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Movies The Almighty Buck

Ebert: I'll Tell You Why Movie Revenue Is Dropping 865

Posted by samzenpus
from the lets-all-stay-in-the-lobby dept.
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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Ebert: I'll Tell You Why Movie Revenue Is Dropping

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  • Also (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @07:17PM (#38532682) Homepage Journal
    Try coming up with an original idea that doesn't SUCK .
  • by arcite (661011) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @07:17PM (#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!
  • Kids (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ckaminski (82854) <[ckaminski] [at] [pobox.com]> on Thursday December 29, 2011 @07:19PM (#38532716) Homepage
    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.
  • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @07:22PM (#38532740) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • by Kenja (541830) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @07:22PM (#38532744)
    How can they not be good? They're the same movies they made ten years ago but now with better digital effects!
  • Re:forget popcorn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MetricT (128876) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @07:23PM (#38532754) Homepage

    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.

  • Probably too late (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MikeRT (947531) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @07:24PM (#38532762) Homepage

    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:Also (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 29, 2011 @07:26PM (#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.

  • Cooking books (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wowsers (1151731) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @07:27PM (#38532792) Journal
    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!?!
  • by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @07:28PM (#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?

  • by Jeffrey Baker (6191) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @07:31PM (#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.

  • Wait, what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dunbal (464142) * on Thursday December 29, 2011 @07:32PM (#38532866)
    Who says movie revenue is dropping?
  • Re:Also (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sk999 (846068) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @07:32PM (#38532874)

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

  • Re:Also (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ClintJCL (264898) <clintjcl+slashdot@g m a i l . com> on Thursday December 29, 2011 @07:35PM (#38532902) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • by Fuzzums (250400) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @07:36PM (#38532910) Homepage

    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.

  • by bazorg (911295) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @07:36PM (#38532912) Homepage

    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:Kids (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pseudofrog (570061) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @07:39PM (#38532934)
    Huh?

    Is a quiet atmosphere and no laser pointers really too much to ask?
  • He's right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by markdavis (642305) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @07:40PM (#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.

  • by Stormwatch (703920) <rodrigogirao@noSPaM.hotmail.com> on Thursday December 29, 2011 @07:41PM (#38532958) Homepage

    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:Kids (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 29, 2011 @07:42PM (#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..

  • Two Words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eriks (31863) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @07:44PM (#38532996) Homepage

    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.

  • by pseudofrog (570061) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @07:44PM (#38533004)
    Some people like "going out". Especially if it's to a place with an enjoyable atmosphere.
  • Re:Also (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) <myfirstnameispaul@gmail.com> on Thursday December 29, 2011 @07:45PM (#38533024) Homepage Journal
    What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.
  • Re:Also (Score:5, Insightful)

    by squiggleslash (241428) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @07:46PM (#38533040) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • Movies... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JWSmythe (446288) <jwsmythe&jwsmythe,com> on Thursday December 29, 2011 @07:51PM (#38533114) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • Re:forget popcorn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Daniel_Staal (609844) <DStaal@usa.net> on Thursday December 29, 2011 @07:52PM (#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.

  • by SoftwareArtist (1472499) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @07:59PM (#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.

  • by RyoShin (610051) <.tukaro. .at. .gmail.com.> on Thursday December 29, 2011 @08:08PM (#38533310) Homepage Journal

    (But not necessarily "fix" them; fixing implies the original model was a good one.)

    1) Stick small-group theaters on the end. Slightly smaller screen, only seats 30-40. Attach a lounge room (with a view of the screen) and rent the whole shebang out, medium size companies will eat it up for single-day retreats/training. Great for birthdays on the weekend, or club/group events. Hell, why not fundraising efforts to go with it? Rent to them, they can sell the tickets. When not being rented, show fifth-run/classics for cheap ($2/$3). And when a movie is run like that, run it for a whole week or two, none of this "we'll run it one night and maybe do it again in five months" BS. Put up nice schedules for what will be shown (reservations have to be at least two weeks in advance so there's no rapid changing of the schedule).

    2) Attach a small video rental store to the theater. Those xth-run/classics? When playing them, put a display out front so if someone really likes the movie they can stroll in, buy a copy, stroll out. Offer free movie viewings for frequent rentals (or free rentals for frequent viewings). Maybe make a thing that if they keep their ticket for seeing a first-run in the theater and bring it back when the movie releases to DVD, they get a buck off the movie or something. (Yeah, not many will save the ticket, but it's just one more perk to throw out there.)

