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Piracy Not To Blame In Decline of Moviegoers 1539

lucyfersam writes "In a somewhat surprisingly earnest assessment, the NYTimes has an article about the massive decline in movie-going that does not once try to blame piracy and file-sharing programs. It sounds like studios are beginning to understand that they have only themselves to blame." From the article: "Multiples theories for the decline abound: a failure of studio marketing, the rising price of gas, the lure of alternate entertainment, even the prevalence of commercials and pesky cellphones inside once-sacrosanct theaters. But many movie executives and industry experts are beginning to conclude that something more fundamental is at work: too many Hollywood movies these days, they say, just are not good enough."
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Piracy Not To Blame In Decline of Moviegoers

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  • by A Boy and His Blob ( 772370 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @11:28AM (#13397655)
    Let me see, which would I rather do: spend $30+ on a movie ticket, popcorn, and a drink just so I can watch the latest subpar selection of movies at a time set by the theater and have popcorn thrown at me by 13 year old cell phone wielding children, OR pick up whatever movie from the redbox [] for $0.99 (or DVD rentals through the mail) and a drink and popcorn from the local store all for less than $5 and watch it on my widescreen in the comfort of my own home. Tough call.
    • by Your Pal Dave ( 33229 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @11:32AM (#13397700)
      Sooo, you couldn't get a date this weekend either?
    • by KillerDeathRobot ( 818062 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @11:34AM (#13397721) Homepage
      30+ dollars on a single ticket, drink and popcorn is a bit of an exaggeration, and there's still a pretty huge difference between seeing a movie on a widescreen TV vs. an actual theater screen which is however many feet tall and wide.

      I still like to see movies in the theater, but the price IS getting pretty ridiculous. And seeing a movie in a theater packed with idiots does suck. Nevertheless, I guess the article isn't really talking about me, because I probably see movies more regularly now (in the theater AND at home) than I have any time in the past.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 25, 2005 @11:48AM (#13397906)
        Yeah, $30 for a single ticket, drink, and popcorn is a bit much. However, at $9 for an evening ticket, plus drinks and popcorn for TWO people (my wife and I), plus babysitting for my kids, an evening at the cinema will set me back $50 or more. Alternatively, I can pay $20 per month for one of several unlimited DVD rental plans, save the babysitting fees, and not have to feel guilty about wasting money on a stinker of a film. Just send it back to FlixBuster or whomever and get another.

        I like the movie theater experience, but the cost is now an issue, especially when that $50 buys a tank of gas or two.
      • by op00to ( 219949 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @11:50AM (#13397935)
        Where do you live? Do you have a girlfriend/wife?

        To go to the movies in the NYC metro area:

        at LEAST $9.50 for the tickets -- that's $19 so far, just to get in the door. A drink can run up to $4, so we're at $27. Popcorn for two can run up to $4 again, putting us over $30, and that's for HUMAN sizes. I suppose in Podunk, things may be a little cheaper. Also, outside of NYC, most of the big, nice theaters are out on the highways, so you'll have to figure in gas too!

        $30+ is not worth it, especially when morons are allowed to make noise during the movie.
        • by CyricZ ( 887944 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @11:59AM (#13398043)
          You should feel lucky that noises are the worst of your problems. In the late 1970s, when the punk movement was taking hold in Germany and France, cinemas there often became places where no decent person would go. Why is that? Well, many of the punk tots at the time would throw human waste at patrons, rather than popcorn. It was not uncommon for a moviegoer to be hit by a wad of sperm, or even a chunk of human feces, while watching a film.

          People started to complain, and cinemas began to wisen up. Troublemaker punks were tossed out of theatres at the first sign of agitation. In the end, the cinema environment substantially improved. It was again possible to watch movies without disruption.

          The moral is that you must take action to maintain a quiet theatre. You must contact the manager when things go bad. Let them know you're displeased. That will lead to a far more enjoyable movie experience.
          • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 25, 2005 @12:36PM (#13398466)
            I know what you mean. I thought I would take my elderly mother out to a nice movie. I believe it was called Rocky Horror something. The people in the audience behaved atrociously.
          • by zymurgy_cat ( 627260 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @01:26PM (#13398966) Homepage
            The moral is that you must take action to maintain a quiet theatre. You must contact the manager when things go bad. Let them know you're displeased. That will lead to a far more enjoyable movie experience.

            Most managers take this stuff very seriously. Whenever I've complained about noisy people, bad sound, etc., the manager has always responded immediately. One time, a manager even followed me back into the theatre and waited "in the shadows." As soon as the !@$#%ing talking twerp opened his mouth, the manager was on him in a heartbeat.

            The trick, though, is to find the manager. Don't just tell anyone working there. Most of the kids at the concession stand or the ticket counter don't really know how to provide good customer service.
        • by pnice ( 753704 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @12:26PM (#13398357)
          I live in "Podunk" and things are cheaper for sure. The best part about going to the movies here is that they will collect cell phones from people that are using them/looking at them during the movie. As soon as they see the screen light up they walk over and take the cell phone until the movie is over. Wouldn't work in a bigger city, but it works here.
      • by Total_Wimp ( 564548 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @01:02PM (#13398733)
        ...and there's still a pretty huge difference between seeing a movie on a widescreen TV vs. an actual theater screen which is however many feet tall and wide.

        I bought some mid-high end Klipsh speakers and a mid-range Pioneer surround sound receiver. It's not even dialed in properly because I accidently reset the reciever to factory defaults and haven't had a chance to dial it in again.

        My TV is a nice, but not exceptional. When new, it was awesome, but it pales by comparison to today's DLP HDTVs. It's a 37" standard def. Mitsubishi Megaview.

        Since I've had this setup, I've had continual disappointment of the quality on most occasions that I've gone to the theater. The sound is almost never as good, and even though the screen is usually better, scratchs on the print and projection equipment being set too dim have been common occurances. I thought it was just my local theater at first, but I've gone to several others in the area and out of town. On average my sound kicks butt over the theaters and my video is only slightly worse (and on a few occasions better).

        From TFA: DVD sales, while still robust, are no longer rising exponentially, and some analysts say that a poor box office performance this summer will lead to poor DVD sales this winter.

        Let's see how this actually pans out. My guess is some of the poor movies aren't going to sell well on DVD either, but that if you add up DVDs sold and box office tickets sold you'll find the total industry "units sold" is still far ahead of anything the industry saw with box office + tapes in the mid nineties.

        The movie theater has always been better than what most people get in their home. Still is for many people. But as Wal-Mart sells more and more boxed surround sound and starts getting HDTV off the ground, joe average is going to start liking his home better than the multiplex. I think the best way for theaters to deal with this is to:

        A)STOP WHINING! Complaining that I'm not buying your product is not the best way to get me to start. Samsung never whines about me not buying their HDTVs.

