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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » Spider-Man: Homecoming - no clearance (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Spider-Man: Homecoming - no clearance
Mark Campbell
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 133
From: Seattle, WA USA
Registered: Jul 2007


 - posted 07-05-2017 05:35 PM      Profile for Mark Campbell   Email Mark Campbell   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Looks like Sony is joining Fox, Universal, Paramount & Lionsgate and not granting exhibition clearance for Spider-Man: Homecoming. In the Seattle area it will be playing in several competing locations across the street with each other. Is this a one-off or will it now be the norm for Sony?

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Buck Wilson
Jedi Master Film Handler

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From: St. Joseph MO, USA
Registered: Sep 2010


 - posted 07-05-2017 08:56 PM      Profile for Buck Wilson   Email Buck Wilson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This is good news!

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

Posts: 10515
From: Lawton, OK, USA
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 07-06-2017 12:56 AM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It's really difficult for me to be sympathetic toward theaters wanting geographic area exclusives on running certain movies. I personally lived through a really shitty theater in my town getting a lot of high profile releases exclusively that would have been far better playing at the much better, newer theater a mile west on Old Cache Road. At that time the then-new Carmike 8 theater was the only build in Oklahoma that had more than 1 THX screen under the same roof. When they did get a high profile movie (like Independence Day or Titanic) they sold out shows like crazy. If the same big style movies played at the old UA theater it was tempting just to wait for the video rental.

Day and date bookings that put movie theaters head to head, competing on the same movie, should force the weaker theaters to improve their game. OTOH, playing Devil's Advocate, lots of people are mindless cattle always looking for the cheapest price. So a slum theater could play the game of under-cutting a newer, technologically better theater in terms of price.

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James Westbrook
Phenomenal Film Handler

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From: Lubbock, Texas, Usa
Registered: Mar 2006


 - posted 07-06-2017 02:59 AM      Profile for James Westbrook   Email James Westbrook   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I am wondering if the change isn't due to the reduced seating capacities at cinemas which have converted to recliners. One theater in town just converted, another has announced they will install recliners this fall...
This may be a booking fluke (I hope not) but it appears my theater and the competitor across the highway are both getting Dunkirk, from Warner Bros.

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Dennis Benjamin
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1391
From: Denton, MD
Registered: Feb 2002


 - posted 07-06-2017 05:44 AM      Profile for Dennis Benjamin   Author's Homepage   Email Dennis Benjamin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
"Times, they are a changing"

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Mitchell Dvoskin
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1784
From: West Milford, NJ, USA
Registered: Jan 2001


 - posted 07-06-2017 07:50 AM      Profile for Mitchell Dvoskin   Email Mitchell Dvoskin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I vaguely remember that the justice department's anti-trust unit was looking into clearances a few years ago. Now that the cost and logistics of 35mm is gone, I doubt that the studios can justify this practice any longer. I suspect that the studios are just taking pro-active action to head off any future issues.

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 6596
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 07-06-2017 08:39 AM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Bobby Henderson
OTOH, playing Devil's Advocate, lots of people are mindless cattle always looking for the cheapest price.
Not necessarily. There are many factors that potential customers use to determine whether to see a movie at a theater or at home, and if the former, what theater (if they have a practical choice). The ticket price is one of them, but not the only one.

There are three within a five-mile radius of me. One is an absolute rule-out, because it's in a gang-infested, unsafe neighborhood in San Bernardino. Of the other two, one (Harkins) is only around a year old and is a vastly superior moviegoing experience to the other - leather recliners, smart decor, nice air conditioning, and pretty good pix and sound. The main problem is that it is absolutely impossible to park anywhere near it for a show starting after around 5pm. You're looking at a 15-20 minute walk to and from the car. Also, they have a knack of scheduling showtimes so that either you can't quite get back from work in time for the movie, or you have to stay out so late that you're either paying a babysitter or really imposing on relatives.

The other (Krikorian) is more down at heel, hasn't had much money spent on maintaining it since it went up in - I would guess - the late '80s or early '90s - and seating comfort, projection and sound are all below average. The HVAC is such that you feel you're in a scene from Lawrence of Arabia in the summer, and Scott of the Antarctic in the winter. However, it's very easy to get to, it's almost always possible to park within 50 yards of the entrance, it has shows starting at around the perfect 6pm slot, and it usually has a more diverse range of movies on offer, including the odd documentary and arthouse title. I'm guessing that their location and decades of experience of programming and scheduling to the local audience's taste has enabled them to get away without having the latest and greatest in infrastructure, to a certain extent.

