Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Movies Media Entertainment

Bad Movies to Blame for Box Office Slump 416

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the obvious-things-that-needed-saying dept.
macklin01 writes "The LA Times is reporting that box office executives are finally fessing up and taking the blame. Poor box office receipts over the summer weren't caused by surging fuel costs, changes in audience preferences, or anything else. As Slashdot readers might have put it (and as it comes out in the article), 'It's the movies, stupid.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Bad Movies to Blame for Box Office Slump

Comments Filter:
    • Re:DUPE (Score:5, Funny)

      by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @11:19PM (#13696517) Journal
      Duh, that was The New York Times coverage, this is The LA Times coverage. Everyone knows that PST is behind EST, don't they? The first story was for people on the US's Atlantic seaboard, this one is for people on the US's Pacific seaboard, nothing more, nothing less.

      Of course, people inbetween the US's east and west coasts mainly voted for Bush, so their version, linking to Fox News, will follow later with a suitable spin ("It's the fault of those damn terrorists!"). Meanwhile, people outside the US will get their own frontpage story too, citing news sources such as the BBC, that will point out that it's the American film industry that's in decline, not the global one...
    • Simple Economics folks... The price of a movie has exceeded what we are willing to pay. Drop the price of a movie (and all the concessions) and more people will go. DUH!
      • Re:DUPE (Score:3, Interesting)

        Or, instead of dropping movie prices, they could make better movies. Economically, this is an increase in the marginal value of a movie, making it again worth the $8 to get into the theatre. I think the shift has been in viewing preferences, away from Special Effects as the reason to go to the movies. People now seem to want movies that have a decent story, and are well-made, as opposed to being well-decorated empty boxes.

        Personally, I welcome this change, as it implies that Americans are becoming more
        • Re:DUPE (Score:3, Insightful)

          by liquidpele (663430)
          It will never be worth $8 for going to see a movie when you can rent it for $5.
          They need to make the difference in going and renting closer, and people will see less of a difference and go to the movie for the experience again.
  • sure buddy (Score:3, Funny)

    by bariswheel (854806) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @11:08PM (#13696466) Homepage
    no it wasn't! It was those damn hurricanes, how much clearer can it get?? silly...
    • No, NO. (Score:3, Funny)

      by game kid (805301)

      The problem was all those altruistic producers, with their Lord of the GNU/Rings, KAlien and OpenMatrix trilogies!

      Moviegoers should support our plotless, $2.00-worth--I mean, Oscar® worthy movies! All the people that we entice and underpay^W^W^W^Wwork on our movies deserve nothing less.

      --Dr. Random RIAA Spokes-Person

      P.S. Encourage your local movie studio to use CSS (and I don't mean standard Web technology--besides, what's better than protecting official-movie-site IP with Flash?)

    • by 13bPower (869223) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @11:49PM (#13696625) Homepage Journal
      Kerry would have stopped those hurricanes!
  • by yagu (721525) * <yayagu@@@gmail...com> on Saturday October 01, 2005 @11:08PM (#13696467) Journal

    It's almost amazing the movie industry gets away with this. They scream and throw tantrums over any overtures, any market that dares step foot in their domain. How? By threatening to sue almost anyone! How? By demanding the electronics industry put "safeguards" in dvd players (more on that in a second). How? By spending millions in D.C. demanding laws be passed to protect their eroding stranglehold on an evolving market place. How? By doing everything in their power to prevent evolution (read: progress).

    In the meantime, they approve pap for movie plots and ideas, pander to the idiotic mainstream thinking that's their meal ticket (it mostly is). But their offerings have become so predictable, so terrible, and so terribly produced and directed people are starting to feel ripped off for the small fortune they must spend for a night out of movies and popcorn. They've sown these seeds, they're reaping their own rewards.

    What I think funny in the article is their collective sigh of relief some recent movies are getting viewers. I suspect when movies like "Transporter 2 are raking in blockbuster revenues it's more about their concerted ramped-up advertising and less about the quality of their movies.

    It does appear there may be some good movies this fall ("History of Violence" is high on my list), I'm guessing we'll see more of the same crap. I don't know how many times they can go to the well with their overproduced special effects stories with no plot or believable ideas and keep the public coming back (but don't underestimate the masses to continue to believe, ever heard of Charlie Brown and Lucy?), but they're creating their own misery.

    As for their heavy handed fingers-in-the-distribution-and-technology pie, give me a break. I set up a dvd recorder for my dad. I LOVED how simple it was to operate, and it did an excellent job of recording shows for him. He was a happy camper too. He loves to watch PBS, and was excited to record a recent Civil War special on his new dvd recorder and wanted to send the dvd to me to watch. He was concerned because his dvd would not play on other dvd players, something about a region code violation (we know what that is).

    Anyway, the disk arrived today, and it's NOT playable on my player. Fuck the movie and entertainment industry. They've made my dad unhappy, they've prevented me from watching a show which, had I watched, could only have helped their cause (exposure, exposure, exposure).

    This isn't the first time I've had this technology dance with my dad, and I'm sure it won't be the last. But, I hate it, and the sooner the entertainment industry cleans up their act, the better. Sigh.

