Ward-O-Matic has a great post about what movie theatre owners are telling Hollywood... MAKE BETTER MOVIES! I thought I'd weigh in myself as a self-avowed movie geek.
First, there is a ton of speculation as to why people have been staying away from the movies this past year--Entertainment Weekly did a great little piece on it a few weeks back. Bad films, expensive concessions, cell phone madness, CRAZY ticket prices... These were all cited as reasons why the film industry and theatre owners have lost audiences. I tend to think it's a combination of all or some of these factors.
1. Let's look at quality. Do movies stink any worse now then they did last year? Ten years ago?? Twenty years ago? I'm not sure how to quantify that exactly--although I'll go out on a limb and say probably not. I will concede that I have been less excited about going to the movies lately--nothing much interesting me. From my own experience, I can tell you that the movies I have gotten excited about in the past five years were blockbusters, LORD OF THE RINGS and, yes, the STAR WARS films. Now the STAR WARS movies were good eye-candy but not what I would call "really good." But LOTR was and is something I will watch again and again--which brings me to a central point, repeat viewing. One way that theatre owners make a lot of money is by letting a blockbuster hang around for a long time while people see the movie again and again. Say Bob goes to see KING KONG on opening day. He loves it and that weekend he goes again with some friends and maybe those friends each see it again and so on and so on. Think of the concessions sold... That's just a theory I sort of thought about--nothing I know for sure. I have heard that that is one of the reasons TITANIC did so well was that people were just seeing it again and again and again. These days, one only need wait a few months before the director's cut is released on DVD and they can watch it at home--complete with the key grip's commentary. I don't know. I don't think movies are especially worse now than they were, say, five years ago. I just think that people are going to think twice about plunking down $30.00 for tickets and concessions for a movie that, I don't know, might be okay but do we really need to pay all that just to catch a glimpse of Angelina Jolie's bare nipple? I mean, I got cable... I'll see all the nipples I want at home!
2. Concessions. They are just outrageous. Next.
3. Cell phones. This is a particularly sore subject with me. I have seen people answer their phone in the middle of a movie and then threaten the life of the poor bastard who complains. Conversely, I have seen an entire theatre practically disembowel another poor bastard who forgot to turn his phone off. In this latter example, the guy just frantically fumbled with the phone as it screamed the theme from Shaft--all while his fellow moviegoers were cursing him with language that would make Mamet blush. Personally, I HATE it when somebody's phone goes off. It makes me crazy. I heard today on NPR that some theater owners are trying to get the FCC to let them scramble cell phone signals. Wha? That seems a little excessive. I think I would prefer a more direct ad campaign. Picture this, before the FEATURE PRESENTATION, Jack Black or some other popular actor, comes on screen and simply says, "If you don't turn off your cell phone now, YOU ARE A SELFISH DICK!!! Thank you and enjoy the show."
4. Couples. I recognize that this post is less about quality movies and more a rant about what annoys me at the movies... So what. I'm rolling. Now, couples. You know who you are. You are the ones who put up the arm rests at stadium theaters and snuggle and coo and smooch and feed each other popcorn and share your one big coke and basically make the rest of us want to, first, puke, and then, kill you. Let me say this. SHUT THE F**K UP. Sit in your seat and watch the screen and keep your hands in your lap.
5. Movie talkers. Again I say, SHUT THE F**K UP!! What makes people think that it's okay to speak AT ALL during a movie? What? Tell me? I'm serious. I've had people I love run their mouths the entire movie AFTER I have told them to shut it. I am not interested in your commentary. I like to be totally immersed in the complete movie experience and when you start in with your running color comentary it kills it for me. And for those of you I don't know, shut your suckhole during the movie. I'd like to insist that you shut it during the trailers--which I love--but I realize that's asking a lot.
6. Late arrivals. This is more of a nagging annoyance. I realize that not everyone needs to see the previews and not everyone really cares about where they sit. I like to get there early. People who know me, know this about me and love me anyway. It drives me nuts to go to the movies with people--I show up to pick them up and then they screw around until about fifteen mnutes before showtime and then say, "What are you so worked up about? We have PLENTY of time."
I don't know... I guess I just needed to get all that off my chest!