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Honestly, what's the point?


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34 replies to this topic

#1 of 35 OFFLINE   Mike Huey

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Posted July 23 2008 - 05:45 PM

Sorry for the following rant..... Posted Image

While I've had many a memorable experience at the movies, I think I'm done with theaters. That's NOT something I enjoy even pondering about. Aside from a few rare gems spread across the states like the Arclight in LA, the Ziegfeld in NY- aren't about 90% of the theaters in the US total crap? People who don't even care about quality or customer satisfaction are always at the helm in these places, and it seems like there's nothing we can do about it.

I asked twice for the sound to be turned up during "Mamma Mia!" this evening. Nothing. One of the ushers who looked about 12 said they couldn't. I said, yes you can! I've emailed the manager many times before but he doesn't seem to want anything to do with me. Too bad it's an independently run theater and there's nowhere else to complain. Oh, and the kicker is that the manager likes to put the blame on the studios for sending poorly mixed DTS tracks. Yeah, that's really the problem!

I wonder how it feels to be a filmmaker/sound designer/composer, etc. and know that most of the population will see and hear your work under some horrible conditions. All those hours that go into dubbing, mixing, etc. to make sure every things sounds perfect... what good is it? You think they'd throw up their hands and say "what's the point!" knowing how it's going to be showcased. Thank god for DVD and HT.

I LOVE movies and I LOVE the experience when it's given a fantastic, quality presentation. One of the reasons why I enjoy professional live theatre is that there's always a sense of quality control. Whether it's a touring production or sit-down production like in NY or Chicago, you know you have people working behind the scenes to make sure the audience is seeing and experiencing everything exactly as the production team intended. Maybe the only answer is to pack up and move to LA Posted Image

Am I the only one who feels this way?

#2 of 35 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted July 24 2008 - 03:44 AM

These complaints are frequent, and I'm sure they're often deserved. But I don't agree that, just because theater staff is often on the younger side, that means they're automatically no good.

Here in Manhattan, my favorite multiplex is the AMC 25 in Times Square. The staff is all in their 20s, and yet every time I've gone to the customer service desk with a problem, they listen carefully and politely, and if the problem can be fixed right then, it is. (Some problems require serious equipment maintenance.)

Most recently, I noticed some instability in the front left and right channels during a showing of Wanted and reported it to the manager on duty. He couldn't quite conceal his pride at already having noticed the same thing in that auditorium and slated it for a full technical review. I was impressed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Huey
I wonder how it feels to be a filmmaker/sound designer/composer, etc. and know that most of the population will see and hear your work under some horrible conditions.
I think it probably feels worse knowing that most of the population won't notice and doesn't care.

M.
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#3 of 35 OFFLINE   AndrewWickliffe

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Posted July 24 2008 - 05:30 AM

I was worried about movie theaters when I moved from Chicago to Denver. At least in Chicago, I felt like there was some effort (and there were the nice theaters to go to there).
Here, projection is frequently poor. I've had to get up and tell employees (no union projectionists here, no sir!) to fix it.
The art theaters are the worst, simply due to lack of funds. $9 to watch a movie in a shoebox.
I won't even mention Denver being a second or third tier market.
The audiences aren't noisy here though and I've seen a number of blockbusters. After Chicago and Oregon, it's a definite improvement. Too bad about the presentation though....

#4 of 35 OFFLINE   Mike Huey

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Posted July 24 2008 - 05:44 AM

Michael: I agree, age probably had nothing to do with it and I'm sorry if it sounded arrogant. I'm in my 20's myself and what I guess I was trying to say (in frustration) was that this person seemed so clueless as to what was going on and just seemed interested in getting off work as soon as possible.

But you're right about the majority of the audience being so indifferent, especially when things are wrong. It's kinda sad...