        B)Improve your sound. Don't just have surround sound, but get high quality speakers that capture nice low sounds while still giving a focused punch for those explosions. You're competing with people sitting in "the sweet spot" at home, many of them with good equipment.

        C)Improve your print. Go digital or have equipment that won't scratch your print. You're competing with a perfect digital presention via HDTV or DVD.

        D)Improve your screen. Get high quality projection screens and play your movies at the proper brightness settings. You're competing with 53" DLP

        E)Improve your environment. Stadium seating, comfy chairs, raisable arm rests, wider arm rests so you don't have to share with your neibor, wider, more comfortable seats. You're competing with my couch.

        If the theaters do all these things, people will still continue to view them as the superior viewing environment. If they don't, many people, like me, will find the home viewing experience wins.

    • by eeyoredragon ( 674402 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @11:46AM (#13397889)
      Yah, I agree with this. I think it has less to do with crappy movies (cause lets face it, most movies are and have always been crap) and more to do with crappy theatres. Most of the people in my family have really good to moderately good home theatre systems. The picture at theatres has sucked for ages, and the sound isn't any better than most surround systems I've been around; it's just louder. That's easy to fix at home.

      Then there's the other movie goers. They talk... younger teens like to laugh at inappropriate places to seem cool... cell phones... people sitting in front of you if you don't have stadium seating... people kicking your chair... people putting their feet on your chair or the chair next to yours...

      I used to go to theatres alot back when I was with my ex, but that was just to do something different than sit at home all night (we sat somewhere else!) Now I have a love/hate relationship with the theatres. I want to go, but when I do, I tend to not enjoy myself for above reasons. All the people problems weren't as much as an issue when the sound was comparitively good and the picture was so big. Now, when I look at the picture, all I think about is all the scratches on it.
    • by Xzzy ( 111297 ) <sether AT tru7h DOT org> on Thursday August 25, 2005 @11:49AM (#13397920) Homepage
      Having gone to the movies at least once every two weeks for the past 10 years (usually once a week), I have never once had a showing ruined by a phone ringing, someone's kid screaming, or someone else throwing food.

      I think you exaggerate the problem a bit much.

      Worst I've ever had to deal with was someone a few rows back who had an obnoxious laugh.
      • Having gone to the movies at least twice a year for the past 10 years, I have had several movies ruined by annoying people. Perhaps not cell phones or people throwing food specifically, but definitely noisy children and noisy people talking during the majority of the movie.
      • by SirChive ( 229195 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @12:06PM (#13398130)
        Curious to know where you live.

        Here in the San Francisco Bay Area I can assure you that we do not exaggerate the problem.

        All of my friends here in the IT dept where I work have completely stopped going to movies because of the poor behavior of the audience.

        I go once in awhile with the wife because we enjoy seeing big special effects laden SciFi movies on a big screen.

        But I'm about ready to give it up. Teenagers with cellphones roam the multi-plex. They cruise from movie to movie and don't really care about what they are watching. It's just a hang out zone to them. They talk to each other and they talk on their phone.

        Dozens of cellphones flip open repeatedly in the rows in front of you as the kids check for text messages. They jump up and down and roam from row to row and theater to theater.

        Theaters have been made into kid friendly hang out zones where parents can drop the anti-social little shits for an afternoon. Most movies are made and marketed for a teen mentality now. Because of this adults feel less and less comfortable at the theater.
      • by Y-Crate ( 540566 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @12:15PM (#13398231)
        Having gone to the movies at least once every two weeks for the past 10 years (usually once a week), I have never once had a showing ruined by a phone ringing, someone's kid screaming, or someone else throwing food.

        I think you exaggerate the problem a bit much."

        Seriously, I would love to know what city you live in.

        Roughly 85% of my movie-going experiences are disrupted by other moviegoers.

        - Cell phones.... People still do not turn them off, and many people still think it is acceptable to carry on a conversation in the theater during the movie.

        - Teenagers....I don't really need to explain this one. The movies are a babysitter for them. Real parenting is just too hard for their "busy" parents. (In today's society, people count some of their self-imposed recreational routine alongside their jobs as something that makes their schedule so "hard")

        - Whiny Kids...The movie is rated R. Get your screaming, whining hellspawn out of my $10 movie. If it is PG or PG-13 you can feel free to do the same, because I really don't want to hear their shit.

        - Middle-aged Discussion Group....A close relative of the next two groups of people, but they are more aware of what is going on with the movie, they just feel the need to whisper about everything down the half-row they staked out for themselves. After the movie, they will go to a restaurant, demand the check be split 47 ways, and then stiff the waiter. (Sorry, had to go there)

        - "Interrogators" ...People continually ask "Who is that?" "Why did he/she do that?" "Did you see that?" "What does that mean?" when they could simply pay attention to the film that they are watching and you know...pick up on this as the story unfolds.

        - "Explainers".... These are the counterparts to the Interrogators. They are usually just as clueless, but they feel the need to fill in someone on what they think the rest of the film might hold, instead of watching it.

        - Ghetto Thugs.... I expect a lot of flack for this, but sorry, this subgroup of people have ruined more movie experiences than I can imagine. They are a combination of every bad element listed above, and even the ones with families will threaten those who make a stand for the quality of their moviegoing experience. They also invariably show up 10 minutes late to the film and yell about where they are going to sit for 5 minutes, and then run around the theater.

        I'll gladly go see a half-decent movie now and then (though art house fare is more my thing) but I hesitate because my moviegoing experience is usually disrupted.
      • by jim_v2000 ( 818799 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @12:15PM (#13398234)
        Maybe if theaters didn't charge so much people would go more. (Actually, you can leave the maybe part off) There's a theater in my town that shows older films (ones that have already been in the box office for month or two) for $1.50, and they seem to do a lot of business. I've been able to see pretty much every good/mediocre movie that's come out in the past few years on the big screen for about the same price as renting a DVD (unless you go with more than 2 people).
      • by Jackie_Chan_Fan ( 730745 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @12:53PM (#13398641)
        Where the fuck do you live? I'm moving there :) I ALWAYS get kids talking. I saw Lord of the Rings 1, in an empty theater with kids running up and down the isles, screaming, playing without any parent or guardian in the theater. I screamed the shit out of them :)

        I've sat in theaters with black women who just would not shut up... holy crap, its a stereotype but its unfortunately true.

        I even asked them to be quite twice.... only to receive dirty looks by them as if "how dare i ask them to shut the fuck up in a theater"

        I've listend to boyfriends explain to their girlfriends the story or characters. When i saw ST:Nemesis, this guy was telling his girl all of the characters names and trying to get her to remember who they were from the tv show.

