I’m not afraid of a little capitalism. Hey, we all embrace it, working every day for the man in the city, or stealing shit. Unless you’re high on bath salts and living off the faces of hobos, you need money. People who have money want more money. Money makes the world go round.
When people don’t make the money they think they deserve, or the money they want, or they just think that more money would be better, they complain about it. Hollywood is full of whiny babies, whether it’s studios, actors, directors, or theater chains. They’re all obsessing over money.
There are at least a dozen different boiling points that could be about money and who’s crying the most, but this one points the finger at the theater chains.
Entitlement is a bad thing. If you’re a little bastard like Joffrey and you feel entitled to act a fool on the throne, everyone is going to hate your ass. If you’re a whiny bitch like Hannah on Girls, no one will relate to you. If you’re a pirate who thinks it’s okay to steal Game of Thrones because HBO doesn’t make it available to you at the price you are willing to pay, you’re an asshole. If you’re a theater and you think you should be earning more money but are doing little in the way to improve the experience – well, you can suck it.
I’m a big defender of the movie theater experience. I’d much rather sit in a giant theater, full of people, sound blasting out my ear drums, than sit at home watching TV or a Blu-ray. The theater has long been an escape for us – whether it was dealing with the heat of the Great Depression or something far more personal, heading to the local multiplex is a great thing.
Or, it used to be, before we started getting bent over at the register. Movie ticket prices have been climbing, concessions spinning wildly out of control, and what do we get for it? A ton of commercials, a bunch of trailers, and the movie. What happened to the theatricality of it all?
Certainly there are a few theaters around that try to justify the costs. Arclight Cinemas has great seating and huge theaters. The Alamo Drafthouse has food service and attitude. El Capitan has live shows and organ music – and I think the last one is definitely on to something.
Now,we don’t need live shows in all theaters at all showings, that would be impractical – but can’t we get a little more? Remember the good old days when getting to a theater early meant you got to watch cartoons rather than commercials?
There is only so much you can do technologically with a theater – once you get great picture and sound, that’s it. Once you have comfortable seating, that’s it. So what can you do to justify the cost? Create an experience! Make me want to come to your theater. Do something special. Decorate the place in a unique way. Display props. Build up an arcade or throw in some seating in the lobby area to create a destination.
Bring back cartoons! Sure, someone has to make them and that’s generally not the theater’s provenance, but if you demand them, they will come. Hell, maybe a big theater chain could finance their own cartoons. Buff up the movie trivia! Instead of just having the same ten questions rotating, do something with it. With more and more digital projections, you can do more and more things quickly and easily thanks to the computer connection. Play music. Play music videos. Do something to justify the rising ticket costs.
Going to the movies should be an experience if you’re going to charge me like I’m coming to an amusement park. Put some magic into it! Think about it. Do something. I don’t care if the ticket taker is smiling or not, but if every Friday they were dressed in Superhero costumes, well, I might be more inclined to show up. Especially if you have a Wonder Woman. Or a She-Hulk.
More and more of us are feeling like we’re not getting our money’s worth. Regardless of what they say, Hollywood is getting their fair share. Theater owners might be getting pittance, but they can justify higher ticket prices by offering a better service. A higher service, a more entertaining service. I mean, fuck, just bring back the “Let’s all go to the movies” concession cartoons. That’s step one.
If you want to increase your business, you have to keep the customer happy and many of us aren’t. What are you going to do about it? Do something! For me, watching a movie in a theater is still magical, but everything up until the lights dimming is losing it’s appeal. Woo me, theater chains. Make me love you again. Because right now, the high prices and over abundance of advertising, coupled with a lack of character, has got me past my boiling point.