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Regal and Cinemark agree to play commercials in the middle of movie trailers

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Wayne_j, Sep 19, 2019.

  1. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    Well, it's why I don't bother going to theaters anymore. I can get the same experience at home, without the annoyances.
     
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Not always as I've been to a few movie theaters in which a home theater can't compete with.
     
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  3. bujaki

    bujaki Producer

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    I don't have Dolby Cinema nor IMAX screening rooms at home; I don't even have a 70mm projector, not to mention a sound system with umpteen number of speakers all around and above me.
    When I can replicate all that at home, then my experience will be as good or better than at the theater. Otherwise, no.
    However, it still takes a very special movie to motivate me to venture out of my HT.
     
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  4. Jeff Cooper

    Jeff Cooper Cinematographer

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    Sure, while not an exact match to an actual theater, the amount of closeness to that experience far outweighs the negative aspects of going to the actual theater.
     
  5. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Theaters can have all the fancy equipment they can buy, but there can still be all sorts of technical glitches (focus, brightness, calibration, screen ratio/masking, sound to loud or too soft, dirty/ripped/stained screens, rattling/broken speakers) that make the experience less than enjoyable, not to mention dealing with other patrons, sticky floors, broken seats, stale food, flat soda, etc., all of which can be easily avoided/fixed/adjusted in the HT, but not at the theater where you can complain 'til Christmas but nothing is done to fix anything.
     
  6. bujaki

    bujaki Producer

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    I suppose I'm lucky in the Dallas area since I don't experience most of the complaints I read about here, save for the very few patrons who believe their conversations or their texting is more important than the movie experience. I wonder why they bother spending money on the ticket. And this happens very seldom.
    It may be that, since I'm retired, I avoid the packed showings, and that helps. But as far as the PQ and SQ, even for 3D, I never have cause for complaints.
     
  7. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Producer

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    We don't have either of those chains here. It's 100% Malco who runs 20-30 minutes of commercials before the previews begin. That coupled with stupid prices on concessions, "convenience" fees imposed to order tickets in advance, audio at earsplittinloudenboomer levels, rude/inconsiderate/loud patrons, and more has kept me away for some time. It's been almost 2 years since I set foot in one of their theaters and that was at the insistence of my son (he wanted all of us to see the Star Wars movie together that year). They've recently converted many of their auditoriums to recliners and reserved seating. That means you'd better order early online to get a "good" seat. And I don't trust them to keep the seats clean as they did a fairly poor job of it before.

    At least you can reserve your seat and arrive "late" but I don't trust the other generally inconsiderate people who tend to go to the theater here to not be in my seat when I arrive just minutes before the show starts. That means another hassle to roust them or get theater workers to get 'em out.

    I also know theaters are struggling. They get little, if any, of the proceeds of new movies in the first few weeks of distribution. That's one reason there are so many commercials and stupidly high concession prices. The thing is, adding more forced commercials won't help and likely will accelerate declining attendance as people just give up. There also seems to be some movement in Hollywood for making movies available for streaming the day they hit the theater. Once that happens you can pretty much kiss the local multiplex goodbye.

    I don't have a huge, fancy, home theater. Just a modest HDTV and BR player. I'm quite content to stay home and watch in comfort where I can pause the movie when needed, get snacks that don't cost more than the admission price, set sound levels I find reasonable, use SDH/CC for those movies mixed so poorly you can't hear dialog over music/sfx, and purchase a copy of the movie for less than I'd have paid to have seen it in the theater in the first place. I don't need to see something release week or even the first 6 months.

    Frankly, there are very few new movies I even care to see these days. It's all the same old thing all over again. Production costs have risen to the point that few studios are willing to take a chance anymore so they keep making the same movies again and again and again... That more than anything else is what's truly killing attendance.
     
  8. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Lead Actor

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    As far as I'm concerned, theaters can run whatever they want up until ticket time - those 20-minute "preview shows" don't bother me at all.

    It's the bloat after ticket time that's the issue. I like trailers but not 20+ minutes of them!
     
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  9. Wayne_j

    Wayne_j Cinematographer

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    I would be very happy with 3 - 4 trailers before a movie. Like Colin, I think 20+ minutes of them are ridiculous.
     