        I SAW star wars ep2 and had people talk about the film during the film in a way that was like "And here comes the part when..." AS IT FUCKING WAS HAPPENING :)

        Movie theaters are nightmares here in NY
    • Overpriced food (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hoi Polloi ( 522990 )
      I don't know why people feel the need to eat during movies anyway. I think they do it mainly out of tradition.

      I avoid having drinks because the last thing I want is to have to run to the bathroom in the middle of the movie. I hate having to do the old "Is this scene going to be important to the plot?" check before I can run off.
    • by Reducer2001 ( 197985 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @11:51AM (#13397943) Homepage
      While I mostly agree with your assessment of the current theater-going situation, I've made a number of changes to my theater-going routine to remedy some of the problems that you mentioned, and my girlfriend thanks me as well!
      • Late afternoon matinees. Costs you about 60% of the normal ticket price, plus most of the screaming teenagers tend to avoid these showtimes.
      • BYOS. Bring your own soda. Chances are there is a nearby gas-station or perhaps your own fridge that is stocked to the gills with 20oz Mt. Dew. One of these babies will only run you $1.25 where I live, and will save you about $4.
      • I still have a weak spot for the popcorn, but I've made the change to go down the junior size. The plus side of this is that you're consuming less calories, which is good, and you don't feel like a stuffed pig afterwards.

      So I've gotten my movie fix down to about $10 for the whole deal: Ticket, soda and popcorn. The commercials do still annoy me, so I tend to not show up until 5 minutes before the show starts, and since no one goes to the late afternoon shows, it's still no big deal getting a good seat.

    • In my opinion, receding into your house because you dislike the way people behave is not the way to go. If someone throws popcorn at you, tell them to stop or report them. If someone kicks your seat, let them know so they'll stop. If you don't want to spend so much on popcorn, don't buy any! Can you really not sit through a two-hour movie without eating?
      If you just run away from everything you don't feel comfortable with, the problem isn't ever going to go away.
      Part of being a person in society is deal
      • by Stiletto ( 12066 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @12:27PM (#13398367)

        One of the last times I went to the movies, there was this 14-or-so-year-old brat behind me who wouldn't stop yacking on her cell phone. Throughout the first 5 minutes or so of the movie. I gave her a dirty look a few times and then told her to take her coversation outside the theater. Well this little soccer-mom-spawn just gave me the finger and kept on yacking.

        So I calmly yanked the phone from her hand and told whatever dumb shit on the other end that she was haning up now, and threw the phone as hard as I could down onto the floor in front of the screen. Well this little bitch threw a shit-fit ranting all on about how her daddy was gonna sue me and all sorts of nonsense while the rest of the theater just applauded. I then went and got a manager and he threw her and her friends out of the theater.

        All an all a satisfying night, and I only missed a few minutes of the beginning of the movie.

        Unfortunately, given the state of the parenting these days, she probably went home and bawled to daddy and he bought his princess another cell phone.
        • by crawling_chaos ( 23007 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @01:50PM (#13399242) Homepage
          Unfortunately, given the state of the parenting these days, she probably went home and bawled to daddy and he bought his princess another cell phone.

          Actually, I bet the theatre ended up paying for that phone, as it was cheaper than contesting a lawsuit for allowing destruction of property to occur on their premises. Both you and the brat should have been ejected and barred from the premises.

          As the man said, your right to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose. Just because she was being rude gives you know right to commit robbery (you grabbed the phone from her hand), and destruction of her private property. Of course, I doubt that this actually happened, as any sane manager would have involved the police immediately to minimize his company's legal liability. At the very least the officer would have cited, if not arrested you.

          This is pretty much the equivalent of keying a car illegally parked in the handicapped space. It feels good, but it still isn't right.

    • Movie Theaters are Obsolete

      Let me see, which would I rather do: spend $30+ on a movie ticket, popcorn, and a drink just so I can watch the latest subpar selection of movies at a time set by the theater and have popcorn thrown at me by 13 year old cell phone wielding children, OR pick up whatever movie from the redbox for $0.99 (or DVD rentals through the mail) and a drink and popcorn from the local store all for less than $5 and watch it on my widescreen in the comfort of my own home. Tough call.

      You ha

    • by TomorrowPlusX ( 571956 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @12:05PM (#13398122)
      Depends on the theater. Personally, I like going to the theater, it's only a 15 minute walk or bike ride ( I live in DC, relatively close to a number of good theaters ) and it's a wonderful way to spend the evening with my girlfriend. We can go out beforehand or afterwards to get food, walk around, so on and so forth. The potomac waterfront in georgetown can be quite beautiful, too.

      Sure, the theater's only a small part of the experience, but it's a hell of an improvement over sitting my my apartment -- particularly since I've got a 20 year old zenith and don't intend to "upgrade" to a 3000 dollar flatscreen.

      Also, there are some really good theaters out there. In arlington ( admittedly, I have to drive to this one ) there's a theater call the "Cinema and Drafthouse" where -- and this rules -- you pay very little to get in, you can drink, eat and smoke all you want, and there's no commericials. The atmosphere is great ( and if you don't smoke, that's fine, the front is all no smoking and the ventilation's good ). The price is dirt cheap because they show movies about 6 months late, and only the *good* ones.

      Basically, as far as I can tell, if you don't like what the theaters are providing, try to find a better theater. As far as I can tell, all reaonsably sized american cities & quasi-urban areas have *some* sort of indy theater, or at the very least, something better than just a theater in a strip-mall in suburbia. Maybe you'll have to drive farther, but the whole experience can be better.

      let me put it this way. I saw _The Island_ with a friend in Georgetown's big-corporate-multiplex. The movie sucked. But then we walked across the street to a really nice bar and had a wonderful time discussing it, eating bar fries and drinking. That made up for it wonderfully, and in all I had a great time. It's hard to do that when your theater's just a plug in the middle of nowhere.

      That said, summer movies do suck, and sometimes I'd rather just stay home and watch Logan's Run again.
    • by cheezemonkhai ( 638797 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @12:11PM (#13398196) Homepage
      UK Prices:

      £7.50+ per adult in a standard seat eg no leg room.
      £3.00+ for a popcorn.
      £2.00+ for a drink.

      So thats £22 for a couple translates at current rates at about 39USD

      Now think that the typicl UK cinema is designed to cram people in, and not that comfortable. Some are pretty filthy too lots of popcorn stuck to the floor.

      Then you have the films.

      After a short time on release the sound (especially SDDS has degraded because some idiot decided it was a good idea to put it on the edge of the film) goes funny. Many of the films I see have a few sound drop outs which are annoying.

      The arthouse and some flicks are good, but I would say at least 85% of what comes out is crap or not worth paying that much for.

      Films get rated as a watch, DVD rental or can't be bothered for me.