    • prevent evolution (read: progress)

      Evolution and progress are hardly the same thing. Evolution is change that occurs due to selective pressures, resulting in individuals/creatures which are better suited to the environment in which they find themselves. Depending on the metric which you use, evolution may or may not result in "progress" e.g. when civilization crumbles, selective pressures will shift toward individuals who are able to survive under those conditions, which while progress in one way, proba
    • pander to the idiotic mainstream thinking

      I believe that is called giving consumers what they want (which, by the way, is how people tend to become rich). Politicians do the same thing, to a far more damaging extent.
    • "I suspect when movies like "Transporter 2 are raking in blockbuster revenues it's more about their concerted ramped-up advertising and less about the quality of their movies." Yea, I can vouch for that. Went to see it with a friend. The first one wasn't bad ... nothing _great_ but a decent action flick. #2 is just awful. Some creative fight scenes but incredibly lacking compared to the first.
    • Just curious but are you sure he didn't just forget to finalize the DVD before he sent it to you? Just an honest question there so don't take it the wrong way. That's something my dad would have done so I thought I'd ask.
    • by Dink Paisy (823325) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @11:58PM (#13696665) Homepage
      While I completely agree with the sentiments about movie quality, I'm not sure that this is what is causing the "box office slump". For example, we liked Batman Begins, so why did it get hit by the slump, too? And while Star Wars episode 6, err 3, was more critically acclaimed than the previous two, should it really have been the movie to not get hit by the slump, if quality is the reason for said slump?

      Besides, the lack of good movies is hardly a new thing. Maybe the Internet has made people more aware of the problem, but do we really think that after a century people have just caught on, most movies suck? And if that was the case, wouldn't we expect Britney Spears and friends to take a hit as well?

      No, I think they are barking up the wrong tree. Making better movies would probably help, but more likely they are facing an inevitable decline as newer technologies provide better entertainment. Now movie theatres have to compete with DVD, game consoles, online games, downloaded movies, web browsing, and probably other things that either weren't around or occupied far smaller niches ten (or even two) years ago.

      • I have to agree with the other entertainment aspect. When I go to watch a movie it is because I think it will be more entertaining for 2 hours then 2 hours of x-men legends 2, everquest, empire earth etc. Honestly it takes a darn good movie to compete with those for every 2 hours when I could just wait for it to come out on dvd. Heck it has to be pretty decent for me to even bother to rent it on dvd.

        TV has already lost out for me. I have not watched tv in about 3 years now but I do sometimes pick up dvds fo
      • For example, we liked Batman Begins, so why did it get hit by the slump, too? And while Star Wars episode 6, err 3, was more critically acclaimed than the previous two, should it really have been the movie to not get hit by the slump, if quality is the reason for said slump?

        Because it's not quality of *individual movies* that counts, it's quality *overall*. Yeah, Batman Begins was a good film, but all the films released around it were crap, and people had been trained to expect that all movies were crap
      • by Ernesto Alvarez (750678) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @10:11AM (#13698381) Homepage Journal
        There's a new thing about the movies that REALLY made me stay home. I used to go to the movies regularily, mostly to the good ones but then hollywood started REPEATING THE SAME MOVIES ALL OVER AGAIN.
        Think about it. Four years ago you might see a new bomb and hate it, but ut would be a new script. Today, the only thing they show is remakes of old series or films. We have a TV channel specialized on old shows here (Retro, is you want to know). Watching that channel you can easily see two things:
        1. Lots of new films are just remakes of 60s and 70s hit shows.
        2. There was lots of experimentation in that years not present today, most shows are bad, but sometimes they hit gold. Today they just reuse the same recipe


        Think about it.

        Charlie and the cholocate factory: seen it when I was a child.
        War of the worlds: remake, no need to comment more.
        King Kong: (yet another) remake.
        Bewitched: we can see it on retro here.

        We just need "Get Smart" and "I dream of Jeannie" and we can make a retro movie festival.....

        I really miss some original plots, like "The Incredibles" where ALL of characters are completely unknown.

        The worst part of it is that those MPAA bastards are not only not doing anything, but they are also preventing everyone el from doing it.

        So, basically, we're not barking up the wrong tree. People is so fed up that they're not bothering to go to the cinema anymore.
        • I really miss some original plots, like "The Incredibles" where ALL of characters are completely unknown.

          Unknown only if you never read The Fantastic Four or Watchmen.

          Ok, I'm being a dick here, but it had to be said.
      • For example, we liked Batman Begins, so why did it get hit by the slump, too?

        Because

        1. the movie industry hasn't stopped their anti-customer behavior (if anything, it's still getting worse), and
        2. some of us customers have very long memories.

        I used to see three-plus movies in the theaters every week. If and when the industry cleans up its act (e.g., no non-movie ads in the theaters, no "no-skip" copyright warnings on DVDs), I might come back after a few years. Until that happens, though, I'll pretty much

    • First I got to say this: it's 2005 and you don't have the ability to get around region coding on dvd and you're posting on slashdot. Yes I know circumvention isn't the answer to your dad's problem but it certainly can be the answer to yours.

