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» Film-Tech Forum   » Community   » Film-Yak   » AP says most Americans prefer to watch movies at home (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: AP says most Americans prefer to watch movies at home
Scott Norwood
Film God

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


 - posted 06-17-2005 12:25 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
[Eek!]

Editorial comment: I would _love_ to think that this may be enough to make AMC/Regal/etc. re-consider their now-more-annoying-than-ever screen advertising. Somehow, though, I doubt that anyone at any major theatre chain is smart enough to make the connection between "advertising" and "people who prefer to watch movies at home." Sad.

From here, among other places.

Many prefer to stay home to watch movies

By Will Lester
Associated Press
June 17, 2005

WASHINGTON - Like many Americans, Mark Gil prefers the low cost and high convenience of staying home to watch movies.

"You can go rent a movie for three bucks, but by the time you're done at the movie theater with sodas and stuff, it's twenty bucks," said Gil, a mortgage broker from Central Square, N.Y.

Three-fourths of Americans say they would just as soon watch a movie at home, an AP-AOL poll found. With people more inclined to think movies are getting worse, it's no wonder Hollywood is having problems filling theaters.

Hollywood is in the midst of its longest box-office slump in 20 years, and 2005 is shaping up as the worst year for movie attendance in nearly a decade, if theater business continues at the same lackluster rate.

While 73 percent said they preferred staying home to watch movies on DVD, videotape or pay-per-view, 22 percent said they would rather see them at a movie theater, according to the poll conducted for The Associated Press and AOL News by Ipsos.

Some people say their hesitance to head to the theater has more to do with personal circumstances.

"My husband and I both loved to go to the movies before we had our baby," said Beth Eilers of Portland, Maine, who has a 14-month-old son. "Now it's a lot harder, and we tend to watch a lot of DVDs."

Going to the movie theater still appeals more to some people.

"The smell of the popcorn, listening to other people talking, laughing - I do like the experience," said Earl Ledbetter, 58, of Ventura, Calif.

Almost half in the poll said movies are getting worse, while a third said they are getting better. Those questioned in the poll were most likely to be fond of comedies, followed by dramas and action-adventure movies.

Many of this year's most anticipated films - "Kingdom of Heaven," "Be Cool," "Cinderella Man" - have fizzled.

Some in Hollywood think the slump - 16 straight weekends of declining revenue compared with last year - is a momentary blip due to so-so movies. They maintain the box office will rebound when better films arrive. But even the blockbuster debut of "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith" last month couldn't arrest the slide.

Others view the slump as a sign that theaters are losing ground to home-entertainment options, particularly DVDs available just months after films debut in cinemas.

But the poll found that people who use DVDs, watch pay-per-view movies on cable, download movies from the Internet and play computer games actually go to movies in theaters more than people at the same income levels who don't use those technologies. That suggests the technology may be complementing rather than competing with theatergoing. Eight in 10 in the poll said they have DVD players at home.

Through last weekend, Hollywood's domestic revenues totaled $3.85 billion, down 6.4 percent from 2004. Factoring in higher ticket prices, the number of people who have gone to theaters is down 9 percent, according to box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations.

If that pace holds through year's end, admissions for 2005 would total 1.345 billion, the lowest since 1996.

The wild card from 2004 was Mel Gibson's unexpected blockbuster, "The Passion of the Christ." That film drew a huge Christian audience, many of them not regular moviegoers. Taking "The Passion" out of the mix, 2005 revenues would be up 2.9 percent over 2004, and ticket sales would be virtually unchanged.

From the early 1990s through 2002, box-office grosses climbed steadily as studios perfected their blockbuster marketing machines and cinema chains built new theaters with improved seating, sound systems and other amenities. Ticket sales reached a modern peak of 1.63 billion in 2002 and have fallen since, down to 1.51 billion in 2004.

With more than two-thirds saying movie stars make poor role models, the industry may need some new big-screen heroes.

Australian star Russell Crowe's recent arrest for throwing a phone at a hotel employee is the latest in a long line of unflattering incidents involving major movie stars.

For Tracy Drane, who lives near Dallas and is raising a 12-year-old daughter, the example set by movie stars - even on screen- is very negative.

"When actors make a movie or a singer writes a song," Drane said, "they don't take into consideration there are children watching."

