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» Film-Tech Forum   » Community   » Film-Yak   » Entertainment Weekly article - "Why Isn't Anyone Going to the Movies This Year?" (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Entertainment Weekly article - "Why Isn't Anyone Going to the Movies This Year?"
Mike Blakesley
Film God

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

 - posted 05-09-2005 03:07 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The new issue of Entertainment Weekly has a big article on declining movie attendance. It is a thought-provoking article but contains a few things that really made my blood boil. I'll post the whole article when it appears on their website.

A surprising statistic from a "survey" they posted on their website is onlyl 9% of people listed "I'll wait for the DVD, it'll be out in a couple of months anyway" as a reason for not seeing movies in theatres. But I hate polls that are unscientific, conducted on the internet, and then published in magazines. How accurate can they be? Not very, especially when the questions are worded as those were.

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Lyle Romer
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1383
From: Davie, FL, USA
Registered: May 2002

 - posted 05-09-2005 03:20 PM      Profile for Lyle Romer   Email Lyle Romer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Was the #1 reason because the movies have been generally bad lately?

I used to go to see movies almost every week and worst case 2 or 3 times a month. This year, I think I've been to two or 3 total. It's certainly not a case of waiting for the DVD as I've only rented 2 or 3 this year also.

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Jonathan M. Crist
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 524
From: Hershey, PA, USA
Registered: Apr 2000

 - posted 05-09-2005 04:04 PM      Profile for Jonathan M. Crist   Email Jonathan M. Crist   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Part of the reason is that people are so much busier than they were several years ago. Every family I know has their kids in so many activities it is a wonder they have time to eat.

From my experience the DVD factor is a subtile one. Its not so much that people are waiting for the DVD as the knowledge that a title is (or soon will be available on DVD) that takes the edge off of the "I got to see it now".

Not that people are renting more DVDS, but it is the knowledge that they can (at some time in the future) view the picture whenever they want it that has, in my opinion, really changed the moviegoing public demand mentality.

There are of course those diehard few that "have to see it right now"- which accounts for the large opening week. But IMHO the real reason for the large second week dropoffs that have become so common is that for the average american knowledge of the DVD means they can put off going out to see it until whenever. Its just that 'whenever' never comes.

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Allison Parsons
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 630
From: East Peoria, IL
Registered: Oct 2004

 - posted 05-09-2005 04:37 PM      Profile for Allison Parsons   Author's Homepage   Email Allison Parsons   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If I wasn't working at a theater, and had to pay to see movies, I'd probably wait till the DVD as well. Why should I take a chance and hope the Kingdom of Heaven is good and pay 8 bucks to see it, when I can wait till August to rent it on DVD for 3?

I agree with the 'if your a die hard fan, your going to see it anyway' Movies now a days are like new music CD's, there are some good ones out there, but most I wouldn't want to waste my money on when I can either rent it or find the CD used somewhere.

I'm a firm believer that if they would wait longer to put out new movie releases on DVD, instead of a few months, than theater attendence would probably go up. OR, put out less movies with more quality as opposed to more movies with no qualtiy which in turns leaves the theater in two weeks. But I'm just a booth op so what do I know?? [Wink]

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

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From: Forsyth, Montana
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 - posted 05-09-2005 05:00 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Lyle Romer
Was the #1 reason because the movies have been generally bad lately?
You nailed it.

Here are the stats:

What keeps you away from seeing a movie in theaters?
28% The quality of movies - most of them suck
22% The ticket price
11% People in theaters are rude and annoying
9% The DVD is out in a couple of months anyway - I can wait
3% I hate sitting through all those pre-movie ads
27% All of the above

Are you likely to see a highly anticipated movie (say, the new Star Wars) on opening weekend?
62% No - I can't deal with the crowds
38% Yes - I don't want to hear any spoilers before I see it

Can you imagine a time when you'd prefer seeing movies in your home?
51% - Imagine it? I already do
25% - No - I will always want to see movies at a theater
24% - Yes - when I can afford a 45-inch flat screen with surround sound


From this article it's easy to see that the problem with our industry is, we are marketing the MOVIES and not the EXPERIENCE, and too often the EXPERIENCE is not good enough. That, and the film companies should stop putting 100% of their promotions on the opening weekend ... and LENGTHEN THE VIDEO WINDOW. (I don't care what that survey said, the percentage of people who will wait for the DVD is way over 9%.)

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Pravin Ratnam
Jedi Master Film Handler

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From: Atlanta, GA,USA
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 - posted 05-09-2005 05:14 PM      Profile for Pravin Ratnam   Email Pravin Ratnam   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I read that article. It is ridiculous that they didn't include home theater quality vs theater picture quality as one of the reasons in the poll numbers. I am a person who used to watch a movie a week in the late 90s. Now, with bigger screens, I reserve the theater experience for only the big action movies or very good regular movies. The main reason is I find the DVD experience better for certain movies lately.

The article also didn't talk about the fact that some improvements could improve the moviegoing experience such as proper light intensity and focus. Dim projection may not be an overt problem for the average moviegoer but it does contribute to a bad moviegoing experience whether the customer is aware of it or not. It makes the movie seem a bit dull in tone. The colors are dull. And how tough is it for a theater to guarantee sound at least comparable to your home theater? It doesn't help that DVD versions have extra footage.

There was no mention of how a distributor doesn't reward theaters with better moviegoing experiences with better allocation of movies. I think that's a key. Right now, there is not that much of an incentive for an indiividual theater chain to ramp up the quality as much if a crappy theater across the road shares in the allocation of movies equitably.

