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WHY are less people going to the movies lately?
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TheAngryJew
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PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2005 10:16 pm    Post subject: WHY are less people going to the movies lately? Reply with quote

Read just about any industry magazine and you'll know allllll about the decline of the "theatrical experience" over the last several months. Every Monday the new box office numbers are released ... and every week the total tally is down from last year.

So I'm wondering why this is the case. You might think there's just one obvious reason (the movies being released ... SUCK?), but there are several. And I want to do a large survey on several different movie sites in an effort to find out the answer.

So if the question is "Why are less people, not YOU necessarily, going to the movies these days?" -- how many different answers can you come up with. I've got these ones so far:

1. Nothing in the marketplace looks particularly exciting to me.

2. Movie tickets and/or concessions are just waaaay too expensive.

3. People actively hate and resent the pre-screen commercials.

4. Too many rude assholes (talking, cell-phoning, changing diapers, etc.) ruin the movie-watching experience.

5. "I'll just wait for the DVD."

So discuss those ones if you like, but feel free to offer me additional reasons as to why theatrical attendance is down this year.

And keep in mind: "The movies suck!" argument only works AFTER you've paid for and seen a particular movie, so that complaint doesn't really hold water. If you know what I mean.
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PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2005 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think, in part, people are more aware of the industry and are thus aware that January and February are considered dumping grounds, and are probably also aware that theatrical-to-DVD windows are shrinking.

I also think there's something to the "the movies suck" argument. People communicate much faster now. I've sent a text message about something being awful before I've actually left the theater before. It used to be an awful movie could at least get one good weekend before word-of-mouth killed it, but now it can happen by Saturday morning.
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PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2005 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think too many rude assholes, and ticket prices are main reasons, why more and more people are going less to theathers. I always hear some sort of rude asshole story, when I ask, "How was the movie?"
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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2005 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

More than ever, it seems like it has to be a BIG EVENT in order to get the masses out of their homes. Last year, The Passion of the Christ was a well-publicized event. Wihtout the advance media buzz, the film probably wouldn't have had the same impact. If it's a big summer sequel (Shrek 2, Spider-Man 2, Star Wars III), that also helps. People can feel like they're a big part of the water cooler discussion. If there's nothing to discuss, why go? Before Sith, there weren't any Event films this year.

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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2005 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

But even with Sith, it dropped off madly on the second weekend against weak ass competition.

I really think it comes down to "the movies suck", and I'm not talking specific movies, I'm talking about movies in general. even the dumbest fuckwad Scooby Doo ticket buyer must eventually start saying "I don't wanna go to the movies this weekend... let's do something else" after paying for Are We There Yet, Darkness, Guess Who, Boogeyman, Longest Yard, etc etc.
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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2005 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me, it's mostly that the movies suck. I have to be sufficiently excited about something (like Batman Begins) to rush out and see it opening weekend. Everything else I'll see weeks later, or on DVD, if ever.

But I am sick of assholes yapping on their phones or to each other (we've been over this all before). That is kind of discouraging too, so I avoid movies and times of the evening where these douchebags are most likely to be in attendance. Ticket prices would be a factor too, but thanks to my lofty film critic status I get into a lot of shit for free Very Happy
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Erik The Movieman
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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2005 1:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At this point in 2004, there was 20 films that had reached at least $50 million or more.

In 2005, there are also 20.

But let's look at those 20

The Two big blockbusters of the year (Memorial Weekend Total / Final Total)
Shrek 2 - $260,313,719 / $441,226,247
vs.
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith - $236,733,000

The Big January Hit
Along Came Polly - $88,073,507 / $88,097,164
vs.
Are We There Yet? - $82,301,521

The Kids Movie In March
Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed - $82,247,130 / $84,216,833
vs.
Robots - $126,288,325

The Early Year Sports Movie
Miracle - $64,378,093
vs.
Coach Carter - $67,264,877

The April Comic Book Movie
Hellboy - $59,623,958
vs.
Sin City - $73,418,000

The April Adult Thriller
Man on Fire - $73,722,956 / $77,911,774
vs.
The Interpreter - $67,782,000

The Sand Movies
Hidalgo - $66,354,349 / $67,303,450
vs.
Sahara - $65,928,109

The Horror Films
Dawn of the Dead - $58,885,635 / $59,020,957
vs.
The Amityville Horror (2005) - $64,538,396

The January "Horror" Movies
The Butterfly Effect - $57,938,693
vs.
White Noise - $56,386,759

Another Animated Movie
Home on the Range - $48,795,707 / $50,030,461
vs.
Madagascar - $58-68 million (estimate)

The Successful Black Flick
Barbershop 2: Back in Business - $65,111,277
vs.
Guess Who - $67,962,333

