16 votes

What a century (plus a pandemic) does to moviegoing and why it matters

11 comments

  1. [3]
    BashCrandiboot
    (edited )
    Link
    Don't have time to read the whole article now, but I think its obvious that theaters pretty much suck ass. The film industry across the board has been cutting corners. I don't blame theaters for...

    Don't have time to read the whole article now, but I think its obvious that theaters pretty much suck ass.

    The film industry across the board has been cutting corners. I don't blame theaters for that, even though most theaters by me are owned by one single massive corporation. I'd like to blame the studios, since they largely distribute ultra-manufactured grool that's been focus-grouped (see: data mined) unto oblivion.

    I work adjacent to this industry. We're on the cusp of some sort of disruptive renaissance. Do I have anything to support this claim? No. I've just been drinking bourbon for the last 7 hours.

    Look, 30 years ago, you'd open a theater in your modestly sized town, pay modestly priced licensing fees, pay locally fair wages, and make business decisions, not just based on math, but principle. You don't start a theater because you're trying to optmize it based on data. You start a theater because, generally, people want to go out and have a good time.

    You can provide a good time for a modest price, so you make a theater that tries to compete with the other theaters. You ask yourself: How can we make our experience BETTER than the theater 15 minutes away?

    But today, if you walked into a movie theater, could you tell the difference between that one and any theater that's 15 minutes away? I sure as fuck couldn't.

    They are all the same, and they are all playing the same mid movies that I will see in two weeks on my TV next to all the other mid content I will see. Because guess what? Its all mid. Its all manufactured bullshit made from decisions based on spreadsheets and absolute zero risk

    ZERO RISK.

    Sorry, I'm just sour because I graduated high school just in time to try and enter an industry that gradually lost my respect and admiration over the course of a decade.

    I don't even think its a problem exclusive to the film world. We simply live in a world where principle-based businesses get scooped up by profit-obsessed corporations that have lost all touch with actual reality. The same world where consumers don't really give a shit, because they have plenty of attention-stealing content to distract them from the fact that all of the content isn't really interested in providing a benefit to them, it just wants to hold their attention long enough for that sweet sweet monetization.

    Then again, maybe thats just me.

    18 votes
    1. DefinitelyNotAFae
      Link Parent
      This feels quite idealized to me, having worked for a local theater, about 22 years ago, where I was paid absolutely minimum wage and the owner was a racist who complained about the black people...

      Look, 30 years ago, you'd open a theater in your modestly sized town, pay modestly priced licensing fees, pay locally fair wages, and make business decisions, not just based on math, but principle

      This feels quite idealized to me, having worked for a local theater, about 22 years ago, where I was paid absolutely minimum wage and the owner was a racist who complained about the black people going to church downtown and, idk, taking up parking and not seeing a movie? I really don't know why he did. He absolutely was trying to make money based on spending the absolute minimum - broken down seats were common, it's just the theater was rarely full enough to require them. Similarly the bathrooms were in poor shape.

      I also worked for a local department store and as bad as Walmart is, I'd have made more working there.

      6 votes
    2. Lapbunny
      Link Parent
      Most multiplexes near me show the same big-ticket stuff, but I can sure as hell tell you about the one that also shows classics, UFC fights, ecchi anime movies, and... One screening I'm seeing...

      But today, if you walked into a movie theater, could you tell the difference between that one and any theater that's 15 minutes away?

      Most multiplexes near me show the same big-ticket stuff, but I can sure as hell tell you about the one that also shows classics, UFC fights, ecchi anime movies, and... One screening I'm seeing where they're not even telling what movie they're going to play. I like them a lot.

      I think we ultimately agree what goes along with your narrative there - if it turns into a race to the bottom, they all suffer. There's a ton of other stuff that big, communal viewing areas could be used for other than movies; independent and local films, old movies or shows that people will always want to see, sports events, streams, video game tournaments, etc. Need to get creative, but creativity gets beat down by the dollar.

      4 votes
  2. aphoenix
    (edited )
    Link
    It always pains me when authors talk about inflation and dismiss it as an issue. It misses the fundamental problem that the economy is facing, which is that people in the bottom half of the...

    It always pains me when authors talk about inflation and dismiss it as an issue. It misses the fundamental problem that the economy is facing, which is that people in the bottom half of the economy are tending to not be able to keep up with the expense of living. The percentage increase of inflation isn't an indicator of free money that people have to spend on frivolities.

    Let's consider the metric of "hours worked at minimum wage equivalent to the cost of setting a movie in theatre". I'm doing napkin math here, but in the mid-2000s in the US, minimum wage was $7.50 and the cost to go to the theatre was about $15, so two hours of work would get you a fun night. In 2024 the minimum wage is $7.50 and the cost to go to the theatre is more like $25, so it's over 3 hours of work, roughly a 67% increase. Things are stretching thinner now, and the inflation percentage isn't catching all the nuances of the economic devastation many people are facing.

    10 votes
  3. Markpelly
    Link
    I went to see Dune 2 recently with some friends. It was the first movie I had seen in theaters since 2018. It was cool in IMax but I would have preferred to watch it at home. I really only went to...

    I went to see Dune 2 recently with some friends. It was the first movie I had seen in theaters since 2018. It was cool in IMax but I would have preferred to watch it at home. I really only went to hang with my buddies, and it was a good time.

    7 votes
  4. [3]
    vord
    Link
    I thought about theaters dying, but then realized Netflix has a net annual profit of $5.5 billion dollars. They could solo-fund 10 of the most expensive films ever made, every year, release them...

    I thought about theaters dying, but then realized Netflix has a net annual profit of $5.5 billion dollars. They could solo-fund 10 of the most expensive films ever made, every year, release them to the public domain, and still be profitable.

    Theaters really just need a nice little leg boost due to decades of being squeezed by studios, giving them virtually no money from ticket sales themselves and thus needing to shoot concession prices to the moon.

    Let them just play blu-rays or whatever is streaming on Netflix, and end this whole business of trying to squeeze blood from a stone.

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      BashCrandiboot
      Link Parent
      Well, let's not forget that Netflix has plenty of debt they'd need to pay off, but I think your point still stands.

      Well, let's not forget that Netflix has plenty of debt they'd need to pay off, but I think your point still stands.

      6 votes
      1. vord
        Link Parent
        Net profits is after servicing of debt, so I didn't really think about that. And thats for like blockbusters. If we tightened movie budgets to sanity, say $25 million, that would be 200 films a...

        Net profits is after servicing of debt, so I didn't really think about that.

        And thats for like blockbusters. If we tightened movie budgets to sanity, say $25 million, that would be 200 films a year. And is on top of all the other production Netflix is already doing.

        3 votes
  5. [3]
    Plik
    Link
    What does SFBIP mean? