Future Events Such as These Will Affect YOU in the Future: The Death of Theaters

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Jason_Els, Dec 9, 2003.

  1. Jason_Els

    Jason_Els Screenwriter

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    Block booking, declining margins, declining sales, decreased service, increasing costs, broadband internet, quantum encryption, presentation technology.

    I predict that movie theaters will be die within the next 10 years.

    Imagine that broadband internet is commonplace, that encryption works, that home theater equipment is easier, cheaper, and far better than we have now. Imagine the incentive to charge full ticket price for a movie yet not have to give the movie theater a cut.

    Imgaine not having to leave your home to see first-run movies. Instead you queue a first-run film that morning or the week or month before for download and while you're at work or you sleep the movie you want, in full resolution and sound, is delivered to your Tivo-type device. Now say they charged $15-$20 for the first viewing but progressively less for subsequent viewings in the following days.

    From where I sit I can see this happening. I work in the broadband division for a major cable company and while VOD is having some startup fits, I don't see any incentive for studios (particularly those owned by the vertical media companies) to keep theaters as middle-men to media delivery. Even those companies that own studios and theaters together can see that eliminating the theater removes a major cost source yet won't detract from their revenues. The viewer can see an opening movie that night, can pause, rewind, or even hold the film for viewing at a later time should something come-up.

    As I see it, theaters are doomed. Sure a few discount cinemas or specialty cinemas (drive-ins, restored palaces) will exist for novelty reasons, but the days of the mall googleplex will be over. Already audiences are used to the diminished screen size, the unruly patrons, extorionate candy prices, third world bathrooms, improper matting, dim bulbs, dirty screens, parking hassles, and the effort of actually going someplace. About the only thing that has improved is the sound but even then a decent home theater system can sound better and the average person (as witnessed by the popularity of full-screen rentals) would be just as happy as with a HT-in-a-box and a 27" or larger TV and see the convenience of home-viewing as a welcome compromise from the theater experience.

    Already some theaters with digital projectors are receiving their films via satellite download. It's no stretch to imagine home viewers could get the same result with good compression and enctyption.

    I'd like to get some opinions on this vision of a brave new future of cinema, particularly any reasons why it might not work out the way I see it. I, for one, won't lament this situation but I'm sure some people will.
     
  2. TedT

    TedT Second Unit

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    Let's see...

    At home there's: no screaming babies (there were THREE of them when I saw The Hulk). No one yapping on cel phones. No one talking next to me, potentially spoiling the movie. No one chomping on popcorn. No one stomping up the theater steps as hard and loud as possible. No one behind me kicking my chair.

    The death of the theater couldn't happen soon enough!
     
  3. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Agreed.

    Even if theaters still persist for sake of some viewers perfering the "group experience" for first-run viewings, certainly the type of home-distribution you mention will eventually come to pass and change the model of the film-entertainment industry in many ways.
     
  4. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Given that I live in this alternate universe where the vast majority of my theater screenings are trouble free, where the theaters I attend sound far better than anything I have heard in an HT or HT show, where the pictures are far larger and look far better than anything I have seen in an HT or HT show, I would indeed deplore the passing of the movie theater.

    --
    H
     
  5. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    Sorry, I cannot agree. What happened to make it as bad as it is today is that the screens in theaters got smaller, and Hollywood put out more movies. They went for quantity instead of quality, which would explain the high number of bad movies that are out today.

    I can see the 'direct to video' titles increasing, and several movie complexes getting wiped out, and others turned into something like they were 50 years ago. That way, the monster hits would still get the big screen, and we would still be able to get all of the 'b' movies that are out there.

    I also cannot see them reducing the price on a second viewing. It would be a great idea, but not financially sound.

    Glenn
     
  6. Deane Johnson

    Deane Johnson Supporting Actor

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    Interestingly, when theaters felt threatened by TV back in the 1950's, they fought back with CinemaScope, stereo sound, 70MM, road shows, etc.

    Today, with the threat of HT they are doing nothing but getting worse. Many don't even care about picture quality, sound, atmosphere, conduct, or anything else. Makes it hard for me to mourn the problems they are creating for themselves.
     
  7. Brent M

    Brent M Producer

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    I'm with Holadem on this one. Where I live there is a brand new stadium cinema with massive screens(much larger than you could ever have in a home setup) and DTS sound that beats even the top home systems. Because of this great venue, I went to more movies this year than in the past 2 or 3 years combined even though I have a very nice HT setup in my home. Hollywood knows that only a very small perecent of the public can afford to have large media rooms or dedicated home theaters in their houses so they will continue to have a valuable commodity in movies shown at the theater. There is still nothing that can top the experience of seeing a movie on the "big screen" and I don't think anything is going to happen in the near future to change that.
     