      And a random useless piece of info:

      If you want to never be able to watch a film in peace again look out for the change over dots at the top right corner of the film. One at the start and end of every real. I can't Ignore the things now I noticed them:(
  • by NorbMan ( 829255 ) * on Thursday August 25, 2005 @11:28AM (#13397656) Journal

    Movie Studios Curb Internet Piracy

    Hollywood studios have come up with an effective method of deterring Internet file-sharing of movies: Make movies that no one wants to pirate.

    • by Spodlink05 ( 850651 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @11:37AM (#13397758)
      It's the same problem the record industry have. One particular film/song is successful so they just clone it and flog the same formula to death because they have no imagination whatsoever.

      Hollywooods' latest non-idea seems to be re-making 70s TV series and films...badly.

      Playing it safe and complete lack of imagination are killing these industries. And to add to it over-pricing and blaming your own customers for having the good taste not to watch/listen to the guff your producing is hardly going to help.

      • by stienman ( 51024 ) <<adavis> <at> <>> on Thursday August 25, 2005 @12:11PM (#13398193) Homepage Journal
        Oh, come on.

        If you strip away enough you can get to the fact that every movie has one of two plots:

        Introduce hero, Kill hero (or hero's dreams)
        Introduce hero, hero succeeds.

        It's a matter of how deep you want to go. Every movie made now can certianly be compared to a movie made in the 70s. Or 60s. Or 80s. Etc.

        Complete lack of imagination? Describe an artist, writer, composer, or book that would not only fullfill all your criteria for imaginative (ie, completely new idea, concept, etc) AND would have enough mainstream appeal to pay for its own production and distribution.

        All the interesting stories are exactly the same as the old interesting stories. People's basic needs haven't changed (food, security, love, recognition, etc []), and therefore the basic movie fair isn't (arguably can't) going to change.

        The reason the movie industry is declining is not so much due to the fact that there really are no new stories. It's due to the fact that there are so many other equivilant forms of entertainment available, and many are cheaper and more convenient.

  • by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Thursday August 25, 2005 @11:28AM (#13397657)
    In a somewhat surprisingly earnest assessment, the NYTimes has an article about the massive decline in movie-going that does not once try to blame piracy and file-sharing programs. It sounds like studios are beginning to understand that they have only themselves to blame.

    But many movie executives and industry experts are beginning to conclude that something more fundamental is at work: Too many Hollywood movies these days, they say, just are not good enough.

    Obviously this article was conceived, written, and posted by a BitTorrent using hacker who wants to see the continued demise of Hollywood be blamed on the wrong parties. There is no way that Hollywood is putting out bad movies. Look at how much they cost to produce, direct, edit, and market!

    Even Robert Shaye, the studio leader behind "The Wedding Crashers," one of the summer's runaway hits, shares the worry about the industry's ability to connect with audiences. "I believe it's a cumulative thing, a seismic evolution of people's habits," said Mr. Shaye, chairman of New Line Cinema.

    Yeah, people are annoyed with the fact that they have to pay $9.00+ to see something that cost 100+ million to make and it fucking blows. "Wait for DVD" is an all to common quote, especially with the MPAA pushing them out to the stores as fast as they can in order to attempt to curb piracy in the theatre.

    It's really funny that they quoted Shaye. His movie, one of the few that did anything this summer (I haven't seen it yet), was done on a 40 million dollar budget and grossed nearly all of that back in its first weekend alone...

    In previous years, he said, "you could still count on enough people to come whether you failed at entertaining them or not, out of habit, or boredom, or a desire to get out of the house. You had a little bit of backstop."

    Yup, and honestly, it really seemed that it was more worth your while to spend quite a few dollars less, find a more enjoyable movie, and be able to relax for two hours. I can do that at home just as effectively for MUCH LESS money if I only wait for two months ($3.00 opposed to $18.50) and watch the DVD.

    The box office numbers have led to intense, broad-ranging conversations across Hollywood about the implications. Many studios have commissioned market research to investigate the causes of moviegoing behavior - or the lack thereof.

    Pay me, I guarantee you'll find out more and it will cost you less. I'll start you off here: pay the actors less money - they aren't worth 20+ million a movie. Don't use so many pointless special effects - they aren't working in most instances. Charge less for the movie so my ticket prices aren't $9+ -- you'll be able to better compete with DVD and people will be more likely to go to see the show. Ban cell phones, talking, and make adult only showings - it'll make adults more likely to see a movie w/o having to listen to a bunch of underaged kids, take calls, have their ringtones going, and spend the entire movie talking instead of watching the movie and/or making out. Finally, ask people what they think about it instead of whoever you have been paying to figure it out for you. In the article, Michael Lynton said:

    Audiences have gotten smart to the marketing, and they can smell the good ones from the bad ones at a distance.

    If we can why can't you? Seems like an open and shut case to me.
    • by Harbinjer ( 260165 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @11:39AM (#13397777) Journal
      What if all the studios agreed to a salary cap for stars? No one makes more than $5 million and set a maximum percentage too.

      What will change is people needing to have better scipts to attract stars instead of higher paychecks.

      Some sports leagues have done this, why not hollywood. It would make it less about the money and more about good films and not just brainless summer flicks.

      On the other hand, with salary caps, either the director or producer makes more money, or the studio does. So it would be more profitable for them, but would that do anything to improve quality of films, or would we just get more bad movies?
    • by AndersOSU ( 873247 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @11:44AM (#13397856)

      Many studios have commissioned market research to investigate the causes of moviegoing behavior - or the lack thereof

      So... We're in trouble because we're not creating enough diverse and original material.

      Hey I've got a great idea. We should hire a market reseach firm to analyze the public, run some statistics, and figure out exactly what the average American wants. We can then create a movie plot formula that will appeal perfectly to the average American, thus generating hit after hit.

      It's sure to work
    • I dunno. Most of the movies I go to see are rated R, and thus don't have children in the audience. But, they all have had annoying clumps of adults that talk for the entire film. Its gotten so bad that I only ever go to the "big" movies anymore. Ones that loose something when they move to DVD. Episode 3, LotR, and I'll see Serenity. But overall its an unplesant experience to go to the theater.
      The cell phone thing is annoying, of course. I remember when I went to see Fellowship of the Ring that someon
    • Executive Salaries (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hellfire ( 86129 )
      pay the actors less money - they aren't worth 20+ million a movie.

