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Ebert: I'll Tell You Why Movie Revenue Is Dropping

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the lets-all-stay-in-the-lobby dept.

Movies 865

schwit1 writes in with a link to Roger Ebert's webpage where he gives his opinion on the decline of movie industry revenues."According to Ebert movie piracy isn't the problem. He contends that the industry needs to lower prices on tickets and popcorn, keep people off their cell phones, show a wider variety of films, and understand that movie streaming is here to stay. From the article: 'The message I get is that Americans love the movies as much as ever. It's the theaters that are losing their charm. Proof: theaters thrive that police their audiences, show a variety of titles and emphasize value-added features. The rest of the industry can't depend forever on blockbusters to bail it out.'"

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THIS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38532662)

THIS

Also (3, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532682)

Try coming up with an original idea that doesn't SUCK .

Re:Also (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38532782)

Beat me to it. There must be a bazillion scripts out there that show some originality. While it's true that there are a limited number of plot lines known and catalogued (many from Shakespeare), that's no excuse for slapping CGI and some new actors on a 20 year old script.

Show us something we haven't seen, with actors we haven't seen. Actually put some effort into finding some new stories. You'll have some bombs, but you won't spend that much to make them with fresh faces and writers, and you'll have some pleasant surprises too.

Re:Also (4, Insightful)

sk999 (846068) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532874)

Let us not forget that Shakespeare "stole" many of his plot lines as well.

Re:Also (4, Insightful)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533024)

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

Re:Also (1)

wiedzmin (1269816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533056)

Everything new is something old that has been creatively forgotten? Something like that.

Ecclesiastes 1:9 (5, Informative)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533226)

that sounds like a translation of Ecclesiastes 1:9 - I suppose it's fitting that the source for that phrase is a book written over 2000 years ago.

Re:Also (5, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533256)

There's a limited number of plot lines known, but given the number of Hollywood scriptwriters out there looking for new plot lines, it's hard to say that the problem is with the number of (good) plot lines possible.

However, I absolutely agree that the key problems are with regurgitated scripts, half-dead actors, a passion for not thinking, and a chronic paranoia towards originality.

Cinemas are partly to blame - there are occasionally good independent movies. Hell, there are occasionally documentary box-office hits (March of the Penguins out-sold The Fantastic Four first on limited release and then nationally in the multiplexes). The cinemas are quite capable of mixing in all kinds of stuff that might not appeal "to the masses" but which could certainly stuff one seating area full for more than enough showings to make a very healthy profit.

Also, box-office hits don't remain hits forever. A local cinema, back in the 70s, got Star Wars and retained it in month blocks until the audience numbers fell off. The last month it was retained, the cinema nearly went out of business. It was an expensive film to hold with near-zero audiences at that point. Modern cinemas have obviously far more screens and book in more rational blocks of time, but even so they must be wasting vast sums on holding onto too many copies for too long. Diversifying would not only increase the number of people actually going to the cinema, it would also reduce wastage from excessive rights.

Re:Also (4, Insightful)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532902)

No, that's not the problem. Ideas aren't worth much. Jack London sold plots for $5. It's not the ideas, it's the implementations.

Re:Also (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38533230)

No, that's not the problem. Ideas aren't worth much. Jack London sold plots for $5. It's not the ideas, it's the implementations.

He bought plots for $5, from Sinclair Lewis. He didn't sell them...

Re:Also (5, Insightful)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533040)

And ditch 3D. Yes, 50% of the audience likes it. But they're going to come anyway, 3D or 2D. Nobody ever refused to go to the cinema because a movie was 2D. The people you need to be concerned about are the 50% who no longer go to the cinema because they hate it.

Maybe the movies just aren't very good (5, Insightful)

arcite (661011) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532694)

It's all sequels, prequels, and superhero movies. I have a 60 inch HDTV and just watch what I want in my own home theatre now... and my popcorn has real butter on it too!

Re:Maybe the movies just aren't very good (5, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532744)

How can they not be good? They're the same movies they made ten years ago but now with better digital effects!

Re:Maybe the movies just aren't very good (5, Insightful)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532958)

Precisely! Now they use digital fx that looks more fake than the practical fx from back then. And nowadays there's the damn color correction that makes everything yellowish, like we're looking at the world through a jar full of piss.

Re:Maybe the movies just aren't very good (5, Funny)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533268)

Part of the problem is that cinema butter is also mostly digital effects.

Re:Maybe the movies just aren't very good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38532982)

You've seen nothing yet. Hollywood has pilfered the superhero universe including the botton of the barrel. And now they are buying japanese properties like their is no tomorrow. Would you like to see a film on Yamato Space Cruiser in american terms ? It would suck royally (at least the japanese did a great CG film on Yamato). What about Neon Genesis Evangelion ? Run, run away fast. Hollywood is just out of ideas. How about doing like in the old days, base your scripts on worthy novels. Damn thats just too difficult isn't it ?

Then we come to how the films are color timed and projected. I want movies to be colorful (when appropriate). Exceptions are films about zombies, werewolves and post apocalyptic settings. Everything else has to have color for fucks sake. And not only teal and orange. Get a dam clue. And then how about projecting with a good level of brightness ? I don't go to the theater to see a film as if it were projeted through the light of a candle.