#5 of 35 OFFLINE   MatthewA

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Posted July 24 2008 - 06:12 AM

The only time I go to the movies anymore is if it's the $2 shows at Byrd in Richmond, VA. But some of the second run movies they show are like putting Dogs Playing Poker in the Louvre. But even they're not perfect. When they showed It's A Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story for Rosh Hashanah (just kidding, I mean Christmas), they didn't bother to obtain film prints, they just ran them off of DVDs. For the latter, we even saw the FBI warning at the end.

Enough is enough, Disney. No more evasions or excuses. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray along with the uncut version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray. I am going to boycott The Walt Disney Company until then.


#6 of 35 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted July 24 2008 - 06:19 AM

That's one of the biggest problems afflicting the home theater hobby today. Home theater enthusiasts no longer go to the movies. They're losing touch with how film projected on a big screen looks and feels. And that's a shame, because HT enthusiasts, as a group, generally include the most dedicated film fans.

M.
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#7 of 35 OFFLINE   todd s

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Posted July 24 2008 - 08:35 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Reuben
and yet every time I've gone to the customer service desk with a problem, they listen carefully and politely, and if the problem can be fixed right then, it is.
M.

Michael, its because they are afraid you will give them a warning or even worse...ban them. Posted Image
Bring back John Doe! Or at least resolve the cliff-hanger with a 2hr movie or as an extra on a dvd release.

#8 of 35 OFFLINE   Todd Erwin

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Posted July 24 2008 - 09:13 AM

Mike,

I feel your pain, I was a theatre evaluatior for Lucasfilm's now-defunct Theater Alignment Program (TAP) back in the late 80s and early 90s, as well as a "shopper" for Edwards Cinemas up until their bankruptcy.

I live in SoCal, and have a large number of theaters to choose from, but only a select few (I can count them on one hand) meet my very strict specs, especially when movies are upwards of $10 for admission. In fact, every time my wife and I go to the movies, we drive past the closest theatre. There is even one theatre that I will only visit if the movie I want to see is playing in Digital Projection, as that theatre cannot properly project film even if their life depended on it.

What is my criteria?

1. No cropping. I refuse to pay $10 to see a movie cropped to fit a fixed 2:1 screen, when I can wait a few months to rent that same movie from Netflix and watch it in OAR on my HDTV.

2. The projected image needs to be uniformly bright, sharp, and in focus. At most of my local multiplexes, the image tends to be dark, dull, and portions of the screen are always out of focus, as well as dropoff in illumination levels along the edges.

3. The entire multiplex should be clean. How many theatres have impecably clean lobbies, but filthy auditoriums?

4. Crisp, clean digital sound, with excellent acoustics. Most theatres just play movies REAL LOUD, taking pride in HOW LOUD they can play the movie, regardless of the size of auditorium and/or audience. Do they really have to crank the volume to "11" in an auditorium with 150 seats and only 10 patrons?

5. Comfortable seats, with enough leg room for a person to walk by you while seated. Regal, and the last few Edwards stadium builds had good leg room. The local Century, while being one of my favorites, still has limited leg room, and almost every time I see a movie there, the back oif my seat will get accidentally kicked at least once.

6. Knowledgeable staff that will listen to you when you encounter a problem. If the theatre is part of a chain, always visit their website and complete a customer survey or shoot them a quick e-mail, letting them know of your recent experience. This has proven to be a valuable tool, especially with the Regal and Cinemark chains. I always get an emailed response from the theater manager, whether I gave them a positive or negative review.

Those are my top 6, and like I said, there are only a handful of theatres in Orange County, CA (one of the top movie-going counties in the US) that meet or exceed them, in no particular order:

Edwards Big Newport (except screen #2)
Edwards Metro Pointe (screen #1 only if DLP)
Edwards Irvine Spectrum
Cinemark Century Bella Terra

#9 of 35 OFFLINE   Ken Chan

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Posted July 24 2008 - 10:06 AM

Quote:
People who don't even care about quality or customer satisfaction are always at the helm in these places
On average, the people in the "business of making movies" don't care about your satisfaction -- they care only about getting your butt in the seats on opening weekend. For example, they don't mind giving away the entire movie in trailers. This only works because you pay up front. Imagine if they had to live off tips. So at least there's a (foolish) consistency throughout the industry Posted Image

#10 of 35 ONLINE   Edwin-S

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Posted July 24 2008 - 10:19 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Reuben
That's one of the biggest problems afflicting the home theater hobby today. Home theater enthusiasts no longer go to the movies. They're losing touch with how film projected on a big screen looks and feels. And that's a shame, because HT enthusiasts, as a group, generally includes the most dedicated film fans.