      While I don't disagree with you, can we start with cutting the salaries of the executives first? Those are the real salaries I want nixed and they are paid far more than the actors.
    • Its the damn food prices! That are absolutely insane! I remember when they first put in fast food chains at the local movie theatre... I was looking at the Burger King menu and thought, jeez, these prices are almost the same as their regular chain stores... After I bought it, I asked where my drink was, he said it wasn't included and it woulds cost me another 4 bucks!!! I don't mind paying 9$ for a ticket but another 10 bucks for a softdrink and popcorn is insane. Personally, I bought a widescreen TV
    • Actually it's the individual movie theater that sets the ticket price and rules. Not the producers of the film.
    • My Random Theory (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Epistax ( 544591 ) <> on Thursday August 25, 2005 @12:10PM (#13398169) Journal
      Movies are a prime example of my theory.
      How much money is spent on advertising a movie? What percentage is that of the total cost? How much do the theatres themselves advertise? How much of that is the total cost? In short, how much money is used (I'd love to say wasted) telling me to go see a movie that I already know that I want to see because of the natural free advertising that takes place every day? (Look up movie listings through the movie theatre's website, see articles on CNN / imdb, hear from friends, hear countless plugs on TV [not ads]). All of those communications costs the film crew zero dollars. Those affect me. Then you buy an ad on TV or in a magazine. Trust me, I'll almost never see it. Even if I did, why would I go to a movie that I didn't learn about from a more trusted and objective source? Why would I even by aware of your commercial?

      That's just movies. It gets far, far worse than that. Company A buys products from Company B which buys from Company C which buys from Company A. 'A' gets investor pressure (or anything, really) and starts a marketing campaign to get more customers, thus increasing the price to 'B'. Now 'B' needs to market and/or raise prices to break even with the change, costing more to 'C', and now 'C' must do the same, causing 'A' to choke. These 3 companies are now in a little inflation loop which will hurt not only these companies, but every other customer to 'A' 'B' and 'C'. My little theory says that our complete and stupid over-exposure to advertising is now responsible for a significant portion of the change in cost of every product, thus wages, thus inflation. Now of course currently oil is slated to bring the price of every product up by a decent amount too, but I mean aside from that.

      In short, not only do I find advertising annoying and insulting, I find it threatening.
  • by BlackCobra43 ( 596714 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @11:28AM (#13397658)
    Quick, someone check for the 4 Horsemen. Repent, sinners! While you still can!
  • by 1zenerdiode ( 777004 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @11:29AM (#13397665)
    Perhaps because most Hollywood movies are targeted at 13-year-old American girls? Like, Oh My God, how could they, like, not get it?
  • It's about time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TurdTapper ( 608491 ) * <> on Thursday August 25, 2005 @11:29AM (#13397669) Journal
    Now, I think that some of those theories are completely valid. Commercials in the theaters absolutely piss me off. If I'm going to spend 9 bucks to watch a movie, they better not force me to watch commercials before it. Next thing they'll do is start commercial breaks in the middle of the movies. The cell phones are annoying and I like doing other things more than I like watching movies, but in the end, it comes down to what they are finally realizing. The movies suck. If there weren't any cell phones or commercials and I didn't have anything to do, I still wouldn't go.

    FTA: In previous years, he said, "you could still count on enough people to come whether you failed at entertaining them or not, out of habit, or boredom, or a desire to get out of the house. You had a little bit of backstop."

    That's amazing, because that's what I always figured they were thinking. And that's the attitude that keeps me away.

    Now, I love good special effects as much as the next geek, but, call me old fashioned here, I actually like my movies to have this thing called a plot.

    I used to say that I'd just wait for it to come out on video but I won't even waste my time with that anymore. Inevitably, I find myself at the end saying, "Well, there's two hours of my life I'll never get back."

    I'll actually deal with the commercials and other annoyances if it means that I can be completely entertained.
    • call me old fashioned here, I actually like my movies to have this thing called a plot.

      All good movies must have at least two of the following:

      1. An interesting plot...simple enough, one would think. "Rob Schnieder goes to Amsterdam and poses as a gigolo to foil a murder mystery" doesn't count.
      2. Dialog that sounds more like it was written by Quintin Tarantino than George Lucas.
      3. Character development. This does not include a guy who thinks fat chicks are worthless until Tony Robbins hypnotizes him and
  • by Zaphod-AVA ( 471116 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @11:30AM (#13397671)
    Remember when we used to hate all the damn previews? Now we look forward to them, thankful the commercials are over!

    I'd pay extra for reserved seating in a theatre with class and no commercials and previews.

  • by sriehl ( 758915 ) <sriehl&gmail,com> on Thursday August 25, 2005 @11:31AM (#13397682) Homepage
    I have noticed with the theaters in my area, that the previews are getting close to 30 min. long. With previews that long, I don't bother to show up to the theater till the time posted the movie should start. It is getting ridiculous.
  • by milimetric ( 840694 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @11:35AM (#13397732) Journal
    On one hand, I agree that a whole lot of movies today are horrible. On the other hand, people today know nothing of movies or what a good movie is. Take for instance Charlie Chaplin. The man was a romantic genius, pouring his emotions on the screen with "Modern Times" and "Limelight" and tens of other wonderful productions. He wrote, directed, acted in, and even composed the music for most of his work. But people today don't get him at all, and they don't even rent copies of Modern Times at Blockbusters any more.

    Or Kurosawa. Seven Samurai is a brilliant film and yet most people can't sit through it. Or Jean Luc Goddard, there's not one movie of his at Blockbuster's. So why make good movies? So that the experts can say they're good? Movies are out to make money and the bigger problem at hand is, how do you make people go to a movie, not how do you make a good movie. I think there is no way, theatres are doomed. People will more and more sit on their lazy asses and pay the 3.99 on demand price whenever the movie is available. So what? Museums used to be hopping places too and now they're just tourist attractions.
    • by gowen ( 141411 )

      So why make good movies?

      Because you have to.

      Godard didn't care how much money his films made, or even how well received they were (except directly as it affected his chances of financing his next). Everything was completely secondary to his artistic vision.

      Similarly with Chaplin; even though he was the biggest star in the world, he made only the films he wanted to make. Everyone in the studio system warned him away from making "The Great Dictator."

      The reason that Hollywood sucks, is that their films are

  • Call me crazy.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CFTM ( 513264 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @11:35AM (#13397736)
    But I think there might be hope for capitalism in the US afterall! Hollywood is old school and very traditional; they like things done how they've always been done and in the past have been completely unwilling to acknowledge the need for change. Luckily, the dollar is a very powerful persuader. That being said, I still really enjoy the move going experience but let's save it for movies that are actually entertaining. Let them keep making the crap but send most of it straight to DVD. Might piss the theatre chains off but business is a changing.
  • by geoffrobinson ( 109879 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @11:36AM (#13397742) Homepage
    1) Ticket prices have become ridiculous. I like going to the theater in general, but the prices are only warranted on very rare occasions that a film deserves to be seen on the big screen. There was a good discussion in the Tipping Point (I think) about how ticket pricing doesn't reflect supply and demand. The same price for Spider-Man and XXX: State of the Union? A lower price for films not that much in demand would increase the amount of overall tickets sold in gross revenue.

