Easy Fix

I usually attend movies at the local art house ($8), suburban art house wannabe ($8), or the end-of-run double feature movie theater ($5), so it was a bit of a surprise to go to the local multiplex and find that the price for a 3D movie is $13.50, and the price for a regular movie is $10.  So for more than the price of a monthly Netflix streaming subscription, customers can see one Hollywood blockbuster movie.   This theater chain has the worst (and most expensive) concessions, so if customers want to have some stale popcorn and enough soda to accelerate their Type II Diabetes, a night watching a re-issue of a 90’s Disney Movie (Beauty and the Beast) with the wife and two kids costs more than the monthly bill for a good broadband Internet connection plus a Netflix subscription.

How is Hollywood going to address the disparity between the cost of their content delivered (legally) over the Internet versus the cost of going to a movie theater to watch it?  By blaming it all on piracy, trying to force through SOPA, and cutting off donations to the Obama campaign when they don’t fall in line.






94 replies
  1. 1
    jurassicpork says:

    Some thumbtack observations on last night’s SC primary before heading out to watch the Pats destroy the Ravens.

  2. 2
    cathyx says:

    You forgot to add in the cost of a big screen TV.

  3. 3
    Yutsano says:

    Jeez Mistermix, you think you could have thrown up a more gossipy less poorly sourced article there? Mon Dieu, that reads like a pile of National Enquirer horseshit.

  4. 4
    Curt says:

    Unrelated, but awesome: Last night (timestamp 1:20 AM), Erick Erickson posted,

    I can confirm tonight from multiple sources that phone calls are in fact occurring between Republicans in Washington and among evangelical leaders to raise money for Rick Santorum rapidly.

    The rationale he describes is snort-out-loud hilarious, and the comment thread is the kind of schadenfreudlich (for me) epic that RedState has been throwing up pretty regularly since primary voting got underway.

  5. 5
    RossInDetroit says:

    I’ll watch most movies on DVD because the fidelity and presentation are adequate. Some I want to see in the theater because the big screen really makes it. Streaming is OK for some, but the loss of picture quality due to compression is really apparent. It’s far from a big-screen experience.

  6. 6
    Stan of the Sawgrass says:

    I haven’t been to a local multiplex in years, pretty much for the reasons you said. But in the dim past I was once a (union) projectionist in several movie houses.
    The concessions are indeed overpriced, but there is a reason: the distributor (ie, “Hollywood”) is getting much more than the lion’s share of the ticket price. I doubt it’s ever less than 60-70 percent of the take (exhibitors have to negotiate their cut with the distributor), and in the case of big-hit blockbusters, the studio’s cut may be 95%. The bad-for-you, overpriced concessions are actually the theatre’s only dependable profit source.
    It’s actually the same way with gas stations now: you drive in to the place for gas, but the operator’s profit is actually coming from the little store on the property.
    Stay home and watch a DVD or a streaming movie. I’ll shed some tears for the theatre owners, but if the studios really cared about keeping our butts in movie house seats, they could have taken a better path than strip-mining the exhibitors.

  7. 7
    James Gary says:

    Well, there’s also the face that movies are released on Netflix well after they appear in theaters. If a movie appeals to one enough, one will pay the premium to see it in a theater; if not, one will wait until it’s available on video.

    I am not sure, mistermix, how this is substantially different from in the past, or why you dragged the SOPA thing into it.

  8. 8
    The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik says:

    There’s a reason why the last movie I ever actually watched in a theater of my own choosing was The Dark Knight.

    There’s precious few movies these days that beg to be seen immediately for the price that I could get the DVD to own half-a-year later.

  9. 9
    Amir Khalid says:

    Goldang it. I was hoping “Easy Fix” was the headline to a John Cole post announcing that he’d fixed the edit/delete button problem.

  10. 10
    Satanicpanic says:

    Movie theatres are going to go the way of video game arcades. The home experience is good enough for most these days.

  11. 11
    schrodinger's cat says:

    OT: BTW did anyone read the character assassination of Obama by MoDo in NYT this morning.

  12. 12
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Amir Khalid: I made you an Edit button, but then I eated it.
    -Kthx Tunch

  13. 13
    mistermix says:

    @James Gary: The difference is that the premium is higher than it was in the past (Netflix streaming is cheap, but you can get the stuff that’s not on Netflix streaming on DVD for another $8/month, or $1 a night at Redbox). It used to be that there was no streaming and DVD rentals were $4-5 per night.

