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Theater Chains Sued for Running Too Many Commercials


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#1 of 96 OFFLINE   Michael*K

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Posted February 19 2003 - 04:00 PM

Two lawsuits have been filed in the Chicago area claiming moviegoers are being defrauded by having to sit through up to ten minutes of commercials prior to films. Plaintiffs are asking for damages of up to $75 per patron. Seems kinda frivolous, but I agree the pre-show commercials are getting a little out of hand.

#2 of 96 OFFLINE   Rob Lutter

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Posted February 19 2003 - 04:29 PM

Good. I don't see why people put up with this! I purposely leave home so I arrive 5 mins late and miss all the commercials.

#3 of 96 OFFLINE   Eric Peterson

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Posted February 20 2003 - 12:28 AM

I generally hate silly lawsuits, but I am all for this one. There is almost no place left that you can escape commercials (The Movies & Wrigley Field) and now the movies are being eliminated from that selection list. When I see a commercial in the theater, I automatically put that company on my do not buy list. I absolutely loathe being bombarded by commercials everywhere that I go and have a great fear that the scene in Minority Report may some day come true. If I'm paying for a ticket to see a movie then that is what I should see not two car commericals and a spot for Pepsi. I don't care how original, innovative, or entertaining the commericals are.

#4 of 96 OFFLINE   Scott Weinberg

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Posted February 20 2003 - 12:49 AM

Thought I'd share this press release:


#5 of 96 OFFLINE   Aaron Cooke

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Posted February 20 2003 - 12:57 AM

I hate sitting through the commercials too, and if it's a new release movie, arriving late is no good because most of the shows will be sold out or at the very least i'd get a crap seat. But on the other hand, if the eliminate the commercials (and thus the ad revenue) or worse yet, have to pay a large lawsuit settlement where do you think the theaters are going to make up that money at? Do we really want 12, 15, 20 dollar movie tickets? Movies around here (with student discount) are still only $6.50 and already I tend to wait and just buy the dvd unless it's something that really benefits from being seen on the big screen. I don't know where you draw the line between the two, i guess my point was just that there's some kind of trade off between the ads and ticket prices.

#6 of 96 OFFLINE   Brent Hutto

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Posted February 20 2003 - 01:29 AM

Ticket prices are set by whatever people are willing to pay. The fact that the theater companies can generate additional revenue by selling commercials only affects their profit. If they thought they could sell $20 tickets, that's what the price would be. If no one would go to a movie unless it were $2, that's what the price would be. An interesting wrinkle would be if they started showing a mixture of $10 movies with no commercials and $5 movies with commercials. But I don't think they currently would perceive any incentive to do that since apparently 10-20 minutes of commercials doesn't cut into their ticket sales. Another thing to think about. For new major releases, the movie studios get all but a tiny fraction of the ticket price. So if they sell 20 less $10 tickets because 20 people don't want to watch commercials, that's $200 out of the studio's pocket. If the theater only recoups $50 of that by selling commercials, that's $50 pure profit. Of course, the studios will eventually get a cut of the commercials, too.

#7 of 96 OFFLINE   Dwayne

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Posted February 20 2003 - 01:30 AM

I must sympathize with the plaintiffs in this suit. But isn't there a better way to change this than taking this to court? I'm just tired of seeing a lawsuits for everything under the sun. I wonder how much of the money will be going to the lawyers if this case is won? Again, a part of me wants to see this case won. But another part questions the true motives of those leading the charge.
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#8 of 96 OFFLINE   todd stone

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Posted February 20 2003 - 02:12 AM

http://www.cnn.com/2....eut/index.html


HOLLYWOOD, California (Variety) -- High school teacher Miriam Fisch wants those four minutes of her life back -- and she thinks Loews Cineplex ought to pay for their alleged theft.
Lo, there do I see my mother, and my sisters, and my brothers, Lo, there do I see the line of my people, back to the beginning, Lo, they do call to me, they bid me take my place among them, In the halls of Valhalla,where the brave may live...

#9 of 96 OFFLINE   BrettB

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Posted February 20 2003 - 02:40 AM

I wonder how Miriam Fisch came to be aware of attorney Weinberg. Posted Image

#10 of 96 OFFLINE   Glenn Overholt

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Posted February 20 2003 - 02:55 AM

When this happened in China not too long ago, my only response was to add two words to their showtimes in paper. - after ads - . Well, I hate them too, but as stated above, you can either show up late or wait for the DVD to come out. If we all waited for the DVD to come, all of the theater's would fold up, but that's another story. Blenn

#11 of 96 OFFLINE   MarcVH

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Posted February 20 2003 - 03:32 AM

I'm not sure of the merits of this particular suit, but certainly the general concept of subjecting a captive audience to ever-increasing amounts of advertising needs something to put an upper bound on it. Hmmm... could there also be a class action suit against studios who put forced trailers and other similar time-wasters on DVD menus? That, and a requirement that the DVD menus be ADA compliant, could make things a lot less annoying.