    2) Two Towers had about 45 minutes worth of commercials that preceded it. By the time they were over and the film started, I wanted Frodo to get captured and tortured by some orcs.
  • by gorbachev ( 512743 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @11:37AM (#13397755) Homepage
    A lot of the movie theatres are just in a disgusting state. They're just not appealing environments for me.

    You go there and half the ticket booths are not staffed and the automated ticket machines are all malfunctioning, so you can't pick up tickets bought in advance without having to wait in line.

    You get inside the theatre and half the concession stands are unstaffed.

    The ones that are staffed have lines longer than the bathrooms, have sticky goo all over the counter and are staffed by people who have no concept of customer service whatsoever.

    Once you get your $3 coke, that costs $1 outside the theatre, and start walking to take a seat, you have to struggle to not get your feet stuck to whatever sticky shit is covering the floor.

    Whenever you arrive at your seat, you're hoping that you don't sit down on one of the many seats that have been broken for more than 2 months. Once you're reasonably happy with the seat, that still creaks and is uncomfortable, you have to clear your immediate surroundings from droppings left by people attending the previous screening. Anything from gum on the seats and/or armrests, empty soda cups in the cupholders, nachos boxes with old, smelly cheese under the seat, etc.

    Then when the movie starts, it actually doesn't start until 20 minutes of commercials.

    Why would I go enjoy all that voluntarily?
    • by dmccarty ( 152630 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @12:29PM (#13398404)
      Theaters share some of the blame, but not all of it. Whose fault is it that the floor is sticky, there is gum on the seats, and trash all over the place?


      Not you specifically, of course, but people around you that behave like animals. People spill their soda and popcorn and don't bother to pick it up or use a napkin to wipe it up. People leave their trash in their seats, ignoring the trash cans that are usually inside or immediately outside the room. Where is the average person's manners these days? Where is the common courtesy of not acting like a lazy slob and not leaving your garbage where you sat?!

      The main reason I go to the movies less isn't the quality of the movies, but the quality of the moviegoers. I'm sure the theaters could do a better job of cleaning up, but so could everyone else.

  • Couple more (Score:5, Insightful)

    by acherrington ( 465776 ) <acherrington AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday August 25, 2005 @11:38AM (#13397763)
    Do not forget about the rising price of movie prices themselves. Look for yourself at how much prices have gone up here []. I can tell you inflation was not that high.

    Look at other emerging markets. Tivo: It used to be that you would go and watch a movie when there was nothing on television. Now you can watch the shows you want to see on TV (and there are a lot more channels to choose from), when you have time. Going to the movie theater is now far more inconvenient than it used to be.

    Another emerging market: Video games... With a limited amount of entertainment, dollars available and those funds are currently shrinking... Something had to give way to pay for the emerging video game market. Simplest answer: Movies are no longer having their competitive edge that they once did.
  • by geophile ( 16995 ) <jao@geophile.cMENCKENom minus author> on Thursday August 25, 2005 @11:39AM (#13397780) Homepage
    In just about any creative enterprise, there is tension between the creators, who are often motivated by love of what they do; and the bean-counters whose only goal is to cut cost. The bean-counters have been winning. They've squeezed so much life out of their products for short-term gain that they've ignored the long term consequences, which we are now experiencing, at least in the USA:

    - Crappy movies nobody wants to see, (hello Hollywood)

    - Crappy music noboby wants to buy, (hello top 40)

    - Crappy cars nobody wants to drive, (hello GM)

    - Crappy software that is barely tolerated, (hello Microsoft)

    There are people who will pay time and money for quality, but it isn't clear they can support businesses large enough to displace the mediocre behemoths.
  • by Rahga ( 13479 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @11:43AM (#13397833) Journal
    "Too many Hollywood movies these days, they say, just are not good enough."

    They got really close here, but the honest truth is that many people who would have gone to movies simply aren't quite as bored as they once were. While not all information is free, the internet makes it much easier to access information and people... There's plenty of people learning, socializing, or just getting a load of visual kicks off the net that movies just can't compete with.

    To be quite honest, why _should_ people have cared about Cotton coming to Harlem in the first place, what the Matrix is, or if the funky looking chick from that unfunny Bill Murray movie can escape an island? Arguably, they didn't. Most people just want to avoid boredom or spend time with their mates without actually having to converse. There will always be a market for movies, but probably not quite as big a share of the market ever again.

    That, and the modern theater experience sucks. $3.50 for popcorn is a huge markup, 10 minutes of previews is about 10 minutes too many.
  • by ShatteredDream ( 636520 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @11:44AM (#13397851) Homepage
    Whispering every so often is one thing, but my girlfriend and I have had some bad experiences with going out to see a movie. We had a couple sit down next to us and the woman was some frumpy, dumpy middle age woman and she kept glaring at my girlfriend (who was just resting her head on my shoulder) and even coughed up and sprayed a bunch of spit on my girlfriend's leg. Then there are the cell phones, the kids that aren't forced to sit down and watch the movie or leave and things like that.

    We really need the theatres to say to people, "look if it's an emergency, take the call, but otherwise if you take the call we'll throw you out." I leave my cell phone off anyway. The real problem is that so many Americans are just selfish bastards and don't bother to think about others. They don't care about others' rights because it's all about them, them and only them.
  • by Motor ( 104119 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @11:45AM (#13397871)

    I like going to the cinema. I'm predisposed to enjoy a night out watching a film and going for a drink afterwards and discussing it. However, even I'm sick of it these days.


    1. Too expensive.

    2. Cinemas are run by idiots. I regularly have to get up and complain to get the picture shown correctly (and on one occasion, with sound).

    3. Idiots who eat/talk or generally make nuisances of themselves, and the cinema staff do nothing.

    4. Formulaic drivel. The large Hollywood studios have driven out of mainstream cinemas anything remotely interesting in favour of their relentlessly formulaic shite. Well, ok, not entirely, but unless you have a big studio behind it, it just doesn't ger exposure.

    5. Adverts/patronising lies/lectures about copyright instead of starting the film. I don't mind trailers (in fact, I quite enjoy a good "coming soon" section)... but I'm sick of being patronised and treated like a mark rather than a paying customer.

  • Differing opinion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dada21 ( 163177 ) * <> on Thursday August 25, 2005 @11:50AM (#13397934) Homepage Journal
    I disagree with most of the FP lot.

    Most movie theaters are located in very high rent areas. Of course tickets will also be pricy. I don't think there's a quality drop, it seems pretty status quo.

    I truly believe that our beloved Internet is to blame. You're seeing the same death knell in brick and mortar retail, restaurants, and even car buying. In a capitalist view, time preference is making new markets. The idea behind time preference is that markets flow towards the faster and cheaper sources. Price is rarely the reason.