    @Yutsano: There are two named sources who are on Obama’s re-election committee in LA. That’s more solid than your average DC media article.

  14. 14
    wasabi gasp says:

    I’d rather squeeze into a VW Bug with twenty five clowns and go to a drive-in.

  15. 15
    velouria says:

    I never go to the theater, but the Netflix streaming library sucks. I canceled it and just kept the dvd/blu-ray portion of my account.

  16. 16
    FridayNext says:

    @cathyx:

    You forgot to add in the cost of a big screen TV.

    Unless of course you watch this stuff on your computer monitor or regular screen tv.

    But even then, only if you also add the cost of transportation to the theater including parking. You would of course need to count only that percentage of both transportation and the tv/computer that is used by the movie watching experience since both are used for things other than watching movies. My guess is that it would be a wash and Mistermix’s point holds up pretty well.

  17. 17
    Lurker says:

    …it was a bit of a surprise to go to the local multiplex and find that the price for a 3D movie is $13.50, and the price for a regular movie is $10.

    You’re lucky. At my local AMC theater, regular tickets are $12.50 and 3D tickets are $17.50.

    I save $4.50/ticket by purchasing AMC “Gold Experience Ticket” vouchers from my Costco. My local Costco sells two-pack AMC ticket vouchers for $15.99, which brings the cost down to $8/ticket for non-3D films. I still have to pay the $5 premium for 3D films. These vouchers never expire, though, so they still offer a good discount over the normal ticket price.

  18. 18
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    BTW did anyone read the character assassination of Obama by MoDo in NYT this morning.

    I never read MoDo, and cannot for the life of me understand how she got a post on the Times’ op-ed page. The things I have read by her confirm that she’s not funny, she’s not a good writer. Maybe it’s some kind of post-modern performance art.

  19. 19
    Old Dan and Little Ann says:

    The last movie I saw at The Little was Pulp Fiction.

  20. 20
    Schlemizel says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    8-{D you win!

  21. 21
    FridayNext says:

    @RossInDetroit:

    Streaming is OK for some, but the loss of picture quality due to compression is really apparent. It’s far from a big-screen experience.

    Agreed, but if you live in a small town and the only theaters available still believe that putting a lower watt bulb in the projector saves them a couple of pennies, then the theater going experience ain’t exactly the full theater going experience. (and that doesn’t take into account talkers, texters, and other teen rabble who are perfectly happy to shell out big bucks for a dim, low-res movie because they aren’t watching it anyway. Now get off my lawn.

  22. 22
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @wasabi gasp:

    I’d rather squeeze into a VW Bug with twenty five clowns and go to a drive-in.

    You’re in luck! There’s a show Monday night in Florida. But only four clowns. And lots of popcorn.

  23. 23
    James Gary says:

    @mistermix:

    Even in my current reduced-income condition, the difference between the ~$20-30/month I used to spend on video rentals and the ~$10/month for Netflix doesn’t seem tremendously significant…when there’s a first-run movie I want to see badly enough, I’ll go watch it in a theater. But maybe that’s just me.

  24. 24
    Captain Howdy says:

    @Lurker:

    AMC theaters in Manhattan go half-price before noon, even on mega-blockbusting new releases.

    But my solution was to drop a grand on a projector (plays DVDs, streams Roku, etc) and pop my own goddamn corn at home.

  25. 25
    Schlemizel says:

    One of the few, very few, compensations for living in Brevard County Florida was the local movie bin was about half the cost of anywhere else in the country. (the distributors hated this owner but he somehow kept the price like that – maybe he was a made man) We used to go to the movies a lot because it was a reasonable night out with the kids even if we were not 100% sold on the movie. Now I will only go if I know I am going to enjoy the show AND it is something I think needs the wide-screen to fully enjoy.

  26. 26

    […] Via Mistermix, it seems like grumpy pro-SOPA/PIPA left-wing Hollywood types are withholding campaign contributions from Democrats because they didn’t want to destroy a free internet on their behalf. Fair enough. The weirder side of this equation for me, though, is the Republicans. […]

  27. 27
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:How is Lady Smudge?

  28. 28
    Jay in Oregon says:

    The last time I went to see a movie in the theater with a friend, we decided that we’d try to save money by getting one of the 1 popcorn/2 drinks deals.

    It cost us twenty dollars. Just for the snacks.

    I haven’t been back to a theater since, and if I do go I’m going to a restaurant and getting a real meal for the same amount of money.

    I have no fucking clue how a family of four that I know can afford to go see movies; they’re kinda germophobic, so each of them must have their own soda. Going to the movies for them must be pushing $100, especially if they’re watching a 3D movie.