      Now for your claim that the industry is hurting itself by not making more quality films like "A History of Violence." If Hollywood only made the sort festival films comes out in the fall then they would quickly put themselves in even worse shape when it comes to reve
    • Anyway, the disk arrived today, and it's NOT playable on my player. Fuck the movie and entertainment industry. They've made my dad unhappy, they've prevented me from watching a show which, had I watched, could only have helped their cause (exposure, exposure, exposure).

      I'd expect people on Slashdot to be a little more technically literate than this. DVD region codes are trivial (if annoying) to get around. Most DVD players have a short code that makes them region-free (look on dvdrhelp.com), or you could

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 01, 2005 @11:08PM (#13696471)
    ...Fire is hot!
  • *sigh* (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CashCarSTAR (548853) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @11:08PM (#13696472)
    It's not the movies. Well, maybe it is, but it's not JUST the movies. It's the fact that there's more competition right now for the entertainment dollar then ever before, and it's going to get worse for them. Put on top of that the negative cultural ideal of the movie theatre right now (talking+cell phones..not my experience but I'm sure this thread will be full of the stories.) So what's the solution? I suspect cut the theatres loose. 0-day DVD/PVP-Online AND theatre releases. Allow the theatres to show more movies more often. So if you rally like The Empire Strikes Back, for example, then maybe next Tuesday evening there's going to be a screening. Digital distribution makes this possible
    • Good points.

      Movie makers are trying for blockbuster movies to support the high prices of tickets. How about more lower budget movies at better ticket prices. I love going to the video rental store and finding gems that I can rent for cheap and watch at my convenience.

      And there's more trouble for the movie industry; high definition television will make the movie theater experience moot. We'll be able to see video in wide screen format, with excellent picture quality, from the comfort of our recliners.
    • Put on top of that the negative cultural ideal of the movie theatre right now

      You aint kidding. I went to see Serenity yesterday. First time in a movie theater since Batman Begins (and I saw that in Imax so it doesn't count). They actually showed commercials for movies before the now standard Coke/Gieco/Fandango commercials and then proceeded to show actual movie previews including a preview for one of the movies they'd shown a commercial for 15 mins before.(Something with Orlando Bloom and Mary Jane Watson

      • I was thinking of checking out A History of Violence but not if I have to sit through 30 minutes of brainwashing...

        This is the reason I don't go to the movies anymore. I don't mind the trailers so much, but forcing me to watch commercials when I've paid for a ticket is sick. Same goes for DVDs with unskippable things before the menu. Is it really worth pissing people off just to make a few extra cents?

        Re: showing older movies, a local independent theater (one which does not show commercials, I might add

  • Shocking (Score:5, Funny)

    by TimTheFoolMan (656432) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @11:09PM (#13696477) Homepage Journal
    It's not because of Steve Job's $.99 price model?

    Tim
  • by Frac (27516) * on Saturday October 01, 2005 @11:10PM (#13696480)
    At least they're no longer in denial, and they're now willing to produce movies their customers will want to see.

    Hopefully that means "Naked and Petrified" starring Natalie Portman will finally hit the big screen in 2006.

    One can only dream...
    • Don't forget the sequel, "Hot Grits", and of course the blockbuster "All Your Base Are Belong To Us".
    • by fm6 (162816)

      ... they're now willing to produce movies their customers will want to see.

      Say what? You honestly believe that studio execs have been telling each other, "we don't need to make movies that people want to see?" That makes no sense.

      They've always been trying to make popular movies — they're just not any good at it. They're part of a system that is thoroughly dysfunctional. It discourages risk taking and creativity. Most of all, the idea of actually telling a story is completely overlooked.

      Anybody

      • by Gilmoure (18428) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @12:41AM (#13696826) Journal
        Part of this is the whole blockbuster thing. It started in the '70's, with Jaws and Star Wars. This also coincided with the rise of the multiplex. Since then, Hollywood's gotten hooked on the idea of blockbusters, each bringing in 100+ million. kinda' like junkies, trying to reach that first high...
        • by a_n_d_e_r_s (136412) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @03:24AM (#13697333) Homepage Journal
          Is all about advertising. The costs are high.
          It's much cheaper to advertise for one blockbuster than several regular movies.

          Therefore the movie industry go for blockbusters.

          The problem for the movie industry is that a failed blockbuster are very costly so they try to appeal too as large group of people as possible. This often lead to that the blockbusters loose its edge and often become dull and boring and noone will see it.

          The movie industry seam to have forgotten that large profits can often come from a smaller movie that becomes an unexpected hot item.

           
  • Serenity (Score:5, Funny)

    by bryan1945 (301828) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @11:10PM (#13696482) Journal
    At least Serenity came out yesterday. The wife and I are seeing it on Sunday! Stupid goram MPAA.
  • by Nf1nk (443791) <nf1nk@noSpAM.yahoo.com> on Saturday October 01, 2005 @11:10PM (#13696483) Homepage
    I have wondered if this seasons lack of good action movies is partialy Lucas's fault. With the long awaited and less disapointing SW epIII this summer, I wonder how many studios decided that they didn't want to be the movies that came in a distant second to what many felt was going to be an out of control blockbuster (right or wrong).
    • Partly. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jd (1658) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {kapimi}> on Sunday October 02, 2005 @12:14AM (#13696719) Homepage Journal
      On the other hand, studios have invested an enormous amount in advertising (according to most of the reports - I didn't know cheap plastic from sweat-shops in third-world countries cost that much, myself) and are largely complaining that they've seen next to zero return on investment. But, since studios ALWAYS say that (so as to avoid paying taxes, employees on profit-sharing scams, etc) it is often hard to tell fact (or what passes for it) from fiction.