The "Chick" Flick (one great, one awful)
Mean Girls - $73,710,506 / $86,058,055
vs.
Monster-in-Law - $58,905,000

A Movie With Chicks That Grossed $50 Million
13 Going on 30 - $54,561,017 / $57,231,747
vs.
Diary of a Mad Black Woman - $50,633,099

The Sequels
Kill Bill Vol. 2 - $64,084,276 / $66,208,183
vs.
Be Cool - $56,046,979

TOTALS WITH THOSE 14 FILMS
2004 - $1,117,800,923
2005 - $1,132,188,398

AND THEN THE REST
50 First Dates - $120,196,997 / $120,908,074
vs.
The Pacifier - $110,341,629

Starsky and Hutch - $87,588,491 / $88,237,754
vs.
The Ring Two - $76,074,616

Van Helsing - $110,728,815 / $120,177,084
vs.
Constantine - $75,526,444

Troy - $109,986,882 / $133,378,256
vs.
Hide and Seek - $51,100,486

And Then Look At The Gulf Between The Big February Hits of 2004 & 2005
The Passion of the Christ - $369,727,030 / $370,274,604
vs.
Hitch - $177,575,142

And Then The Memorial Day "Event" Flick
The Day After Tomorrow - $85,807,341 / $186,740,799
vs.
The Longest Yard - $50,100,000

And If You Want To Take It Further

$40 million
2004 - Walking Tall, Secret Window, You Got Served
2005 - Racing Stripes, The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, Miss Congeniality 2, Boogeyman, Kingdom of Heaven, Fever Pitch, Kicking and Screaming

$30 million
2004 - The Ladykillers, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Punisher, Taking Lives, Johnson Family Vacation
2005 - Beauty Shop, Hostage, Crash, Because of Winn-Dixie, The Wedding Date

That's 7-to-3 and 5-to-5 in favor of 2005 at those levels.

We can all agree that there's a lot of shit released every year. 2005 has been accentuated because there really hasn't been anything of greatness, at least through mid-April.

You can sum it up pretty much without screaming Chicken Little at the box office with just a few things:

(1) THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST - nearly $200 million more than 2005's biggest February release, Hitch.

(2) Troy destroyed Kingdom of Heaven by nearly $70 million through this weekend

(3) The Day After Tomorrow will have grossed $20-$30 million more than The Longest Yard during the 4-day weekend; a weekend which also had Madagascar. Day After Tomorrow opened with Raising Helen and Soul Plane which grossed a little more the whole weekend than Madagascar did on Saturday.

Box office fluctuates. People look at those Titanic numbers like they are the end-all, be-all and they wonder stupefyingly why a film like Revenge of the Sith, even with its record-breaking opening may never touch it. Well, here's REASON #1 - LOOK at Titanic's competition in 1998 during its "staggering" #1 Box Office Run up until Lost In Space took over the #1 slot the weekend of April 3.

Firestorm
Fallen
Hard Rain
Half Baked
Star Kid
Spiceworld
Phantoms
Swept from the Sea
Great Expectations
Desperate Measures
Deep Rising
Zero Effect
Deceiver
Illtown
Replacement Killers, The
Blues Brothers 2000
Slappy and the Stinkers
Wedding Singer, The
Sphere
Borrowers, The
Hurricane Streets
Senseless
Palmetto
Gingerbread Man, The
Love Walked In
Dark City
Krippendorf's Tribe
Caught Up
Dangerous Beauty
Kissing a Fool
Real Blonde, The
Burn Hollywood Burn
U.S. Marshals
Big Lebowski, The
Twilight
Hush
Mrs. Dalloway
Mean Streets (Reissue)
Nil by Mouth
Man in the Iron Mask, The
Love and Death On Long Island
Chairman of the Board
Leading Man, The
Primary Colors
Wild Things
Mr. Nice Guy
Grease: 20th Anniversary
Newton Boys, The
Ride
Meet the Deedles
Men with Guns
Wide Awake

Here's what Revenge of the Sith has to open against:
The Longest Yard
Madagascar
The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants
Cinderella Man
Lords of Dogtown
Howl's Moving Castle
Mr. and Mrs. Smith
The Adventures of Shark Boy & Lava Girl 3D
High Tension
The Honeymooners
Batman Begins
The Perfect Man
Herbie: Fully Loaded
Bewitched
War of the Worlds

And that's just through the end of June.
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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2005 2:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A recent article I read about this also talked about the amazing home theaters people can now build for themselves. Once they get so used to enjoying things on a big screen at home, the wait for DVD is easier to handle.
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Thumb the Toad
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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2005 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The real reasons it's been declining for like 15 weeks are:

a) Passion of the Christ
b) Late start to the summer
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Oz
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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2005 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I disagree with Erik's summary, and here's why:

With the exception of Sin City, there isn't a single 2005 film that he listed (haven't seen Sith yet) that I would buy on DVD, let alone recommend to a friend while it's in theaters.

