Saturday, October 20, 2012

Why I Think Movie Theaters Will Go The Way Of The Dodo

My wife and I went on a date night last night.  We don't get many since those two crazy Carpet Trolls invaded our lives.  Before the kids came alone, my wife and I were regulars at the local drive-in and movie theaters.  We love movies.  Love to discuss and critique them.  Love to watch them over and over while reading the trivia and goofs on IMDb.  Love to share the good ones with those poor unfortunate souls that have yet to experience their grandeur.

Needless to say, there was hardly a flikr-show that escaped me.  Now, not so much.

So, as an early anniversary gift to each other, we went to see the movie Alex Cross.  This post isn't about the movie (which was good) nor about Tyler Perry's successful transition from comedy to action.  It's about the highway robbery that is the modern movie theater experience.

Now, I know the movie theater industry has been gouging us all for years.  And it's not like I haven't been to ANY movies since my kids were born.  But I was shocked and a bit put off by how much hard earned dough I forked over.

For two tickets, one medium popcorn, one medium soda and one medium icy the bill came to just a bit under $40.  Prices vary around the country, so to some this sounds high and to others it's way low, but regardless it's ridiculous.

Maybe it's these trying economic times.  Maybe it's that I'm getting older and find it harder to stomach spending money on non-necessities.  Probably a bit of A and B.  But for $40 dollars I can buy a Blu-Ray, watch it as many times as I want and still afford a trash bag full of popcorn.

The movie industry needs to take a good hard look at themselves and consider what has happened to their cousins the music industry and the book industry.  Digital, like the unstoppable Huns of old, is coming their way.  If they aren't careful they will price themselves right out of a job (at least the theater component, anyway).

Here is what I see on the horizon.

As technology advances and our TVs and entertainment systems continue to get better, there will come a day when movies--and I'm talking premiere Hollywood Blockbusters--will be available to stream directly to your home.  No waiting three months.  I mean opening night.

Oh, sure the price will be high.  Say $100 or so.  It will be similar to Pay-Per-View events.  But it will be oh so much better.

Imagine this.  Instead of trudging out into the night, wading through a river of traffic, elbowing through the crowd to see a movie, you instead invite your friends over to your house to stream the movie onto your 70 inch high def screen with surround sound.  Everyone splits the bill which will be cheaper than the ticket price (depending on how many show up), you sit in comfort with people you like and eat snacks that don't cost you your children's college funds.

It will never happen, you say?

Yeah, and how are the music and book stores doing these days?


Angeline Trevena said...

We had to stop going to the cinema too because of the cost. I don't know if it's the same everywhere, but my brother, who was a projectionist, told me that the cinema doesn't actually get any of the ticket price. That all goes to the film company. So the food is the only money they make, hence why it has such a huge mark-up.

Either way, we rent now and I much prefer it. It means I can watch movies lying on my sofa dressed in my pyjamas!

Jenny R said...

I rarely go to the movies either. 1) the cost is ridiculous, I'd rather go out for a steak and 2) people are rude; god forbid you go to anything a teen might be the least bit interested in seeing because they'll talk/text/burp the whole time.
So I better be on your home theatre invite list! I'll pay my share AND bring homemade caramel popcorn ;)

Gabriel Beyers said...

Angeline, I've heard that before and I'm sure it's true. I'm beginning to prefer staying in, as well.

Jenny, you're welcome to come over for any movie night, but my "big screen" isn't so big, and I lack the surround sound.