Fix those problems and I'll go back to the theater especially for the money you ask.

Re:Maybe the movies just aren't very good (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533178)

Hollywood is just out of ideas. How about doing like in the old days, base your scripts on worthy novels.

Hey, at least they are SORT of doing that sometimes. Well kind of. The Swedes made a great trilogy of films based on the Millennium Series [wikipedia.org] which were fantastic. Luckily Hollywood has now decided to do an English version of the films. Hollywood is out of ideas. How about this classic: Niels Arden Oplev, the director of the 2009 Swedish film adaptation, has been quoted as saying, "Why would they remake something when they can just go see the original?"

forget popcorn (5, Funny)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532698)

How about some couches and beer [central-cinema.com] ? It doesn't even have to be that classy; movie theaters have gotten bad enough that the classiness level of a brewpub would be a big improvement.

Re:forget popcorn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38532728)

There's a little placing Arcadia CA that shows old movies, has couches and beer. It's pretty sweet for a little dive

Re:forget popcorn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38532776)

Also, in North Portland (left coast) , there is a two-screen theater that shows first-run stuff and serves pizza and beer by the pie, slice, pint, or pitcher.

www.stjohnscinema.com

Re:forget popcorn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38533198)

Not to mention Cinema 21, or any of the three McMenamin's brewpub/theaters also in Portland.

Re:forget popcorn (5, Insightful)

MetricT (128876) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532754)

Agreed. I was surprised the first time I visited the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin. *THAT* is how movies are supposed to be seen. I can see why Harry loves 'em so much.

Re:forget popcorn (1)

luke923 (778953) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532798)

The one thing I miss about Texas -- Alamo. I keep telling my friends and co-workers that we need an Alamo Drafthouse in L.A., but they keep saying it's a bad idea. Seriously, alot of the movies out there, I would need lots of alcohol to enjoy.

Re:forget popcorn (5, Insightful)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533122)

In other words, to summarize both you and Ebert:

People go to the movie theater for the experience of watching a movie in the theater. If that experience isn't better than watching it at home, they won't go to the theater. Home theaters have improved, and movie theaters have degraded. Fix that. And no, you don't get to control the home theaters.

Full service (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533148)

A while ago I had the opportunity to visit a so-called "VIP" movie theater in Mexico City. The seats are all recliners, there's tables between every pair of seats, and -- best of all -- waiters who will bring you food and cocktails.

We need something like that here. I'd watch a lot more movies (and gain 30 pounds in a month.)

Kids (5, Insightful)

ckaminski (82854) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532716)

ok, I like kids.

But parents need to stop using movie theaters as a way to keep their kids entertained for an afternoon. You come to a movie to see a movie, not to fucking socialize.

and to that idiot with the laser pointer, be happy I'm an old fuck and have too much to lose to shove it down your pie-hole - sideways.

Re:Kids (-1, Troll)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532808)

ok, I like kids.

But parents need to stop using movie theaters as a way to keep their kids entertained for an afternoon. You come to a movie to see a movie, not to fucking socialize.

and to that idiot with the laser pointer, be happy I'm an old fuck and have too much to lose to shove it down your pie-hole - sideways.

You don't want to interact. Fair enough. Sounds a lot like you need to set up your own home theatre. Pretty cheap to do these days. $500 will buy you a 42 inch TV and a Bluray player.

Re:Kids (4, Insightful)

pseudofrog (570061) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532934)

Huh?

Is a quiet atmosphere and no laser pointers really too much to ask?

Re:Kids (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38532974)

I for one am fine with interacting, just not with dumbasses that wave laser pointers around and make noise during the film.

Re:Kids (5, Interesting)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532930)

I've wondered if theaters shouldn't go back to the old serials formula. With digital projectors, it can finally work again. It'd be a lot like TV, but more social.

Every afternoon would have a new episode, from a different series for each day of the week. Make it cheap. Parents could drop their kids off. Kids could socialize. Laser pointer jerk could get it out of his system. An entire system designed to attract the folks you hate. And away from you.

Evenings and weekends would revert to regular movie showings.

Re:Kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38533260)

This would actually work really well.

Wouldn't be hard to put together, having some weekly,1, 3, 6 or 12 monthly passes.
Casual, relaxed atmosphere, cheaper prices.

Have it set in a period where most of such an audience would be there, such as after school times, and after dinner times for a 1-2 hour period.
Even have active units in the room that sell snacks.

Re:Kids (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38532970)

I *don't* like kids. I don't have any. I don't hang out with any. I don't even hang out with people who have kids when their kids are around. You think my girl and I are going to spend $25+ to hang out with your kids?

What really grinds my gears is "parents" who not only use movies to keep their kids entertained for an afternoon, but don't even bother to stick around with them. As if overpriced tickets, questionable movies, and terrible food wasn't enough to rip movie theaters out of my life the nail in the coffin was the throngs of teenagers who get dumped into movie theaters while their parents enjoy the adjacent strip mall. Kids being obnoxious, rude, loud, and ceaselessly texting for two hours is unbearable. I can't imagine my parents spending $25 on me ($10? when I was a kid) and me not making every effort to appreciate it. Not the case anymore. I'm just not willing to risk a penny more on me walking out of a movie furious that it was a waste of time and money.