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Lyle Romer
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From: Davie, FL, USA
Registered: May 2002


 - posted 07-06-2017 11:35 AM      Profile for Lyle Romer   Email Lyle Romer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If only they would have done this 30 years ago. I understand Bobby's concern on pricing but I don't think that any theatre could undercut enough to make somebody choose a shithole with the exception of movies for little kids.

Back in the 90's I worked at two General Cinema locations that had to split product. In both cases, we had the far nicer theatres (by 90's pre-stadium standards) with much better customer service. In both cases, the customers vocally expressed their preference for our locations and were disappointed when the competitor got a movie they wanted to see.

Had we been allowed to play day and date, either the competing location would have closed or they would have had to significantly upped their game. If it was the latter, we probably both would have done more business as the competition would have led to better experiences at both locations and gotten more people to choose going to a theatre over Blockbuster Video.

Just look at the theme park competition between Disney and Universal in Orlando. They both keep improving and combined attendance keeps rising.

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

Posts: 10515
From: Lawton, OK, USA
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 07-06-2017 11:53 AM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Leo Enticknap
Not necessarily. There are many factors that potential customers use to determine whether to see a movie at a theater or at home, and if the former, what theater (if they have a practical choice). The ticket price is one of them, but not the only one.
Yes, in larger cities parking distance (and parking cost) as well as overall quality and safety of the neighborhood can be deciding factors on visiting a certain cinema. In more modest sized cites and towns like mine those factors aren't quite as serious an issue, especially the parking. People definitely pay attention to ticket price.

I can't stand the theater at our local mall, but I know people who only go there because standard ticket prices are around $3 to $4 cheaper. For instance, tonight the "New Vision" Central Mall 12 theater is charging $10.34 per ticket for Spiderman: Homecoming in RealD and $7.07 for 2D. At the AMC Patriot 13 they're wanting $19.39 for IMAX 3D, $16.12 for IMAX 2D, $15.03 for RealD and $11.76 for regular 2D. That's a pretty huge price difference. AMC's cheapest option is $1.42 more expensive than the mall theater's best option. By the way, since AMC took over the Patriot 13 they've hiked ticket prices significantly. IMAX 3D used to be around $17.50, which is already pretty damned expensive.

quote: James Westbrook
I am wondering if the change isn't due to the reduced seating capacities at cinemas which have converted to recliners. One theater in town just converted, another has announced they will install recliners this fall...
This may be a booking fluke (I hope not) but it appears my theater and the competitor across the highway are both getting Dunkirk, from Warner Bros.

I don't think enough theaters have switched over to recliner seating for the reduced capacity to affect ticket sales in a big way. As more theaters convert to it and other new theaters are built with recliners from the outset it may become more of a factor. On the other hand, theaters with recliners tend to charge higher than average ticket prices, which would make up for some of that lost seating capacity.

My own theory why a movie like Spiderman: Homecoming is not granting clearances: the opening weekend gross number.

Like Dennis said, "times, they are a changing." Yeah, we're living in freaking ADHD times.

The movie industry now puts all the importance on racking up a giant opening weekend dollar figure. The entertainment media almost never reports a final box office gross figure for a movie anymore. If they mention the final gross it's only said as a passing comment in some story about an actor from that movie getting busted for drug possession or some other nonsense. And they almost always cite the global box office figure, not the North American tally we were used to hearing in the 1980's. As a straight story, the final box office gross of a movie now ranks in the "who gives a shit" category. Three or four months later the media doesn't even remember that movie being released. Because of this modern day syndrome of ADHD the movie studios are willing to game the system any way they can to push opening weekend numbers higher. Doing away with clearances would help pad those numbers.

The downside of heavily front-loading a movie release with as many screens as possible: customer traffic for that movie opens in a burst and then dies off rapidly. Lately the entertainment media has been reporting 2nd weekend percentage drops. It's always fun to hype up something and then tear it down.

I remember the newspaper ads back when I was a kid. It was common to see theater ads with blurbs for movies like "in it's incredible 20th week." Movies with legs are a thing of the past.

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

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From: Forsyth, Montana
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 - posted 07-06-2017 12:21 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Bobby Henderson
If they mention the final gross it's only said as a passing comment in some story about an actor from that movie getting busted for drug possession or some other nonsense
They mention the final gross one other time: When they're comparing a sequel to its predecessors. "Spider-Man 23 only grossed $80 million on its opening weekend, which is a far cry from the $92 million brought in by Spider-Man 22 three years ago."

The media is expert at taking what looks like a success and spinning it into a failure. Then people see the new movie as a "flop" and that accelerates the idea that the movie is a "rental" and not something they want to see in a theater.

When you think about it, between stories like that and bad reviews, the entertainment media probably hurts more grosses than it helps.

