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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Digital Cinema Forum   » Digital cinema: Majority of people not willing to pay more (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Digital cinema: Majority of people not willing to pay more
Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12492
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 04-15-2001 12:59 AM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Interesting item in this month's Boxoffice.
The moviefone question of the month:
If the installation of expensive digital cinema projectors at movie theatres guaranteed a perfect onscreen image, what is the maximum extra amount you would be willing to pay to see a movie at a theater using such projectors?

The answers:
One dollar - 29%
Two dollars - 7%
Three dollars - 3%
Four dollars - 2%
Would not be willing to pay any extra - 59%
Thank God Technicolor is going to give us all free projectors for 12.5¢ per ticket.

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Ari Nordström
Master Film Handler

Posts: 283
From: Göteborg, Sweden
Registered: Jan 2000

 - posted 04-15-2001 06:07 PM      Profile for Ari Nordström   Email Ari Nordström   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Goodness, considering the present quality of digital projection (or rather, lack of thereof), I'm surprised they even bother to ask...

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Scott Norwood
Film God

Posts: 8002
From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 04-15-2001 07:06 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Interestingly, this can be interpreted in several ways, if I read it correctly:

  • the people responding to the survey think that movie prices are too high anyway and that they should be getting a "perfect onscreen image" at current prices without having to pay more for it
  • the people responding to the survey are trying to rig the survey to avoid giving whoever reads moviefone survey results any idea that they would be willing to pay more to watch movies
  • the people responding to the survey disagree with the premise of the question and do not believe that "digital cinema" will provide a "perfect onscreen image"
  • the people responding to the survey are unwilling to pay extra for _any_ technology which will provide a "perfect onscreen image" (depressing, if true, since it implies lack of interest in properly-presented 70mm!)
  • the survey is totally worthless, considering that the people who responded were not selected at random and, thus, their opinions are not representative of those of the general movie-going public

I'd tend to think that the last interpretation is most appropriate...

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Bill Enos
Film God

Posts: 2081
From: Richmond, Virginia, USA
Registered: Apr 2000

 - posted 04-15-2001 11:37 PM      Profile for Bill Enos   Email Bill Enos   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Considering most people seem to think they're already being screwed, I'd bet most would not be willing to pay anything extra, and I think they would be stupid if they did.

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Joe Schmidt
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 172
From: Billings, Montana, USA
Registered: Apr 2001

 - posted 04-16-2001 12:17 AM      Profile for Joe Schmidt   Email Joe Schmidt   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
All of above generally so. Other than teenagers, I don't think you could get any of the Billings folk who've given up on carmike cinemas to go back in any of those horrid dumps even if you PAID them. With dvd players selling like hot cakes, and new films available not too long after initial theatrical release, the party might already be over here.

But happily I'm gradually becoming aware of some nice family-run houses out in the country. Trouble is, awfully long ways to drive.

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Peter Berrett
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 602
From: Victoria, Australia
Registered: Nov 2000

 - posted 04-16-2001 04:56 AM      Profile for Peter Berrett   Author's Homepage   Email Peter Berrett   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 

I don't understand the economics of all this?

I would have thought that digital movie projection would have been cheaper than film.
In fact with the ability to send the film over the Internet distribution costs should be slashed.

cheers Peter

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John Walsh
Film God

Posts: 2490
From: Connecticut, USA, Earth, Milky Way
Registered: Oct 1999

 - posted 04-16-2001 11:18 AM      Profile for John Walsh   Email John Walsh   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I know it's usually poor practise to post a message that only says 'I agree' but I have to say that Scott nailed it really well. All five interpretions could easily fit the survey question.

"There are lies, damned lies, and then there are statistics."

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Mitchell Cope
Master Film Handler

Posts: 256
From: Overland Park, KS, United States
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 04-16-2001 12:41 PM      Profile for Mitchell Cope   Email Mitchell Cope   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I agree that people will not pay more just to ensure they get a "a perfect onscreen image" (also could be read as an onscreen image comparable to 35mm). Hollywood could end up killing the goose that laid the golden eggs. There are many alternative forms of entertainment outside the home today (e.g. sporting events). Any misttep forward may kill the movie theater experience, as we now know it, for good.

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Pat Moore
Master Film Handler

Posts: 363

Registered: Mar 2000

 - posted 04-16-2001 07:47 PM      Profile for Pat Moore   Email Pat Moore   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Peter -- the economics of digital film delivery are potentially a LOT less, but that's well down the road.

Most of the potential savings would seem to be on the production side, but with digital projection systems costing 5 to 8 times as much as a film projection system the rest of the economic package doesn't yet fit. Lots of questions to be answered before economic feasability is addressed.

As for the survey, all good points. It might ask more questions than it answers. Ask the same question after a great film presentation and see what the answers might be. Film done right is still awfully good.


