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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » Bad Movies not the only cause for box office decline (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Bad Movies not the only cause for box office decline
Dave Williams
Wet nipple scene

Posts: 1836
From: Salt Lake City, UT, USA
Registered: Jan 2000


 - posted 08-06-2005 11:58 AM      Profile for Dave Williams   Author's Homepage   Email Dave Williams   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
From another topic, it was discussed as to why box office revenues are down...

The MOST EXCELLENT Dukes of Hazzard Movie Review

quote:
...and Hollywood wonders why theatre business is down 8 to 15 percent from last year.....shit like this hitting the screens... - Monte


First of all, Hollywood is not totally to blame here. If I was right all the time I would be a friggin billionaire, as it is, I am not. So for what it's worth, right or not, here is my personal outlook and opinion on what exactly is wrong with the state of the theater industry today.

Look, I loved the DUKES of hazzard, and so did many other people. Critics may hate it, and those that chose to hate it will also hate it. No offence intended or taken, it's just that kind of movie.

But to blame it for the downslide in box office?

Personal feelings aside, and as I do respect the community here in general, I do wonder myself why there is so much victim play in the industry.

Used to be there was a time when you couldn't get tickets, shows sold out all the time, and the films then were not any better than this one in particular.

Also there were times when there was amazing product to be seen, yet you couldn't fill the seats.

There are many social aspects as to why the business has it's ups and downs. Same goes for the stock market. Right now, the theater industry is getting a long overdue realignment. It is an easy one, not taking too much bite. Only 8-15 percent? Would we rather have a total crash?

In any market, there are spurts, growth, and yes, even realignment. It happens, and is part of basic economics. If the DUKES came out last year, as part of a blockbuster year, there would have been no mention of how films like this are destroying the bottom line.

However as it is, revenues are down this year. It isn't product as a whole for the reason. Right now our economy is going through its own realignment, and the housing market is set explode, which way is up for debate.

There seems to be an awful lot of films this year from sources that for various reasons have developed a certain amount of hatred for them. This contributes to overall general disatisfaction for the rest of the industry, however it is not a general indicator of quality or quantity.

2005 will most doubtedly be noted as the year of the duds, and there are many films that were entertaining enough, yet seemed to have trouble finding solid ground. Whether through writing or directing choices, it seemed as if this year was nothing but misfires and miscommunications.

You can't blame hollywood and the movies alone. Overall customer disatisfaction has a large contribution to the downfall as well. I myself cannot sell a product unless I know it, and believe in it. Imagine if you have just one person in the theater that hates a certian movie, and carries that negative attitude towards a product that you are trying to sell, and spreads it like wildfire to everything they touch. It won't be just that movie, but the emotions regarding everything in the facility will be effected.

Customers like to feel good. When you feel good, they feel good. When you feel like crap, so do they. Regardless of how much you may hate a film, you have to find a way to at least give the impression to your entire staff that you believe in the product, or you won't sell any products period.

Imagine going to a car dealership. The new model is in, and you hate it, so you want to sell the old model. People want the new one, they saw it advertized, they came to you, and they want it. You hate it, and they feel that. They don't want the old one, and you give them your bad vibes on the new one. Customer lost. Revenue gone.

Where I work now, we work very hard to generate customer satisfaction through consultative education. I may not find harmony with the product, however my customer just might. If I can understand his/her point of view, and match that to the product in question, I can understand the connection, and there I can find balance in the equation. Harmony is achieved.

If I plain refuse to understand the connection, to understand my audience, then I also refuse the positive energy that is gained when harmony is achieved.

I have sold out shows that were just plain dumb and stupid, and I personally hated the shows. However, that bieng said, I chose to understand the core audience, the connection they had to the show, and what it means to me to feel good about providing my customer with the experience that they desire, even if it is not my cup of tea.

Right now, there is no harmony in the industry. From critics who are trashing everything in sight, to theater employees who have no desire to show up for work, the mood is negative and it is growing exponentially. Right now, I do not see any real change unless someone is willing to step up and be that service that people want.

There are two points to remember..

1. Being a leader is not about leading other people, it is about leading what you do, and,

2. In the absence of true leadership, people will drink the sand when there is water nearby.

It takes true leaders in our industry to show us the way. You can either play the victim or you can play the savior. The choice is purely up to us as individuals, as leaders.

Give the customer a top notch experience, let them know you side with them, not against them, don't loathe them for thier movie choice, don't hate them for wieghing in at 400 pounds while they buy an extra buttered popcorn and a diet coke, and definately most definately show them why, regardless of the quality of the movie, why they should be coming back to your theater each and every weekend.

If we all did this, regardless of product, what benefit would we see? If we can quantify the benefit of our location to the customer, would it matter what film they saw? Can you quantify it? Can you give them the value of it?

Do this, and I truly beleive that product aside, you will do well, you will be a true leader.