    3) Thursday to Sunday, after 8 or 9, put a strict age limit on who can get into higher-rated movies. PG13 can only have 13 YOs and up; Rs 17 and up. Make it 21+ after 11 to get rid of the high school crowd. Seriously tighten down on crying infants, talking, and phone use. Hire a bouncer in more popular theaters to kick out unruly groups (and make sure there are signs that say no refunds if you are).

    4) Actually have the movie start when it says it will start. I'm so sick of going to theaters, sitting down at the stated time, only to sit through 10 minutes of commercials + 15 minutes of previews. I have no problem with commercials on the big screen, just play them before said time. Intermingle these with previews so people actually want to show up a bit early, causing more eyeballs on the commercials.

    5) Reusable 3D glasses. The glasses I got were fine at the end of the movie last time, they'll work for this one, too. Why should I have to pay $2 when I can bring my own? Sell moderate-quality pairs for $15/pop and save the extra fee on the movie. Helps with the whole recycling thing, too.

    There's more I'm forgetting, but these are things I've thought of for a while now.

  • Re:Also (Score:5, Insightful)

    by erko (806441) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @08:13PM (#38533362)
    Just because you don't like 3D doesn't mean it should be "ditched".
    I don't go to many movies, but when I do, I look for good movies that are in 3D.
    If a movie has no plot, it doesn't matter if it's in 2D or 3D.
  • by Ouchie (1386333) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @08:18PM (#38533446)

    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!

    The theaters need to realize that they are competing with home theaters, where the price point is around $2 - $3. I have more choices at home, it is more comfortable, and I don't have to deal with a crowd.

  • Re:Movie Quality (Score:5, Insightful)

    by artor3 (1344997) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @08:27PM (#38533552)

    That's not at random, you're purposefully picking good ones. The GP has an excellent point. From any particular year, most movies are crap. But we only remember the good ones, and then look back on that year and say to ourselves, "Boy, the movies sure were better back then!"

  • by Nethemas the Great (909900) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @08:27PM (#38533560)

    And depending upon where you are seated this means that you can see exactly the same thing as you would 8-10ft from a 55 - 60" LCD plus a little picture noise from projecting onto a wall. Or, you see less since you are too far away for a proper placement in your FOV. Or you see a partial view because the FOV of your eyeballs doesn't go that wide and you have a sore, stiff neck in the morning from craning it up to look at the screen 20-30 feet in front of you.

    60 feet or 60 inches, it really doesn't make much difference if you are sitting the proper distance away such that your field of view is comfortably filled with the movie on display.

  • Re:It's the movies (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportlandNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Thursday December 29, 2011 @08:32PM (#38533620) Homepage Journal

    Well maybe you should select good movies? I challenge you to fine 1(one) year without any good movies.

    Both,. good as in a well made well written well acted movie or Good as in Fun eye candy.

  • Re:Also (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 29, 2011 @08:35PM (#38533656)

    50% of all audiences hate all films based on some trait. Maybe we should cut chick flicks since 50% of the movie going population hate them. Or how about war films, or mafia films, or non-fictional films? I personally won't go to see a movie that is more car chase than dialog but I understand that others do.

  • Re:He's right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Arrogant-Bastard (141720) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @08:39PM (#38533706)
    Add to that list:

    6) Films don't start at announced time. What starts at the announced time are commercials, pro-MPAA propaganda, previews, and charitable solicitations.

    7) Refreshments are marked up about 1000%, served by surly, inefficient, inattentive teenagers who hate their jobs. Also: no beer.

    8) Staff refuse to eject patrons. (Went to see "The Ides of March". Woman in row in front of mine was on cell phone four times during movie. Got out of my seat, fetched manager during the fifth time. She was off it when he finally got there, so he refused to take action. Great. Nothing like having an intense political drama disrupted AND missing part of it.)

    9) Poor projection. Use the right lens, for crying out loud.

    10) Previews that give away the entire movie. (Or, perhaps, moves that suck so tremendously that the preview CAN give away the entire movie, and may in some cases be a superior entertainment experience.)