M.

The theater industry can only blame itself. When I am interested in a new release I try to see it at the theater first; however, I am starting to rethink that strategy. When I pay 10 bucks to sit down in a theater I expect a different experience than sitting at home, but that is no longer the case.

I go to the theater and get assaulted with inane commercials prior to the start of the movie. Nowadays, when I sit in a theater I feel like I am watching television. If I want to watch TV I can stay home and watch it. I don't have to pay 10 bucks to a theater and then have them recreate the television experience with unwanted ads. I'm just waiting for the day when the movie stops in the middle for a commercial break...or two.

Also, when I pay an admission I expect to see a proper presentation of whatever I paid to see. I don't expect to have to get up and complain that the picture is too dim, misframed, or in the wrong aspect ratio. I also don't think I should have to get up and complain that speakers sound blown or are completely absent like my recent viewing of Kung Fu Panda, where the sound was coming from only one speaker.

I went to Indiana Jones IV on opening day. I couldn't believe it. They managed to have a scratch running vertically, on practically a brand new print, for the entire running time. If that is what a film projected on a big screen looks and feels like nowadays then I don't blame HT enthusiasts for avoiding theaters altogether.

Frankly, I squarely blame the studios for the shabby state of the theatrical business. There is something seriously wrong with the revenue sharing structure between the studios and the theatrical industry when the biggest way theaters make money is by charging insane prices for a handful of corn and a few ounces of flavored sugar water. I went to TDK and was going to buy a popcorn and soda combo: that is until I saw the 13.00 price tag. I just laughed and pressed the "no sale" button. I mean, they are nuts to think I'm going to spend that kind of money on a bag of popcorn and a cup of soda.

So, in a nutshell, the theatrical "experience" now consists of a TV mentality, topped off with poor quality presentations and insanely priced junk food snacks. I don't wonder that many HT enthusiasts are turning off the "theatrical experience" and losing the sense of how a film should be seen. The theatrical business, itself, doesn't care about how films should be presented in a large screen viewing environment, so why would audiences care? When they sit down to watch a movie in a theater they can expect it to be just like TV at home, complete with commercials. No wonder people talk, fidget, and use cell phones. They think they are sitting in their living rooms.
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#11 of 35 OFFLINE   Jim*Tod

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Posted July 24 2008 - 10:57 AM

I would agree with Matthew about the Byrd. At this point in Richmond it is in many ways the best venue to see a film, especially since they upgraded their sound system to Dolby Digital. As for dvd presentations... that is sad. I saw them do the same thing for a Kung Fu festival a couple of years back. But by and large their projection on a screen larger than most multiplexes and generally a clearer brighter picture is way ahead of what is found in the first run houses. And for your two bucks on Saturday night you get the mighty Wurlitzer as well..... not to mention the atmosphere that only a vintage movie house can provide. The sad fact is that most people under 45 have not experienced quality presentation and don't know the difference.

#12 of 35 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted July 24 2008 - 11:14 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edwin-S
So, in a nutshell, the theatrical "experience" now consists of a TV mentality, topped off with poor quality presentations and insanely priced junk food snacks.
You have my sympathy, Edwin, but I know my local theaters well enough not to patronize the ones that are poorly run, and there are enough well-run ones that I manage to find most of what I want at an acceptable venue.

And I don't eat junk food Posted Image

M.
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#13 of 35 ONLINE   Edwin-S

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Posted July 24 2008 - 11:26 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Reuben
You have my sympathy, Edwin, but I know my local theaters well enough not to patronize the ones that are poorly run, and there are enough well-run ones that I manage to find most of what I want at an acceptable venue.