  29. 29
    burnspbesq says:

    If you don’t want to wait, you pay a premium for not waiting. It’s really no more complicated than that.

  30. 30
    Cap'n Magic says:

    It’s actually very simple, but the sheeple are too stupid/lazy to actually do anything about it. First, boycott moviegoing for a solid quarter during the biggest portion of the moviegoing season.

    Second, cancel cable for a solid quarter-and if you have a choice of internet services, switch away from cable if you can.

    The (albeit temporary) stand down on SOPA/PIPA shows that the masses do indeed have power-but in order to bring businesses around, you have to be prepared to vote with your pocketbook for longer than the attention span of a cat.

  31. 31
    Valdivia says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    can you give those of us who have not read it a summary?

  32. 32
    dirge says:

    trying to force through SOPA, and cutting off donations to the Obama campaign when they don’t fall in line

    Well, when you put it that way, it looks an awful lot like an open and shut case of attempted bribery, with a bit of conspiracy and racketeering thrown in for good measure.

    I mean, isn’t everybody supposed to pretend that those donations aren’t part of a quid-pro-quo exchange? Obama, please send the tapes of these conversations over to the Justice Department and/or the FEC.

  33. 33

    Heck, for 12 dollars a month, I get two dvds at a time from Netflix.

  34. 34
    burnspbesq says:

    Can I just say that Andrei Arshavin sucks?

  35. 35
    Brachiator says:

    @mistermix: There have been a number of good articles about this, and even good discussions in recent threads here. Hollywood is even unhappy with Netflix, even though it doesn’t have much in the way of recent films, and the company is having trouble renewing and securing licensing agreements. On the other hand, DVD purchases and rentals are declining, although no one is quite sure why.

    Other posters have noted that the movie theaters get smaller and smaller pieces of the ticket price. And for a lot of people, home video gear is relatively cheap, and more than adequate.

    But the bottom line is that theatrical distribution vs DVD and streaming is about first run vs second run. And about Hollywood fears that they cannot make a decent buck off the secondary streams. And although people talk a lot about the virtues of smaller, cheaper, indie films, they don’t particularly go to see them regularly.

    SOPA is a separate, inter related matter.

    As an aside, there have been fun discussions about the big hulking multi choice beverage machines popping up in some movie theaters, and whether this enhances or detracts from movie going precisely because it gives you too many choices.

  36. 36
    ornery_curmudgeon says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Maureen Dowd is a propagandist: the fact you can’t understand why she is there is proof of her worth.

    Dowd hits a different demographic and area of the brain than most, for full-spectrum rhetorical poisoning. She is very good at what she does–you will come away from today’s “Showtime at the Apollo” article thinking of minstrel shows, Jimmy Carter and how pathetically elite the uppity The One believes he is. Also too that Newt and Obama are equal in victimhood-seeking status.

    Not a hint of clarity or insight, while telling you how Obama feels about things.

    Occupy the Media.

  37. 37
    cathyx says:

    @FridayNext: The reason I said to figure in the cost of a big screen TV is because a regular TV or computer monitor doesn’t compare to the big screen in a movie theater. Some movies just are better on a large screen with surround sound.

  38. 38
    J.D. Rhoades says:

    It’s far from a big-screen experience.

    I love the big screen experience too, but in a world where people watch movies on their cell phones, it seems we’re in an ever shrinking minority.

  39. 39
    Valdivia says:

    @ornery_curmudgeon:

    she has been trying to make Obama into a weakling fro years now and nothing took. Obama’s image is pretty set I think so no matter what she says and how she tries she won’t be able to Gore him. I am sure she is seething that the singing bit became viral the way it did.

  40. 40
    cmorenc says:

    For those of us over 60, you do get a senior discount admission price to movies that is usually identical to the “student” price. Lately, I’ve been out very atypically often (for me) to see movies in theaters, and paid $6.00 and $6.50 respectively (senior price) for “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”, and “Red Tails”. I paid $10.00 for the 3-D version of “TinTin”. There are at least some benefits to getting O-60. However, at 62 I shall have to wait 3 more years to take advantage of senior-discounted lift tickets at ski resorts, and with people living longer, healthier the trend has been to up the age at which the discount becomes truly large rather than just a modest percentage.

  41. 41
    Walker says:

    The best movie going experience these days is the drive-in. Seven bucks per person for a double feature, and discounts for families. Extremely reasonably priced concessions. And you can talk to the person in the car with you about the movie without bothering the other people watching.

