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TOPIC: The Blame Game Has Started

The Blame Game Has Started 19 Dec 2011 21:23 #37641

  • muviebuf
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The exhibitors are blaming the studios for weak product and the studios are blaming the exhibitors for charging too much:

www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/holiday-b...new-years-eve-274351

What's that old expression? If more than one person is at fault, then no one is at fault.


BTW: I see that somehow I have gone from plus one to negative one on karma. If some of you dont like what I am saying or how I say it .... why dont you have to guts to tell me to my face. Oh wait a minute ... how foolish of me.... that why everyone loves the internet.... so they can bash people anonymously.
Last Edit: 19 Dec 2011 21:52 by muviebuf.
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Re: The Blame Game Has Started 20 Dec 2011 03:20 #37642

  • slapintheface
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Were in a down cycle --how long will it last --who knows -- ART films have not been touched by the downturn......
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Re: The Blame Game Has Started 20 Dec 2011 04:30 #37643

  • elvislvr
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The studios can't totally blame the exhibitors for the ticket prices. We were told two summers ago by one studio that we had to increase our ticket prices or we would not receive the big blockbuster that summer. We were forced by the studio to make our first increase in our ticket prices since opening six years prior. Then, about eight months ago another, different studio, told us we had to raise our adult ticket prices by fifty cents or we would not receive the big blockbuster. We opted NOT to raise our prices, rather we pay the difference on the their percap requirement. If you ask them though they say "We can't tell theaters what to charge, that's illegal." No, they can't tell you what to charge, but they can tell you what product they withhold from you if you don't send them X amount of money.
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Re: The Blame Game Has Started 20 Dec 2011 05:04 #37644

  • paulii_2000
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elvislvr: I use to work for an independent theatre chain and they made them increase the price several times. I agree that it is the studios fault on that front.

I think it would be interesting to see if small theatres are doing better than the big chain theatres.
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Re: The Blame Game Has Started 20 Dec 2011 05:30 #37645

  • revrobor
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I haven't been active in the business for five years now but from what I am reading here and elsewhere I am just about convinced the major studios and distributors are attempting to shut down all theatres that are not multiplexes or not located in major cities.
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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Re: The Blame Game Has Started 20 Dec 2011 08:40 #37646

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Weekend Report: Disappointing Debuts From 'Sherlock,' 'Alvin' Sequels

While franchise titles did claim the top three spots at the box office this weekend, it wound up being a very mixed frame for sequels. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked both tallied solid grosses, though they were notably down from their predecessors. On the other hand, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol had a robust start in limited release. Even with all of these established brands entering the marketplace, overall box office ended up down around 12 percent from the same frame last year.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows opened to $39.6 million, which is way down from the original Sherlock Holmes's $62.3 million over Christmas weekend in 2009. In what could be an even more concerning comparison, the movie wound up lower than Tron Legacy's $44 million start at the same time last year. That's particularly shocking considering Game of Shadows opened just two years after a well-received original while Tron hit theaters 28 years after a first movie that wasn't even widely available on DVD or Blu-ray until after Legacy's release. Distributor Warner Bros. Pictures is reporting that the audience was 59 percent male and 50 percent under the age of 35, and that it received an "A-" CinemaScore.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked debuted to $23.25 million, or less than half of The Squeakquel's $48.9 million. It was also significantly off from the first Alvin's $44.3 million. Distributor 20th Century Fox reports that the audience was 54 percent female and 53 percent under the age of 25. The movie earned a "B+" CinemaScore.

Both Sherlock and Alvin struggled to live up to franchise standards this weekend, albeit for different reasons. The marketing for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows never sufficiently differentiated the movie from its predecessor. While the ads did often briefly mention Holmes's conflict with Professor Moriarty, the focus was mainly put on the slow-motion action and Holmes-Watson banter that were trademarks of the first movie. While that movie is generally well-liked, it probably doesn't have the sort of rabid fan base that will eagerly turn out for more of same, which seemed to bear out this weekend.

In comparison, 20th Century Fox did a great job showing that Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked had a unique premise (the Chipmunks get stranded on a desert island) in comparison to the first two movies. Regardless of how interesting the premise is, though, the Alvin and the Chipmunks series probably isn't looked upon fondly by most adults. While usually this wouldn't be a huge problem, the generally poor performance of family movies lately indicates that parents are probably being far more judicious in deciding what movies they will take their children to.

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol was the one bright spot at the box office this weekend. Opening at just 425 locations, Ghost Protocol earned $12.8 million for an impressive per-theater average of $30,083. That tops Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason ($8.7 million) for highest-grossing limited debut ever (fewer than 600 theaters). Based on Sunday estimates, Ghost Protocol's 300 IMAX locations contributed $11 million, and it's $36,667 average was slightly better than that of Inception ($36,548) or Fast Five ($32,787). Of course both of those movies were in nationwide and IMAX release simultaneously, though it still serves to highlight the strong numbers from the fourth Mission: Impossible movie.

By releasing the movie five days early in IMAX and consistently pushing the format's immersive benefits, distributor Paramount Pictures managed to at least initially turn Ghost Protocol in to an event movie that demands to be seen on the big screen. It probably didn't hurt that a six-minute prologue for The Dark Knight Rises was attached at around 42 locations, though that also isn't a large-enough sample to solely account for the above-average performance. It's tough to say for sure if Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol's success will continue when it makes its nationwide expansion on Wednesday, but for the time being the movie appears to be in very good shape.