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

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From: Forsyth, Montana
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 - posted 05-09-2005 05:44 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Pravin Ratnam
It doesn't help that DVD versions have extra footage.
True but often that footage is pointless, sucks, or adds nothing to the story.

I still think a great idea would be:

Exclusive-to-theatres footage!

I'm amazed no filmmaker has thought of this.

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Ken Layton
Phenomenal Film Handler

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From: Olympia, Wash. USA
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 - posted 05-09-2005 05:51 PM      Profile for Ken Layton   Email Ken Layton   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Let's see now..... less attendance so let's build MORE theaters. Makes sense. [Roll Eyes]

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

Posts: 16273
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 05-09-2005 06:24 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
1. Its cause people hate the pre-shows for the most part and they really are almost all beyond the stupid catagory.

2. Its why they finally let Jack Valenti go... he can't get up at the upcomming Showorst '06 and brag how much attencance has risen. They've finally had to replace him with a real person in order to figure it out.

3. The reel reason... everyone is staying at home and just downloading the latest releases that Jack's replacement people can't possible stop.

4. Or is it that the newness of all the new multiplex's that has worn off. Perhaps it is time for something else new in this industry like giant single screen theatres with pipe organs and unbelievable architecture.......! People get tired of sitting in a shoebox. Shoebox's are meant for storage.


[ 05-09-2005, 07:25 PM: Message edited by: Mark Gulbrandsen ]

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Mark Lensenmayer
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From: Upper Arlington, OH
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 - posted 05-09-2005 07:55 PM      Profile for Mark Lensenmayer   Email Mark Lensenmayer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
As a customer, here is why I am seeing fewer movies in theatres:

Nothing there I want to see. (Only a couple of films look decent this summer, and I refuse to give G Lucas a single penny of my money. So, I'll not be going out much in the near future.)

That AWFUL pre-show thing. I can see ads for free on TV...I don't want them when I pay. You don't see commercials on HBO, do you? Do the theatre owners actually think people LIKE that? OR, as I suspect, do they just not care?

Cheap DVD's. Cheaper to buy DVD first week of release from deepdiscountdvd than going to theatre.

My system sounds good to my ears. Many theatres don't sound that good. I can control things, and I'm not left in the hands of those who design torus screens!

Age. When one is older, one dislikes going out. I don't want to jostle with people, and fight for a specific seat. In my house, I ALWAYS have the perfect seat.

Give me a product I want to see in a pleasant no-hassle environment and I'll come back!!

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Allison Parsons
Jedi Master Film Handler

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From: East Peoria, IL
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 - posted 05-10-2005 12:50 AM      Profile for Allison Parsons   Author's Homepage   Email Allison Parsons   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Let us also not forget that all of us now have about 100+ of 'EXCITING AND ENTERTAINING' channels to choose from on our TV! Why go see a movie when I can stay at home and watch Fear Factor or Extreme Makeover?! [Roll Eyes]

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Brian Michael Weidemann
Expert cat molester

Posts: 944
From: Costa Mesa, CA United States
Registered: Feb 2004

 - posted 05-10-2005 01:54 AM      Profile for Brian Michael Weidemann   Author's Homepage   Email Brian Michael Weidemann   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Mark Lensenmayer
Do the theatre owners actually think people LIKE that?
Actually, we have a noticeable constituent of customers who LIKE the 2wenty and do as it suggests: try to get to the theatre early to catch all of it. We don't play ANY pre-show in our IMAX, yet when we opened Harry Potter to sold out crowds and we welcomed them with live announcements, I was asked "why didn't we get to see the 2wenty?"

In this age, either marketing companies are getting really good with creating entertaining forms of commercials, or people are oblivious to the difference between advertisements and entertainment. Hmmm ... which one? [Confused] [Razz]

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Steve Scott
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From: Minneapolis, MN
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 - posted 05-10-2005 08:43 AM      Profile for Steve Scott   Email Steve Scott   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well, we've done all we can at my theatre then... We just switched to a five minute trailer pack:
-Coke or Moviefone (never both)
-Trl. 1
-Trl. 2
-Sound snipe

A helluva lot nicer than Carmike's telethon of merchandise preshow six miles away.

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Jesse Skeen
Phenomenal Film Handler

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From: Sacramento, CA
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 - posted 05-10-2005 01:46 PM      Profile for Jesse Skeen   Email Jesse Skeen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Higher ticket prices
More advertising
Smaller screens and top-down masking for scope in many new theaters
Lack of concern for presentation quality by most management and staff
CrAP Code on most prints!!

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Monte L Fullmer
Film God

Posts: 8353
From: Nampa, Idaho, USA
Registered: Nov 2004

 - posted 05-10-2005 02:04 PM      Profile for Monte L Fullmer   Email Monte L Fullmer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
..price of oil heading to the stars ain't helping matters as well. Outside of the cost for fuel for vehicles, the cost to manufacture prints, production costs, actor's wages, causing the price of a ticket to creep upwards and skywards.

Then, home theatre devices, outside of the boxed cheezy projected flat screened, set-it-up-yourself type of thing, comes the home LCD/DLP projection devices, now with 16/9 capabilites, with added sound systems that can match any complex by a long shot. Plus, with home designs that can match this as well (for people who have the dough to design such a creation-and I have one on the drawing board...)

Yet, there are those who STILL love to go out to a movie-no matter what costs....JUST to get out of the house and be entertained.


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