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Author Topic: New Study on Declining Theater Attendance
Joseph L. Kleiman
Master Film Handler

Posts: 378
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Apr 2005


 - posted 10-10-2005 06:56 PM      Profile for Joseph L. Kleiman   Email Joseph L. Kleiman   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RISING COSTS OF GOING TO MOVIES, IMPROVING HOME MEDIA
EXPERIENCE ARE MAJOR FACTORS IN MOVIE AUDIENCE DECLINE,
ACCORDING TO NEW OTX RESEARCH

Young Male Audience 24 % Lower in Summer 2005 than Summer 2003;
Movies Now Battle Digital Entertainment Options To Attract Critical
Demographic

LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 10, 2005 – OTX (Online Testing eXchange), a
leading global consumer research and consulting firm, said today that new research
shows rising overall costs of going to movies and the improving home media
experience, which increasingly features on-demand digital entertainment options, are
the major factors in the decline of the theatrical movie-going audience.

The OTX research compares moviegoers’ responses to similar questions posed in
2003 to gauge how behaviors and attitudes about movies have changed over the two
year period. Researchers surveyed more than 2,000 consumers who said they had
seen at least six movies in the past 12 months.

Consumer attitudes about the quality of theatrical movies did not change. Most
believed that the quality of movies remains relatively good. But the most commonly
agreed to statement among consumers was that “with the price of tickets being so
high, I’m more selective about which movies I see (in the theater) than I used to
be.”

“Consumers are saying that when they get to the theatre what they see there is as
good as it’s ever been,” said Shelley Zalis, Co-Founder and CEO of OTX. “But the
rising cost of tickets, gas and babysitters, combined with the improving nature of the
in-home media experience are major factors keeping consumers from leaving the
living room.”

Overall 35 percent of moviegoers reported seeing fewer films this year than in the
previous year, compared to only 27 percent who reported seeing more. The
consumer perception driving this box-office decline is the feeling that “it has become
too expensive to go see a movie at the theater.” Another key factor is the perception
that, “the perceived waiting time for a DVD/VHS to be released after its theatrical
run has shortened.”

Costs and the increasing competition from in-home entertainment had its most
dramatic impact on the most prized movie going audience – males 13 to 24 years of
age. In the summer of 2005, male moviegoers between the ages of 13 and 24
reported seeing on average about 24 percent fewer films than they did in 2003.

Primary factors contributing to the growing absence of young males in theaters in
2005 include:

Lack of appealing, targeted content: In 2003, 60 percent of males under
25 said “there was an excellent selection of films to choose from.” That
number dropped to 35 percent in 2005.

DVD consumption: In 2003 this group reported watching an average of 30
films on DVD/VHS. That that number soared to 47 in 2005.

Videogames and the Internet: This demographic also shows a rising
interest in home-based entertainment options: 62 percent now regularly surf
the web, 53 percent Instant Message with friends, and 53 percent are now
playing console video games (Playstation, Xbox, Gamecube, etc.).

“The perception among young male moviegoers that there wasn’t much to see this
year was a difficult barrier to overcome, regardless of price,” said Vincent Bruzzese,
Senior Vice President, Entertainment Research of OTX. “But this demographic, more
acutely than any other, is weighing the value of the in-theater movie experience
compared to many other lower cost, more immediate and convenient entertainment
options. And increasingly, young males are deciding to grab a DVD or video game to
watch or play at home.”

The study also identified other causes for lagging movie attendance, including:

Rising cost vs. value of movies: While the overall costs of going to the
movies (ticket prices, concessions, babysitter, gas prices, etc.) have steadily
increased, the quality of movies has remained relatively the same, according
to OTX survey respondents. This suggests that the moviegoing experience
has to be perceived as offering more for the entertainment dollar than other
competitive options.

Misperception of DVD window: Roughly 40 percent of all moviegoers
believe it takes under two months for a movie to go from the theater to DVD,
with close to 60 percent believing that less than three months is the average
length of time. (Average length of time is actually about 4 months.) This
misperception, combined with concern about the cost of going to the movies,
has lead many respondents to claim that it is not worth the money to go to
the movies, when they feel it will be out on DVD within a very short period of
time (30 percent feel this way).

Preference for movie-viewing in the home growing: In 2003, 79 percent
of people said that they prefer to see a new movie when it is released in
theaters, versus only 59 percent in 2005. Those who prefer to wait until the
movie is out on DVD/VHS (33 percent) or on TV (5 percent) recorded a 17
percentage point gain from 2003. The primary reason for watching a film on
DVD is the convenience of being able to see a movie ‘whenever they want’
(66 percent).

