Two events in the past week or so certainly help the obviousness of this statement. The first was the release of the study that Americans are increasingly preferring to watch their movies at home. If anybody is Shocked, I Say Shocked at this finding, they have obviously not (or they have obviously not seen anyone who has) plunked down nearly $50.00 for a family of four at the Mondo SuburbiaPlex 25 (and that's just for the tickets) for the privilege of sitting in a theater watching commercials, getting a nice faceful of Army propaganda, and enduring cellphones, chatty bitches and parents who insist on bringing their three-year-old to the 9:30 pm showing of a loud, violent, R-rated action/horror movie. (Said three-year-old will spend the majority of the movie shrieking in fear, but of course the child can't be removed from the theater as this sort of torment builds character or something.)
I admit that around Boston, we're pretty damn spoiled when it comes to film offerings presented in decent surroundings, even if we see the landscape here as sometimes bleak and on the verge of going the way of the buggy whip and the vinyl 45. We have more choices than just going to an Annoy-O-Plex: the Brattle, the Coolidge Corner, the Somerville, the Kendall and a host of other smaller, single or double screen indies all offer a better theater experience than the one you'll get from the theater chain that is able to continually start new screenings of "Shrek the Third" every fifteen minutes, just in case you missed the 7:15 show.
And spoiled we are, but the article at least mentions:
...our survey finds that people with more home movie viewing devices and services are also the ones most likely to watch a lot of movies - both in the theater as well as at home. Movie buffs, in short, tend to watch a lot of movies, no matter what the venue.Truth.
But buffs aren't the audience Hollywood wants to go for, even if their money is just as green and often spent with far less reservation. (Still, we must band together and boldly support the small cinemas to stave off that buggywhip-going. C'mon, lads and lasses! To the balcony!)
The really bizarre part is that apparently it's not just enough to go to the theater to see the film anymore, either. You wanna know what's really getting execs' shorts all a-twisted this year?
It's not that nobody's showing up to see this summer's crop of blockbusters-with-'three'-in-them, no. That's not the problem. People are. It's just that they're not going back again and again.
Uh huh. I believe the phrase I need here is "cry more, noob."
The way I see it, you can either spoo with glee over the fact that you've broken Yet Another Opening Weekend Record (which happens every four months, given whichever holiday we're dealing with here) or you can blame home viewing, DVDs, piracy, the Internet, dogs, anything for what you perceive as lackluster business which is not turning enough of a profit. But you can't do both. Yet they do.
Some days I sure wish they'd bring back the studio system and benevolent despots such as Jack Warner or Louis B. Mayer. They may have ruled with an iron fist, but at least they actually had a lick of business sense.
I'd sum up here by saying "Golly, they're blame everybody for the death of the theater experience except themselves" but then I'd have to file that Obvious Statement along with the others up at the top, as well as "clipper ships go fast" and "It goes in; it must come out." .
Though I do like the comments in the Jim Hill Media article that Pirates of the Caribbean 3 actually lends itself to repeat viewings, as you have to see it a few times in order to figure out what the hell's going on. Truth!
1. Fudd's First Law of Opposition.
2. Teslacle's Deviant to Fudd's First Law.