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Randy Stankey
Film God

Posts: 6440
From: Erie, Pennsylvania
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 04-16-2001 08:59 PM      Profile for Randy Stankey   Email Randy Stankey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well, this is going to be off topic but it proves the point.

I went to get the oil changed in my car today. I pulled into the Jiffy Lube place and the guy came over and asked what I wanted. I told him, "Give me the works.. Penzoil 5 W 30, please." Then I looked up at the sign and it said that they do North Carolina vehicle inspections. I thought "No better time than the present", so I told him, "While you're at it, make my car legal in NC, would you?" The guy said that they weren't doing any more inspections today because the inspection mechanic was going home. (It wasn't even 4 PM yet.) I just told the guy that I was going someplace else and drove off. I went down the road and found another place. By this time it was almost 5 PM. The guy made an appointment for me "first thing" tomorrow morning. I'll be there 15 minutes before he opens in the morn.

What I'm saying is that if companies are going to make money, they are going to have to do a better job of giving people what they want. By the looks of the survey, they don't really want to see digital movies... They just want to see the movies we have now being done RIGHT!

I don't think that when you have ushers all standing around talking to their girlfriends while customers wait to get into theatres, people are going to want to come back to the movies. No form of digital projection is going to make them come spend $$$ if the rest of the theatre is run like CRAP! I just think this digital movie kick that people are on is borne out of nothing but pure LAZINESS!

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John Pytlak
Film God

Posts: 9987
From: Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Registered: Jan 2000

 - posted 04-16-2001 09:40 PM      Profile for John Pytlak   Author's Homepage   Email John Pytlak   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Randy: I agree. Audiences don't really care what technology is used to present movies, but they do care that it is done RIGHT! We all know "Film Done Right" can look and sound spectacular, and is still the most cost-effective way of theatrical presentation. Digital cinema systems will improve, and eventually become affordable. But those hoping for a digital "panacea" to fix presentation quality are likely to be disappointed -- the same cheapness and "laziness" that hurt film presentation today will hurt digital cinema tomorrow.

Joe Schmidt is correct -- people driven away from theatres by poor presentation quality may never return from their "home theatres". Unless we "Do Film Right" today, "Digital Done Right" will not be in theatres, but in homes.

John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Worldwide Technical Services, Entertainment Imaging
Eastman Kodak Company
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7419
Rochester, New York, 14650-1922 USA
Tel: 716-477-5325 Cell: 716-781-4036 Fax: 716-722-7243
Web site:

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Paul G. Thompson
The Weenie Man

Posts: 4718
From: Mount Vernon WA USA
Registered: Nov 2000

 - posted 04-16-2001 10:35 PM      Profile for Paul G. Thompson   Email Paul G. Thompson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes, John - I agree with you. However, with all the losers coming through the boxoffice, it is a wonder more theaters didn't file chapter 11.

Whether or not it is the "Film Done Right" thing, would you spend 7 bucks or more to watch some twisted POS without a plot and horrible acting that is called a movie?

Hollywood ran out of ideas. They are grabbing for straws. The last good movie to hit the boxoffice and had legs to carry itself was, I believe, Titanic.

90% of the BS that film companies are making isn't worth the effort to watch. The boxoffice grosses verify that.

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Darryl Spicer
Film God

Posts: 3250
From: Lexington, KY, USA
Registered: Dec 2000

 - posted 04-16-2001 11:21 PM      Profile for Darryl Spicer     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 

You hit the nail on the head with that statement. I have said it a few times in other posts that hollywood needs to concentrat on better movies that are worth seeing instead of laying the blame on how the movie is presented.

People don't really care how the movie is projected as long as they see it. If the movie is a POS word of mouth gets around and nobody will come. We care because we know how things work and shold be done. You know it's bad when you have a movie that is color and incorporates a black and white scene and someone comes out and asks if you can fix the color.

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Scott Norwood
Film God

Posts: 8002
From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 04-16-2001 11:36 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I agree that bad movies are a problem. On the other hand, what about all the truly great films that do terrible business? Look at "Requiem for a Dream" -- as far as I'm concerned, this was unquestionably the best film of last year, but it found almost no audiences outside of art-house venues (due, in part, to the broken-ness of the MPAA ratings system, but I digress).

On the opposite extreme look at "Crouching Tiger" -- who would have ever expected that a genuinely good subtitled foreign film would do over $100 million in business and last for months in mainstream cinemas?

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Bill Enos
Film God

Posts: 2081
From: Richmond, Virginia, USA
Registered: Apr 2000

 - posted 04-16-2001 11:45 PM      Profile for Bill Enos   Email Bill Enos   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Price wise film projection equipment is still pretty damned expensive considering the bulk of the R&D was done nearly fifty years ago. I guess the price is based on the fact that they're only going to sell it to you once so they've got to get you NOW.

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