Turns out the entertainment industry in general at some point believed they were indispensable, and dug their own grave. Once music became more trouble than it was worth, I stopped buying and then stopped listening. Movies are going down the same road. There are lots of other things I can do with my time - I don't need to gamble an hour or two's pay on audio or visual masturbation. I will enjoy that bike ride, playing with the dog, walking downtown, or working on my car. I do that instead, now, and I'm not positive any re-engineering of the music or movie experience will change that. This horse may be dead..

Re:Kids (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38533120)

I hope your "girl" gets pregnant and won't give you an abortion causing you to choose between your lonely existance and most of your income depleted in child support or a miserable 18 years with you ugly and disgusting kid.

Now then, when you go to a kids' movie, you should expect kids. When you go in the afternoon, you should expect kids. You're in the minority. If I knew you personally, I'd troll your little ass with my kid bringing them around you and instructing them to talk to you constantly and annoy you in general.

Re:Kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38533294)

Wow, angry much?

You inferred an awful lot of details from my post, including details about my sex life (she's on the pill, we still use protection), our relationship (if we ended up having to make a choice, we'd make it together), and the movies we're seeing (hint: not kids movies and not in the afternoon - we both have jobs).

If you knew me personally, you'd think twice about bringing your kid around me with some sort of psychotic My Child, My Weapon intention, unless you like your kid versed in a litany of foul language and perverse ideas. I wouldn't want to be at the parent-teacher summit explaining where my learned the phrase **** that ***** with a raw *** ***** until she *****. Or, maybe I would. And that's why I don't reproduce.

Re:Kids (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38533288)

Wow. I'm pretty sure being an old cranky man disqualifies you from calling your partner "girl". Unless that's what you're into, of course.

Alamo Drafthouses are the model of the future (5, Informative)

JavaJones (512344) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532734)

The Alamo Drafthouse theaters [drafthouse.com] , mostly in Texas but slowly spreading out (1 in Colorado and one in Virginia now) are superb models of successful customer-friendly theater experiences. Good equipment and seating, first-run movies, a clear and well-enforced no talking/texting policy, and oh yeah, good (yes, actually pretty good) food and *beer*. Not to mention great local events, a variety of special showings and unusual feature runs, and no crappy ads for cars and stuff before the show (instead a series of usually topical shorts or Youtube vids, usually hilarious). They are awesome and I hope they continue to spread.

- Oshyan

Re:Alamo Drafthouses are the model of the future (4, Insightful)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532802)

Not to piss in the Cheerios, but:

60" LED Samsung TV from Amazon: $2K
Nice couch(es): $1K-3K
Media Player: $100-300
My food, my beer, comfort of my home: Priceless

Why go to the movies when the home experience is now superior?

Re:Alamo Drafthouses are the model of the future (5, Insightful)

bazorg (911295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532912)

Why? Because an invitation to go on a date to the movies is more likely to be accepted than one to go to your home cinema.

Re:Alamo Drafthouses are the model of the future (2)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533124)

Not sure what girls *you* date, but I've never had a girl turn down "Hey, I have a huge collection of indie, comedy, and Kevin Smith flicks. Want to come hang out?"

I'm only 29 though, so perhaps different generational feelings towards that sort of situation.

Re:Alamo Drafthouses are the model of the future (2)

Nimey (114278) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533192)

It depends on the girl. Some of them are cautious enough (with reason) that you can't bring them to your place for the first date or two.

Re:Alamo Drafthouses are the model of the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38533166)

but a date in your home cinema could go a lot further.

Re:Alamo Drafthouses are the model of the future (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38532924)

Why would anyone care where you bought your TV? Why don't you also put down where you bought your couches and beer?

Re:Alamo Drafthouses are the model of the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38533066)

Why would I care that you don't care where he bought his TV?

Re:Alamo Drafthouses are the model of the future (1)

shadowfaxcrx (1736978) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532966)

Because theaters have screens as big as 60 feet.

Beyond that, I agree with you.

Re:Alamo Drafthouses are the model of the future (5, Insightful)

pseudofrog (570061) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533004)

Some people like "going out". Especially if it's to a place with an enjoyable atmosphere.

Re:Alamo Drafthouses are the model of the future (2)

NeoMorphy (576507) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533078)

You also need a nice stereo receiver and speakers and a serious sub-woofer(not one of those tiny ones), otherwise it will be blah. Add at least another 2-3K.

Re:Alamo Drafthouses are the model of the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38533182)

Then, if you're going all-out with theatre-quality audio, you either need to soundproof the hell out of your home, have infinitely patient neighbors, or live somewhere with nobody physically nearby. Two of those cost money, one shouldn't count in a cost-effective analysis, as that requires luck.

Re:Alamo Drafthouses are the model of the future (4, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533160)

Not to piss in YOUR Cheerios but I'm just as fine watching a decent story without any special effects which are enhanced with technology seen in theaters (home or otherwise).

I am quite happy to watch my $1 Redbox DVDs (not even Blu-Ray!) on my 10 year old 27" CRT non-HDTV with built in DVD player.