And I don't eat junk food Posted Image

M.

Unfortunately, I'm screwed. The town I'm in has only one theatrical multiplex. No competition. That probably contributes to the less than stellar presentations. They know, outside of video rentals, that they are the only game in town.

Man, it's hard to believe. When I was kid we had four or five real theaters. Now we just have these cubical theaters.

Well, I admit I eat junk food. I just can't afford to eat the theater's junk food. Posted Image
"You bring a horse for me?" "Looks like......looks like we're shy of one horse." "No.......You brought two too many."

#14 of 35 OFFLINE   David Deeb

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Posted July 24 2008 - 11:30 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edwin-S
The theater industry can only blame itself. When I am interested in a new release I try to see it at the theater first; however, I am starting to rethink that strategy. When I pay 10 bucks to sit down in a theater I expect a different experience than sitting at home, but that is no longer the case.

I go to the theater and get assaulted with inane commercials prior to the start of the movie.

This probably contributes more to customer animosity than anything else theaters do. And its not just commercials.

We have a theater chain that not only runs "Trivia", but also about 15:00 minutes of "behind the scenes" crap for crappy TV shows I could care less about. Then at least 10 trailers.

The whole audience is bored with these stupid celebrities rattling off about their BS. People get frustrated and talk through the whole thing anyway.

I do like going to the movies. Not every chain is bad, but we the customer should be treated to a unique experience. Otherwise, theaters & studios are going to lose more audience share to the home theater.

#15 of 35 OFFLINE   todd s

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Posted July 24 2008 - 03:05 PM

On a side note. I took my 5yr old to see Journey to the Center of the Earth. We went to a matinee which was still $6 each. Then as I am paying they say its an extra $3 per ticket because of the 3-d. I guess because I have to pay for the glasses. I would have balked but I already had the ticket and my son was excited to see it. But, the extra fee is barely noticeable when looking at the box office. And seriously movie prices are ridiculous as it is. If they are going to charge more for 3-d....They can stick to 2-d. While it did make the movie seem to popout. It wasn't necessary.
Bring back John Doe! Or at least resolve the cliff-hanger with a 2hr movie or as an extra on a dvd release.

#16 of 35 OFFLINE   Pete York

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Posted July 24 2008 - 04:21 PM

I'll echo Toddwrtr's sentiment about Regal. There's a Regal stadium near me, about 15-20 minutes out of the way, that I'm almost going to exclusively because it's such a no-hassle, even, dare I say, pleasant experience. I probably go past 15 other theaters to get to it. Great presentation, clean, best seating around. I don't know what I'd do without it. They are guilty of the endless crap running before the feature, but I think just about everyone does that now.

#17 of 35 OFFLINE   Dick

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Posted July 24 2008 - 04:42 PM

Re: The price you pay at the cinema: I've said it before and I'll say it again - you can thank those $20 mil salaries given to people who pretend to be someone else for a couple of months, because studios keep paying them that and more. If all studios got together (I know, never happen) and capped salaries at one million (and even that is pretty insane, when you think about it... most of us won't earn that much in a lifetime for much harder labor), the rental prices of prints could go down and theaters wouldn't have to depend upon outrageous prices for popcorn and drinks for their profits.

#18 of 35 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted July 24 2008 - 06:15 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick
Re: The price you pay at the cinema: I've said it before and I'll say it again - you can thank those $20 mil salaries given to people who pretend to be someone else for a couple of months, because studios keep paying them that and more.
If you really think that's what's driving ticket prices, then you don't know much about the movie business.

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#19 of 35 OFFLINE   cafink

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Posted July 24 2008 - 07:47 PM

Nevermind.
 

 


#20 of 35 OFFLINE   MatthewA

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Posted July 25 2008 - 04:42 AM

The rental prices for film prints (on first run titles) is caused by distributor greed.

Enough is enough, Disney. No more evasions or excuses. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray along with the uncut version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray. I am going to boycott The Walt Disney Company until then.



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