and then if people buy it and like it enough, they can wait and see it in theaters in 2-3 months! And all the while they can see the trailers for the DVD sales!

    See, it's a completely arbitrary tactic at this point.

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