NATO

Earlier this week, Deadline Wherever reported that during a panel at CinemaCon, exhibitors discussed the option of allowing patrons to text during films. It was pitched as an attempt to attract younger audiences to the theaters, even though it doesn’t actually address the reason (price of films, quality of the home video experience and rampant online piracy) why teens and college students don’t go to the movies as much as they did in the 70s and 80s. At Film School Rejects, we support a staunch no-texting policy (and no tweeting, Facebooking, web surfing, Wikipediaing, playing of Angry Birds or Fruit Ninja) at all theaters. However, instead of pointing out the fallacies of this idiotic suggestion, we’re taking a look into the future. Here is a possible timeline of what might happen were texting allowed in movie theaters. Gird your loins and enjoy this cautionary tale from Cole Abaius and Kevin Carr.

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At a Regal Cinema in Rensselaer, New York, the price for a regular showing of The Lorax is $7.75 while the price for the 3D version of the movie is $13.75. That’s a considerable up-charge, and it’s one that consumers and film fans have gotten used to. Either you swallow the bitter pill of renting plastic glasses for an addition six bucks or you stick with the traditional 2D model to avoid the headache. Now, according to Joe Paletta, the CEO of Spotlight Theaters – a regional theater that has a handful of operations in Georgia, one in Connecticut and one in Florida – has written a brief piece for Screen Trade Magazine in which he states that they’ll most likely be folding the price of 3D tickets into the regular ticket prices. “Among the bigger changes will probably see the 3D-upcharge disappear. 3D charges will help increase the overall ticket-price but, as an industry, I think we’ll see a blend begin to emerge in 2012, where patrons will have a single price for both 2D and 3D films. 2D prices will increase and 3D prices will decrease.” My emphasis there is meant to spotlight the reality of the situation. What this means is that instead of paying $14 for 3D tickets or $8 for 2D tickets, everyone will end up paying $11 per ticket to split the difference. Now, clearly this won’t be across the board change, and Spotlight isn’t a giant outfit but it’s certainly an idea that […]

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It hasn’t been a great start to the year for movie theater owners. There was the bizarre dust-up between the National Association of Theater Owners and the studios which advocated a shortened window of exclusivity before launching their films in homes On-Demand, but more so than one event, there’s a general feeling of outrage at higher ticket prices (which, as John Gholson explained on Reject Radio, have almost nothing to do with theater profits now) and higher-priced hotdogs. Plus, there’s the overall miserable experience that most theaters deliver. Now Boston.com has a truly disheartening story about theater managers not even bothering to switch out lenses between 3D and 2D films. The result? That 2D movie you saved money on by refusing the 3D up-charge is 50% darker than it should be. Read the entire article for the full take (and definitely listen to that Reject Radio episode for more illumination), but this seems indicative of a larger problem going on in movie theaters – a lack of incentive to make anything enjoyable. Audiences are coming for the movie, and theaters are delivering little else in the way of enticement. It’s no wonder that ticket sales are dropping. With the transition from reels to digital projectors, gone is the knowledge that came with understanding how the projection process really works. It took serious understanding to be behind the glass, but now it requires pushing a few buttons and reading an Archie comic.

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Most casual movie fans don’t know anything about the contentious relationship between the studios and the screens they use to display their wares. The quick and dirty version isn’t a pretty one. The studio system basically holds all of the power when it comes to how movies play, how much of the cut they get from them, and how long they’ll stay exclusively on screens. Now that studios are attempting to show new films on Video-On-Demand just a month after hitting theaters (at the premium price of $30 (which is less premium than going to the theater with a family of 2-4)), the theaters are finally fighting back. Sadly, they’re fighting back with empty threats. At least they’re going for the gusto. The National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) is threatening to boycott screening films involved in the VOD plan, and that includes the giant summer flicks that were on everyone’s Most Anticipated lists. The money quote from NATO chief executive John Fithian’s statement to the Financial Times: “Let’s say you’re Regal Cinemas and it’s a busy weekend with a couple of big pictures opening. If it’s 50-50 between this picture and that picture and you have a partner that respects your [business] model and another one that doesn’t, you’re going to give the screen to the partner that respects your model.” Respecting that model is a case of giving theaters enough time to make money off of doing what they do.

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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