    11) Movie industry that wants to destroy the Internet. See: SOPA, PIPA, whatever's next.
  • Re:Also (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @08:43PM (#38533740) Homepage

    3D is an overpriced and overrated variation that is taking far to much valuable real estate that would be better used attracting a wider audience.

  • Re:Two Words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by justthinkit (954982) <floyd@just-think-it.com> on Thursday December 29, 2011 @08:47PM (#38533802) Homepage Journal
    There is another audio factor. At home you can jump on the remote whenever the movie audio is way too frickin loud but in the theater you can not. The modern trend is for dialogue to be almost silent, manic scenes to be quite loud, and explosions etc. to be intolerable. For that reason alone I will not go to movie theaters.
  • Re:Also (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EdZ (755139) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @08:57PM (#38533888)
    Don't ditch stereographic 3D outright. Instead, either do it properly or don't do it at all (I agree that at the moment, the two are functionally equivalent, though). This can be done by following two relatively simply rules:
    1) No stereo upconverts. You don't shoot a film in B&W then colourise it (unless you want it to look like ass, especially when colour film is right there), so don't shoot a film in 2D then try and guesstimate some stereo separation. You retard.
    2) Hire a stereographer who will hit you in the back of the head every time you suggest something fly out of the screen. Hard. And repeatedly. Until you learn how the human visual cortex recieves stereo cues and how to work with it to trick the viewer rather than grabbing the optic nerve and yanking it about. *

    The only film I can think of where stereo 3D was done properly has been Avatar. Regardless of what you think about plot originality or hamfisted delivery, it was an excellent use of stereo 3D.

    *I was going to give another analogy of shooting a film in colour and only using BRIGHT BLUE SKY and BRIGHT ORANGE DESERT broad-brush colour grading, but then I remembered the Orange and Teal effect [blogspot.com]. On second thought, let's just fire the entire movie industry into the sun and start again.
  • Re:Also (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NewWorldDan (899800) <dan@gen-tracker.com> on Thursday December 29, 2011 @09:06PM (#38533960) Homepage Journal

    So they have to pay an extra $3, wear glasses they shouldn't need to see a film where the picture is not as bright as it could be? Instead of special glasses, just cover one lens with a piece of paper. You can put me into the crowd that hates 3D (foreground images split apart on me. my eyes hurt after about 20 minutes).

    Also, Ebert may be right here. Locally, we have a theater that has $6 prime time seating ($4 off peak), comparatively cheap popcorn (still pricey, but half the price of other theaters), no stadium seating, no 3D, and it's always packed. It's the only place I go, and I buy the popcorn there just on principle.

  • Re:Also (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BasilBrush (643681) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @09:10PM (#38534022)

    Audio allows for telling a more interesting story. 3D doesn't.

  • Re:forget popcorn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdo ... g ['ish' in gap]> on Thursday December 29, 2011 @09:16PM (#38534066)

    That's more or less what I think the 3d-movies fad was trying to do: produce an in-theater experience that was hard to replicate in home theaters using current technology. A bit misguided though, imo.

  • Re:Also (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gfxguy (98788) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @10:16PM (#38534576)
    So don't go to 3D movies... problem solved. Honestly... all the 3D movies are also shown in 2D - and for less money. I don't get the complaints. People on slashdot are generally pro-choice unless it's something they can sit on their high horse and whine about all us bourgeois who might actually like something they don't.
  • Problem not solved (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @10:29PM (#38534702)

    So don't go to 3D movies... problem solved.

    You do realize you are posting in a thread about - why people are not going to the movies...

    3D is just one trend I don't like and will not pay for (yes I've seen a few 3D movies).

    When you say "problem solved", well not for the studios - that IS the problem!

  • Re:Also (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kaizokuace (1082079) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @10:32PM (#38534728)
    Except these days we can't even steal. The industry has creative monopoly forever! Copyright extension done fucked the system is what. It is the cause of the constant stream of shit from this media industry system.
  • Re:Also (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Technician (215283) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @10:33PM (#38534732)

    Recycled scrips are OK if there is enough colorful environment and players to make the script interesting.

    Take for example the original Star Wars. It is a western. It did very well at the box office.

    Western you say?

    Yes. Lady loses the ranch to some bad guys in black.
    There is dynamite explosions, a gunfight, a knife fight, a bar fight with shady characters who can provide some needed support, and the hero in white. It is a formula western in a different big valley and more modern horses, knives, and pistols.

