Let theaters compete !!!! I hate it when a good movie shows at a crappy theater...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jeff Holton, Feb 12, 2003.

  1. Jeff Holton

    Jeff Holton Stunt Coordinator

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    I have two theaters that are "local" to me.

    One of them is awesome... it has 24 theaters, the screens are huge, the seats are comfortable, the sound is fantastic... they keep the place clean, safe... it is the best theater I have ever been to.

    The other one... SUCKS!!!!... it has "converted" stadium seating... the sound sucks... it is dirty... dangerous... horrible.

    I've never understood why more than one theater can't show the same movie. I say let them compete... if one theater is vastly superior, then the other one will go out of business, and someone else will come in and build a better one. Why force movie goers to watch an anticipated movie at a subpar theater just to keep a crappy theater company in business... it drives me crazy.

    Does anyone know any more details on exactly how they determine which theaters get which movies?
     
  2. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    I live in a reletively small town, and I have 3 theaters around me. They all suck...but the one closest to me is the best. In general they all play different films...aside from major releases like Star Wars, LoTR, etc. In my case, all of the theaters are Goodrich Quality Theaters (haha, quality my ass), so I can understand how they are trying to maximize profit.

    My problem is
    a)I go to college and don't have a car
    b)Good movies only seem to play at the theaters that are halfway across town from me [​IMG]
     
  3. Chris Atkins

    Chris Atkins Producer

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    Matt:

    You live in West Lafayette, right?

    I grew up in Anderson and they had the same Goodrich "Quality" Theaters.

    I went to school in Bloomington and they had some AWESOME theaters down there...they built a new one on the west side of town that had ALL STADIUM SEATING and ALL DIGITAL SOUND.

    Of course, you can't beat the Circle Center UA theaters either, but they are in Indy.
     
  4. Jeff Holton

    Jeff Holton Stunt Coordinator

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    I say let every theater play whatever movie they want... and the good theaters will rise to the top... and the crappy theaters will blow away like chaff...
     
  5. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    The presumption is that theaters want to compete. Most theaters, I imagine, would prefer to have an exclusive on the big movies. Even when they don't get this week's, they'll get next week's, so it balances out.

    Besides, the end result would likely be fewer different movies playing in your city/town. Sure, you can choose where you want to see Lord Of The Rings, but you don't get a chance to see Rabbit-Proof Fence. And having more/different movies potentially means more people, total, coming to the movies, and less money for everyone.

    As to how specific screens get booked... I'm not sure. I suspect there's some bidding involved, with some decisions made due to market research (which theater is more convenient for a movie's target demographic) and availability - for example, when The Phantom Menace came out, it stipulated a 6-week run in the biggest, best rooms. Well, if you're trying to book a movie that comes out two weeks later, and you want the theater's largest rooms, you'll have to book it in a theater that doesn't have TPM.
     
  6. Chauncey_G

    Chauncey_G Second Unit

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    I worked for a theater company that had to deal with this very problem a couple of years back.

    The Dickinson SouthGlen 12 was within spitting distance of the AMC Town Center 20. The Town Center was much newer, and when it went in they worked out a deal in which they sort of swapped blockbuster movies. For example, Blockbuster Movie A would open at the SouthGlen 12, then Blockbuster Movie B would open at the Town Center 20, then Blockbuster Movie C would open at the SouthGlen 12, and so on. The reasoning behind this is that if you have two theaters that close, they would be shooting for the same geographic audience. To show the same film at the same time in both theaters would only serve to split the audience and therefore neither of the theaters would pull in the numbers and both would see their profits for each movie slide.

    At least that's how it was explained to me.
     
  7. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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  8. Chris Atkins

    Chris Atkins Producer

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    Seth:

    You don't like the UA theaters in Circle Center, 96th Street or Eagle Highlands?

    How about the Kerasotes megaplex at 31 and 465 (they have two Dolby Digital EX auditoriums, I think)?

    I really like the THX auditoriums in Circle Center...comfortable and excellent sound. I saw ANH and ESB:SE there...what a treat!
     
  9. Brent Bridgeman

    Brent Bridgeman Second Unit

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    Jeff,
    You must mean the Southlake 24, right? That is also my "local" theater, but I'm hoping they open up a new one down in the McDonough area around I-75 since they are really building like crazy there. Some competition would be good since Southlake is the only theater that we use since we moved to the Eagle's Landing area a year ago. It's the only one that's close.

    Which is the "dirty, dangerous" theater you are referring to?
     
