theaters

Boiling Point

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.

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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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It looks like everyone is throwing their hats into the ring. When the studios announced a plan to release movies in home theaters just 30 days after the theaters located outside the home (with a price tag of $30 per rental), the National Association of Theater Owners balked. Apparently their threat to boycott big blockbusters was a fake, but they haven’t kept secret their disgust for the new model that would limit their ability to make money showing movies (since studios take the 50%-100% lion’s share of the ticket split in the first weeks). Now, 23 directors and producers are speaking out against it. That list includes James Cameron, Michael Bay, Kathryn Bigelow, Guillermo del Toro, Roland Emmerich, Antoine Fuqua, Todd Garner, Lawrence Gordon, Stephen Gyllenhaal, Gale Anne Hurd, Peter Jackson, Karyn Kusama, Jon Landau, Shawn Levy, Michael Mann, Bill Mechanic, Jamie Patricof, Todd Phillips, Brett Ratner, Robert Rodriguez, Adam Shankman, Gore Verbinski, and Robert Zemeckis. The full, un-edited open letter is below:

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Boiling Point

I’m of the belief that you can never go wrong with the classics. Coca-Cola, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Pepperoni Pizza, and writing boiling point about how movie goers need to sit down and shut the fuck up. It’s been said a million times and with a million good reasons: a million or more people just won’t sit the fuck down. Or shut the fuck up. Why do I feel the need to revisit this topic? Well, this past Saturday I took some time out of my busy schedule to spend a relaxing evening at the local cinema. Watching Insidious. It’s a pretty solid flick by the way, so maybe you should check it out if you can find a theater that has a crowd far better than mine. Oh, and in case you’re not all that interested in the sit down and shut up talk, stick around anyways – this is a general etiquette class for not being a douche while watching a movie.

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Over the weekend, discounted tickets through Groupon helped The Lincoln Lawyer‘s box office numbers, which once again draws the question of ticket prices back into the forefront. It’s no secret that ticket prices are a cause for concern for both movie fans (like us) who feel hoodwinked by inflated prices of admission and movie studios who, despite record-breaking years recently, still want to make more money. Since lowering prices wholesale is apparently not an option, another solution has to be found, and Steve Zeitchik over at the LA Times gives about as smart and in-depth an exploration of flexible ticket pricing as you could hope for. Just like hotels and airfare, the movies that aren’t popular become cheaper while the huge hype of blockbusters comes with a bigger price tag. While a movie like Limitless starts to sell out, the prices go up, but as ticket sales for Paul stay low, the price drops. It’s almost as simple as that.

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bp-internettrailers

The internet, when not being awesome, is murdering many of the joys we once shared in a movie theater.

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