Thought of the Morning

With all the recent talk about movie box office slumps, could it be that the declining grosses have something to do with the rising ticket price? In the past year, we’ve seen movie ticket prices rise from $8 to $10. Those two dollars may be small potatoes for most of us, but let’s say that you’re a family of four operating on an extremely tight budget. Suddenly, you’re now paying eight extra dollars per week (or what was once the price of one movie ticket).

Factor in the loud movie ads that thunder during those hideous “20 Minute Countdown” presentations before the movie, working against parents who are trying to get the kids settled down, and the fact that movies have seriously declined in quality, and the problem from a family perspective becomes apparent. Moreover, considering the rise in talkers, I wonder if this has less to do with home theatre environments and more to do with walking into a theatre and hearing not some soft music playing over the speakers so that people can settle down, but getting a projected movie with advertisements and hollow trivia.

And lest any sleazy Michael Medved types come around here preaching about “indecent” films that families don’t really want to see, I don’t think it’s the content or type of movie that matters. But families do go to movies. All types of movies. Everything from the latest Dreamworks animated epic to a serious drama.

If the movie business truly wanted to halt the gradual taper, then they might consider (1) reducing the ticket price from $10 to $8 by promising movie theatres a greater percentage of the gross, (2) reduce second-week dropoff by reducing supply (i.e., number of screens) and increasing deamnd, (3) demand a theatrical environment that is less intrusive and ad-centric and that actually relaxes people as they sit down, and (4) stop treating audiences as morons and make smart, entertaining, and story-centric movies.

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One Comment

  1. Not to mention that the experience of going to the theater isn’t interesting anymore. Growing up in Portland, Oregon,all of the theaters were old, run-down, but definitely different from one another in atmosphere, which made the experience of seeing the movie, no matter how bad, somehow a way to experience different parts of Portland itself. Fortunately, many of the old theaters in Portland have been rescued but in California, where I live now, every theater is exactly the same: same seats, same carpeting, same ads, and not a hint of dilapidation, which makes seeing a bad (or good) movie all the more fun. Now going to a theater feels like going into the “family room” of that family you hated as a child, the one who wouldn’t let their kids see anything with cuss words, nervously bought all of the brand name foods at the supermarket, and tried to lure you to sunday school on the weekends.I want grease on my floor and scratchy prints and outdated video games in the lobby.

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Thought of the Morning

Six years ago, the American public saw one of the most brutal battle scenes in film history. Despite the fact that Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan reached across several audiences, left and right, and was much talked about and led to a very public reconsideration of going to war for the right reasons and what our boys were in there for, the American people still voted for Bush.

Ergo, the American public has no memory in cases of exemplary artistic influence.

Also: head hurts.

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