June 27, 2005

Ya Gotta Love Hollywood

There's apparently a slump in box office reciepts.

{...}It was the 18th weekend in a row the box office declined, passing a 1985 slump of 17 weekends that had been the longest since analysts began keeping detailed figures on movie grosses.

{...}Theater revenues have skidded about 7 percent compared to last year. Factoring in higher ticket prices, movie admissions are off 10 percent for the year, according to box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations.

{...}If the slump continues, Hollywood is on course for a third straight year of declining admissions and its lowest ticket sales since the mid-1990s.

"We're working with a pretty huge deficit that would take a lot of business to overcome," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations. "Just breaking the slump is not enough. We would have to reverse the trend and see attendance on a big uptick."

Well, kids. If the problem is low ticket sales, perhaps you should:

a. stop putting out crap
b. lower your ticket prices

Because option a flows into option b. I can't tell you how many times I've been subjected to full-priced crapola. I get tired of paying full price for crapola. You people have put out so much crapola over the years, and yet you expect us, the paying customer, to shell out our hard earned money for the pleasure of watching said crapola. Perhaps you should think about your business model, because you're not really paying attention to the laws of basic economics, are you? Supply and demand, kids. If you want to make money on the demand portion, you have to supply a product people are willing to pay for. It's pretty simple stuff, on the whole.

I was horrified to learn that a very good film we watched this weekend, The Machinist, was rejected by the American studios. The director had to go to Spain to get it made. Apparently, they know how to tell a story in Spain, whereas if the American studios had made this film, it probably would have been hacked to death to fit some stupid marketing demographic. I'm sad I didn't get the opportunity to see this one in the theater. I would have paid good money to see it in the theater because that action promotes the kind of movie I would like to see more of.

The choice now rests with the consumer. You have to please us or we won't spend the money. You do realize that, don't you? I sincerely hope so. Your expectations, Hollywood, are out of whack and you're now receiving this message loud and clear. Most people make certain calls nowadays about when to see a movie: they go to the theater only for stuff they want to see in the theater; if they're somewhat lukewarm, they'll wait for the DVD; if they really don't care all that much, they'll wait for it to come on cable. You people just seem to assume we're going to go to the theater, then we're going to purchase---or at the very least rent---the DVD, and then that we'll watch it again on cable. That's not the case. We're not made of money, kids. We have to be discriminating consumers nowadays because a trip to the movies can make a serious dent in your wallet.

Now, the basic underlying problem comes in when you go to the theater to see something that looks appealing, you fork over the $8.50 ticket price (and I know this more expensive elsewhere) and then you come out of said theater two hours later, disappointed. You've been forced to sit through God only knows how many commercials and trailers before the film even started...and then the film turned out to be crap. The story was disjointed and poorly told. The overpaid actors didn't do their job very well. The director refused to use a stead-i-cam and you felt like you were going to puke when the action scenes started. All of these things will keep people away from the theater. Because if you want to charge $8.50, you might want to make a product most people would consider worthy of that amount of money, and you haven't done it lately. Perhaps they'll rent it on DVD later on, or maybe they'll watch it on cable. Who knows? But the overall point remains clear: you can only burn us so many times before we start voicing our objections by not buying your product. Do you get it yet?

You don't? Well, let's talk about ticket prices, shall we? This is where you could make up some losses. Because if it didn't cost $8.50 to go and see a movie, more people would go. It's pretty simple. It might become affordable for people. But right now you people don't seem to think that this is an expensive activity. Let me disabuse you of that notion, because it is. When the husband and I go to see a movie, we try to go to a matinee, which costs us a whopping $6.50 per ticket. Not much of discount, eh? And furthermore the local movie theater just informed us the other day that any show after four p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday was going to be the full-price $8.50. Do the math: if we go to see a matinee, it's $13. If we go after four on a weekend, well, it's $17. Imagine buying tickets for a family with four kids and two adults at these prices. The kid price at the local movie theater is $4.50 for a matinee and $6.50 for evening. That's $31 for a matinee showing and $43 for an evening showing. That's hardly affordable and that's just to see the movie. Then if you perhaps want the whole meal movie deal, like a soda or a bag of popcorn, you'll get raped at the concession stand. A small soda costs $3.00. In what universe are you people living? That's affordable? That's fair market value? That's baloney and you know it. People should not have to take out debt to see a movie. And that's what a lot of people do: they use their credit cards to pay for this treat. Because that's ultimately what a movie is: a treat; an entertainment. You make your money on entertaining people. That's fine and dandy, but perhaps you might want to realize you've built your business model on a foundation made of sand. Your product is not necessary in our lives. It's fun and it's cool, but it's not necessary. Your product is the first thing that gets cut from a family budget that needs to be tightened. I know you'd like to think that Art--with a capital A---is as necessary to life as breathing, but really, when the choice comes down between eating or going to a movie, you're going to lose every time.

So, you see, it all adds up. This is our bottom line. We have to pay attention to that like you have to pay attention to yours. We've made our adjustments. You, on the other hand, haven't. You expect business to go on as usual: with us forking over the cash for crap product, and you laughing all the way to the bank.

Not anymore.

Posted by Kathy at June 27, 2005 03:21 PM

On a tear today? Not that it's a bad thing...You Go Girl!

Posted by: Russ from Winterset at June 27, 2005 03:43 PM

At theaters here, anything after 230pm is full price.

Posted by: Ith at June 27, 2005 06:50 PM

Enough with the personal attacks already! You'll watch what we Hollywood types want you to watch and you'll like it, dammit!

Posted by: The Minister of Propaganda at June 27, 2005 10:18 PM


Posted by: Kathy at June 27, 2005 10:45 PM
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