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

Posts: 10515
From: Lawton, OK, USA
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 07-06-2017 12:43 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm certain the movie studios are pushing the media people to hype opening weekend as much as possible. It's the get on the bandwagon marketing ploy. Don't wait for traffic to calm down before seeing the movie, you must be one of the cool people who saw the show opening weekend! Don't be left out!

I think this motivation to get as much of a movie's earnings into the studio's til as fast as possible is all about playing accounting games with cash flow figures. It sure doesn't help movie theaters at all.

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Mark Campbell
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 133
From: Seattle, WA USA
Registered: Jul 2007


 - posted 07-06-2017 12:56 PM      Profile for Mark Campbell   Email Mark Campbell   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I supposed there should some concern that without clearances for a film like this a lot more screens will get hogged, given the boot to other films. Some of which could be smaller independent films. So less choice for the consumer and less opportunity for the smaller fish.

Another trend I've seen in North Seattle where there is a newer stadium Regal 14-plex with LieMax vs. an older sloped 6 screen AMC is that the might both play the same big release for the first couple of weeks and then the AMC will completely dump it yet keep showing some art film or older hollywood release that they have clearance on. Must be feeling the pain of dilution if their "superior" neighbor is playing the same title.

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Alexandre Pereira
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From: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Jan 2016


 - posted 07-06-2017 01:16 PM      Profile for Alexandre Pereira   Author's Homepage   Email Alexandre Pereira   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Speaking of small fish I am pushing that this no clearances will come to Canada. Here - in the GTA CP has a monopoly on all product and effectively on all screens. I am stuck playing move over and whatever art pictures I can get. Yes art pictures - for the most part stuff that brings in a nasty ass crowd that buys nothing and constantly complains about price and every other thing that they can find.
Being told by your customers that you play the better films that the 'big guys' do not - it is time to get a new audience.
Exhibition is a ruthless business and not a place for nostalgia and illusions of art. All art is propaganda so you might as well make good bar sales.
I have started to play more action and hollywood films - the crowd comes later and I play late 10ish shows - they are pleasant and only want to have fun. Fun that is what a movie theatre is about - not a bunch of entitled imbeciles asking for cups of water and telling you that the toilet paper is running low in the women's shitter.
Seriously does anyone want that gang of bad karma art picture audience of the embalmed?

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Marcel Birgelen
Film God

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From: Maastricht, Limburg, Netherlands
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 - posted 07-06-2017 05:18 PM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Alexandre Pereira
Seriously does anyone want that gang of bad karma art picture audience of the embalmed?
Maybe you should take a closer look at your current customer base before you declare them all to be just entitled cheapskates.

One of the local art houses made a killing once they started to realize their clientele isn't typical the one which likes to eat popcorn, nachos and candy bars and neither do they fancy a coke in a cardboard cup. They also generally don't like the sound of popcorn munching hordes gone wild, silence is a thing.

What they do like though, is to drink expensive wines. They also like to spend a lot of money on rather expensive and more exclusive snacks and menu items.

So, once they moved into a new building, they made sure to open a rather large and stylish bar and restaurant area and haven't looked back ever since.

Clearances never were a thing in Europe, even not in the 35mm era. I guess they never passed the smell test. Yeah, there was the occasional print shortage.

So, even the local art house can play any given blockbusting mega-tent-pole release day and date if they want and as a matter of fact, they sometimes do, but only if it somehow fits into their program. Why would you target a crowd that doesn't fit you? No need to cater to popcorn munching hordes if you don't even have it on the menu...

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Frank Cox
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From: Melville Saskatchewan Canada
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 - posted 07-06-2017 05:50 PM      Profile for Frank Cox   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Cox   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Alexandre Pereira
Exhibition is a ruthless business and not a place for nostalgia and illusions of art.
Please don't take this the wrong way, but I wonder about the atmosphere you have at your theatre, if this and "entitled imbeciles" are the way that you view your business and your customers.

People come to a theatre to have a good time and a night (or afternoon) out. It's a place to take a girl on a date, get the kids out of the house for the afternoon, for Grandpa and Grandma to enjoy a shared experience with little Johnny and Sally, and to get out of the house and get away from the kids for a night.

I sincerely believe that a movie theatre has a special kind of a magical atmosphere that isn't found anywhere else. I've owned and operated my theatre for a few years now and haven't changed my mind about that yet; if I ever do it might be time for me to retire or find something else to do.

"Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life."

Take an objective as possible look at your operation. Are you providing a happy and fun place and that magical atmosphere for your customers to enjoy when they come to a movie at your theatre? The movie title might be the overt reason that people walk in the door once, but the atmosphere is the reason why they walk in the door a second time.

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