The story is what matters to me, not a bunch of flashy CGI or other bullshit which is better seen with fancy tech. For decades we had movies which didn't require anything special because the dialogue and story was good enough to keep you entertained. Unfortunately, and I may just be ignorant, but it seems that the signal to noise ration has increased here.

Now, I realize the general public likes special effects and expects them in movies. However, to go back to the original point of variety being required, can we include these "old style" movies again? I guarantee I won't be going to the theater because I can't afford a $50 evening to view a movie nor a $5500 home theater setup (my TV was $150 and my couch is a hand-me-down from a friend) but I'd certainly rent more $1 movies from Redbox and watch more movies on Instant if the recent selections were worthy of watching.

Re:Alamo Drafthouses are the model of the future (2)

Pulzar (81031) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532832)

Absolutely. The best movie experience, ever! Everything was exactly the way it should be for a totally fun movie watching experience.. and, add all the special theme nights, and it's the only way to see a movie, once you've been there.

Re:Alamo Drafthouses are the model of the future (1)

corporate zombie (218482) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532850)

I envy you then. Our Alamo's food is less than stellar. (West Oaks, Houston.) The special features are very good but the normal menu is straight out of cans and the freezer. Just a touch more effort on their part would go a long way. I'm not expecting miracles but I'd rather not have to stick to the two things on the menu I've found to be... hard to do wrong.

With that mini-rant out of the way I totally agree with you that, in general, they are the way to go for a good evening at the movies. (Other of their locations I've been very happy with the food so I suspect it's a kitchen issue.)

    0.02USD

Re:Alamo Drafthouses are the model of the future (3, Insightful)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532862)

It's not just the beer, it's the reserved seating. That's my favorite feature of the Sundance Kabuki in San Francisco (which also has beer, wine, a full bar, snacks, etc). I think there's one in Houston now, too.

Re:Alamo Drafthouses are the model of the future (5, Interesting)

RichPowers (998637) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532894)

The Alamo Drafthouse had Patton Oswalt perform a "dramatic" reading of a message left at the theater by someone who was angry about having been thrown out for texting during a movie. It's pretty hilarious, and I first learned of the Drafthouse through their campaign of playing the original message as a sort of anti-texting PSA before screenings.

Oswalt's rendition: http://youtu.be/xnrlVjM715Y [youtu.be]

Re:Alamo Drafthouses are the model of the future (1)

Xaedalus (1192463) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532992)

Oh dear gawd that's AWESOME!!!!!

Re:Alamo Drafthouses are the model of the future (1)

j_sp_r (656354) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533012)

Why food? I don't want to hear people chewing away chicken wings and other crap next to me. Just give me beer!

Re:Alamo Drafthouses are the model of the future (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38533062)

Alamo was the model of the future and in my opinion is still one of the best theatre chains out there. I trek to one at least once a month, despite the ~50 mile round trip. They have the world's best "no really, you aren't talking during the movie" policies ever: you will be booted with no refund after one warning for talking or texting. Period. End of story. They regularly feature fun events [drafthouse.com] like quote-alongs, sing-alongs and MSTK 3000 style mocking by Master Pancake Theatre. As well as oddball events; everything from showings of Crispin Glover movies, complete with poetry readings by Mr. Glover himself, Jay and Silent Bob Watch a Movie [drafthouse.com] , to showings of cult favorites.

Unfortunately half of the experience is food, and the food quality plummeted after their old CEO came back. [slashfilm.com] To allow growth Mr. League washed out the regional differences in each location, but it just means their food menu is consistently mediocre now and ADH no longer feature great seasonal beer selections. I still wish Mr. League well and will certainly frequent his new Alamo Drafthouse closer to my house when it opens, but there's room between Alamo Drafthouse's good film selection but mediocre food and Sundance's mediocore film selections and high end menu. [sundancecinemas.com] As others have stated, movie-going audiences need a compelling reason or experience to justify the premium; home theater TVs are getting better all the time.

Movie Quality (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532736)

Or perhaps the movies themselves just suck more than they used to? Because there's no soul and little controversy? No "oomph?" Resorting to milking the entire comic universe over and over again? Dumb, sterile humor? Animal humor? Putting a monkey on screen is not funny (despite the idiot audience feeling obligated to forcibly laugh) unless the monkey is masturbating, flinging poo, or maiming people.

The Rum diary is a colossal disappointment, J. Edgar doesn't do a good enough job raking that fucker through the coals. Green Lantern was hokey, even for comic-book standards.

Re:Movie Quality (5, Interesting)

eldepeche (854916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533060)

Movies have always been mostly dumb, mindless crap. Pick a movie from 30 years ago at random, and I'll bet you $100 it's terrible to mediocre.

Re:Movie Quality (1)

lsolano (398432) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533100)

Agree.

In fact, can anyone remember which was the most recent 'great' movie?

Every time I think about a great movie, I go back to the Godfather or the like.

Re:Movie Quality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38533278)

Or perhaps the movies themselves just suck more than they used to?

The majority of movies have always sucked, it's just that when we look back we mostly remember the ones we liked.

Go and look up some of the more forgettable Hollywood movies of the 50s, 60s, and 70s... they were even worse than the crap they're pushing on us now.