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

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From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 06-17-2005 12:57 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
NATO sent out a letter about the boxoffice slump which pointed out a few things I hadn't thought about.

1. There have been seven fewer movies released this year than last (during the same 14-week time frame), so there have been fewer "chances" to fill the seats.

2. Last year, of course we had Passion of the Christ. So if you take out a couple of "dogs," and add Passion into the equation, we'd now be ahead of last year.

3. DVD sales were down 7% this April compared to last April. In four to six months the home market will be experiencing the same slump we are currently in. As Fithian put it, "When movies stink, they stink, no matter where you try to sell them."

4. Theatre admissions increased nearly 67% from 1970 to 2004. During the same time frame, the U.S. population increased 43%. (Movie ticket sales have grown faster than the population.)

Of course you won't see these good stats in the media because they aren't as interesting as doom-and-gloom.

(Edited to fix a couple of typos and add a bit more info.)

[ 06-17-2005, 06:16 PM: Message edited by: Mike Blakesley ]

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Aaron Mehocic
Jedi Master Film Handler

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From: New Castle, PA, USA
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 06-17-2005 01:32 PM      Profile for Aaron Mehocic   Email Aaron Mehocic   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Economically speaking, I'm having a great year and expect to hit my yearly targeted income from working in theatres earlier than usual. Probably this is due more to our company's expansion into other local markets and extra maintenance time we've been approved for at my location. Having worked in this business as long as most of us have, the downturns and upswings are noticible; and as the article contends, can often be based on the wild success of just one film verses the abject failure of another.

In the long run, I'm not so certain DVD's, internet downloads, and video games will be our demise. There will always be a need for a venue such as theatres if not just simply to get people out of the house. This point has been beat to death on this forum and I'll leave it at that.

On a personal note, however, I do agree with the woman in the last few paragraphs of the article. For years, I could care less about showing whatever to children. If their parents felt they could handle the film and watched "R" rated ones with them, then so much the better. Now that two little ones live with me, I'm very strict on what they might see at the theatre, regardless of what their friends in pre-school watch. I guess I never worried about other people's kids turning into mind-numb delinquents, but its a little different when two live in your own house.

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Tim Reed
Better Projection Pays

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From: Northampton, PA
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 - posted 06-17-2005 02:10 PM      Profile for Tim Reed   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I remember seeing a man take his 10 or 11 year-old son in to see "Andy Warhol's Frankenstein" in 3D (back when 3D was experiencing a come back, around 1983 or so). My goodness, I couldn't believe it. He'd been warned that it was rated R, but I guess he wanted to see 3D so bad that he'd chance it. Maybe he thought they didn't mean it, who knows. Mind you, this was the same cut that had previously been rated X!

I sat down a couple rows behind him and noticed the man getting progressively uncomfortable as the movie went on. He began making audible grunts as the nudity became more frequent, but when Udo Keir mounted Dalila Di Lazzaro on the Frankenstein operating table, I thought the guy was going to have a heart attack! He grabbed his son by the hand and stormed out of the theatre, going on about not being able to see a decent movie anymore.

Maybe he thought we were joking when everyone told him it was for adults?

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Mike Heenan
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From: Scottsdale, AZ, USA
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 - posted 06-17-2005 03:13 PM      Profile for Mike Heenan   Email Mike Heenan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Why is it that in every one of these articles there's always someone complaining or pointing out that "with popcorn, drink, etc" the price ends up being around $20+. Don't these people have food and drink at home? No one is forcing them to buy the stuff at concessions. Take a sip of water or a can of soda and drink it on the way to the theater!

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Aaron Mehocic
Jedi Master Film Handler

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From: New Castle, PA, USA
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 06-17-2005 04:11 PM      Profile for Aaron Mehocic   Email Aaron Mehocic   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Because very few - if any - of the authors ever explain the true method in which a theatre makes a profit. The "popcorn and drink" line is an attempt to make it look like cinemas gouge the customers for every red cent. You know THAT! [Big Grin]

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Dave Williams
Wet nipple scene

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


 - posted 06-19-2005 10:17 AM      Profile for Dave Williams   Author's Homepage   Email Dave Williams   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Just yesterday at work, (which by the way has very little to do with theater exhibition, unless of course you use one of our products in the excercise therof), I was having a conversation with our team and this same topic of, "it costs so much to go to a movie with the popcorn and drinks so much..."