      Part of the reason they're 'fessing up is because movies like March of the Penguins were actually doing better than "blockbuster" titles like Fantastic Four. (Per screen, on release, March of the Penguins actually did make more money than Fantastic Four. It has now made more money than Fifth Element, in total, according to some articles.) It is hard to keep claiming that it's someone else's fault when even a French wildlife documentary can outsell multi-million dollar projects from Hollywood.


      I think the other part of the reason is that the RIAA is starting to take a turn for the worse in the courts, and the MPAA wants a backup plan in case this spreads to their own lawsuits. In other words, if a movie does crap and fileswappers cases get kicked out, then they can now say "well, we TOLD you the script for that specific movie was no good!" It also didn't help the MPAA when eDonkey started talking about quitting. If there are no fileswapper companies to blame, it's going to get harder for them to push responsibility onto others.


      (After all, they've known for HOW LONG that other people's movies were selling just fine? They were having a downturn for how many YEARS before fuel costs shot up? But it was only very recently that fileswapper cases stopped doing well, and only in the last week that eDonkey talked out quitting.)


      Will this get Hollywood to make something worth watching? Uh, no. What it'll mean is that they'll spend even MORE on public relations to persuade people that the next movie is worth seeing. That's the usual corporate reaction - why change things, when you only have to convince people they're changed?

  • by nEoN nOoDlE (27594) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @11:10PM (#13696484) Homepage
    I think it is changes in audience preferences. Audiences don't want bad movies anymore. The Hollywood formula is starting to wear off on people.
  • by TooMuchEspressoGuy (763203) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @11:12PM (#13696489)
    "Crappy Music - Not Teenage Kids Using Kazaa - To Blame For Decline in Sales of Music."

    "Overabundance of Commercials and Tons of Bad Reality Shows - Not TiVo - To Blame For Decline in Television Audience."

    Slashdot - News for Nerds, Stuff you Already Knew.

  • If only... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by JediLow (831100)
    the RIAA would finally fess up to the fact that people aren't buying CDs because the music just plain sucks...
  • There is a lot more competition out there for our entertainment dollars that there used to be. Think of all the computer/console based activities which have sprung up in the last 2 decades, to name just one example. Like any industry forced from a near monoply position into one with competition, the movie industry complains and blames dubious straw men for their difficulties. Good movies can still compete.
    • All hollywood films follow the same formula. It's so structured, you can't find anything out of the norm anymore.

      - first 10 minutes, action.
      - the middle, plot.
      - last 10 minutes, action. Use up budget.

      Where are the messed up films? It's like a lost art. And why are there so many wannabe films. Every decent movie has a dozen imitations.

    • "There is a lot more competition out there for our entertainment dollars that there used to be. Think of all the computer/console based activities which have sprung up in the last 2 decades, to name just one example."

      Heck, just a month ago I subscribed to HBO + a DVR. Given how unpleasant movie experiences have been the last couple of years, I don't mind waiting 6 months or so to see a semi-interesting movie. If they want my regular attendance at the local cinema, they need better movies, more comfy seats
  • If only the record companies could come to such an enlightened conclusion...

    How about more inspiration and less specualtion? More perspiration and less litigation... what else rhymes with this...?
  • When The Fountain comes out on December 31st. Broken Flowers was good, but even Jarmusch can't compete with Aronofsky.
  • Bah. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 01, 2005 @11:20PM (#13696524)
    And it has nothing to do with the $8-$10 ticket prices that have sprung up across the country. It's not like I can get 3 used DVDs for $20. Oh wait a minute . . . yes I can.
  • by grumpygrodyguy (603716) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @11:21PM (#13696525)
    It's all George Lucas' fault, Seriously! That guy redefined movie-making in the 70s and 80s, and then single-handedly destroyed it in the 90s and 00s!

    Episode I) Fool us once, shame on you.

    Episode II) Fool us twice, shame on us...

    Episode III) Fool us three times, screw this shit.
  • So Hollywood needs to be bolder and make more movies like Transporter 2? :-)
  • Lets see (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nighty5 (615965) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @11:31PM (#13696559)
    Cinema Fault:
    Poor movies
    Expensive Popcorn / Sweets / Drinks
    Expensive Tickets
    Can't use Gift Vouchers (Fully Paid) with new movies
    Bad seating - I've seen some *shockers* in some cinemas
    20 minutes of ads before the show
    Those silly piracy ads on stealing music - yep thats right, we all have to put up with that

    Customer Fault:
    Noisy movie goers / pranksters
    Mobile phone calls and constant rings
    Children screaming in tense moments
    Seat fighting

    Its all just not worth it - wait a month or so, buy for it less than the cinema price, grab some take away and watch it on your nice big digital entertainment unit @ home - and keep the damn movie!