  10. Message #70 of 83 Oct 30, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2019
    Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Lead Actor

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    I'm bumping this thread because it occurred to me that the new initiative to add commercials begins this Friday. We'll have to see this weekend how it plays out in terms of affecting our experiences.

    I thought of a new inconvenience as a result of this plan. My Cinemark is opening both Jojo Rabbit and Harriet this weekend and I am interested in both. However, I have a commitment on Saturday afternoon and won't be able to go to a movie on that day. So I pulled up the showtimes and tried to figure out if the showtimes for these two movies line up in such a way as I could see them both on one trip on Sunday, one after the other. (To be clear here, I am in no way advocating sneaking into a second movie; on the rare occasion that I double movies up, I do pay for both.)

    Normally, I do this by looking at the running time of the first movie and then adding +20 minutes to that for trailers, because that is about average for what my theater has.

    But, now, with this new plan going into effect, I don't know if there will be more ads and less trailers, or if they are just going to add more ads and keep the running time of the trailers the same. If it's the latter, and I suspect it might be, that means the showtime would get out later than it would have in the past, and that could impact my ability to get to the second movie on time. When I do this, I like to make sure I've got at least 15 minutes between the movies to allow me to use the bathroom and stretch before sitting down for the second film. If it's going to be too close, I usually opt not to do two. So the addition of extra crap on the front might actually lose them extra business this weekend until I can figure out how much time this crap is going to add between the listed showtime and the start of the film.

    Of course, they're also going to have this extra junk on the front of whatever movie I would do second, so that provides a cushion. But I'm still reluctant to try two this weekend under these circumstances until it becomes more clear how much time this new initiative is going to tack onto the total running time.

    I do have to put up with it if I want to continue going to the movies, because the local AMC (which is the only one of the three major chains NOT to sign on for this junk) has all of their wheelchair spaces exclusively in the back row now. I hate being told I am only worthwhile to them if I sit in the back of the bus (I mean auditorium.) Plus, I am extremely nearsighted, so even with glasses on I would have a worse experience in the back than I would in the middle. So I don't patronize AMC anymore as a matter of principle. Putting up with this new extra junk at Cinemark is still better than going to AMC and being forced to sit in the back where I won't have a decent view of the movie I paid to see.

    I don't like the idea of this, but I am curious to see what it looks like in execution and how it lengthens my time in the theater, mostly for practical reasons I mentioned above.

    Buckle up folks. The change is a-comin'.
     
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  11. Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Lead Actor

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    Well, as I write this, it's November 2, and this new initiative was supposed to start yesterday.

    Has anyone who has gone to the movies experienced this yet? If so, what is it like, and how much time does it actually add to the moviegoing experience? @Josh Steinberg? (Only tagging you because I know you live by a Regal.) Anyone else?

    I will be going to my Cinemark tomorrow and will be paying close attention to any changes.
     
  12. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    Went to Regal today but was running late - got there during the last trailer so if they did anything I didn’t get to see it. Which is fine by me.
     
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  13. Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Lead Actor

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    I don't really care about seeing more ads either, but I do care about how it runs because it may affect my ability to see more than one film at a time, which I occasionally do.

    I called my Cinemark to inquire about exact ending times to see if it is possible to do Harriet and Jojo Rabbit back-to-back. They confirmed that it is, but I can't tell how much the ending times are affected by any additional ads

    Harriet (with a listed starting time of 12:15 and film running time of 2 hours 5 minutes) will end at 2:44. I'll report back tomorrow if there are any additional ads above the norm for my theater. Jojo Rabbit has a listed starting time of 3:00, so this should be just about perfect.
     
  14. Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Lead Actor

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    Well, I experienced this today and it's as bad as we thought it was going to be.

    I went to see Harriet with a listed staring time of 12:15. Normally, I turn my phone off as soon as I get in the theater, but I left it on today until the film actually started so that I could time everything.