Ciao

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John T. Hendrickson, Jr
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 888
From: Freehold, NJ, USA
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 08-06-2005 06:35 PM      Profile for John T. Hendrickson, Jr   Email John T. Hendrickson, Jr   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Apparently there are a lot of people in my neck of the woods who don't agree with Dave's assessment. I talked with our Managing Director this afternoon and he said you could have fired a cannon through our lobby last night and not hit anybody. Fewer than 150 attended the whole day (Friday), and we have it in our two biggest houses. [Frown]

I just talked to the booth this evening, and they said we are dying with the Dukes again. This is NOT a moneymaker, and worse, there is nothing up against it this week.

I shudder to think what additional "Dukes" will do to the bottom line the rest of what's left of a disasterous summer. But that's a topic for September.

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Matt Fields
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From: Jackson, Ohio, United States
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 - posted 08-06-2005 06:53 PM      Profile for Matt Fields   Email Matt Fields   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Dukes will end up being a regional hit. Great in some places, lousy in others. I sold out my first show last night and was 3/4 full for the late show. But I'm in hillbilly country.

People like to see themselves in movies. Hillbillies will go watch hillbillies.

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Monte L Fullmer
Film God

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From: Nampa, Idaho, USA
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 - posted 08-07-2005 02:34 AM      Profile for Monte L Fullmer   Email Monte L Fullmer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I agree with the leadership thing. Why C.B.deMille, John Huston, William Wyler, and all of the good ol' directors knew how to lead, direct, and be in control - and they all made good movies that everyone can remember.

Now, once again, it's a generation thing-the passing of it and the passing of quality.

Course, Hollywood needs to think about the most important part of their business, and that is family-orientated features that EVERYONE can attend, instead of singling out stories for a certain age group or class of people - as what is happening today: movies aimed towards the youth and young adults.

Adults and older people feel that they're being left out in left field with movie entertainment. They don't come out since the films nowdays are way below their calibre and not on their level.

Plus, with the PG-13 rating, it seems that filmmakers are really pushing the envelope and taking advantage with this rating so they can still get the "R" that they want, but just lightly water it down to attract the younger generation. I think this is the biggest concern of all with the moviegoing public since they feel that there is hardly no difference between the two ratings in the subject of content.

"Dukes of Hazzard" and others that flopped in the big houses will be hits for the discount houses for the simple fact of monetary value. Who want's to see junk for 8 to 9 bucks when they can head on over to a discount house and see the same for 2
bucks and feel that they've definitely got their money's worth?

That's were the business is really heading off to...before the DVD sales (which I've heard that the release dates from film to DVD of certain releases are inching close together..and the public knows this as well - to enjoy in their new fandangled home theatre systems: the 2nd threat, with being the 1st threat was the invention of the TV set...) take into being.

..but the nice thing of it all: is that people STILL love to get out of the house to be entertained and will come out to see a movie on that MEGASCREEN in your GIGAPLEX and will remember that they had a good experience.

-Monte

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Anslem Rayburn
Master Film Handler

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From: Yuma, AZ, USA
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 - posted 08-07-2005 05:38 AM      Profile for Anslem Rayburn   Email Anslem Rayburn   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The simple fact is this:

You have to make your theater more inviting than the home theater experience. Smiling faces at the box office and when entering the building. Get rid of people that detract from the film (talkers, crying babies, etc.). Make your popcorn and drinks better than they can get from a microwave and a can of pop. Make it an event to be shared by all.

Many movies are being offered on DVD and Pay-Per-View a matter of weeks after they are in theaters. Why pay $8 per person when you can watch it for $4 for the whole family in 2 or 3 months? The experience of going to your theater has to be above what they can acheive at home. That doesn't mean you can't run ads during intermission, but your 20' wide screen better be scratch and dirt free when the movie starts, your sound better be mesmerizing, and your customer service better be top-notch. "The Show Starts At The Sidewalk"...

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Jon Morgan
Film Handler

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From: Raleigh, NC
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 - posted 08-07-2005 11:09 AM      Profile for Jon Morgan   Email Jon Morgan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I, personally, would like to see DeMille's take on the Duke boys.

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Bill Enos
Film God

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From: Richmond, Virginia, USA
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 - posted 08-07-2005 11:27 AM      Profile for Bill Enos   Email Bill Enos   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Our local movie critic who usually doesn't like that type of film really liked Dukes of Hazzard, gave it 3 stars out of 4. We played Cinderella Man to 500 at the 4 pm matinee and 800 for the 7.15 yesterday. Crash at 9.45 only brought 350 though, with the same number for the midnite of Labyrinth. The midnite is $3.00 and the others are $2.00. Give 'em value for the buck and they'll come.

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Dave Williams
Wet nipple scene

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From: Salt Lake City, UT, USA
Registered: Jan 2000


 - posted 08-07-2005 05:05 PM      Profile for Dave Williams   Author's Homepage   Email Dave Williams   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: John T. Hendrickson, Jr
Apparently there are a lot of people in my neck of the woods who don't agree with Dave's assessment. I talked with our Managing Director this afternoon and he said you could have fired a cannon through our lobby last night and not hit anybody. Fewer than 150 attended the whole day (Friday), and we have it in our two biggest houses.
My assessment of the movie maybe could be in disagreement. I never said this film was a guaranteed money maker. Even I had my doubts upon entering the theater.