    No wonder we don't bother going !
    • Bad seating - I've seen some *shockers* in some cinemas
      Whoever let Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. [imdb.com] design a movie theater ought to be ... well, whatever.
    • Re:Lets see (Score:3, Insightful)

      by edunbar93 (141167)
      Yeah, but every once in a while, there's a movie that's good enough for us to actually endure all that to a) see it sooner rather than later and b) see it on a big fuckin' screen with a sound system that makes yours look like it was made by fisher price.
    • Re:Lets see (Score:4, Insightful)

      by 00110011 (917752) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @03:58AM (#13697407)
      Expensive Popcorn / Sweets / Drinks

      Why do so many people say that they have to eat something when watching a 2 to 3 hour movie? Is it really that hard to see a movie without eating, or to eat a proper meal, elsewhere, before the movie so you wouldn't be hungry during the movie?

      • Re:Lets see (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Tim C (15259) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @08:34AM (#13698030)
        While I agree with you, for a lot of people the concessions are all part of the movie-going experience. For me, that means that there have been a number of times when I've had a meal, gone to the cinema and *still* bought drinks and popcorn. Sure, I could've gone without with ease - but then it wouldn't have been quite the same.

        Of course, I didn't moan about the price while I was doing it; sure, it's expensive, but I don't go very often (hard to when you're the parent of a young child), so I like to make the most of it.
  • I just say no (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DuctTape (101304) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @11:31PM (#13696560)
    I just don't want to go out to movies anymore. I like a nice quiet evening at home with a rented movie. I'm fine with waiting for a few months before I can rent the movie that just came out. I don't like sticky floors, hot-headed teens that throw popcorn, screaming babies, and too-tall people in front of me that block my view. I like playing back the part that I didn't hear correctly, playing the ending back over again, and stopping in the middle for a bio break.

    Duh.

    DT

  • by lheal (86013) <lheal1999@@@yahoo...com> on Saturday October 01, 2005 @11:32PM (#13696561) Journal

    It's all George Bush's fault.

    He doesn't care about movies.

    I know he's too busy with his bicycling career and all to go to movies. I just want to know that he cares.

  • Movies (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Well at least they're beginning to see the light. Scripts are sucking. I don't understand what the point of a going to theatres is anymore. You can go to Fry's buy a bigscreen, reciever, dvd player, and 5.1+ polk audio speakers, and/or Windows Media Center stay at home and enjoy the movies in your own confortable space. No obnoxious kids talking on cell phones with the theater attendants calling them out in the middle of the movie. Hollywood should just start releasing movies on DVD, HD-DVD, Blueray (You kn
  • by NetDanzr (619387) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @11:39PM (#13696588)
    Just a few weeks ago I was doing some research on the media, when I decided to run a statistical analysis on movies. The only conclusive thing I found was that bad movies are not to blame for lower box office tickets. Why? Because the movies were better than last year. Consider the following:

    The critics rated all researched 2005 movies (those that were still in theaters by the end of August - slightly over 100) with 69%. For 2004 movies, it was 64.25%. The audience also posted better ratings for 2005 movies: 68.4% versus 67.9% (source: IMDB). In the case of blockbusters (defined as movies opening on more than 1000 screens), 2005 movies come up on top as well: 62% versus 59.5% by the critics and 63.1% versus 61.7% by the audience. Independent movies were an exception: while critics rated them higher in 2005 (76.25% vs. 71.5%), the audience rated them lower: 70.9% vs. 71.5%.

    Despite these numbers, the opening weekend has seen a drop of 12.87%. For blockbusters this drop has been even more significant, despite the fact that they were rated higher and that they opened on 5.14% more screens. The drop in box office was 15.79%, compared to last year. Yet, the top 8 movies had an above-average per-screen revenue on the opening weekend, and the top 6 movies retained this statistic into the fourth week. In addition, the reviews have a positive correlation to the movie revenues (42.9%).

    As a result, I don't believe that bad movies are to blame for the box office to slump. I can speculate (haven't run any statistical analysis for those), that the declining revenues are to blame on a set of other factors, such as rising ticket prices, rising gas prices, shorter time to DVD, commercials before movies, and others.


    • Or it can mean that the Movie Industry is exerting more influnce over reviewers and creating astroturf campaigns for their movies.
    • The critics rated all researched 2005 movies (those that were still in theaters by the end of August - slightly over 100) with 69%. For 2004 movies, it was 64.25%...

      Ever heard of grade inflation [wikipedia.org]?
    • People who would not of liked the movie (e.g. given it a bad rating), don't even watch the movie these days, and can't give it a lower rating. So only the easy to please (who give things high ratings) actually rate things?

      As far as the critics are concerned, that's harder to explain, maybe they're being paid for more than normal? (Bit of a stretch, but if the slump gets bad you could imagine the industry would get a bit more dersperate in their bribery). Or are you percentages being pushed out by outlies? e
    • by Khaed (544779) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @12:12AM (#13696707)
      You're using the IMDB as a source? Next you're going to cite a slashdot poll...
    • What the... actual data? What are you doing here? With actual data we can't mindlessly just repeat the same old "movies are worse than they used to be" ranting you see in every Slashdot story!
    • by jgrabyan (919609) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @03:01AM (#13697271)
      "The only conclusive thing I found was that bad movies are not to blame for lower box office tickets. Why? Because the movies were better than last year."
      Bold claim, lets see if you can back it up.