The Rum diary is a colossal disappointment

Glad I didn't see it, I love the book and I don't want to ruin it. I made an exception for Fear and Loathing because Terry Gilliam.

Arrogance of the execs. (4, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532740)

I agree with every part of this, but the problem is the same as in every area of commerce today: the execs make the decisions and the execs are some of the most arrogant and boneheaded people out there. There is no meritocracy there and the Peter principle is the guiding force.

They will continue to act on their beliefs and not listen to the real people that matter, the people paying the money, until it is too late.

Re:Arrogance of the execs. (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532844)

I agree with every part of this, but the problem is the same as in every area of commerce today: the execs make the decisions and the execs are some of the most arrogant and boneheaded people out there. There is no meritocracy there and the Peter principle is the guiding force.

They will continue to act on their beliefs and not listen to the real people that matter, the people paying the money, until it is too late.

I suspect instead that it's marketing, accounting, and legal that make all the decisions that define a movie.

Back in my day... (4, Interesting)

twotacocombo (1529393) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532750)

You saw a movie in the theater, or you didn't see it at all. Further on, you saw it in the theater, or you waited a few years for it to come out on VHS for rental. These days, you see it in the theater, or wait for it to hit Netflix in a matter of months. I'd rather wait a few months and view it in the comfort of my own home, than to go sit with a bunch of ill-mannered heathens, watch 20 minutes of previews, and then shield my eyes from the glow of a hundred cell phones...

Re:Back in my day... (0)

datavirtue (1104259) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532828)

I just realized I haven't been to the movies since the unwashed masses obtained cell phones. I've never been blinded by one in a theater, and I'm guessing I would be rather infuriated if I was.

Re:Back in my day... (3, Interesting)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532900)

You saw a movie in the theater, or you didn't see it at all. Further on, you saw it in the theater, or you waited a few years for it to come out on VHS for rental. These days, you see it in the theater, or wait for it to hit Netflix in a matter of months. I'd rather wait a few months and view it in the comfort of my own home, than to go sit with a bunch of ill-mannered heathens, watch 20 minutes of previews, and then shield my eyes from the glow of a hundred cell phones...

I was very surprised that theaters stayed in business after home video became commonplace. I think their business actually grew; I suppose people like to go out.

As for the ill-mannered heathens, I wait until a movie has been out for 2+ weeks, then go on an off night. I occasionally get surprised (~100 people at Sherlock last night), but usually there are only 5-10 people present, no cut-ups or screaming babies.

Re:Back in my day... (2)

twotacocombo (1529393) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532976)

There was still quite a delay between theater release and rental availability. Also, the family TV couldn't match the theater A/V experience. Now that large LCD TVs and quality sound systems can be had relatively cheap, and the wait to watch movies at home no longer extended into years, I think we've passed that crossover point where theater technology no longer trumps home viewing quality.

Re:Back in my day... (1)

Isaac-1 (233099) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533150)

Around here the problem is the big hit movies stop playing after 2-3 weeks in order to show the next new big hit movie on 6+ screens

Probably too late (3, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532762)

Unless they halve the prices, why bother? Blu-Ray on a 46" modern TV is most of the experience for cheaper per movie and you can't put a price on the freedom it provides in terms of food, not putting up with jerks and being able to not miss anything if you have to go to the bathroom. Best Buy and Walmart charge prices for new releases that are less than the cost of two tickets to see them in the theaters around here (metro DC).

Re:Probably too late (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532822)

Unless they halve the prices, why bother? Blu-Ray on a 46" modern TV is most of the experience for cheaper per movie and you can't put a price on the freedom it provides in terms of food, not putting up with jerks and being able to not miss anything if you have to go to the bathroom. Best Buy and Walmart charge prices for new releases that are less than the cost of two tickets to see them in the theaters around here (metro DC).

Mod this way the fuck up! Movie theatres were successful when the equipment was too expensive to own. $500 will buy you a decent home theatre setup. And you always get premium seats!

Cooking books (4, Insightful)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532792)

Maybe if forensic accountants went through Hollywood's REAL accounting books (not the fake accounts they present the public), then they would find all this missing revenue, like how gazzillion $$$ earning films somehow don't break even - yeah right!?!

Re:Cooking books (2)

luke923 (778953) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532944)

When you factor in all the tax breaks, promotional deals, and what other money they earn on a film before it goes into production, the studio loses very little, breaks even, or even makes a profit before it even gets to theaters. They're set up to not lose money on anything.

Re:Cooking books (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38532978)

Wall St. could learn a few lessons from Hollywood - the financial crisis would still exist we just wouldn't know it!

Re:Cooking books (5, Informative)

pseudofrog (570061) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533046)

Wikipedia has a pretty good primer [wikipedia.org] on "Hollywood accounting."

Definitely need more... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38532804)

...apple users on-board, how else will you get the whole "I'm a clueless consumer and I'll pay through the nose for absolute crap" thing going on. So far it's been disappointing to say the least. Despite the relationship between Jobs and the movie industry (albeit the cackest part of it.)

If the movie industry can tap into that market then they've cracked it - thus far itunes is a significant move in the right direction, but there's a lot of work to be done.