    Car dealers are selling cars at cost -- with no change in the market slow down. Cars are bought with future earnings often (financing). A lot of people fear their future earnings. Movie theaters prosper when people have money and time right now. Job security has declined, debt has gone way up, savings are nil.

    My retail stores are down 50% since 2004. I have less cash to pay my employees. They have less cash to go to the movies. The movie theater employees have less cash to buy my goods, so they buy online -- money that is 'outsourced' to another state, unlikely to return to my local economy. Rinse, repeat.

    Our dollar loses more value every day as the Fed inflates our currency. That is a fact. My local economy suffers, and in my experience the money that is made online by big warehouses tends to end up in Mexico and Asia. Not enough is recycled back to theaters, car dealers and local retailers.

    Eventually time preference always wins. As our standard
      of living declines, the standard of living in Mexico and Asia increases. The Internet is allowing the free market to balance itself out. Wage
      internationally want to equalize no matter what government or big business wants to do. Its the law of a supply/demand reality.

    Who here went to movies & restaurants often in the 90s? How many new cars at 8% interest did you buy then? How many new cars at 0% and employee price will you buy this decade? How much has your debt gone up in that time?
  • by n0rr1s ( 768407 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @11:52AM (#13397961)
    1. Stop releasing sequels.
    2. Stop remaking classics.
    3. Stop turning books/comics into films.
    4. Stop relying on special effects.
    5. Write a good story, dammit.
    • by WidescreenFreak ( 830043 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @12:43PM (#13398533) Homepage Journal
      While I completely agree with points 1, 2, 4, and 5, I disagree completely with #3.

      The primary concern is not if a book or comic is transferred to a theatrical release but rather whether or not it's done well and faithfully based on the original material.

      I am thrilled that Peter Jackson did Lord of the Rings. Even with all of the (often unnecessary) literary licenses that he took in The Two Towers, the trilogy as a whole was very, very well done and did not rely on special effects but instead focused on the characters. I would have done certain scenes differently (like eliminating the warg rider attack, which never occurred in the books), but his movies were IMO the best adaptation of the books that Hollywood has made.

      I've heard that Sin City is exceptionally close to the comics. It's a bit too violent for me, so I doubt that I'll see it, but everyone that I've spoken to who is a fan of the comics says that it was very well made.

      The Spider-Man movies were also very well done.

      Sadly, for every good adaptation of a book there are a number of bad adaptations of that book or others, such as The Hulk. We just have to pan those as the badly done movies that they are, but no more or less than any other movie.

      I agree that there is a point of saturation. If too many movies of a certain type come out in a short span, movie-goers are going to be turned off, just like when a song gets far too much radio air play, but the saturation is more often because what's gettng repeated either sucks or just isn't good for multiple viewings/hearings.

      If a book adaptation can be written well, presented well, and yet remain faithful to the original matieral, then there is no reason why it should not be made just because another book adaptation was recently released.
  • by tcc ( 140386 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @11:52AM (#13397964) Homepage Journal
    If copying movies over the net was technically impossible, movie piracy wouldn't be as bad as today. But it is. On the other hand, they offer NO alternative (aside from suing) to the people who are willing to download movies instead of going to an overcrowded theatre where popcorn price are insane, babies are crying and teens are making more noise than the THX sound system.

    It's been what... about over 5 years now that most people can get fast net connection. How come there's only a handfull of online video "renting" services? This is because some dinosaurs didn't want to change, they even had the chance to see their audio cousins getting smacked by piracy and had YEARS to prepare to counterattack by offering a better experience. They didn't. Today, they are way behind.

    One of the reasons I went from going every week to the theatre, down to about 3 times a year (aside from the obvious "i'm not going to pay 20$ to see this much crap" is also that the overall experience seems to get worse or I am getting older :), just 10 years ago, i'd never seen that many people getting up and going to get a refill or taking a leak during a movie. This is really disturbing when you are trying to concentrate, and if I go to a theatre, last thing I am looking for is the "living room" feel where everyone talks or comments while the tv is on.

    This brings me to the living room feel. Actually I think more and more people like having projection screens or large displays, it's more affordable than it used to, and best of all, movies are out to DVD just a few months after showing in theatre, cheaper, so you can basically have almost the same experience, "free" popcorn, talk without disturbing, or watch without being disturbed, and best of all, you can rewatch or rewind if you missed something, at your convinience, and when you feel like it. You don'e need to drive to a specific time, you don't need to wonder if it's going to be filled at a premiere before you show up, etc..

    I own a projector and sound system, and I must admit that it's not a THX experience, but it sure as he** better than the last 5 times I went to a theatre.

    Of course, if there would be more SWIII or shrecks being put to the screen, I wouldn't want to wait and they would probably get me back in the theatres :) but if there would be a download service that would cost me 10$ a movie, I'd pay it, I'd split it with people watching me, and we'd have a superb experience, they'd get new money from people that wouldn't have gone to the theatres in the first place, but I admit; I don't know how this could affect their current audience. Still, there's a HUGE market for internet downloads, and iTunes didn't make artists go starving.

    People are willing to pay overquota bandwidth, or HS internet ONLY for that purpose, I don't think the argument that they get it for free thus they wouldn't pay holds for everyone. If you get them on a faster pipe at let's say 5$ (or less) a download, at a high quality, many would pay.... I would.

  • by pointbeing ( 701902 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @11:54AM (#13397978)
    I pay ~$100 a month for a full-on Dish Networks setup - already had 500 watt 5.1 in the living room. Got a dual channel DVR from Dish and a dual receiver in the home office wired to the two PCs in there. If I'm still bored there's always Netflix.

    The reason I say this is that after going to the movies once or twice a month or so I finally got sick of it. Two movie tickets, one shared soda and a bucket of popcorn run about $25 and the spousal unit believes that Movies Always Include Dinner Out.

    So - if I get out of the deal for less than $60 I'm doing pretty well and it made the whole satellite thing extremely attractive.

    These days we go to the movies a couple times a year instead of a couple times a month - and that's only when we think some film's special effects must be seen on a big screen - like LOTR, Star Wars, War of the Worlds and so on.

    She's got about four gazillion channels of TV to watch, enough sound system to make the neighbors complain and in the end it's one hell of a lot cheaper than going to the movies.

    Oh - and the full-on Dish setup is only about ten bucks a month more than digital cable was; and we wired up two more sets and got two more premium packages plus a DVR in the deal. Cable companies, maybe you should pay attention too.

    And for the rest of you folks who think you have monopolies, I also bought two cell phones recently and ported the home wireline to my wife's cell. It's time consumers started voting with their feet (and with their wallet).
  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @11:58AM (#13398031) Homepage
    Theatre attendance declining because U.S. studios don't make good movies? What other shocking revelations await?