    For those of you in upstate NY, there are plenty to choose from. The wife and I go to the one in Auburn a lot.

  42. 42
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: She is sleeping on the bed right now after a night of zooming around the apt.

  43. 43
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    I always thought MoDo was good on Bill Clinton and the Bushes, the family and the political outfit. Utterly hopeless on just about every other subject: Al Gore, Kerry, the whole “Obambi and the Dominatrix” schtick. Her attempts to be pithily insightful on pop culture strike this old fart as an old fart trying too hard to sound hip. I quit reading her regularly around ’04, can’t remember the last time I read an entire column. For a long time people like Tweety or Bill Maher would quote her reverentially, I can’t remember the last time I heard her name.

  44. 44
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @ornery_curmudgeon:

    you will come away from today’s “Showtime at the Apollo” article thinking of minstrel shows, Jimmy Carter and how pathetically elite the uppity The One believes he is.

    I won’t dignify her drivel with a click to see what she says, TYVM.

  45. 45
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Valdivia: According to MoDo, the Obamas are completely out of touch and in love with themselves, they think they are too good for the country and the electorate. Obama loves playing the victim, of the media, just like Newt.

    She calls Obama naive and condescending (her actual words).

  46. 46
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Yes that’s what my kittehs do too, sleep during the day and run around the house like a herd of stampeding wildebeests.

  47. 47
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: at night and wake me up at 3am for gooshie fuds.

  48. 48
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: So shorter MoDo: They won’t come to the Kool Kid’s cocktail parties?

    And she’s obviously never seen Obama work the rope line.

  49. 49
    cmorenc says:

    @ornery_curmudgeon:

    Maureen Dowd is a propagandist: the fact you can’t understand why she is there is proof of her worth.

    I disagree that she’s a propagandist for anyone or anything; instead she represents the aging demographic of northeastern urbanites who consider themselves sophisticated cynics who are too-cool to really believe much in anyone or anything, and are fond of entertaining themselves with snidely clever put-downs of well-known people. If anything, she views herself in the tradition of H.L. Mencken, a professional cynic, except with a female voice.

  50. 50

    the problem with the modern multiplex movie theater, is they dont convert into small music venues at the end of their lifecycle like old theaters.

    as far as the movies are concerned, they still pull the can’t watch it at home crowd,and the gotta get away to play crowd. if america becomes more multigenerational, there might be pressure on films to offer some things for the american movie theater going audience.

    the efforts to shut down distribution avenues for potentially competitive indies and foreign movies, as well as raise the cost of entering the market, shows that the movie industry really only cares about wringing value out of its consumer base, not luring new people to the experience.

  51. 51
    Alison says:

    @burnspbesq: You can. Also, too, via Oliver Kay on Twitter:

    Gary Neville on Arshavin: “You don’t like to criticise players, but he looks the most disinterested player in the league to me”

    Not untrue…

  52. 52
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @cmorenc: That sounds like Jon Stewart as well. Who never misses an occasion to put down Obama.

  53. 53
    Brachiator says:

    @Lurker:

    You’re lucky. At my local AMC theater, regular tickets are $12.50 and 3D tickets are $17.50.

    I mentioned in another thread that in Pasadena, people are being priced out of movie going. I wonder if this might be a trend.

    The Mann and UA mutiplexes went out of business. The very nice two screen Pacific theater closed down. The 16 screen Pacific theater was transformed into a premium Arclight. Ticket prices increased from around 9.50 to 15.00. Concession sizes got smaller and prices increased. The movie viewing experience is not as good as the Arclight in Hollywood. There is a bar however.

    And then there is the Gold Class Theaters which replaced the AMC theaters. Smaller theaters and super plush seats, food and drink at $30 or $40 a ticket.

    There is a good art house theater, but not very mainstream.

    And left holding the fort for the average consumer is the Academy. This is a second run theater. But the funny thing is that I often have seen long lines. They book not only the most popular mainstream movies, but do double features mixing in well reviewed films, and even bring back classics. I see families and students and older people who supposedly don’t like movies standing in line. But it seems that a lot of people like to sit in the dark together sharing a laugh or a scream at a scary movie. But they also want to keep a little cash in their pockets.

    The hot dogs and popcorn here are pretty good, too.

  54. 54
    Valdivia says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    thanks for the summary. I think, as I said above, that she hates that she couldn’t Gore Obama as she has been trying to do it for 4 years and nothing took. Does anyone even care what she says anymore? But just reading what you recounted makes me want to kick her ass with a pointy boot.