  • Re:Also (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GoChickenFat (743372) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @11:38PM (#38535120)
    Your real estate comment doesn't make sense. The same digital projectors are used for 3D and 2D. Most multiplexes have many more houses than they can fill anyway so no "real estate" is waisted by showing 3D. How does not showing 3D attract a wider audience? Almost all multiplexes will show both 2D and 3D versions and YOU get to choose which one you want to pay for. 3D is an additional option that DOES attract wider audiences by providing an additional choice.
  • Re:Also (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rockout (1039072) on Friday December 30, 2011 @01:31AM (#38535760)

    I hate it when I look past the summary for insightful commentary on what Ebert said, and all I see for the next 1000 comments is old people complaining how movies were much better when they were in their childhood and possibly early 20's.

    Of course, what decade that was totally depends on just HOW old the person commenting is. People never seem to realize that one universal constant - while you're growing up, you watch a bunch of stuff (and listen to a bunch of music), and some of it you think is pretty awesome. Then you get old, and you complain EVERYTHING now sucks. It's been true for decades, if not centuries.

  • Re:Also (Score:4, Insightful)

    by smellotron (1039250) on Friday December 30, 2011 @02:43AM (#38536046)

    Honestly... all the 3D movies are also shown in 2D - and for less money.

    In my neck of the woods, 3D movies have replaced digital projection of 2D movies (probably because the projector is the same, but the ticket prices are higher). That leaves me choosing either 3D digital or 2D film.

    People on slashdot are generally pro-choice unless it's something they can sit on their high horse and whine about all us bourgeois

    We're upset because the industry's push for 3D is very clearly eliminating the choice of 2D digital projection. I absolutely loved watching the new Star Trek in digital projection: the space-expanse scenes were so much more serene without the jitter of a film projector. Now I have to suffer shitty, scratched polarized glasses and jarringly unreal stereoscopy if I want to enjoy digital projection.

  • by bratwiz (635601) on Friday December 30, 2011 @02:57AM (#38536106)

    WHY I LIKE THE MOVIES

    My sweetie and I really like watching movies at the theatre. When you fully consider the adventure that awaits, the measly $20-25 bucks you shell out (more if you pay online) to take you and your sweetie out to the movies these days is a real bargain.

    The adventure begins with that long rope line at the door. Its fun to get pressed in with complete strangers and weave your way in and out like cattle to the slaughter working your way up to the pimply-faced kid with the glazed look and speech impediment. Usually I just smile a lot, sign the little ticket and laugh at all their little hand gestures. You know they're so helpful and friendly.

    When you make it past the counter you get another treat as you stand in the line to buy your munchies. For me its always difficult to decide between the little $10 bag of popcorn or the $5 dollar bag of peanut M&M's. Either way I usually wash it down with a $5 dollar cup of sicky-syrupy Coca-Cola. My sweetie likes getting the bottled water for $4 dollars. She says "its decadent and thrilling to pay so much." Frankly, I don't know how they're able to do it without going out of business-- if you went anywhere else you'd have to pay at least $6.50 for it all, maybe less.

    When we finally get our tickets and munchies though, that's when the real fun begins-- negotiating the lobby. Its quite a trick to make it to the other side without getting jostled or run-over by all of the other folks. On Fridays and Saturday nights they have all the really experienced players out on the floor who know all the moves. It can be quite a challenge, but the real rush is when you get to that "Ticket-Taker" boss. Boy that guy is tough. He's got his mumbling down to an art. That's where so many players get tripped-up, trying to figure out if he said five doors down on the left or nine doors down on the right.

    Either way you can get plenty of good exercise walking down that enormous hallway that just goes on forever and ever and ever. One time this old couple came up to us and asked if we knew the way out. They said they'd gotten lost in there and had been wandering around for a long time. Ha ha ha. We knew that was a trick so we sent them down to the mid-level mezzanine! My sweetie and I got a good laugh out of that one.

    Your first break comes when you finally find your theatre and make your way up the steps, past those cans they put out for target practice, over the couple inevitably making-out in the third row, to your seats. And the experience is always heightened, for me at least, by the forty-five minutes of real-estate slides and mind-numbing commercials. They do such a good job of getting you into the mood to watch the show. I especially like the ones that advertise all those fantastic programs you could have watched if you'd stayed home.