Lose the Popcorn (4, Informative)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532818)

The *only* reason that I hate movie theatres is that there are always dozens of people around me who do not know how to eat quietly. Close your mouth before you start chewing (that includes the first chomp). Learn how to grab popcorn without ruffling your hand around for 2 minutes (better yet, lose the popcorn all together! Let's find a quieter food to associate with movies!)

over priced (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38532842)

The only theatre i go to is the Cheap theatres, and watrch them there with my kids, its $3 matinee's and $5 evenings I can take my kids spend $9-15 to get in and then get a large popcorn, 3 pops and still come out ahead. I rarely go to the big theatres any more for 3 of us plus the popcorn and stuff it costs like $60 or more prices need to come down Most movies are not worth thre $12 each to get in I would rather buy it on Bluray if i had to pay $36 for 3 of us t get in..

It's the movies (0)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532846)

That's not the message I get. Personally, I haven't seen a good movie since 2006. That seems to be the year when all the good scriptwriters died and were replaced with underpaid teenagers on speed with the attention span of a flea. Sometimes it feels like there are actually a score of them each writing a five minute plotline (while being forbidden to talk to each other) to be finally merged into a single two hour piece of garbage.

Food (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532864)

I greatly hope more theaters like the Alamo Drafthouse or the Cinebarre open.

Food, booze, and a lack of noisemakers makes me actually want to go to the theater.

Wait, what? (3, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532866)

Who says movie revenue is dropping?

Spot on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38532876)

Think about it ...for a family of 4 it costs like 34 bucks to walk in the door plus another 20 bucks for popcorn and soda.I get to sit around a bunch of loudmouth jackasses who wont shut the hell up, keep there feet off my seats, or turn off the damn cell phones. All for the low cost of roughly 30 bucks an hour.Gee sounds like a blast to me... F that.

Weird, just red a news item that is booming.. (5, Informative)

deniea (257313) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532892)

On: http://www.powned.tv/nieuws/binnenland/2011/12/bioscopen_draaiden_goed_jaar.html (dutch!!)

The main message translates to something like this:
"in 2011 the ten most visited movies have net resulted in EUR 73 milion. This is higher than the previous year when the top ten only grossed EUR 64,47 milion"

So what is the problem? About 10% increase doesn't look too bad to me?

Revenue dropping? I think not. (3, Insightful)

Fuzzums (250400) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532910)

I just read, you know, like five minutes ago and such, that this was the best year for movie theaters in the Netherlands EVER, so the bs about downloading is killing the movie industry is just that: a big s-load of bs.

Totally agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38532932)

I like going to the movies but... I took my family (of 5) to the movies on Christmas day. After paying for tickets and buying 3 drinks and a couple snacks I was at almost $100 dollars. That is too much for seeing one movie. There is no way I can support that on a normal basis. If the movie industry wants me to watch more movies... lower the price.

He's right (4, Insightful)

markdavis (642305) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532942)

He is exactly right. I stopped going to the movies because

1) Prices are too high.
2) Sound quality is poor: often too loud, not spaced correctly, distorted, poor surround effect, etc.
3) People are just so annoying with their damn phones. If it isn't ringing or chirping, it is just very distracting with the super-bright screens every few minutes. Can't you turn the damn thing off and watch the damn movie???
4) Kids screaming/crying/being annoying, seemingly no matter what time you choose to go.
5) Poor selection of quality films.

I can eliminate 1-4 by simply watching at home, with my huge HDTV and properly tuned surround sound system. Number 5 is another whole topic.

One of my local theaters (2)

keith_nt4 (612247) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532972)

started bringing a little cart full of snacks and drinks into the theater so everybody could just buy stuff right there instead of going back and forth to the lobby. And it was amazingly popular. Why don't all theaters do stuff like that??

No original thought... (3, Interesting)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532986)

And that goes for many of the /. comments on this topic.

Things to consider....

1. Many people want to see films, but the cost of two tickets, soft drink and a baby sitter starts to approach $100.

Why not consider day cares in these giant megaplexes. Just saying it'd be an interesting approach.

2. For the price of a pair of tickets you could own the Blu-Ray.

Wait...how much does it cost to make a DVD? Not much...

I'd love to see a movie company experiment with a theater to provide the movie on DVD with purchase of tickets. Or simpler, mail your receipt and ticket stubs and get $10 off your DVD.

Be creative. Realize Americans have less leisure time. Less money. And less happiness.

Work with us.

Two Words (4, Insightful)

eriks (31863) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532996)

Crappy Audio.

I've been to the movie theater maybe 7 times in the last 10 years. That's how many movies there have been of the requisite quality and type to make me want to actually go to the theater. I've watched nearly 1000 films in the same time period on my home theater system. I don't mind (and can enjoy) loud entertainment, but the louder you make your audio the more important it is that it NOT BE CRAPPY!

Every movie theater (except one) I've been in the last 10 years has had the audio too loud for the installed system to handle. It's crackly, tinny and rattly. Probably would have sounded BETTER turned down lower, with a compressor to pull up the low parts. If you want high dynamic range, you need good gear.