  55. 55

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    Dowd:

    And she’s obviously never seen Obama work the rope line.

    That is something to watch, isn’t it?

  56. 56
    ornery_curmudgeon says:

    @cmorenc: “I disagree that she’s a propagandist for anyone or anything; instead she represents the aging demographic of northeastern urbanites…”

    With due respect, I live in the Northeast and no she does not.

    The question I have is not why propagandists are sitting in corporate media … but why people seem invested in making excuses for it?

  57. 57
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @cathyx:

    Some movies just are better on a large screen with surround sound.

    And some music is better on a really nice stereo system, but the masses have got used to mid-quality MP3/AAC through headphones or a tinny computer speaker.

  58. 58
    Schlemizel says:

    A word on the economics of movie theaters might be enlightening.

    The distributor takes 100% of the ticket sales for the first week of a movies run. Then if drops down a bit (near 80%) for a few weeks and eventually gets 50%. Those “sub-run” houses that show movies that have been out for a month or two are only sending a buck back to Hollywood.

    This is why it cost $20 for a large soda and popcorn, its the only income for most theaters. It is also why the distributors don’t care that the movie shows up on DVD or HBO when it is only a few weeks old. They have drained the theaters for most of what they can get out of them & its on to new movies that they can get more out of.

    Its a crappy business model that screws the theaters and their patrons. It also helps ensure a steady supply of crappy movies. Who needs word of mouth or repeat business? You make most of your money in the first 2-3 weeks, make splashy ads & draw the suckers in early then run like hell to the next POS.

  59. 59
    Brachiator says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    OT: BTW did anyone read the character assassination of Obama by MoDo in NYT this morning.

    Just can’t do it.

    One thing that amazes me is how warmly real people respond to the Obamas in all the photos and videos I see. And the Obamas clearly return the affection. And yet MoDo and other pundits keep flogging the dead horse of elitism, even more than they did for other politicians who came from actual elitist backgrounds.

    I do not understand this at all, though I suspect that MoDo wants to be Obama’s secret girl friend. And I say this not because MoDo is a woman, but because of the petty stuff that often informs her writing.

  60. 60
    Professor says:

    @burnspbesq: Join the old suffering fans, at least the score wasn’t 8-2.

  61. 61
    brent says:

    Well you are comparing the cost of moviegoing to the cost of watching a movie at home, which, for a lot of people isn’t really the equation. Going out and watching a movie is an entertainment outing. That is, its something people pay to do to entertain themselves away from home. Maybe a date or just some time alone away from the kids. In that context, its actually one of the cheaper outlets. Certainly cheaper than going to see an NFL or NBA game or a concert.

    For myself, I probably go out to the cinema less than I used to 20 years ago, but I still consider it a fun time to just go to the movies some evenings and it isn’t really comparable to renting a flick at home for me. The concessions are awful food so I have never really understood the import that people place on paying for that stuff but even if I factor in that price its still a pretty cheap date compared to most other paid for activities.

  62. 62
    Shawn in ShowMe says:

    @cmorenc:

    Instead she represents the aging demographic of northeastern urbanites who consider themselves sophisticated cynics who are too-cool to really believe much in anyone or anything

    Which is actually appropriate when you have gay-bashers, women haters and good ‘ol boys in charge of the White House. But now we’ve a black Jefferson Smith with swag. Isn’t there even a little piece of Maureen’s soul that has a happy? What kind of president would it take for these people NOT to be cynical 24 hours a day?

  63. 63
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    @Brachiator: One reason for the decline of sales, maybe sites like the late lamented megaupload.com Also the cost of DVD’s may be a little high in this economy, besides I prefer to go to half-priced books or local record/cd stores to get my DVD’s. Of course cable charges $5.00 on demand. One more thing, Hollywood films are nothing but sucky remakes and CGI crap. Last film I went to see at a theatre was J.Edgar, ok but not for the $12 I had to pay.

  64. 64
    RossInDetroit says:

    @pseudonymous in nc:

    And some music is better on a really nice stereo system, but the masses have got used to mid-quality MP3/AAC through headphones or a tinny computer speaker.

    Roger that. Right now I’m auditioning a new phono preamp that I just finished this morning. 35 year old B&O turntable, modded for remote control. 55 year old record.
    I really hate the sound of low bit rate MP3s. I’m no longer an audiophile but I just can’t get used to the harsh and grainy sound of low quality digital. CD is fine but most downloads sound like they’ve been strained through crushed glass.
    There’s hope, though. I’ve worked up a headphone driver circuit that adds harmonic distortion like a vacuum tube to warm up the sound. Adjustable distortion to taste. Maybe then I can get some use out of the cool digital players I have laying around.