    Next, they'll be saying that U.S. auto manufacturers are declining because they don't make good cars.

    Thanks heavens there's at least one area in which the U.S. still leads. Thanks heavens Microsoft still makes the world's best software.
  • More for your money (Score:3, Informative)

    by cluening ( 6626 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @11:58AM (#13398039) Homepage
    Lately I've only been going to movies at the Classic Cinemas [] theatre near my home. It doesn't show all of the movies that have been out, and it doesn't show the movies when they are brand new, but it sure is a great experience to go there. The movie only costs $3, there's only one GIANT theatre to worry about, on Friday and Saturday evenings they have a real-live organist playing before each show, and they have free popcorn refills. Definitely the way movie watching should be.
  • by kaoshin ( 110328 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @11:58AM (#13398041)
    The internet and rise of computers have turned too many people into hermits, and not to sound like a "player hater", but today it seems like more and more relationships are mainly bedroom oriented. This of course also results in many people being reluctant to start relationships to begin with. The whole drug thing has also really kept going strong despite the "war on drugs" which generally keeps people either on the couch or in the fridge. I think it is safe to say that one contributing factor to the decline in movie theatre revenues is that there are fewer dates being brought to them, and that much of the general population is degenerating to the point where movies do not provide their stimulation as much as drugs, alcohol, sex, internet, video games.
    There are also home movies. I have opted out of going to the movies several times, because it was a long movie and I didn't want to have to go that long without smoking. What ever happened to intermissions!!! I understand that it would be rude of me to want to smoke in doors, but at least have a heart and give the smokers a little break.
  • by Anita Coney ( 648748 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @12:00PM (#13398056) Homepage
    I agree with the theory that DVDs should be released simultaneously with the theatrical release.

    I have two young kids, so I can't go and see movies in the theaters as much as I'd like. (Actually, I never get to see movies in the theater.) However, I keep being inundated with movie marketing in such away that I really want to see certain movies. But by the time they come out on DVD so I can rent them, I no longer care to do so. The marketing fog surrounding me has long since cleared.

    A good example is the movie "40 Year Old Virgin." It sounds hilarious and I really want to see it. Will I want to see it four months from now when the DVD is release? Almost certainly not.

    All the money the studios spend on marketing is wasted on people who cannot, for whatever reason, not go to theaters. If DVDs were immediately available, the marketing would not go to waste.
    • Wait a second... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by foreverdisillusioned ( 763799 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @05:27PM (#13401552) Journal
      So let me get this straight:

      You're frustrated that DVDs come out so much later after the hype because the hype is your only reason for wanting to see the movie in the first place... and your ideal solution to this is for them to release the DVD immediately, in the middle of the "marketing fog", so that you will be compelled to go out and spend money on something that you would admitedly NOT have bought of your own free (unmarketed) will.

      Wow. Just wow.

      Maybe I'm alone in this, but the PRIMARY reason why buy or go to see a movie is because I think that it may be good, not because the man in the magic glowing box tells me to go watch them. The fact that you actually desire the man in the glowy box to tell you what to do because you can't do it without him is nothing short of terrifying.
  • hype burnout (Score:5, Insightful)

    by serano ( 544693 ) * on Thursday August 25, 2005 @12:02PM (#13398086)
    Another factor might be this: Over the last 5 years or so, Hollywood's marketing machine has become increasingly effective at hyping every single movie, making the opening of a movie seem like an event you have to participate in or be forever mitigated to a lowly social rung. This has made movie openings much larger than they were 10 years ago, even for utterly crappy movies. It might take them a while, but eventually people become numb to the hype and these new marketing techniques, and movie attendance drops accordingly.
  • Its the price (Score:3, Interesting)

    by oconnorcjo ( 242077 ) * on Thursday August 25, 2005 @12:04PM (#13398112) Journal
    Around me, the price of a movie is 9 dollars so to go out with my wife to the movies cost $18.00 (not including junk food). My view is that if it only costs 12 bucks for my wife and I, I would probably see twice as many movies a year. The theatres and Hollywood have overshot the "sweet spot" of movie prices and even though twenty dollars is not a lot of money, there are too many alternative forms of entertainment one can do for less or with better value than a movie when going out. It has nothing to do with the quality of the movies because movies have been on par with previous quality of entertainment in previous years- just the price has changed. It is cheaper for me to buy a dvd of the movie than to go to the theartre and watch it. Go figure.
  • Lots of reasons. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FullCircle ( 643323 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @12:07PM (#13398140)
    Starting with the one I haven't seen posted yet...

    Action movies today are too fast for 24fps film. With all the fast motion and cuts, it becomes a blur. Those few extra fps on DVD with a clear TV completely blow away a projector. It is a whole different movie at home.

    TV's got bigger while movie screens got smaller.

    Home audio is better and you have a freaking volume control.

    People get imposed upon while the MPAA looks for cameras.

    The quality of movies has declined. What happened to many great movies per year? As it is, even Stealth will win awards this year just because it was released.

    If you muct run commercials, run them BEFORE the movie is scheduled to start, while people are comming in. We paid for a MOVIE, not a commercial.

    People are RUDE in theaters. STFU! Theaters should enforce this and remove people who ruin it for others instead of looking for cameras.

    The pricing for food and drinks is crazy. It is a long time well known joke.

  • Tommy Lee Jones (Score:3, Informative)

    by Slime-dogg ( 120473 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @12:14PM (#13398212) Journal

    Played a good cop who was chasing things in "The Fugitive."

    Unfortunately, when an actor does such a good job in a role, and enough money is made from it, that actor HAS to produce ten to twenty more films of increasingly bad quality. Tommy Lee Jones, as a tracker cop who chases bad guys through snow covered Oregon, just seems rehashed and boring now.

    Hollywood takes the masses for idiots, and seem to think that "new" is bad. Lucas, at least, wasn't too scared of producing something new and off-the-wall. It is a pity that he fell into that trap recently, as well.

  • A 56 Year Trend (Score:5, Informative)

    by ObligatoryUserName ( 126027 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @12:18PM (#13398261) Journal
    Movie ticket sales have been declining since the invention of television. According to Edward Jay Epstein, "In 1948, 90 million Americans--65 percent of the population--went to a movie house in an average week; in 2004, 30 million Americans--roughly 10 percent of the population--went to see a movie in an average week."

    Epstein has been writing a number of quality articles for NPR & Slate about the Hollywood profit shift from movie theatres to home theatres. Here are a few of the recent ones.

    The Vanishing Box Office []
    Hollywood's Death Spiral []
    Hollywood's Death Spiral, Part 2 []
    Hollywood's Profits, Demystified []

"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982