    I don't know who thought it up, but kudos to whomever it is that always manages to put the flatulent fat guy in front of us and the ceaselessly talking couple behind us. They're always an excellent choice to distract us from the row of wiggly, whining kids with the constant coughs two rows up. How exciting it is to sit there and experience the delightfully aromatic and aurally invigorating atmosphere while we wait and wonder what mysterious illness we'll surely develop this week. My sweetie and I love the mystery-- last time it was Malaria. This time my sweetie is hoping for Denge Fever while I'm holding out for Whooping Cough.

    Then comes the best part, my favorite part of the whole experience, when they turn down the lights and switch from the really sharp projector showing the slides and commercials to the other projector they have for the movie-- the one with the soft, fuzzy look that makes you have to squint to get it into focus. And they lower down the sound too, which is always a relief. You know right before, while they're still running the commercials its always just blaring. Its good that they can turn it down for the show. We wouldn't want to miss any of those witty comments from the au

  • Re:Also (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kbg (241421) on Friday December 30, 2011 @06:14AM (#38536744)

    The problem with movies today is that they use too much CGI and the problem is that current CGI just sucks for realism. Movement for most CGI characters is just bad, it was much better in the old days when you actually got a guy in a costume or a puppet to play some monster, because then you get realistic movements and light/shadows.

    A great example are the CGI badger and monkeys in Indiana Jones 4. They are so badly done that they it is ridiculous, imagine if they where done with a real animal or a puppet it would look totally much better. (Of course these scenes should not be in the script in the first place, but that is another story).

    And most music today also sucks, for a similar reason, they use dynamic range compression on almost every new CD today, this totally destroys the music experience, in the old days music was not compressed and had more feeling.

    Now get off my lawn.

  • Re:Also (Score:5, Insightful)

    by X3J11 (791922) on Friday December 30, 2011 @10:16AM (#38537822) Journal

    I hate it when I look past the summary for insightful commentary on what Ebert said, and all I see for the next 1000 comments is old people complaining how movies were much better when they were in their childhood and possibly early 20's.

    Of course, what decade that was totally depends on just HOW old the person commenting is. People never seem to realize that one universal constant - while you're growing up, you watch a bunch of stuff (and listen to a bunch of music), and some of it you think is pretty awesome. Then you get old, and you complain EVERYTHING now sucks. It's been true for decades, if not centuries.

    I would just like to share that me (36) and my children (16 and 12) agree that about 75% of movies made after 2000 are absolute garbage compared to films from previous years. While there are standouts that are well scripted, well acted, and well filmed, they are few and far between.

    My problem stems not from nostalgia for the good old days, mostly, but rather from the lack of characterization in modern films. Take, for example, the film Aliens. I can remember the characters, rattle off their names and personality quirks, and remember exactly how each one died.

    Now take Battle: Los Angeles. I watched it. I can't remember a damned thing about it or any of the characters, except that the butt-chin guy who played Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight was in it. His little squad of characters may as well have been named Disposable Latin Guy, Disposable Black Guy, Disposable White Guy. Completely unmemorable.

    Many films come across this way to me now. It's all in the effects and the action, nothing to make the characters stand out at all. And if I don't care about the characters, then why care about the story?

    And as I said, my kids agree with me on this - a rare occurance at best with my boys. Believe it or not, they came to their own conclusions on this, no brainwashing required.

  • Re:Also (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dnahelicase (1594971) on Friday December 30, 2011 @10:56AM (#38538200)

    Sometimes I feel like we are in the same situation as the movie "The invention of lying" where all the movies are just histories because they can't create plot lines that didn't actually happen. It seems like sometimes we can't seem to create new characters or stories

    But seriously, Ebert isn't talking about people not liking movies, it's about not going to the theater. It seems obvious to me that a lot of people don't go to the theater anymore because they have a better more comfortable setup at home. These people are lost to the theater and aren't coming back.

    People that can't wait for a blockbuster are still going to go, but like Ebert is saying, that can only go on for so long. The main people I think that are interested in movies are people that are going on dates and/or are young.

    You are more likely to ask someone to a very-neutral ground theater if it's a date than "do you want to come see my home theater?" You are also going to go to the theater if you don't want to be at your parent's house.

    It seems like they need to make their experience better than a home experience, or aggressively target this audience.

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