OTX will present the complete results of this study, “The State of Moviegoing in
Today’s Digital Age,” to a group of industry executives and professionals this week.
The company also will announce a commitment to make the moviegoer study an
annual project for gauging consumer viewpoints on the movie experience and
content.

The Good News – Moviegoers continue to enjoy going out to the movies

When asked which activities moviegoers find most enjoyable, going to the movies
was a close second only to going out to dinner – 48 percent of all moviegoers choose
it as one of their normal weekend activities.

The primary reasons consumers go to the movies are centered on an experience that
cannot be duplicated in the home. Wanting to see a film on the ‘big screen’ is a
primary driver for going to the movies (67 percent vs. 80 percent in 2003), using the
movies as a ‘good opportunity to go out’ (61 percent vs. 69 percent in 2003),
wanting to experience ‘better sound quality’ (44 percent vs. 58 percent in 2003), the
whole moviegoing experience (43 percent vs. 50 percent in 2003) and ‘getting to see
a movie when it is released’ (37 percent vs. 53 percent in 2003) are all the top
reasons for wanting to see a movie in the theater, none of which can be experienced
anywhere but at the movie theater. While all of these reasons to go to the theater
have registered a decline over 2003, they all still remained the top reasons for going
to the theater.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted by OTX from August 12 to August 16, 2005. OTX
conducted 2000 interviews among moviegoers 13 to 54 years of age. To be qualified
as a ‘moviegoer’ a respondent must have seen at least six movies in a theater in the
past 12 months. The respondents were 50 percent male and 50 percent female in
the U.S. All interviews were conducted online using a nationally representative
random sample. It included many questions that were identical to a similar OTX
study conducted in 2003 in order to provide a longitudinal view of the market.

About Online Testing eXchange (OTX)

Online Testing eXchange (OTX) is a global consumer research and consulting firm
that has established itself as a leading provider of online-based research. The
company specializes in providing innovative, cutting-edge online technology,
products and analysis to the marketing, entertainment and advertising communities.
OTX has developed the most innovative products available for online research today
— products that work to uncover deeper and more profound consumer insight.
www.otxresearch.com

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Mike Babb
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 223
From: Norwich UK
Registered: Jul 2002


 - posted 10-10-2005 08:12 PM      Profile for Mike Babb   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Babb   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Citing Slow Summer Box Office, Hollywood Calls It Quits
October 5, 2005 | Issue 41•40

BURBANK, CA—Universal Studios joined DreamWorks SKG, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., Paramount, and Fox Monday, when CEO Ron Meyer announced that the company is shutting down operations and ceasing all film production, effective immediately.

Demolition begins on a Hollywood landmark.
"In their hearts, every studio chair would like to be a patron of the arts," said a candid and reflective Meyer, speaking from his New York office on the 69th floor of Manhattan's Rockefeller Plaza. "But this is a business, not an artists' charity ward."

According to Hollywood insiders, summer 2005 dealt the death blow to an already ailing industry. With box-office receipts 9 percent lower than those of 2004, the few successes, such as The 40-Year-Old Virgin and War Of The Worlds, could not carry the industry.

Regarding the decision to liquidate Paramount, Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone said, "It was a simple choice: cling to an outdated business model or cut the pictures loose."

To better protect their stockholders' interests, Hollywood will be shifting its focus to safer, more reliable profit models, including real estate, life insurance, and the sale of hygiene products.

Said Meyer: "The mortuary industry also seems like a good bet. No matter what happens in the economy, there's always a market for funeral homes. People are always dying. That doesn't go unpredictably out of fashion with the public's taste, like, say, historical costume epics or Russell Crowe."

Monday, construction crews quietly dismantled the storied Hollywood Walk of Fame.

"This is a real shame," said foreman Kevin McKnight, directing members of his crew to pry the brass stars from Hollywood Boulevard and transfer them to a nearby freight crate destined for a Japanese smelting plant. "I love movies. My whole family does. All my life, I loved movies."

With each studio's decision to cease operations, dozens of films in various stages of production will quietly die, some going to DVD, others disappearing entirely, amounting to little more than tax write-offs. Assets are being sold for pennies on the dollar, and hastily liquidated prop houses and set rooms have flooded an already deluged eBay resale market. An original Indiana Jones flight jacket was sold Tuesday for $1.49 plus shipping.