  65. 65
    RossInDetroit says:

    I’ve been down in teh shop all weekend. Who ran off with the EDIT button? Please return it. No questions asked.

  66. 66
    srv says:

    If I had a nickel for time someone declared movie theaters dead, I’d own a studio by now.

  67. 67
    Brachiator says:

    @Schlemizel:

    It is also why the distributors don’t care that the movie shows up on DVD or HBO when it is only a few weeks old

    Not true. The shorter window before a movie goes to DVD hurts the movie theaters. And there was a recent attempt by the studios to make the movie Tower Heist available via video on demand for $30 while it was in the theaters. The theater owners rebelled and even threatened to not show Hollywood product. The studios backed down.

    There is a lot of insanity in the current model, especially during the summer season. The studios want to push out film after film, and so the theater owners have to give the biggest rooms with the best sound to the latest release, and push other films to smaller rooms in the multiplex, or drop them completely even when they could still do good box office. And since their cut of the box office is so small, this further reduction of the window in which the theater owners can make money just makes things worse for everyone, including the moviegoer.

  68. 68
    Jorge says:

    there is a wonderful little not-for-profit arthouse cinema in rhinebeck, new york where you can buy a small pop-corn with real butter and a soda for $3.50! When you go to see a new print of a quality movie in a fun, relaxed setting and don’t feel like you’ve been totally ripped off, the experience is so much better! I don’t know why more cinemas don’t do this.

  69. 69

    The moguls are reminding Obama et al that, in the words of one studio chief, “God knows how much money we’ve given to Obama and the Democrats and yet they’re not supporting our interests…”

    Yeah, President Romney and Vice-President Santorum will do a *much* better job supporting your interests, Mr Anonymous Hollywood Mogul.

  70. 70
    Josie says:

    @Brachiator: That’s it. I have always wondered if she made a move on him at some point and he ignored it.

  71. 71
    patrick the pedantic literalist says:

    For the last couple of years, weekday the price for movies at AMC movie theaters I have visited is $5. It goes to $10 on Fri, Sat, Sun. with extra for 3D.
    I have been seeing more movies at the theater lately than I have in years.

  72. 72
    srv says:

    @RossInDetroit: You should sell that thing.

    Same goes for me with HDTV. Posterization drives me insane. Make a circuit for that.

  73. 73
    Brachiator says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee:

    One reason for the decline of sales, maybe sites like the late lamented megaupload.com Also the cost of DVD’s may be a little high in this economy, besides I prefer to go to half-priced books or local record/cd stores to get my DVD’s. Of course cable charges $5.00 on demand. One more thing, Hollywood films are nothing but sucky remakes and CGI crap.

    Megaupload contributes to the problem, but it is not easy to measure its impact. Some people may download copies of movies that they paid to see, for example.

    The success of good stuff on HBO and other cable channels, and even regular tv, may also be eating into movie alternatives.

    By the way, I am not sure whether Hollywood gets anything from the sales of used DVDs.

    There’s still a lot of good stuff coming out of Hollywood. I liked the non sucky remakes of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. And also the adult and challenging movie Shame.

  74. 74
    RossInDetroit says:

    I have the same beef with theaters that a lot of adults do: the experience just isn’t the same any more. You never know when you’ll get a dim picture or garbled sound. And you can be assured of being interrupted by talking, texting, walking around, general teenaged grabassing and chair kicking. Hollering babies, etc. I may just be becoming an old crank but I’d swear it’s changed for the worse. So why take your chances?

  75. 75
    brent says:

    The theater owners rebelled and even threatened to not show Hollywood product. The studios backed down.

    Well I am no studio exec but I have to say I would have called their bluff on that. The theater owners were going to destroy their own businesses completely to force studios to make minor changes to their business model. I have to doubt that they would have followed through on that. If one thing is pretty clear with all of this switching to the home movie experience, it is that the theaters need studios A LOT more than the studios need the theaters. Yes, the theater system is still their best source of profits but they will make money with or without them. Clearly the theaters can’t say the same.

  76. 76
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @RossInDetroit:

    I may just be becoming an old crank but I’d swear it’s changed for the worse.