Not one. that sort of lack of quality catches up with you after a while and begins to kill your market. Think drive-ins in the 70's.
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David Cornelius
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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2005 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To throw in my two cents:

Everyone's point so far is valid, although Erik's 2004/05 comparisons need to factor in price hikes. Box office may be roughly the same, but admissions themselves are down for something like the third or fourth year in a row. (Anyone have exact figures on this? Non-exact?)

My theory: DVD is cannibalizing Hollywood. Studios have been in a mad dash to shrink the theatrical-to-video windows, realizing how much more cash they can make off of DVD sales. (Especially when you combine this with the fact that the studios, in their big-first-weekend-screw-the-second-weekend method of the past decade, have seen dwindling profits for theatrical runs, mosly due to piss-poor management.)

So here you have a situation where the theaters have had to jack up prices to cover their end of lousy deals with studios; where studio schedulers are killing movies past its second week; where multiplexes are shoving commercials down audiences' throats in a weak effort to bring in money; where every film is now available on home video after a shorter and shorter wait.

What the studios and theaters have collectively done is destroy the event-ness of going to the movies, all the while hyping the event-ness of watching a movie on DVD.

That's what's killing the movies. Going to the multiplex? It's nothing special anymore, expecially if you can wait four months and catch the same damn movie - but with special features!! - in the luxury of your own home.

Oddly enough, there's already talk about the specialness of DVD eroding, thanks to shrinking prices and increasing avaiability (you can get 'em from your pizza joint, or in a cereal box). Meaning that very soon, movies will be ignored on both platforms of release.

Dave

PS: Oh, yes, and the movies suck, too. Or, at least, there's not the sense that these are movies that everyone needs to see NOW. Yes, every now and then, there's been a blockbuster to get everyone out to the theaters, but those are exceptions; for the most part, movies - either because they blow, or because they're not being marketed well - lack the sense of urgency, of a needed shared experience. Even with the greats lately, there's the majority saying, "Oh, I can wait for video."
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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2005 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
A recent article I read about this also talked about the amazing home theaters people can now build for themselves. Once they get so used to enjoying things on a big screen at home, the wait for DVD is easier to handle.


I think you're on to it there. Screens at home are becoming big enough for a lot of people to not have to go to the theatre. The theatre is too much hassle for folks who have 40-inch TVs and surround sound, plus you get to sit on your own couch, eat your own food, etc.

I personally like seeing movies with an audience, but when a cell phone rang during the last 20 minutes of Million Dollar Baby I almost lost it... so I can understand those who just don't bother going anymore.
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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2005 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sisterhood of the travelling pants already is a fucking tv movie. 90% of movies they put out i can see no reason of putting up with the hassle of theatres. sin city and sith were worth the big screen experience, so i gave it to them. everything else, i wait for. usually it's a smart move, as i discovered by renting the life aquatic this weekend.
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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2005 11:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oz wrote:
I disagree with Erik's summary, and here's why:

With the exception of Sin City, there isn't a single 2005 film that he listed (haven't seen Sith yet) that I would buy on DVD, let alone recommend to a friend while it's in theaters.

Not one. that sort of lack of quality catches up with you after a while and begins to kill your market. Think drive-ins in the 70's.


Oz - we're not far off in agreement. Clearly 2005 has been shit. But you have to think that the evolution of people just blowing off theaters to wait for DVD would take more than just a few months. You could argue that its been happening for some time now, but doesn't the box office ALWAYS seem to break the record of the previous years?

Which leads to Dave being right about ticket hikes and what not. The adult and student prices go up and suddenly it looks like the box office is growing when, in all truth, less people have probably been going.

By the end of the summer, things will be a bit more clearer. Although the numbers will probably still be down because it will be a "Shrek 2/Passion of the Christ/Spider-Man 2 vs. Star Wars/War of the Worlds/Batman Begins" in where the biggest discrepancies are.

BUT...