      There are so many things wrong with your analyses of data here. Lets go statement by statement.
                You state that you ran a "statistical analysis," when the only statistic that you've given us are measurements of central tendency (means, in this case).
                          You reference a group known as "the critics," however you do not specify who you consider to be members of this group. Did you count only critics that are published in major newspapers, or did you include internet only critics? If you chose to include internet critics, how did you choose which to count? Anyone who can write a review and post it to the internet can be considered a critic (if sources such as rottentomatoes.com are to be relied upon). In addition, some critics approach and rate movies from a certain orientation (for example, some internet critics write their reviews solely from the perspective of a parent). Your statements would be a lot more believable if there was some sort of qualifications required to be counted as part of this group.
                Which brings me to question how you managed to assign a quantitative number to such a subjective activity as analyzing a movie. On his tv show, famous critic Roger Ebert rates movies with a thumbs up or thumbs down, then occasionally augments that. What number would you assign a movie that got a "thumbs up" when compared to a movie that got a "thumbs way up"? What number would you assign a movie that received a C+ rating (some critics like to grade movies on the classic academic scale)? Or do you forgo that and follow rottentomatoes' style, by deciding that a movie got a positive review or a negative review, and assign it 1 point or 0 points, respectively. If you used that style, how did you deal with critics that gave a movie a mixed review (e.g. a review that says "If you liked X, then you'll like this movie. If not, then don't see it.")
                Almost all of the differences between 2004 and 2005 mvoies are small, and while you did not include size of your rater pools, I suspect that most of them are not statistically significant. ("The audience also posted better ratings for 2005 movies: 68.4% versus 67.9%" I can assure you that this is NOT a statisticallly significant difference, thus your statement is not supported by the data.) If you actually did run a "statistical analysis," you'd have given stats rating the reliability of your results.
                Certainly, while the precentages are maybe a bit higher for 2005 vs. 2004 (which a very astute poster suggested might have to do with the phenomenon of grade inflation), you don't account for the fact that this year is not over. What you might have done was only included 2004 movies released in January to September.
                All in all, while your numbers are interesting, they don't support your broad generalization that "The only conclusive thing I found was that bad movies are not to blame for lower box office tickets. Why? Because the movies were better than last year." Instead, they show that there is actually no powerful difference one way or the other between the quality of movies from last year compared to this year.

      Jon

    • I question the statistics, who did they poll? The people who went to those movies? Critics ratings? Give me a break, the movie studios have more to fear from the moviegoer texting his frieds that a movie sucks from inside a theather than movie critics. I frequent slashdot and half a dozen boards, every one of them has topics on the latest favorite/hot movie or they pan a bad movie. From what I see the boards are more likely to influence a moviegoer than any critic.
  • by zappepcs (820751) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @11:44PM (#13696609) Journal
    The MPAA has set in motion litigation against makers of big screen televisions. According to one industry insider, these home entertainment people have to be stopped, their evil must be undone. If G*d wanted us to watch movies in our homes, he would have made television... oh wait
  • by Paul Slocum (598127) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @11:44PM (#13696611) Homepage Journal
    I keep hearing that movies suck now, but personally I don't see it. Obviously some will disagree with my taste, but I've enjoyed a lot of movies recently like 40 Year Old Virgin, Batman Begins, War of the Worlds, March of the Penguins, Constant Gardener.
    And I'm just listing mainstream-ish stuff. I'm also a big fan of indie/experimental stuff.

    This is just more people spouting theories. Let's see some research about people's movie satisfaction. Sales don't mean anything.

    Personally, I think it's more likely that cheaper home theatre, the economy, and videogames especially contribute to lower box office turnout. The videogame industry has become huge, and IIRC it's outgrown the movie industry. People have a limited amount of time and money for entertainment...

  • well.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by argStyopa (232550) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @11:46PM (#13696614) Journal
    ...at one time it WAS because the movies were lame.

    But now, despite their unending denial it's:
    - ridiculous prices for tickets
    - ridiculous prices for snacks
    - picture quality that hasn't improved much since about the mid 70's (sound quality *has* improved)
    - filthy theaters

    If the movie makers want to claim they made bad movies this year, I'm not going to disagree - they did. But that's only part of it. Do the analyis:

    One trip to the non-matinee movies for my family, plus a large pop, large popcorn and some candy for each, plus parking: ($8.50 ticket + $3 pop + $2.50 popcorn + $2 candy + $1 share of parking) x 6 = $102.

    36" widescreen Toshiba hi def tube = $1600
    Toshiba progressive scan DVD player = $200
    (hooking it to the stereo I own)
    = $1800.