    I think it’s part my old crankitude, part a real change for the worst, especially given cell phones and all that goes with them …and when did twenty minute previews become the norm? I might’ve watched the Mark Walberg smuggler movie on cable, but I feel like I’ve seen the whole fucking thing already. And 9/11 schmatlzfest with Tom Hanks and a precocious kid? You gotta fucking be kidding me.

  77. 77
    cckids says:

    @ornery_curmudgeon:

    you will come away from today’s “Showtime at the Apollo” article thinking of minstrel shows, Jimmy Carter and how pathetically elite the uppity The One believes he is.

    Commenters there pretty much universally disagree, they hate the column & are giving MoDo hell for the BS she spewed. Most I read are on the lines of “so Obama doesn’t hang with the Washington crowd? GOOD FOR HIM !”

  78. 78
    RossInDetroit says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    …and when did twenty minute previews become the norm?

    Really pisses me off. If I wanted to pay to watch commercials I’d get Cable. It’s ridiculous.
    Control is one of the things you gain when you watch movies at home. Need a bathroom break or a sandwich? Hit pause and you don’t miss anything.

  79. 79
    Shawn in ShowMe says:

    @Schlemizel:

    The distributor takes 100% of the ticket sales for the first week of a movies run. Then if drops down a bit (near 80%) for a few weeks and eventually gets 50%. Those “sub-run” houses that show movies that have been out for a month or two are only sending a buck back to Hollywood.

    If that’s the business model, you’d think there would be more small houses that simply re-run the most popular movies of the last 5-10 years and/or movies with strong cult followings. Is that a violation of the contract with the studios?

    I can’t imagine a theatre is making more money off of Carnage than they would from a fan gathering to see a re-release of Star Trek.

  80. 80
    RSA says:

    Here are two interesting tables from the National Association of Theatre (sic) Owners:

    The number of screens from 1987 to 2009:

    http://www.natoonline.org/statisticsscreens.htm

    The average price of a ticket from 1948 (with many early years missing) to 2010:

    http://www.natoonline.org/statisticstickets.htm

    It surprises me that the number of (indoor) screens hasn’t gone way down over the past several years; it went down about 1% from 2008 to 2009 but is still up 7% from 2004.

    The average price of a ticket is said to be $7.89, which is hard to believe. Matinees and discounts, I suppose.

  81. 81
    wenchacha says:

    The POTUS sings the Rev. Al Green and that makes him elitist? What absolute horseshit.

    I used to love “movie night,” when my kids were babies. My husband and I would have a nice date, go to dinner and a movie. That was maybe 15 years ago. I took my children to some of the Disney movies of the era.

    For too many years, though, the movies have not been all that entertaining. I’m not a 15-24 year old young man. I’ve seen earlier versions of lots of films. Yeah, the expense is a factor, too.

    My husband and 20 yr old son watched many movies at the Pittsford Plaza over the years, and they loved the -plex theater for the seating and the low attendance. They saw lots of action stuff that didn’t really interest me. The three of us did go to see the True Grit remake, and I liked that.

    I should go to the Dryden theater more often, I guess.

  82. 82
    efgoldman says:

    @cmorenc:

    If anything, she views herself in the tradition of H.L. Mencken, a professional cynic, except with a female voice.

    MoDo couldn’t carry the old anti-Semite’s cigar butts.

  83. 83
    Brachiator says:

    @RossInDetroit:

    I have the same beef with theaters that a lot of adults do: the experience just isn’t the same any more. You never know when you’ll get a dim picture or garbled sound. And you can be assured of being interrupted by talking, texting, walking around, general teenaged grabassing and chair kicking. Hollering babies, etc. I may just be becoming an old crank but I’d swear it’s changed for the worse

    Dim pictures and garbled sound is rare, especially with digital projection. As for the rest, ironically people insist on bringing their crappy home habits along with them to the movie theaters, so they talk and fiddle with their phones at home and think that the movie theater is just the same thing as their big screen at home. And then they get upset if you ask them to tone it down.

    My favorite bad experience was when an old woman repeated much of the movie dialog to her hard of hearing husband.

    If that’s the business model, you’d think there would be more small houses that simply re-run the most popular movies of the last 5-10 years and/or movies with strong cult followings

    Small houses are dying, even in Los Angeles, one of the centers of the business. Strong cult following does not translate into enough steady repeat business. And a lot of people are finding it more convenient and fun to catch up on old favorites on Netflix.

    Ironically, people also enjoy catching up on old tv shows, as well as movies, on Netflix, Roku, and Hulu. And yet the studios are nervous about these streaming services.

    Cable companies are also unhappy, and are as stupidly jealous of protecting their business models as are the movie studios.