I did go to an iMax once. That was awesome, though I didn't see a title filmed with iMax. Havta do that someday. It was good though. Nice loud sound and huge screen.

So yeah, bad sound, and screens that are TOO SMALL. If I want to watch a movie on a small screen, I'll stay home. I want a HUGE screen. At least 10 meters. Most of the theaters around here have 3-4 meter screens or worse. And the selection is terrible. There are thousands of great films out there, it's just that most of them aren't shown in mainstream theaters.

How hard is it to set audio levels properly, or invest in clean amplification? That stuff shouldn't be that expensive nowadays.

It's not about the beer (5, Funny)

lsolano (398432) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533070)

People would think that is better to watch a movie at home because you can drink a beer or two. Or three, it does not matter.

What is really a 'plus' regarding watching movies at home is that you can actually PAUSE the move to take a pee!

New ideas, not rehashing old stuff (3, Funny)

Hamsterdan (815291) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533076)

I can watch movies at home on a big screen with good sound for under 3k$, my setup is *way* below that...

-Windows Media Center 2k5 HTPC with 600w 5.1 system, plays about everything I can throw at it.
-95" screen (1080p projector)
-Nice '70s comfy couch
-Popcorn maker in the kitchen, fridge in the living room.

Why should I go to the theater unless I want to buy a 15$ candy bar?

Movies... (4, Insightful)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533114)

I think he pretty much hit it...

I've picked an arbitrary theater in my area, which is the easiest to get to. It has 10 screens.

If we go to the theater, we usually end up with crappy parking. So a 1/4 mile hike, unless we get lucky.

Say it's $10 per ticket, plus $10 per person for popcorn and soda (depending on your local market), the per-person price can be $20. That makes $40 for a couple, or close to $80 if you're bringing two kids.. Lets not forget, cost on the popcorn and soda are under $1 per person.

I don't even care about crying babies, noisy teenagers, people who forgot to shower sitting beside us, sticky floors, or people sending text messages.

Back when there were an abundance of video rental places, you could cut that $80 down to something more like $5. Now you can rent at Redbox for something like $1.25.

$80 vs $1.25.. That's a difficult one. So I don't get to see the movie today, I'll be able to see it in a few months. I don't have to be the first to see it. If I want popcorn, pizza, or anything to eat while I'm watching at home, I can. If I find the need to go to the bathroom, I can pause it. If someone calls that I want to talk to, the same.

In my last house, I had a home theater setup. $1,500 projector, about $4,000 in sound gear. That's roughly 70 movies at home before it breaks even. It also gave me the luxury of watching TV, or playing video games on it.. It's hooked to a cheap PC with DVI output, so we can even watch via Netflix, Hulu, or whatever.

In my own theater, we always have premium seating. The surround sound is set up for optimal sound on the couch. The couch is at the right distance, so we have the proper field of view. We won't end up with sore necks, like you'd have in the front rows. We aren't offset one way or another, so we only really hear half of the sound, or a sideways view a the movie.

All that is not necessary for a good viewing experience, but it's nice. :) I'd rather spend the $1.25 over $80 to watch on your average TV.

I can't find a good reason to go to a theater to watch a movie. The only exception is, to get a movie on release day. We can save the discussion of pirated screeners for another time. We don't watch those. Your piracy habits are your own concern.

UX values ! Wow factors (2)

ElitistWhiner (79961) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533116)

Cattle-call ticket window sales chutes
Bullet-proof talkback Teller-window system
TSA-style ticket-takers who just watched you buy the fucking ticket at the window
CandyCounter Nazis who charge $14 dollar popcorn + drink !specials
Dipsters corralled at Theater doors
Dark dank and who knows what it looks like in daylight inside the theater
Fixed backrests
House lights that actually illuminate the aisles to exit

Home PPV is easier and you have more control (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533132)

Home PPV is easier and you have more control

Re:Home PPV is easier and you have more control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38533190)

A lot more pr0n on PPV as well, which gets the milf going

bedbugs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38533154)

somebody give me a call when bedbugs suck less. As someone who considers it near a miracle, if not a miracle that they rid themselves of bedbugs after a year or so of cultivating a tribe of them, I will say that I'm sure as hell not going to spend $10+ on a ticket and $5+ on a soda to see some movie I can just wait and see at home. Seriously, I think there will be a distinct correlation between theatre attendance and bedbug control technology. Perhaps not the primary or even secondary correlation compared to other factors, but significant and becoming more so until things turn around.

I don't mind the previews, or the unwashed masses (1)

BLToday (1777712) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533184)

I love previews, they keep my hopes of good movies alive. In fact, most of the times the previews are much better than the actual movie. I don't mind the unwashed masses because I usually go at odd times with the girlfriend and we usually see movies that have been in theaters for awhile. And we do enjoy the much better sound of a real theater instead of being at home.

What I do mind is the ridiculous prices for tickets. If it wasn't for Costco ($8/ticket), I wouldn't go to the movies ever. $12 to $13 a ticket is stupid and they're charging $3 extra for 3D. Now you're looking at $40 for two people with popcorn and drinks. That's like two games on Steam. Or in her words, that's "1/10 of a new purse."