They had no idea that the studio actually gets PAID from the box office, and the theater gets PAID from the concessions. When they found out how little actual profit is made from a theater ownership perspective, they were stunned to think that anyone was crazy enough to ever get into it in the first place.

The problem that most people never take into account with thier 3 dollar rental, is that its never three dollars anymore, its more like five with tax, then if you want to create the same experience, you get the popcorn, the sodas, the whatevers, then you have to spend thousands upon thousands for a large screen projection system or television, and an equivalent sound system.

By the time you get finished....

if you want to get the same effect at home, you spend between 5 and 25 thousand dollars. Most get it for five thousand... but you will need to upgrade every five years to keep up with technology....

so you spend about an average of one thousand dollars a year to get the same effect at home that you do at a theater....

if you spend 40 bucks for your time out at the theater, like I do for me and my family.... divide that by 1000 bucks...

I get 25 trips to the theater for that money. Thats a movie every other week. This I can afford. So why the hell would I want an expensive set up at home that just sits there most of the time, and I have to wait half a year or longer in most cases to see a movie and by then I have lost interest, and then I never see it, leaving my expensive system to either collect dust.

Or I could watch friends in hi def... [eyes] yeah, theres the ticket.

Caio

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Paul Mayer
Oh get out of it Melvin, before it pulls you under!

Posts: 3836
From: Albuquerque, NM
Registered: Feb 2000


 - posted 06-19-2005 12:24 PM      Profile for Paul Mayer   Author's Homepage   Email Paul Mayer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
For me, the two biggest turn-offs from going to theaters are:
  • Indifferent and incompetent presentation.
  • Annoying audience behavior.
Short of building a proper 35mm/4K DLP screening room I can't really match a good theater's technical performance in my living room (though I can get "close enough" for most people's tastes). But loud, obnoxious, rude, and clueless people and their loud, obnoxious, rude, and clueless hellspawn are things I can do something about. I don't invite them over. Ever.

[ 08-18-2005, 02:05 AM: Message edited by: Paul Mayer ]

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John T. Hendrickson, Jr
Jedi Master Film Handler

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From: Freehold, NJ, USA
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 - posted 06-22-2005 07:58 PM      Profile for John T. Hendrickson, Jr   Email John T. Hendrickson, Jr   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I had always defended the movie going experience as opposed to stay at home TV, but there are some things in our society that have changed, like it or not.

1. With the advent of the multiplex, the concept of "convenience" was a big selling point- lots of show times to choose from, and a variety of product to satisfy everyone.
Now, it becomes just as "convenient" to stay at home. Choose your own show start time. Pick the DVD you want. Lots to choose from, whether it's pay-per-view, rental, or cable.

2. Big screens with a clear, bright picture, and the best digital sound.
Seen the new high-def outfits lately? I did recently at my sister-in-laws and I was astonished by the clarity and brightness. And the cost is coming down, too, and will continue to do so. Sound systems are improving all the time, as well. When the cost of a system gets under $1,000 (and I'll bet it will in the near future), then look out!! That $1,000 will be a one-time investment, and it's going to last a number of years, so now the argument that you could see a lot of movies for that price holds less weight.

3. Watch a movie and enjoy the experience with others? Yeah right. The teens giggling behind you. The old folks conducting a scene by scene narative in front of you. The fat bastard next to you who keeps leaning into you. The unseen patron with body oder bad enough to clear out three rows. Two hours into the movie your bladder is ready to bust, but you know if you get up to head for the bathroom you will miss the most exciting part of the show.
Now the livingroom experience doesn't seem so bad. You have privacy, peace and quiet, a comfortable seat, and you can stop the damned thing anytime you want to go to the john.

4. Waiting for product to come your way? Take another look. "The Pacifier" came out shortly after the run ended. Several of the Aacademy Awards nominated films were already out by the time the presentations were made. Batman Begins, War of the Worlds, and Stealth will all be available in time to place them under your Christmas tree.

5. It's not just movies, stupid. There are other things competing for your leisure time and your dollars. Video games, sports events, and regular TV, all in high-def as well.

And you wonder why business is down? Would Citizen Kane have a chance in this enviornment?

It's time for the people in this industry to take a look at the boiler-plate formula of "open wide" releases, destructive head-to-head competition for release dates, and the rush to package everything on DVD. IT DOESN"T WORK ANYMORE!! Keep it up, and watch the decline continue.