  84. 84
    Todd G says:

    re original topic, Here’s Roger Ebert’s column on exactly that from 12/28/2011: Click here

    good arguments all. In that column he references that Netflix accounts for 30% of all North American internet traffic in the evening. That got a “Yikes!” from me. I assume this is the original source for that number, which states that the 30% figure is for May 2011, they expected Netflix streaming traffic to reach 50% of all North American internet traffic by end of 2011.

  85. 85
    efgoldman says:

    @Brachiator:

    By the way, I am not sure whether Hollywood gets anything from the sales of used DVDs.

    No, no more than used book/record/CR stores return money to the publishers or record labels.
    There was a lawsuit by some record label about it (can’t find the cite, sorry), and the existence and business model of used book stores, which have been around pretty much since the founding of the republic, made the defense’s argument.

  86. 86

    @arguingwithsignposts: Dowd is the “Liberal” columnist exclusively read and cited by right wingers.

  87. 87
    Brachiator says:

    @Todd G: A recent news story put Netflix use into perspective:

    Netflix stock surged 11% on Wednesday, its biggest gain in almost a year, as investors were impressed by new data on streaming video usage.

    The online movie and television subscription company said early Wednesday that its customers streamed more than 2 billion hours of content during the final three months of 2011. Analyst Richard Greenfield of BTIG estimated that would make Netflix the No. 15 most watched television network, ahead of FX, History Network and CNN.

    In the 21 million homes estimated to use Netflix’s streaming video — the company has not updated its subscription figures since Sept. 30 — it is the second most watched network, behind only CBS, Greenfield said.

    “The most relevant takeaway is that Netflix streaming usage is exploding and is far, far bigger than traditional media executives give it credit for,” the analyst said.

    continuing my comments:And yet, the studios want to fight Netflix, denying them access to more current movies. And the cable companies insist that streaming is a fad.

  88. 88
    Tripod says:

    @RSA:

    The Mega-plex effect. More screens, fewer seats per screen. A full sized IMAX theater comes in at 300-400 seats. A post WWII, purpose built, single theater wide-screen was ~1000 and the big pre-war palaces were upward of 4000 seats.

  89. 89
    RSA says:

    @Tripod:

    The Mega-plex effect. More screens, fewer seats per screen.

    Thanks, that makes a lot of sense.

  90. 90
    KXB says:

    For comparison purposes, over Christmas my sister and I went to see the new Mission Impossible movie (non-IMAX screen). The tickets were $11 each, and we did not get snacks. It was a good movie, and it probably would be cooler in IMAX, but that would have been $13.50 per ticket.

    Using my Netflix account (streaming/1DVD plan), over the past three weekends I have seen Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Lincoln Lawyer, and Super 8 – all on DVD. Plus streaming one-hour shows about 3-4 nights per week. The cost is $15.98 per month. Granted, I have a nice Sony GoogleTV, but even with my ole 1997 Panasonic TV, Netflix is a much better bang for the buck.

    If I go out to a theater, and I don’t like the movie, I feel cheated. If I watch a disappointing movie on Netflix, I don’t feel that way. The only movie I plan to definitely see in the theater is The Dark Knight Rises. Even then, I usually wait for the second or third weekend to avoid the crowds.

  91. 91
    Elmo says:

    I had pretty much stopped going to movies altogether, given Netflix and a big TV. Then when the new Sherlock Holmes came out, I discovered a new theater innovation that is guaranfrickinteed to bring me back into theaters with abandon.

    Moving seats.

    I hate 3D and I can’t watch IMAX. But this theater in Leesburg VA actually has seats that move and react to the action. There was an explosion early in the movie – its in all the previews. My seat jerked backward and then rumbled, like an Xbox controller on steroids. It was awesome.

    Twice as expensive as normal seats, but it’s assigned seating like a real theater. I will definitely be back.

  92. 92
    porlander says:

    I was disappointed when my favorite theater in Portland recently raised their ticked prices from $3 to $4. But since you can get pizza, beer, and wine in the theater I still gave them a pass. Go to a corporate first run theater? Not gonna happen.

  93. 93
    Maus says:

    @Brachiator:

    Small houses are dying, even in Los Angeles, one of the centers of the business.

    All theaters are dying. Small houses aren’t as able to weather as well, unless they can offer amenities that the others can’t. In Seattle, ours are doing well whenever they can offer beer, good snacks, UNIQUE offerings and the like.

  94. 94

    […] Check out this rational rant about movies and the price of movies here. […]

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