#12 of 96 OFFLINE   Malcolm R

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Posted February 20 2003 - 03:38 AM

[quote] I must sympathize with the plaintiffs in this suit. But isn't there a better way to change this than taking this to court? [quote]
That's the only language understood by many. "You don't like it? So sue me!" Posted Image
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#13 of 96 OFFLINE   Benson R

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Posted February 20 2003 - 04:33 AM

I don't like sitting through ads but this lawsuit is ridiculous and without merit. The person bringing it about should be the one to suffer financial penalties for wasting the public's time. If this person wanted to do this the right way they would be petitioning the legislature to regulate the start times printed in the paper. Instead they use the court system to try and force their point of view upon the rest of society.
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#14 of 96 OFFLINE   Eric_E

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Posted February 20 2003 - 04:39 AM

Okay. I know commercials suck, and I know that they're invading our lives in ever more insidious ways. But this is getting a little ridiculous I usually see movies at AMC theaters here in Kansas City, and they air their commercials in a "Pre-show countdown" before the previews start. While the fact that they show the same 4 or 5 commercials for months is annoying, it's something I can live with. Honestly, it's 4 or 5 minutes. So what? What is the big deal? How much time will you waste over the course of your life? So in the grand scheme of things, what is 4 or 5 minutes? I just think it's kind of pathetic that people are so petty that with all the problems in the world, we still have to find things like this to complain about. Yes it stinks, but most of us at this forum live in a country of unparalleled wealth and prosperity. Consider it a privelege that you are able to see a movie at all. I dislike the practice of showing ads before movies just as much as the next guy. But for people to make such a huge deal out of it as this, seems totally absurd to me. People just need to get some perspective on what's important in the world and stop moaning about this kind of nonsense. There are more significant things than whether the DVD for your favorite movie is pan and scan only, or whether there's a hiss in your center speaker that you can only hear with your ear 2 inches away, or whether you have to watch 4 or 5 minutes of commercials. Worry about the real issues in the world. Eric

#15 of 96 OFFLINE   Michael*K

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Posted February 20 2003 - 04:40 AM

[quote] I wonder how Miriam Fisch came to be aware of attorney Weinberg. [quote] Maybe she's a Blackhawks fan. Weinberg used to sell a hilarious satire of the team's hockey programs outside Chicago Stadium prior to every game, taking the owner and organization to task on just about everything. The team's owner eventually got a court order banning Weinberg from selling it within 500 feet of the stadium. He then wrote a book lambasting the owner called Career Misconduct.

#16 of 96 OFFLINE   John_Berger

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Posted February 20 2003 - 04:46 AM

[quote] If this person wanted to do this the right way they would be petitioning the legislature to regulate the start times printed in the paper. [quote] Right. More political oversight. Yeah, that's a much better alternative. Posted Image

I agree with this lawsuit; however, I can see where problems would arise and where a bad precedence might be set. For example, we pay for cable. How many cable channels have commercials?

Considering the current costs of movie tickets, however, I fully agree that forcing commercials just so theaters can get even more money than from their over-proced tickets and concessions is anti-consumer. We'll just have to see what comes of this lawsuit.

#17 of 96 OFFLINE   Kim D

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Posted February 20 2003 - 05:35 AM

I'm a punctuality fanatic. I get nervous if I run late. If I knew that the movie started at 3:10pm, I would still get to the theater by 2:50pm if possible. At 3pm, I would watch the 10 minutes of commercials. I don't mind the commercials because I find it boring to sit and watch a blank screen. But it would make me happy to know when the movie actually starts. I've just started going to the movies again and I'm still not used to commercials. I almost didn't go to a 3pm movie because it was minutes before 3:00 and I was afraid I would miss something. I am learning and I can adapt to anything. Eventually. Let me know what the rules are and I'll play by them. If all theaters play 10 minutes of commercials, I'll adjust accordingly. - kim

#18 of 96 OFFLINE   Brent Hutto

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Posted February 20 2003 - 05:53 AM



You don't really think that they'll keep showing, say, 10 minutes of commercials so people can show up 10 minutes late? If very many of us did that, they'd either go to 20 minutes of commercials or they wait until 8 minutes after the posted start time to run their 10 minutes of commercials.

I'm glad we enjoy watching movies at home so much. I'm thinking within two or three years we're going to see the first theaters scheduling "intermissions" as a ploy to show commercials during a movie. As it is now, we watch 60-70 movies/year at home and less than ten in theaters. If the commercials get any longer and the prices get any higher I'd imagine we'll be down to two or three, if that.

So think about. The movie studios want to eventually do away with prints and digitally broadcast "content" to digital projectors. Now it turns out that those projectors will be in "theaters" that show commercials. Further, the theaters keep getting smaller while the ticket prices continue to rise. What are we headed toward? Eventually we'll be watching MPEG-compressed TV of less-than-videophile quality on an 80" screen and paying $20 for the privilege. Home theater keeps looking better all the time.

Which of course is why the movie studios really, really want to move from cable TV and DVD's to "content-delivery channels" that are pay-per-view instead of buy-once. I have a vision of myself 20 years from now watching my c. 2005 copy of The Lord of the Rings super-duper combined edition over and over again (assuming that the DVD format hasn't been rendered pay-per-view by then).

#19 of 96 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted February 20 2003 - 06:12 AM

[quote] Instead they use the court system to try and force their point of view upon the rest of society. [quote]Yeah, 'cause there's a huge faction of society that loves sitting through 10 minutes of commercials at $10 a ticket before the movie starts.Posted Image

#20 of 96 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted February 20 2003 - 06:37 AM

The only thing about "getting to the theater 10 minutes later" is that good seats can be hard to find (for in-demand films with good audience turnout), or some theaters won't sell you a ticket if you show up x minutes after that particular showtime.
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