However, this thread was more about good films/bad films as the end all be all of humanity. What does your theater do to reel in the customer? If it is to simply provide the content that is provided, well, anyone can do that. I can go to any store to buy a can of tuna. However I choose a store based on several factors, not the just the quality of the tuna in the can.

People also choose to go to the movies based on several factors, not just what movies you have playing. They can go to whatever theater they wish, or they can choose not to go at all, choosing DVD or whatever.

It is up to the industry to recover from its own problems and reel in its customers, not rely on product alone.

Ciao

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Mike Heenan
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From: Scottsdale, AZ, USA
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 - posted 08-07-2005 06:21 PM      Profile for Mike Heenan   Email Mike Heenan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Considering that Dukes made half of it's production cost this weekend and is #1, I highly doubt that it's the reason everything is going so bad at the box office.

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Monte L Fullmer
Film God

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From: Nampa, Idaho, USA
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 - posted 08-07-2005 06:49 PM      Profile for Monte L Fullmer   Email Monte L Fullmer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Mike Heenan
....doubt that it's the reason everything is going so bad at the box office.

...But there is the big unfortunate: Studios are grabbing all of the money from the gate, with their high percentage rates, in that first weekend from all of the screens that are playing that movie-no matter which one. Then, with the second week, the film usually drops off 30 to 50 percent in attendance, even with the same percentage rate of take at the gate, causing the cinemas to start to suffer with that big dropoff and have to pay that same percentage rate.

This is what the trend, that I've heard, is coming to: flooding the screens with multiple screenings of one movie so that first's weeks take at the gate will fill the studio's pockets, then let the cinemas fend for their own afterwards.

This is basically why of the 8 to 15 percent drop in cinema business this year - too many screens of one movie, no matter how good or bad.

-Monte

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Jeremy Fuentes
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From: Corpus Christi, TX United States
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 - posted 08-07-2005 11:16 PM      Profile for Jeremy Fuentes   Email Jeremy Fuentes   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Are studios taking concession revenues too??? I dont think so. So why complain about the industry and slow weekends when you can make up for it by offering the best concession possible?? Besides, the overall success or failure of a movie doesnt really matter. What matters the most is the local success or failure. If a movie is the number 1 movie in the world, but didnt do good at your theater, maybe that says something about your theater, maybe it doesnt.

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Monte L Fullmer
Film God

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From: Nampa, Idaho, USA
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 - posted 08-08-2005 03:18 AM      Profile for Monte L Fullmer   Email Monte L Fullmer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Also, some theatres/complexes are gradually jacking up the prices in both box and concession to make up the losses that they've experienced-and the losses also have to be related to the fuel prices as well (shipping chgs, increase in production chgs, cost of living increases, et.al. .. )and with prices going up to where the public is saying "why bother, for I'll wait for the DVD release.." syndrome, there's going to be a big domino effect one of these days due to all of this, unless there be a cap on all of this of some sorts to keep things on a steady level .

And to help things out, some theatres are actually dropping their gate prices some to entice the public back to their screens - and they realize that with the drop, their attendance count increases, concession revenue increases and the public is happy that some theatres have the courage to help out in this matter.

Only drawback with this is that once prices are reduced, there is no increases for a very long time, or even never - if that theatre wants to stay in business.

(Also, why you starting to see a bunch of unknowns as stars, producers, and directors hitting the credits - to pay them less than if the popular and famous ones are hired..)

..gotta sacrifice sometimes....

-Monte

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Lyle Romer
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 - posted 08-08-2005 10:21 AM      Profile for Lyle Romer   Email Lyle Romer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If it isn't the quality of the movies and people are "waiting for the DVD" then why have DVD sales been dropping also? If more people were waiting for the DVD then DVD sales should be going up.

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Mike Blakesley
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 - posted 08-08-2005 12:13 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Lyle Romer
why have DVD sales been dropping also? If more people were waiting for the DVD then DVD sales should be going up.
Exactly. It's not like there is all of a sudden this big national "theatres suck, let's wait for the DVD" movement. The problems we have today are the same as they were 10 years ago. The BO downturn is almost 100% caused by the movies themselves, and made worse by the too-short DVD window. The amazing thing is that no Hollywood types seem able to figure this out.

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Brad Allen
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From: Evansville, IN, USA
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 - posted 08-08-2005 05:41 PM      Profile for Brad Allen   Email Brad Allen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
And we simply don't have ANY actors today that really truly will draw a diverse audience with their name on the marquee.

I ran across The Man Who Would Be King the other day, for those that don't know, it stars Sean Connery & Michael Caine. A great film, but what struck me about 30 minutes in was "Damn these guys are good". Todays actors can't act their way out of a paper bag in comparison.

Dukes is by far the biggest thing we've had this summer...so far.

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