  8. BrettB

    BrettB Producer

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  9. Blu

    Blu Screenwriter

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    Theaters will be on their way out when one huge filmmaker with one huge cast do a direct to DVD release.
     
  10. Dave F

    Dave F Cinematographer

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  11. Brent M

    Brent M Producer

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    I, for one, will never subscibe to any type of VOD format. If it comes to that I'll just keep my current DVD collection and pass on the next generation of movie formats altogether. As for the experience at the theater, I'm glad I don't have to go see movies where you guys do. I went to a bunch of movies this summer and had no problems with people talking, cell phones ringing, etc. There was one incident of a baby crying during The Hulk, but compared to what was happening onscreen I welcomed the distraction. [​IMG]
     
  12. Sarah S

    Sarah S Second Unit

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    Sorry, I agree with Holadem on this one. People can afford $7-$10 to see a movie in the theater every so often far more readily than they can afford the equipment to download and view a movie in their homes.

    When HDTV becomes the only format broadcast, I expect a severe backlash from the masses that will no longer have tv to pacify them.
     
  13. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    Just to through a new thought into the mix: if I'm a studio, I'm concerned that I'm charging 1 price to someone for a VOD release of a new film on "premiere night", and the consumer pays that fee once, but invites 20 of his closest and personal friends over to watch it. Or it gets shown at a bar, or something.

    With theater viewings, they make sure that every one of those people pays a separate ticket price, every time.


    Also on the subject of VOD: I wrote an article for TVShowsOnDVD the other day, and Gord published it today. It's "DVD Sales Sparks Series Returns", and it concentrates on how sales of Family Guy and Babylon 5 on DVD have sparked proposed returns of those series.

    I conclude the article with this thought:
     
  14. Darren Haycock

    Darren Haycock Second Unit

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    In 10 years? I highly doubt it, even if they do intentionally put those stupid specks on the theater film prints, which I viciously despise...
     
  15. Craig S

    Craig S Producer

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  16. Tim Hoover

    Tim Hoover Screenwriter

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    I doubt this as well. Wasn't this supposed to happen to the music industry 10 years ago?
     
  17. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    This same thing was said back when television first started broadcasting recent feature films. And people didn't have to pay for TV back then (other than the set).

    Bad movie theatres will die a deserved death - good ones will thrive until the next century. Digital projection will still be a novelty in 20 years, unless it somehow gets better looking than 35mm (not even close yet) and 1/4 the price.

    Big movie stars will not want to appear in first-run cable or PPV movies. The only reason those outlets get any interest is because people saw those movies first... in a theatre! A PPV premiere is a joke.

    People like to go out of the house for entertainment. Why do you think they still pay outrageous prices to see ball games in a stadium when you can watch them, and follow the action better, on television for free?

    Theatres will still be here long after anyone reading this board is dead. [​IMG]
     
  18. Arnie G

    Arnie G Supporting Actor

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    Since I don't have room for a 40 ft screen, I'll keep going to the theater. [​IMG]
     
  19. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    Here's another new thought:

    If all "feature films" are released via VOD instead of in theaters, then what award are they eligible for? An Oscar or an Emmy? [​IMG]


    If you're Tom Cruise, which would you rather have? [​IMG]
     
  20. Michael Holmes

    Michael Holmes Auditioning

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    Scenario A:
    "Hey, Jennifer! You wanna go to a movie tonite? There's a good one opening at the cineplex tomorrow."
    "Sure thing! Pick me up at nine!"

    Scenario B:
    "Hey Jennifer! You wanna see a movie tonite? DownloadMoviesLegally.com just got some new releases!"
    "Sure thing! Nothing like seeing a movie on a 15" computer monitor side-by-side! Hey, maybe if you're feeling racy you can try hooking up the computer to the television!"
    "Don't push it, Jennifer."

    The future, eh? If that's the future, then I'm building a time machine.

    Did live sporting events die when the television was invented?

    Besides, movie theaters are only receiving record amounts at the box office, event movies at the cineplex have become a part of our mainstream culture (You don't see much hoopla in the media when a movie's released on DVD), theater chains are making bajillions on their popcorn...

    I will always, and forever, be a supporter of the cinema experience outside of the home. Nothing will come close to the excitement of waiting until a showtime for a theater you're revved up to seeing, in a sold-out show in the same mood as you are.

    Not even a 1MB/s broadband connection will prevent people from going to a cineplex, whine about the prices to their significant other, and spend too much money on the food so the theater chain can support itself.

    And for those that complain about theaters giving bad service and bad customers... well, I personally have no idea what you guys are talking about. If someone is chatting it up in a theater, or being obnoxious, you know what you do? You complain to an employee. Simple as that. Unless you're a complete introvert, why waste $10 and complain about it on the internet afterwards? That's what they're being paid minimum wage for, you know...
     

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