Figures from the California Labor Department reflect the industry's sudden collapse. As of Tuesday, some 700 directors, 15,000 producers, 2,900 entertainment lawyers, 14,000 writers, and 72,000 actors—not to mention countless gaffers, tour guides, production designers, publicists, souvenir sellers, and personal assistants—were reportedly out of work.

Mel Gibson begs for work on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles.
"I feel a little betrayed," said Stealth director Rob Cohen. "After the summer season ended, I had hoped that people would start coming back to theaters, or maybe the industry would cook up some new concepts."

Cohen added: "Now it looks like I'll have to go back to directing TV ads."

"I don't know how my family will get by without a steady source of income," said 43-year-old Los Angeles resident Kirk Ferguson, a third-generation set carpenter. "Making facades that get blown up is all I know."

The absence of films is creating a ripple effect far beyond Southern California. Movie ushering has become an obsolete trade overnight, as first-run theaters shut down, convert to loft apartment space, and force hundreds of thousands of adolescents into the already crowded lawn-mowing and car-washing professions.

"A lot of movie history was made on the Warner Bros. lot, but not a lot of money," Warner Bros. CEO Barry Meyer said. "We've been sitting on valuable land at the height of a booming real-estate market. We could have sold it off months ago instead of making Must Love Dogs. We acted irresponsibly, and for this I apologize to our stockholders."

With little hope of getting a job in Hollywood, ex-film-industry employees are understandably reacting with anger and despair. Some, however, are more philosophical.

"I can always go back to Wisconsin and tend bar," actor Mark Ruffalo said. "Maybe do some community theater. The folks you should really feel sorry for are Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise. They're fucking nuts. I have no idea what they'll do without Hollywood."

The void is not likely to remain for long, with heavy hitters such as Bollywood producer Aamir Khan ready to swoop in.

"We are very excited to be entering the American entertainment market," Khan said. "Our first release, timed to coincide with the American holiday entertainment rush, is a remake of Mahabharata, a five-hour retelling of the ancient Hindu epic, filled with thrilling synchronized dance numbers and much romance."

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/41239

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Steve Scott
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1300
From: Minneapolis, MN
Registered: Sep 2000


 - posted 10-10-2005 08:18 PM      Profile for Steve Scott   Email Steve Scott   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Mike Babb
...and much romance."
Already read that and was temporarily blinded by laughter at work, we intermittently get the mag in our lobby, when they try to deliver it.

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Mark J. Marshall
Film God

Posts: 3172
From: New Castle, DE, USA
Registered: Aug 2002


 - posted 10-11-2005 02:42 PM      Profile for Mark J. Marshall     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Joseph L. Kleiman
The primary reasons consumers go to the movies are centered on an experience that cannot be duplicated in the home.
Digital Cinema is going to take care of that problem.

quote: Joseph L. Kleiman
Misperception of DVD window: Roughly 40 percent of all moviegoers believe it takes under two months for a movie to go from the theater to DVD, with close to 60 percent believing that less than three months is the average length of time. (Average length of time is actually about 4 months.)
And that one month makes ALL the difference.

quote:
many respondents [claim that] it will be out on DVD within a very short period of time
And they're right for the most part.

quote:
When asked which activities moviegoers find most enjoyable, going to the movies was a close second only to going out to dinner – 48 percent of all moviegoers choose it as one of their normal weekend activities.

...

Survey Methodology

To be qualified as a ‘moviegoer’ a respondent must have seen at least six movies in a theater in the past 12 months.

Ok, sooo.... you isolated people who have a habit of seeing movies at least on a regular basis, and then asked them what their most enjoyable activity was, and when "going to the movies" was a close second place, you interpret that as "good news" for the industry? That has to be one of the stupidest conclusions I've ever seen on a survey. That's like asking a bunch of alcoholics what their favorite drink is, and when "alcoholic beverage" comes in first or second place, we conclude that it's good news for the alcoholic beverage industry.

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12088
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 10-11-2005 03:22 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
quote: Joseph L. Kleiman
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The primary reasons consumers go to the movies are centered on an experience that cannot be duplicated in the home.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
To which Mark Marshall replied:
Digital Cinema is going to take care of that problem.

That sarcastic comment is simply not true. Unless you live in a palace, you cannot duplicate the "huge" experience of the picture and sound of a GOOD theatre in your house. And, you can't get out of the house in your house either.

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 11698
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 10-11-2005 04:31 PM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Oh, Mike...I'm afraid you are not correct on that one...it isn't too hard or prohibitively expensive to create a "huge" screen experience in the home.