    So for the price of 18 trips to the movies, PLUS Deducting the intangibles:
    - the convenience of watching in my own home
    - the ability to pause/rewind/stop and chat about whatever I want whenever I want
    - the ability to have whatever snack I want, in any quantity
    - the ability to have as many friends over as I can stuff into the room
    - to watch in my underwear and bathrobe if I want
    - to watch at whatever TIME I want, and interrupt to go do something if I want
    - to sit in my comfy chair, and exercise whatever odious personal habits I choose
    - the ability to (via Netflix) see pretty much whatever movie I want, not juse what the studio suits think I should be watching.

    I don't think there's any doubt - film industry pricing DROVE the development of home theater, now they have to live in the world they created. Nice job guys, you eat your young, too?
    • The studios are making most of their money from rentals, DVD sales, and fees from cable TV. All money that you're paying with your home theater system. You aren't hurting them any.

  •     For me, it's been about a year and a half. There have been a small handful of decent movies, but nothing else. I even got rid of my blockbuster movie pass, because we'd go months without finding anything worth renting.

    steve
  • I agree (Score:2, Insightful)

    by paulius_g (808556)
    I have to say it, I agree with that.

    This summer had the worst movies that I've ever seen. Other summers had interesting Pixar movies. This summer had, chickflicks, lame action movies and uninteresting comedy.

    Better luck next summer...

  •     One thing that I forgot to say is that nearly every good movie I've seen in the past 10 years has been one of the following:

    - made from a book
    - made from a comic book
    - a remake of an old movie (which doesn't preclude #1 or #2)

        The movies where the script actually comes out of Hollywood are rarely worth a thing.

    steve
  • Is this the April Fools Day version alreadY????
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Trailers give away the whole plot, especially when you watch more than one trailer for some movie.

    They show all the good scenes, so no good surprises. Why bother going to the movie when you know what the heck will happen?
    • This is SO true. Almost all of the full trailers (non-teaser) that I see, I'm like "wow, now I know how it ends and what all the major plot twists are. Why would I go see it?" This is especially true for dramas and thriller/suspense movies, where the plot is everything.

      The best trailer I've seen this year? The one for "Flight Plan" with Jodie Foster. Havn't looked at any reviews yet, but if they're not horrible then I plan on going to see that in a few days. The trailer gave me enough to kinda know wh
  • by Y-Crate (540566) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @12:08AM (#13696691)
    ...the other patrons are my biggest problem.
    There are many movies that I would be very willing to watch in the theatre if I only had the ability to do so with some guarantee of peace and quiet from those around me.

    Since that is not going to happen, I prefer to hold off and wait for the DVD. Simple as that.
  • by UWSarge (446461) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @12:23AM (#13696751)
    Earlier this week in L.A., there was an event by the LA SIGGRAPH chapter talking about digital cinema and 3d cinema and what it can do for the movie business.

    One of the speakers (can't remember his name) was discussing some of the current issues with the current box office, and number one on his list was bad movies. That was followed up by high ticket prices, high concession prices, poor theater experience (bad theaters ?), short time between theater release and DVD release, and people changing their spending habits. (Oddly enough, no mention of piracy from them)

    They seemed to be really big on getting digital and 3d technology into theaters as they felt it would get people back into theaters. The equipment can be expensive and ticket prices might have to be increased to help offset the costs, but these people seem to really think that it'd bring back people to the theater. I thought maybe in the short term...but maybe it's just another fade ?

    The demos they showed can be pretty impressive (especially ones originally intended for 3D instead of being converted from standard 35mm to 3D) but I don't know if it'll help in the long term to bring people back. It is pretty compeling to see this stuff, but I don't know if I'd wear 3D glasses for 2 hours...
  • by geekpuppySEA (724733) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @12:35AM (#13696798) Journal
    Watch for critics to be marking more movies as thumbs up. "Helicopter blades from WGN's Chopper 9 sliced off our thumbsthat's how high up they were!" [mcsweeneys.net] And for me to believe fewer and fewer critics, as I realize that each has been subtly wooed by one studio or another...

    Serenity, though? Ass kickery. So many flavors of goodness: "T'weren't been nothin between my nethers but was run on batteries..."

  • by SumDog (466607) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @12:36AM (#13696802) Homepage Journal
    I worked in a Carmike during high school. You know that bag of small popcorn for $2.95? You know how much it cost to make it? 1/7 of a cent. It takes less than a penny to make a bag of popcorn. Because of the high profit ratio, they make more money off popcorn than they do candy and soda...

    "That's awful," you say, but what about this: theaters typically make about 5 cents per movie ticket. On an independent film they might make 10 cents. Oh and by the way, they're exempt from overtime laws so their workers never get paid over $5.15 (much of the entertainment industry is exempt from overtime)

    I think what it boils down to is people are turning from the theater experience. At home I have a 1024x768 Viewsonic projector, Onkyo 5.1 surround system and a Linux box where I keep tons of downloaded Xvid files. The fact is my home theater experience, even with a decent quality cam, is still better than the actual theater with the screaming kids and people throwing popcorn and $7 rape you in the ass entry fee; that is for an average film.

