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TOPIC: What would it take to make theatres irrelevant?

Re: What would it take to make theatres irrelevant? 16 Sep 2004 00:30 #9064

  • outaframe
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Well put JACK, and all true... Especially the comments about over-building, and the lack of Showmen controlling the studios... In the early days, the studios were the CREATION of those Showmen, and their fingerprints were all over the product... They were Giants and Geniuses, and the product reflected their willingness to gamble on something untried, daring, and inovative... Today, most of the product is dumbed down to what is considered "safe" and formula driven by the bean counters, with the only real intention being to make a buck... The result is the typically forgetable legless "movie of the week" which goes to video in an ever decreasing time span... Mediocrity is the result: no wonder interest is declining in what we have to offer!...
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Re: What would it take to make theatres irrelevant? 16 Sep 2004 11:30 #9065

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The product has always been dumbed down. It's just that we don't remember the trash from 10/20 years ago as much as we remember the gems. Every year, there are about 10-gems and 490 pieces of trash. Same as in the music world or book world. It's no dumber than it has been, it just looks slicker.

The only problem is that you can't ignore the dumb movies because one or two of them is going to make $200,000,000 and put your theatre in to profit for the year.
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Re: What would it take to make theatres irrelevant? 16 Sep 2004 16:21 #9066

Theatres will be in big trouble the day that people can get 40' TV sets for their living room... Until then, we are very much alive.
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Re: What would it take to make theatres irrelevant? 16 Sep 2004 21:26 #9067

  • filmguy
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I very much agree with the optimists in this group.

I remember seeing some pictures of very, VERY early movie theatres. They weren't much more than a sheet on a wall with some folding chairs between a crude projector and the "screen". This crude theatre took, in some instances, about 40 years to become the "movie palace" that some speak of so fondly. The "plex palace" is still coming. If I remember correctly, movies would routinely stay for only 3 to 4 days in one location, and many times wouldn't be the only title offered. I know that there was plenty of crap released back then as well with every Tom, Dick and Harry trying to break into the biz. But like was said earlier, we only remember the great ones.
So, two movies every three days. Hmmmmm... seems like a 5 plex is about the same as the singles of yesterday simply meeting the changes in the industry.

The way I see it, theatres are simply meeting the demand from a public that wants to get out of the house, be with good friends or family where one doesn't have to be host/hostess, servent, or what have you, enjoy the most recognized form of entertainment and give everybody what they need most, A BREAK FROM REAL LIFE!!!!

I don't know if that all makes any sense, but to answer the original question, the only thing that would kill the theatre is if they were outlawed, fun became illeagal, or something else more assinine than that.

Home theatres are just that. In the HOME. If they're going to kill theatres, the big vacation destinations better be worried as well. Movies are like mini vacations. I don't think people are going to stop going to Florida either.

It's very late, time to go home.
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Re: What would it take to make theatres irrelevant? 17 Sep 2004 23:47 #9068

  • jacker5
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Many people complain about the price of a movie ticket. But out of all the entertainment for a family this is the cheapest form. Think of it sports events, concerts, amusement parks, even going out to a restaurant.
A movie experience for a family of four is the cheapest night out.
Also about different forms of Home Entertainment, there is no replicating the theater experience. Popcorn smell, pop, candy and a darkened theater surrounded by cheering movie goers. You cannot duplicate that at home.
Theater owners have to keep there theater cleaned and different from anyone else. Small towns are the best candidates for this. A lot of small towns have limited entertainment and this can be the center of attention if it caters to the towns needs. Run late shows of obscure different movies. Run classics. You will be surprised at the amount of seniors that want to relive the golden days on the big screen. Also do things for the community runs marathons, to charity events having all the money for shows going to charity funds.
The big guys just run movies, the Indies can make a difference and stand out and show the community were there heart is.
There is a sudden surge for nostalgia. People want what was. They have a sense of security of times gone by. We live in a cruel unpredictable world now and people like to escape into the past.
Theaters all are in our past and can recapture the good times. Focus on these things and you will see people coming back to your theater, and say,"That can never be done at my house, no matter what size screen or sound system. The movies house is were movies should be seen and enjoyed."
Hope I am not rambling and hope this helps in your discussion!