It is all a matter of perspective. Right now in my house...seating is under two screen-heights away...and it has essentially the same soundtrack as in the theatre "5.1" as the hometheatre rags like to say. The screen is perforated so the speakers play through the screen, just like in the theatre. I also get "the game" in HD as well, for you sports fans (my game is baseball but football is in HD too).

Does it replace the theatre experience? Heck no. You'd have to go to Brad's house for that and even that isn't going to compare to an ornate theatre with 100s or 1000s of people. I just saw The Producers at the AFI...it was much more enjoyable seeing it with a crowd than at home (admittedly, I don't have that title in HD). Likewise, seeing It's a Wonderful Life at the Senator beats the crap out of seeing it at home, regardless if it is on the big screen or on TV.

However, there is a lot to be said for a home HD setup...it always runs at the right volume, it is always in focus, in frame...starts at the perfect time and generally costs the least and doesn't require a baby sitter...furthermore, the variety of offerings can be larger. With PPV and such becoming much more plentiful...the library of available titles will be nearly the existance of Hollywood with time.

I definately would not underestimate Home Theatres and their ability to reduce the desire to go to the local multiplex. Digital 3-D is not what is going to put people in the theatre seats...it is going to be the overall experience. Start with a big beautiful theatre and show something good in 70mm (to use today's technology) and you will do it everytime.

[ 10-11-2005, 08:03 PM: Message edited by: Steve Guttag ]

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Frank Dubrois
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 896
From: Cleveland, OH
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 - posted 10-11-2005 06:20 PM      Profile for Frank Dubrois     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If movie theaters dont start TRYING to get people into the seats, I foresee them going out of business. First run movies in IMAX is cool...digital projection is cool...why are we all so happy with 35mm? Its been around forever. People dont have IMAX size pictures at home, never will...digital projection is kinda at home, but it wont be quite as nice as the theater. Believe it or not, I've never seen a 70mm presentation, so I cant say how good of a picture it offers, but I'm sure its better looking than 35mm. What I'm saying is, unless theater owners make a jump to better, newer technology, their gonna be left in the dust by home theater.

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

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 - posted 10-11-2005 06:38 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Mike Blakesley
Unless you live in a palace, you cannot duplicate the "huge" experience of the picture and sound of a GOOD theatre in your house.
One problem is there is not very many theaters I would call "good." That even goes for a lot of newly built stadium seated theaters whose presentation quality is allowed to laspe into mediocrity only a few months after opening.

There are very few movie palaces in existence. I'd love to be able to watch movies in a 1,000+ seat auditorium equipped with a great sound system and 35mm/70mm capability. Most of those venues are gone, replaced by 30-plex destinations. Bigger screens than home? Not by much when many auditoriums in new builds seat as few as 50 customers.

You can't dismiss the techno-geek factor either. The fanboys salivating for D-Cinema in commercial movie theaters will be the first to jump ship and proclaim the superiority of their home digital rigs. They'll do it through number by number claims, just like what happens already on the sound end. Their 1080P LCD TVs will match a new "2K" commercial DLP projector pretty much pixel for pixel.

I think the situation will require commercial movie theater operators to do more than just say "our screens are bigger" or "you need to get out of your house." Many people have seen their budgets get squeezed from many directions and the average quality of movies lately has been crap. That doesn't mean they're going to run out and buy a bunch of HDTV gear. The point is lots and lots of people are perfectly happy watching movies at home on a tiny TV screen with the audio pumped mono and crappy out of the TV set speakers.

I'm not sure what commercial theaters can do specificially, whether the solution is building special venue theaters or showing more independent film product or something else entirely. I don't think commercial theaters are going to last for the long term if the current business model continues to be followed. Hollywood sure isn't helping. Shrinking DVD release windows and overall crappy quality of product is keeping me away from movie theaters AND the video store.

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Frank Dubrois
Jedi Master Film Handler

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From: Cleveland, OH
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 - posted 10-11-2005 06:53 PM      Profile for Frank Dubrois     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The studios can help by putting out a better product. As bad a Episode III was, it got people into the theater. Even though its coming out on DVD in Nov, its a movie people WANTED to see NOW. I think the less "Bewitched", "Bad News Bears" "Herbie" movies we get, the better off were ALL gonna be. Look at Serenity for example. It got people into the seats AND brustled up interested in the old series, and the people who watched the series not only went to see the movie, but then returned to watch the series again...one hand washed the other. If Hollywood would do a better job and get people in there that want to make movies for the fun of it instead of the bottom line $$ making potential, the better off we'll all be. Once that happens, perhaps the theater owners will be more inclined to offer better presentations with high end equiptment?!?!? Maybe? I don't know. I can't really blame the owners for not jumping into digital cinema quite yet I guess, I mean, what are we gonna show? Bewitched in D-Cinema!! You cant polish a turd.