    Normally -- as in, prior to this weekend -- the listed starting time was the starting time of the trailers. Now,, the advertisements ended at 12:21. Then we had the usual 20 minutes of trailers. THEN, at the end of the trailers, after the Cinemark Movie Club ad which is normally the last one before the feature, they replayed one of the commercials from earlier in the preshow, which in this case was for Sprite. The Cinemark ad started at 12:38, which is when I turned off my phone because I expected it to be the last one. Between it and the Sprite ad, the movie actually started at 12:40, which is a full 25 minutes after the listed starting time. And in case you're curious, a Sprite ad is a really distracting way to send you into Harriet.

    Then I went to Jojo Rabbit, which had a listed starting time of 3:00. The preshow commercials for it lasted through 3:08. Then there were the trailers, followed again by the Sprite ad. The Sprite ad started at 3:22, which is when I turned off my phone. So Jojo probably started at 3:23 or thereabouts.

    Good grief.
     
  15. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    Films routinely begin 25 minutes past the advertised showtime at my Regal. At my AMC, it’s usually 22 (one less trailer).

    I’ve noticed that my local Regal will chop it down to 12-15 when they move titles into smaller rooms for weeks 2 and 3. But opening week (and movies still running in their original auditoriums beyond the first week) have the longer time. Between that and reserved seating, when I go to my local Regal, I now leave the house at the published showtime and usually get to my seat for the last trailer.

    I’m content to care less and go less. It’s clearly a business decision that the guaranteed payment for the ad is worth more than whatever customers they’d be losing. Most of these auditoriums are empty most of the time. The stock prices for the big chains have all been steadily declining. Their business is in major trouble and I get why they feel the need to try something, anything, to limit the bleeding.

    Probably a separate, larger conversation, but we’re seeing a huge paradigm shift where people are consuming more entertainment content than ever, paying for less of it than ever before and less tolerant of advertising too. The big question for all of these content providers whether theaters or TV networks or studios is how do you survive in an era where people want to watch something now, don’t want to pay for it, don’t want to watch ads that would subsidize it, and believe that it’s not wrong to steal it if it’s not provided under those terms?
     
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  16. Wayne_j

    Wayne_j Cinematographer

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    Things like this is why I go to my local arthouse theater whenever possible. 10 minutes trailers max.
     
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  17. Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Lead Actor

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    Me too -- but the arthouse theater here is 5 minutes from the Cinemark, and they almost never book anything at the same time. The arthouse actually had Jojo Rabbit on their schedule for November 15 -- I had a printed flyer confirming this date -- but they removed it when the Cinemark wanted to book it.

    The only times they ever get the same movies at the same time are if the arthouse gets an actual film print, for which they are the only theater capable of showing that around here. Most recently, we had a 70mm print of Joker, and before that a 70mm print of Dunkirk. On Christmas, we'll be getting a 35mm print of Little Women. In all of those cases I did (and will) choose the arthouse over the Cinemark, but they are few and far between. So I still have to go to the Cinemark if I want to see most big new wide releases.

    Oh, I 100% agree with that statement and get why they want to try this too. Everything you said here is true. But that doesn't make it any less annoying for me as a frequent customer. I go almost every week and they know it.

    At my Cinemark, they were averaging about 20 minutes of trailers before this change, so this is a definite increase for us.

    I get that for you. But I'm not content to go less, so this affects me probably more than the vast majority of their customer base, because I am there so often, in busy seasons and otherwise. But they have me and they know it -- literally, because I am a member of their loyalty program, they know every dollar I spend there so I can get points for it -- so I can't threaten to stop going, and my opinion won't really matter to anyone in power to make decisions. The almighty dollar wins for the logical and accurate reasons you stated, at the expense of the experience for dedicated audience members.
     
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  18. bujaki

    bujaki Producer

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    @Cinemark: Trailers, Sprite, then film. I arrived close to the end of the trailers.
     
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  19. Chris Will

    Chris Will Screenwriter

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    My AMC has been showing 22-25 minutes of ads and trailers before movies since I've been going regularly with A-List's launch. Now, they don't show a commercial right before the movie but, still at least 22 minutes of junk.Ever since they switched to reserved seating last year, I show up 15 minutes late now. I would show up even later but, every-now-and-then, they surprise you and only show about 15 minutes of junk.
     
  20. bujaki

    bujaki Producer

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    Cinemark: 2 films today, 1 Sprite commercial tacked to the end of the trailers each time. So it's here to stay.
     

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