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Darryl Spicer
Film God

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From: Lexington, KY, USA
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 - posted 06-22-2005 08:11 PM      Profile for Darryl Spicer     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
what they need to do is release the crap movies straight to video with a small release prior to video and make more higher quality films for wide theatrical release.

To be honest if I wasn't in this business I don't know how often I would get to the movies. Probably not as often as seeing them for free.

It's the sign of the times. People are having to tighten the belt when it comes to liesure spending of their money. Cost of everything is going up and a lot has to do with increased shipping costs do to fuel prices. People are not going to take that chance on a critical bomb like they would have a few years ago.

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Aaron Mehocic
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From: New Castle, PA, USA
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 - posted 06-23-2005 11:03 AM      Profile for Aaron Mehocic   Email Aaron Mehocic   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes, but what constitutes "higher quality films"? When looking at what trailers came loose in the can with Batman Returns and Herbie Fully Loaded, the rest of the year's product continues to spiral down. How I wish for the old days with such films like Hook, Man In The Iron Mask, or even Titanic.

quote: John T. Hendrickson, Jr
It's time for the people in this industry to take a look at the boiler-plate formula of "open wide" releases, destructive head-to-head competition for release dates, and the rush to package everything on DVD. IT DOESN"T WORK ANYMORE!! Keep it up, and watch the decline continue.

Batman Returns did $73 million in its first five days of theatrical release. The DVD will probably net a few more million. Although I agree with you in principle, Hollywood just sees the bottom line. As an old social studies teacher, John, you don't have to be reminded that JD Rockefeller was about to retire when the Feds finally decided to go after Standard Oil. He had already taken the money and ran. The studio executives in charge know the bubble will eventually burst, but from their perspective, not likely during their tenure.

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

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From: Forsyth, Montana
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 - posted 06-23-2005 12:52 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
For me, the best part of watching a movie in a theatre is that I get to see the movie without interruptions. It's really a difficult thing for my wife and me to carve out two hours to sit through a movie at home. Either the phone rings, we fall asleep (or one of us does), or some household chore needs to be done. And we don't have kids. I can't imagine how hard it would be with kids.

All the people who gripe about the "other" people in a movie theatre should just avoid the opening weekend -- or weekends in general. See a movie on a Tuesday night and have a much better experience.

I don't have an answer for the bathroom problem. When my theatre was built in 1930, it did not have a concession stand, so it wasn't a problem then. You just "went" before you went. Too bad intermissions have gone by the wayside...they'd be good for the experience and also for the concession sales.

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Lyle Romer
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From: Davie, FL, USA
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 - posted 06-23-2005 02:36 PM      Profile for Lyle Romer   Email Lyle Romer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Mike Blakesley
All the people who gripe about the "other" people in a movie theatre should just avoid the opening weekend -- or weekends in general. See a movie on a Tuesday night and have a much better experience.

For most movies (with exceptions of things like star wars) just going to the 2nd or 3rd matinee show on opening day is usually pleasant and not too crowded.

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John T. Hendrickson, Jr
Jedi Master Film Handler

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From: Freehold, NJ, USA
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 - posted 06-23-2005 07:06 PM      Profile for John T. Hendrickson, Jr   Email John T. Hendrickson, Jr   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Mike, I know you live in a much more laid-back area where civility and good manners are in practice. Unfortunately, I'm in New Jersey, where we have a much more uncivilized populance.

I don't get to see many movies, but my wife came up Tuesday afternoon, and I accompanied her to see Mr. & Mrs. Smith at our 2:30 show. Theater was not crowded, but the usual complement of jerks were in attendance. Had all I could do to refrain from jumping up out of my chair and throwing them out, but my wife asked me not to.

About the only time I get to watch in peace is early in the morning when I'm previewing prints for flaws. No audience then. [Smile]

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Lyle Romer
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From: Davie, FL, USA
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 - posted 06-23-2005 10:20 PM      Profile for Lyle Romer   Email Lyle Romer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: John T. Hendrickson, Jr
Had all I could do to refrain from jumping up out of my chair and throwing them out, but my wife asked me not to.

You should have thrown them out. If you show the jerks of the world that your theatre has a no tolerance policy for disruptive behavior, they will stop going to your theatre and bother somebody else.

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