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Jim Ziegler
Jedi Master Film Handler

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 - posted 10-11-2005 07:11 PM      Profile for Jim Ziegler   Email Jim Ziegler   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Mark J. Marshall
Digital Cinema is going to take care of that problem.

I have to admit, the last DLP presentation I saw (Corpse Bride at Grauman's Chineese) was - in a word - flawless... Colors were vivid, image was sharp and rock steady, no dirt, no scratches, no little jumps from the splices - heck, I don't recall even seeing cue marks (they would be useless anyway). DLP has come along way from its debut. Sorry guys, but in a few years it will probably surpass even the most skilled 35mm presentation.

quote: Steve Guttag
Oh, Mike...I'm afraid you are not correct on that one...it isn't too hard are prohibitively expensive to create a "huge" screen experience in the home.
Steve, once you get a 50' screen in your house I'm coming over to watch movies there.. [Smile]

Seriously though, only the wealthy can afford such a giant setup in a house. I can duplicate the aspect ratio and distance from screen, but I can't come anywhere close to the screen size or stadium seating...

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Daryl C. W. O'Shea
Film God

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From: Midland Ontario Canada (where Panavision & IMAX lenses come from)
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 - posted 10-11-2005 07:30 PM      Profile for Daryl C. W. O'Shea   Author's Homepage   Email Daryl C. W. O'Shea   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Coincidentally, both of my outdoor screens at my house are 50' wide.

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Scott Jentsch
Jedi Master Film Handler

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From: New Berlin, WI, USA
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 - posted 10-17-2005 04:35 PM      Profile for Scott Jentsch   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Jentsch   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
To be qualified as a ‘moviegoer’ a respondent must have seen at least six movies in a theater in the past 12 months.

At this point, the data collected by this study should be classified as surveying "avid" movie-goers. Maybe it's just the people I know, but few of them have seen six movies at a theater in the past year.

I would put more stock in their data and resulting conclusions if they had surveyed people who have seen at least 24 movies in the past year, whether in a movie theater or at home. This would be the minimum point where I would consider someone a candidate for a survey about movies and moviegoing.

If the survey were trying to determine what gets people to the theater, shouldn't they be surveying the people that aren't going to the theater often, as well as those who do?

In my humble opinion, the studios would be well-served by working with theaters to develop showmanship programs. This is not to say that they should tell theaters what to do, there's probably enough of that going on already, but rather, they could help theaters not only with staff inservice ideas, but more importantly, items/promotions that are exclusive to the theatrical release.

Studios are in the best position to provide things that people can't get at home from a DVD. The best scenario is for them to do both. Get people's butts into the theaters, and then get them to buy the DVD when it comes out. Everyone wins.

How hard could that possibly be? [Big Grin]

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Jesse Skeen
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 - posted 10-18-2005 02:47 AM      Profile for Jesse Skeen   Email Jesse Skeen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
To be qualified as a ‘moviegoer’ a respondent must have seen at least six movies in a theater in the past 12 months.

That is pretty stupid if they didn't even bother to ask the people who went less, or not at all. It's things like that which make the results of surveys turn out however they want them to, like the ones saying that most people don't mind ads in theaters.

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Paul Gordon
Jedi Master Film Handler

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 - posted 10-18-2005 07:28 AM      Profile for Paul Gordon   Author's Homepage   Email Paul Gordon   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
In regards to less people coming to the theatre your forgeting two important things. 1st our society is becoming to busy which in turn if you believe this makes people lazy/tired. When they get home from work, they don't want to have to rush dinner and drive out to the middle of nowhere to go see a movie, they'd rather sit in front of the TV and have a beer. Second theres nothing "nostalgic" about going to a movies anymore. All the big old single screen houses are gone, all the friendly neingbourhood theatres are gone or almost gone, the moving curtains, that old bulding smell,...etc.. everything is the same now and people are tired of it.

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

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From: Forsyth, Montana
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 - posted 10-18-2005 12:04 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Maybe that's why we're still here. "That old building smell." (Actually we have everything on the list except the moving curtains....it's on my "wish list" though.)

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