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Re: What would it take to make theatres irrelevant? 19 Sep 2004 11:52 #9069

  • Avalon
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The above is a VR of the lobby of my single screen. If you have Quicktime, take a “spin.” A 12-plex opened in town in June. My numbers dropped for a couple months, now they are coming back. The reason? Personality! Look at that lobby, kids. Everyone who works behind my counter has an IQ and is a fry short of a happy meal. Try getting that in a cookie-cutter, minimum-waged staffed, money extraction machine commonly called a multiplex. If you can’t afford to build a grand movie palace, then put enough of a spin on it so you don’t look like a pale comparison to a movie palace. Sell the venue because there will always be another place to get movies. Always.

My two favorite things in the world (that don’t involve midgets and trampolines) are motorcycles and movies. Interestingly enough, these are two things you can do with someone else and not have to talk to them. People will always want a place to go on a first date, where the phone doesn’t ring, where you don’t have to listen to the neighbors woofer (sub or Spaniel). It’s a place to be with some one, share an experience, and not feel like you need to entertain them.

Remeber, that the more technology “comes home,” the more we will need a place away from it.

Great comments from everybody on this subject.

Paul Turner
Avalon Cinema
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Re: What would it take to make theatres irrelevant? 20 Sep 2004 10:57 #9070

  • garymey
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All these thoughts, though often seeming to be in conflict, are ture statements of the direction of the industry. It will get tough for many of us. As said, the only thing stopping the studios from a direct home delivery is piracy. They'll continue theatrical release but t will be with a very short and eventually, no window. Day and date. That means many theater will close because there won;t be enough moviegoers to keep them all going.

I have a subrun theater. It gets harder every week. The quality movies with good word-of-mouth usually play long runs squeezing almost everything out of a movie. Because I have a competitor for subrun I don;t have total pick of the litter. My audiences love my theater with all its personality but if they think it might play the other venue (generally not felt to be on the same level as ours, they go see it first run.

The studio movies play in so many theaters that they burn out quickly...and some studios set such a late date for subrun (I am not a discount house but do have lower than first run prices)the films are forgotten. Others refuse to play double bills..or in the case of MGM, not even split shows of some films...ever. They have told us that they would rather come out of a market on DE-LOVELY than play "shows."

So I have lived with this but now the video windows are shrinking. Columbia/Sony has set 3 months as the window to video. A few films get longer if the video benefits from waiting...make SPIDERMAN 2 a Xmas release. But that means the Sony Pictures Classics are mostly at 3 months and some of those films are still in first run.

So little by little the industry gives people reasons to be more selective about the films they go out to the movies to see. So yes, people stil want to go out and be with audiences, but they become increasingly selective about deciding if it is a
1. Must See Now
2. Bargain Matinee
3. Wait for Video
4. Wait for Cable
5. Who Cares

Large numbers of people will rush out to see certain films in the first week but no amount of personality, great presentation, parking, etc. will prevent bad word of mouth from killing lousy movies...and Hollywood continues to make lots of them. It doesn;t stop them from demanding high film terms in subsequent weeks.
I suppose the power of going to the movies is proven by the fact that audiences haven't totally given up after being tricked into seeing so much crap.

Enought of this reading and writing...time to go out and find new ways to attract audiences. Free Beer?
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Re: What would it take to make theatres irrelevant? 29 Sep 2004 11:36 #9071

  • poppajoe
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Remember when no one ever thought that a man would walk on the moon? Well...I think that the only way that theatres would meet their demise would be if first run movies were somehow issued to the public to view as well as the theatres. Ya, it sounds far fetched I know, but stranger things have happened.
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