Look at these matchups and tell me that the 2005 films don't have a legitimate shot to come CLOSE if not FLY-BY its 2004 counterpart:

Shrek 2 - $441,226,247 vs. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Spider-Man 2 - $373,585,825 vs. War of the Worlds

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - $249,541,069 vs. Batman Begins

The Day After Tomorrow - $186,740,799 vs. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

The Bourne Supremacy - $176,241,941 vs. Madagascar

I, Robot - $144,801,023 vs. The Island

Troy - $133,378,256 vs. The Longest Yard

Van Helsing - $120,177,084 vs. Fantastic Four

DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story - $114,326,736 vs. Wedding Crashers

The Village - $114,197,520 vs. Cinderella Man

Collateral - $101,005,703 vs. Mr. and Mrs. Smith

The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement - $95,170,481 vs. The Bad News Bears

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy - $85,288,303 vs. Bewitched

The Notebook - $81,001,787 vs. Monster-in-Law

Alien vs. Predator - $80,282,231 vs. The Dukes of Hazzard

The Terminal - $77,872,883 vs. Stealth

Garfield: The Movie - $75,369,588 vs. Herbie: Fully Loaded

White Chicks - $70,831,760 vs. Sky High

The Manchurian Candidate - $65,955,630 vs. Domino

The Stepford Wives - $59,484,742 vs. The Pink Panther

Without a Paddle - $58,169,327 vs. Kicking and Screaming

The Chronicles of Riddick - $57,761,012 vs. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy

Hero - $53,710,019 vs. The 40-Year Virgin

King Arthur - $51,882,244 vs. Kingdom of Heaven

A Cinderella Story - $51,438,175 vs. The Adventures of Shark Boy & Lava Girl in 3-D
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PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2005 1:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Erik The Movieman wrote:
Hero vs. The 40-Year Virgin


I'd pay to see that one.

Dave
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PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2005 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My own reason? It is just too damn expensive, and too crowded. Of course, I have to rent DVD's I want to see right when they are released before people scratch the hell out of them, but that is a whole other thread.
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PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2005 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I would say there is a variety of reasons, depending on the people you ask:

"Piracy!" -Motion Picture Association of America
"The hoi polloi have started reading me." -(Insert film critic's name)
"Tickets too expensive, boring films, pre-movie ads and the like, etc." -The moviegoing public

"No interest in seeing the umpteenth superhero film that Harry Knowles has taken pride in saturating the screen with. Wish we were in December all year round." -Yours truly.
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PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2005 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does anyone know if more or less films are being released by Hollywood compared to last year?
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PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2005 3:23 pm    Post subject: The answer is... Reply with quote

...for me, strangely enough, no car.

Frankly I catch a bus from my suburb to downtown and then another across the river from Cincinnati to Newport. Excellent bookstore, cool restaurants, and all that but it's a 1.5 hour trip one way. Work 12-9 five days a week so no AM or PM shows five days a week. So...

Is Unleashed worth a 5-6 hour commitment on a day off? Maybe, maybe not but frankly I can go shpping, grab a DVD or two on 10 minutes at the local Blockbuster, and use the saved 5 hours to play more Doom III on my beautiful new 20' monitor.
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PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2005 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JaySeaver wrote:
People communicate much faster now. I've sent a text message about something being awful before I've actually left the theater before. It used to be an awful movie could at least get one good weekend before word-of-mouth killed it, but now it can happen by Saturday morning.



I think you have a big point here. I, too, have sent out text messages warning friends about a terrible movie. Think about it, after the movie you can go home, drop a note on a blog, on IM, text message; communication is nearly instantaneous. That's why you see such a huge drop off even from Friday to Saturday.

In my case, life became more complicated and my wallet became tighter. As much as I like to see movies in a theater, $16 is a hell of a lot to pay for being herded like cattle.

When a movie comes out I will immediately judge it for "screenability."

* Is it a movie that must be seen first run in a theater with great sound and a good print? (Star Wars III)
* Should it be seen in a theater but worth a matinee price? (The Aviator)
* Would it be fun to see in a theater, but worth waiting a month or two until the second run? (The Interpreter)
* Is it definately a DVD movie? I'll put a movie onto my Netflix list as soon as it's available to do so, sometimes during the initial theatrical run. (Spanglish)
* Someday it will be on TV and I'll catch it then. (Kingdom of Heaven)


Not enough money, not enough time, word getting out, all could contribute.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 12:30 am    Post subject: Re: The answer is... Reply with quote

TheSentinel wrote:
Frankly I catch a bus from my suburb to downtown and then another across the river from Cincinnati to Newport. Excellent bookstore, cool restaurants, and all that but it's a 1.5 hour trip one way. Work 12-9 five days a week so no AM or PM shows five days a week. So...


Curious... what suburb are you in? Surely there's gotta be a closer theater on the bus line somewhere. (Then again, the Levee is worth the ride.)

Dave
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So is the White Castle in Covington.

And those $2 lapdance bars... I mean, nothing!
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As long as you're not getting your lap dances at White Castle, it's all good.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2005 1:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They don't call them Sliders for nothing!
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2005 3:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep. Reasons people aren't going to the movies....
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