Last weekend's leaders didn't fare too well in their second outing. New Year's Eve dropped 44 percent to $7.3 million for a 10-day total of $24.7 million, while The Sitter plummeted 53 percent to $4.6 million for a total of $17.9 million.

After a decent week in limited release, Young Adult expanded to 986 locations and earned $3.4 million. That's not a very encouraging figure, but Young Adult also isn't the type of movie that's designed to open big anyway. A solid long-run target now looks to be director Jason Reitman's first movie, Thank You for Smoking, which wound up with $24.8 million in 2006.
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Re: The Blame Game Has Started 20 Dec 2011 14:49 #37647

  • RickAlan
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After 17+ years of owning a theater, I can tell you I've never been asked/told by a distributor to change my prices. Converted 2 of 6 screens to digital in October 2010. Put all new seats in the entire theater in December 2010. Converted the remaining 4 screens to digital in May 2011.

Through November this year, we were up 19% over a year ago in ticket sales. Though we are down 15% in December, we do 70% of our December business in the last 10 days of the month. Even with a slow start to the month, we are still up nearly 17% over a year ago.
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Re: The Blame Game Has Started 20 Dec 2011 15:37 #37648

  • slapintheface
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3O YEARS NEVER HEARD OF A STUDIO ASKING A THEATER TO RAISE PRICES. I have used the argument our ticket price is higher than our neighbor and i always get we dont care-- as long as they are charging the per cap price.
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Re: The Blame Game Has Started 20 Dec 2011 18:54 #37650

  • rufusjack
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We are a seasonal first run. Which in the eyes of some people means our experiences/thoughts/opinions do not matter.

We opened November of 2006 initially charging $3 for a child ticket. One of biggest family friendly studios mentioned that our child ticket prices were awful low for movies on the break. All the studio rep did was mention it. Who has the power in the studio/exhibitor relationship in my case? Sometime in the fall of 2008 we raised the child price to $4. Besides that, there have not been any mention of ticket prices.

FWIW.
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Re: The Blame Game Has Started 21 Dec 2011 03:57 #37651

  • GrantD
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As I am not a theater owner yet, I can only opine from the customers perspective.
Both ticket prices and quality movies are to blame with the lack luster box office. I am more than willing to spend a higher price for a better movie. But as a father of 3, I can not take my kids to see a movie at the cinema unless I go at the Matinee to get the right prices. I would be willing to try other movies if the prices were lower.
The best possible situation would be a ticket price determined by the quality of the movie. I would have paid $15 to see the final Harry Potter but only $2 to see Harold and Kumar.
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Re: The Blame Game Has Started 21 Dec 2011 06:45 #37652

  • dnedrow
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elvislvr,

If you look at your distributor contract, virtually all of them will include a minimum average ticket price. This is determined over a period of time, depending on distributor. It could be by week or over the entire run. We occasionally get "updates" to the terms noting an increased minimum average. As far as I can remember, it's somewhere around 7.25 these days.

So, if you're running new product on the break, your average needs to be at least that, or you pay a percentage on the difference, multiplied by the number of tickets sold. That's in addition to the percentage already derived from the actual ticket sales.

Pretty standard.
Last Edit: 21 Dec 2011 06:46 by dnedrow. Reason: Clarification
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Re: The Blame Game Has Started 24 Dec 2011 03:40 #37669

  • rodeojack
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dnedrow wrote:
elvislvr,

If you look at your distributor contract, virtually all of them will include a minimum average ticket price. This is determined over a period of time, depending on distributor. It could be by week or over the entire run. We occasionally get "updates" to the terms noting an increased minimum average. As far as I can remember, it's somewhere around 7.25 these days.

So, if you're running new product on the break, your average needs to be at least that, or you pay a percentage on the difference, multiplied by the number of tickets sold. That's in addition to the percentage already derived from the actual ticket sales.

Pretty standard.


What country are you in? I've been in this business for over 40 years and have never seen a contract that mentions an average minimum. While the studios may verbally attempt to influence a theatre's admission (which has never happened to me), they can not tell you what to charge, period. On the other hand, they CAN, and do specify a minimum rental fee per patron, which is an entirely different matter and which they may, or may not choose to enforce. As per law, you are free to charge whatever you want. However, if the percentage on your admission is less than their established minimum per-capita, then you have to make up the difference. Again... what you decide to charge for admission is completely up to you. As long as you had the money to cover their per-cap, you could technically let 'em in for free... though your career in this business would likely be rather short.

If you have some examples of contract language, where a theatre in this country is required to maintain some kind of minimum admission average, I'd love to see it.
Last Edit: 24 Dec 2011 03:44 by rodeojack.
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Re: The Blame Game Has Started 26 Dec 2011 17:13 #37672

  • Mike
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you are free to charge whatever you want: you can let everyone in for no charge. But the film distribs do have the option to charge you a per cap fee fopr film rental. If you choose to pay the rental out of your pocket and let everyone in for no charge you are essentially buying tickets for the public. The "blended per cap" is a very real issue. Just tell Sony you are playing their films on bargain night for 3.50 and see what happens.
Michael Hurley
Impresario
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