Tickets should be $5 for matinee, $7 regular, $9 for 3D. That's how get more people back into the theaters. Or how about a refund if you don't enjoy the first half of the movie? I paid almost $100 for me, her, her two nieces, and a nephew to see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs in 3D. About 1/3 of the way through the kids (all under 10) went "this movie is terrible, can we see something else." On one hand, I didn't want to teach the kids the bad habit of theater hopping but I also just spent $100.

some times the sound is to loud at the movies (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533186)

Why does it have to be THAT loud it's never to low but lots of times it's to loud.

Theaters are painful (4, Insightful)

SoftwareArtist (1472499) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533218)

I feel like theaters are doing everything they can to make going to a movie an unpleasant experience. It used to be I could take a book to the theater and read until they turned down the lights. Or if I went with friends, we could chat while waiting for the movie to start. Sure, there were ads showing on the screen while you waited, but they were easy to ignore.

Then they switched to showing video ads for TV shows, toys, food, upcoming movies, etc., all narrated by an aggressively cheerful person with the volume turned way up. That makes it impossible to carry on a conversation, or to pay attention to a book or much of anything other than the ads. Which I assume is what they want, but it sure makes the whole experience a lot less pleasant and a lot more obnoxious. You'd almost think they didn't want my business.

How can you compete with a home experience? (2)

dafing (753481) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533242)

Either of these options beats the hell out of a movie theatre:

1) I visit my friends house, with his 46 inch tv, large living room and we watch a rented Blu Ray on his Playstation 3 with a small group of good friends, followed by gaming.

2) I watch a movie with friends on my 27 inch iMac, often a torrent as movies are delayed/no longer available in my cities only theatre. I own over 100 DVD's, I buy all my music, but will often torrent older movies, new releases as I simply *cannot* buy them. The same goes with TV episodes, if I want to see The Big Bang Theory etc, its a cinch to download by the season, compared with, what, spending 80 USD on some damn box set collection of DVD's, which I'm just going to rip in Handbrake to my harddrive?

Theres a few times now where I've gone to a movie theater, each time telling myself it would be the last time ever, and keeping the ticket. I saw Iron Man 2, Avatar and as a fan, Michael Jacksons "This Is It". I plan on seeing The Hobbit ASAP, as I love supporting local New Zealand movies (ha!), and my local cinema finally has 3D.

But overall? Why in the hell would I pay ~20 bucks to sit in an uncomfortable chair (and these are "new"), with 10 other people in a theatre designed for a couple hundred, as they laugh and snort and cough and bang their seats up and down, as we have to sit through minutes of ads at the start, including made for tv ads which look awful on the large screen, and then the movie itself is dim and blurry!

I'll take the perfect Blu Ray quality (not often, bugger physical media) or more commonly a good experience with a ripped movie/torrented movie on my 27 inch iMac, for essentially free.

Movies aren't what they used to be... (2)

stevenfuzz (2510476) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533266)

The movie-going model has become broken. Even 10 - 20 years ago going to the movies was amazing. You get to watch something on a huge screen, with amazing sound, without waiting a year for it to come out. If you wanted to do a movie night, but didn't want to go to the movies, you were left with few options in a sub-par 25in tube environment. Basically, you would either rent a movie at a video rental store (remember those?) or get lucky and find something on television. Now, things have completely changed. When me and my wife do movie nights, we can watch it from Netflix Instant, Netflix Mail, Amazon, Vudu, DVR, On Demand (usually not long after the theater release date)--no need to go anywhere. Instead of a little tube tv with crappy speakers, we watch them on a crystal clear large screen hd through a high powered surround sound system. Pause, grab a beer, answer the phone, check my email, get the popcorn out of the microwave, play. Why would anyone ever want to go the movies, especially when they can wait a month for a much easier and more comfortable experience? Piracy isn't the problem, it's that the movie experience has become less rewarding compared with the other options.

Ebert is Right (1)

nwf (25607) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533276)

He is pretty spot on. I've long complained that theaters are becoming a place where you'd want to do anything but see a movie. The annoying people, the high prices ($12 for a movie where I live), overpriced snacks that also suck (I can make better popcorn in the microwave than my local theater) and increasingly poor theater quality. It's to the point now that I can get better surround sound an a picture almost as good at home (and I didn't even spend all that much, although I do have a good subwoofer.) Plus, I can pause to take a bathroom break or snack break. And I can buy the movie on Bluray for the price of two tickets and a drink. Sure I have to wait, but really. who cares? There is nothing that I must see NOW. Avatar may have been the exception, since the 3D was well done and I don't have a 3D TV. (And that's the ONLY movie I'd recommend seeing in 3D, except maybe a Pixar one.)

The other day my wife wanted to see a movie in the theater for the experience. We literally couldn't find a single movie we wanted to see. So we watched something on Netflix instead. (Don't get me started at how poor their streaming selection is, though.)

From what I've heard, so little of the ticket price goes to the theater, it's no wonder they suck. The greed of the large movie houses is backfiring on them. Heck, I rarely even buy movies anymore for lack of anything I'd want to see more than once. Music is getting to be the same way.

Couldn't agree more (1)

Corson (746347) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533290)

And I would add: make movies that entertain, rather than shock.
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