    With electronics getting cheaper, it seems like my friends only make it a point to go see movies in the theater for films that really stand out. We make it a point and an ocasion to watch the midnight premier. But I agree with the arcile, there really haven't been a lot of good movies worth that effort lately, and with better home theater systems emerging, I think the movie industry will need to work harder to produce films worth the entertainment value of the theater.
  • by Legion303 (97901) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @12:44AM (#13696841) Homepage
    "These fucking movies aren't even worth pirating."
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @12:51AM (#13696866) Homepage Journal
    moviegoing experience, read Kevin Murphy's hilarious and insightful book, "A Year at the Movies"
    He is a self-professed cinephile, but he seems to really hate the whole corporate moviegoing experience, but loves some of the interesting independent places he has found. Ones that actually offer a REASON(a good environment) for going to the cinema
    Plus he smuggles a whole Thanksgiving dinner into a theatre!
  • by snStarter (212765) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @01:04AM (#13696906)
    So I want to go to the movie. Setting aside the cost of popcorn and sodas for two, which will cost more than the tickets, we enter the auditorium and find a seat. Can we sit and talk? No. There's a damn video playing on the screen pimping for a wretched TV series and commercials. This goes on until a few minutes before the curtain when the ads for the concessions come on, a terrible soft drink ad, and the an endless series of trailers for films that should have gone straight to DVD. Often I find myself thinking: "If these trailers are matched in any way to the expected audience for this film, then we've come to the wrong film." Finally the lights dim. The movie begins and it's okay but probably the trailers were right - the film is crappy.

    The entire experience of going to the movies is just awful, one brutal and unsophisticated marketing blugeon after another.

    Screw it - it'll take a hell of a movie to get me back into the theater again and it won't have penguins: it'll have decent writing, a plot, an understanding of cinematography and editing and it won't substitute CGI for any of these things. Most of all it will understand Fowler's Law: "When anything is possible, nothing is interesting."
  • by tkrotchko (124118) * on Sunday October 02, 2005 @08:15AM (#13697958) Homepage
    I think this is the beginning of market saturation and a fall in the value of so-called Intellectual Property.

    We have so many outlets for entertainment right now that the sheer volume means I can never get to a significantly fraction of movies, books, records, video games or web sites.

    And when there is too much of something, prices will fall. Not quickly, as copyright laws work to keep prices high. But fall they will.

    Yes, there is a lot of sucky bands, movies, books, but the amount of material out there means there are a lot of genuinely good entertainers out there, yes, even with RIAA affiliated labels. But because there is so much material, I think the amount of material means the market is segmented and its harder to differentiate from the pack.

    But again, in that kind of environment where there is a lot of decent entertainment readily available, prices will fall. Its inevitable, even in the face of lawsuits, new laws, technical hurdles. It's as inevitable as gravity.
  • Serenity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dexter riley (556126) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @08:20AM (#13697978)
    We saw Serenity at 9 on Saturday night...the theater was only about a third full. Maybe the movie wasn't hyped as much as some of the summer blockbusters, or people didn't want to go to a film where they didn't know exactly what was going to happen (Anikin turns evil, Samuel Jackson kicks ass, animated critters crack wise). Either way, sometimes it seems like you can put good movies on the screen, and people just won't go!
  • by SoVi3t (633947) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @11:21AM (#13698703)
    ...or lack of. Seriously, every "horror" movie coming out (or even action movies and sci-fi) are coming out PG-13. Look at Alien Vs Predator. Yeah, the script was horribly flawed, and none of the characters left an impression like previous characters in their respective movies (people can list off quotes from characters in Predator and Aliens, for instance), but I am willing to bet that if they had at least shown some gore, it'd help. Hell, watch carefully, and you'll notice they never really show even one chest bursting scene. Hollywood needs to realize that some movies just have to be rated R, rather than PG-13 so some kids can come see it. Cuz the kids certainly aren't the ones with the money to see movies on a frequent enough basis, especially during summer.
  • by SpecialAgentXXX (623692) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @12:10PM (#13698975)
    I absolutely HATE advertising. We are living in a world much like Lucas' THX-1138 - "Buy! Consume! Buy more! Consume more!" And with the cost of movies increasing to over $10 where I live, I just wait for the DVDs to come out. They usually have extended/deleted scenes, Director's Cut, making-of, etc. Couple that with a home theater system or even a home theater PC and the reason to go to the movies is almost nil. The last movie I saw - twice - was Star Wars III. I skipped work and saw it on opening day with a lot of adults (i.e. well-behaved audience). It rocked! I then saw it again on Friday night with a bunch of high school kids. They kept talking through the entire movie and it sucked - got my money back though. But now, DVDs are coming out 3 months after the movie stops playing in the theaters so I can wait. High on my list is Batman Begins, Sin City, Hitchhiker's Guide, and Kingdom of Heaven - Director's Cut.

    As for TV shows, there's way too much advertising, especially on the Sci-Fi channel. So I just stopped watching TV. A 1-hour episode is only about 41 minutes of the actual episode and 19 minutes of advertising. Amazon.com sells boxed sets of the popular TV shows and I get those at the end of the season. High on my list for this fall/winter is Smallville Season 4, 24 Season 4, Battlestar Galactica Season 1, and Tru Calling Seasons 1 & 2.

Genius is ten percent inspiration and fifty percent capital gains.

Working...