  10. MattThiel

    MattThiel Extra

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    Speaking of Lafayette, Indiana, here are the problems I had watching movies I had at the Goodrich Eastside 10:

    Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Movie: in the middle of the movie, the film stops, and restarts a few minutes later, at the beginning of the next reel. I went to see the movie again (I never go see a movie more than once!) to watch the missing footage.
    Dark City: During the subway scene, the next reel is shown backwards, and upside down! The film was stopped for a few minutes, then restarted again (no missing footage this time).
    Dogma: during the trailers, the audience could see the analog soundtrack on the left wall of the theater. It was corrected before the movie started.
    Mercury Rising: When the film started, it was out of focus. I had to tell someone at the concession stand to get this corrected.
    American Psycho: The film started in the incorrect aspect ratio. Everything was stretched for several minutes. This was corrected. Later, the top of the image showed up in the bottom of the frame. There were other problems, but I can't think of them.

    Not once did I get a free pass from this theater. But then I didn't ask.

    Locally (NW Indiana): I can go to 2 multiplexes 20 minutes away from me (one is an older 9 screen AMC, one is a newer 10 screen Lowes) or drive 35-40 minutes to the largest multiplex in my area, a 16-screen Kerasotes. I usually go the the Kerasotes. Mostly they show mainstream films, sometimes they get something else, like Memento.
    I have to drive 45 minutes plus to the Town theater, which is a very old movie house, because they were showing Far From Heaven (a few weeks ago, they were showing Bowling for Columbine). The sound was horrible. I'm not saying that because I have been "spoiled" by multiplexes, it was VERY difficult to understand the dialog. I haven't been back since.
     
  11. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    Atleast around here, theaters do compete. For non-arthouse flicks, you can choose from about 4-5 different locations.

    Nothing's forcing theaters to avoid competition in your area. It's just a natural reaction to the pressures of capitalism.
     
  12. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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  13. Brad Eisenhauer

    Brad Eisenhauer Stunt Coordinator

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    Since this seems to be turning into a poll on whether or not Lafayette, Indiana has the worst theaters anywhere, I'll throw in another vote to say that they do. I've never been to a Goodrich theater when there wasn't some sort of problem like those described by MattThiel. "I want my money back," sort of became a catch phrase, though we never actually asked for it.
     
  14. Jeff Holton

    Jeff Holton Stunt Coordinator

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    Brent...

    I actually live on the Northside... We have Barrett Commons 24 which is awesome... and our other theater is a "Regal" piece of crap.
     
  15. Jeff Holton

    Jeff Holton Stunt Coordinator

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    I don't buy the idea that two local theaters just don't want to show the same movies because they are affraid they will both suffer if they did.

    I had to watch LOTR Two Towers at my "crappy" local theater because it wasn't showing at the really good theater. I garantee you if the better theater showed it... it would have sold out first, and the only people that would have watched it at the crappy theater would be those so desperate that they didn't want to wait once the "good" theater was sold out.

    If the above scenario happened often enough... eventually the crappy theater would have to shut down... then the theater that was left wouldn't be able to handle everyone by itself, and another company would step in to fill the gap by providing a better alternative theater... ultimately the consumer wins... and the best theaters win... capitalism at its best!
     
  16. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    In New Jersey, each area has a "clearance". This means that the competing theaters must be X-miles apart to be able to show the same film (this distance is determined by the studio). It varies from county-to-county (and can change sometimes); Hudson County is 3 miles, Bergen County is 4 miles, Warren County is 8 miles. Pennsylvania is the same way. What the theaters then have to do (if they fall within the clearance distance) is called "product splitting", where the distributor gives one film to one theater and then the next film to the other theater. There is no "bidding" involved and a theater can certainly turn down a film. We didn't play Attack of the Clones at any of our screens because we felt the terms (length of run, advance $, ticket percentage, et al) were no good for us. Since virtually every theater lost money on Episode One, we made the right decison with Episode Two.
     
  17. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    Chris, after living in Houston for a couple of years it was a real disappointment to return to Indy's theater scene.

    The Kerasotes remind me of cheaper versions of Edwards or Cinemark in Houston, and that's the best we have. The Sony downtown is just way too small, though the print of Antwone Fisher they had looked great. But then they left the houselights on low till the last 20 minutes, and the concessions and service there suck (much worse than when they first opened and it was rather nice - its on autopilot now).

    The only other theater I like is UA at 96th St, despite being non-stadium (not true stadium at least). That's because the soundsystem is better than Kerasotes.

    The AMCs are basically worthless except Castleton since its all arthouse (same for Keystone). Of course both of these are terrible theaters themselves, but the people running them are pleasant and doing the best with the theater space they have.

    Don't get me started on Clearwater with it's blown speakers and torn/stained screens, as well as at least one room with the center speaker metal exposed so that it reflects back through the screen. [​IMG]

    At least our IMAX is in a good spot and is up to snuff IMAX-wise. [​IMG]



    Yes, in Indy you can expect one of each of the chains to at least offer a film, excepting the arthouses and even Keystone sometimes picks up Castleton's prints when they are done with their run so if you can't go north then you can wait for it to come south.


     
  18. Chauncey_G

    Chauncey_G Second Unit

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  19. Jeff Holton

    Jeff Holton Stunt Coordinator

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  20. Chris Atkins

    Chris Atkins Producer

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