Next Up On Movie Theaters' List To Remain Relevant: 3D Movies

from the well,-it's-a-start dept

It is beginning to look like movie theater owners are finally (finally!) coming to terms with the fact that they can't just sit back and whine about home theaters. Instead, they need to actually compete and offer a better experience, not easily replicated at home. In the last month, we've seen a few different stories suggesting that theater owners at least understand part of this. As we've noted, they're investing in IMAX screens and building luxury theaters. The latest is that they're trying to do a lot more 3D movies where the overall experience is enhanced by seeing it in a big theater. These are all steps in the right direction, and things that need to be done, but it would be nice if they fixed the core problems first: making the theaters comfortable, clean and mostly free from distraction. Also, it appears that all of these stories focus on how the theater owners are looking to increase prices for these "new" types of movie experiences. Considering how overpriced some folks already think movies are, theater owners might want to be careful about how much extra they're charging, or no one will come check out these innovations in the first place.

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    PaulT (profile), 16 Apr 2008 @ 4:23am

    One step, but a small one

    Yes, that's right. 3D is a good step in the right direction but it only recoups some of the audience potential that has been lost to home theaters - that is giving people a spectacle that they can't see at home.

    However, that's only a small fraction of why the cinemas have lost their customers - the rest are related to high prices and noisy crowds as well as a poor selection of movies. The average multiplex plays the same movies as the next one while some movies don't get played at all, meaning the selection isn't there - e.g. There Will Be Blood and No Country For Old Men didn't play in certain areas while Meet The Spartans was everywhere. Talk about alienating part of your potential audience!

    At home, I can play a movie in comfort with no annoying people talking and texting while the movie's on, get to eat the snacks I want, watch the movie I want and not have to sit through 30 minutes of ads and "you're a dirty pirate" propaganda before it starts - and all at a reasonable price.

    When the cinema experience matches that, it'll improve the attendance. Until then, 3D is a gimmick that's not guaranteed to work any better than the last 3D craze in the 80s for long-term success. However, it will cost the industry a lot in new equipment, raising prices again.

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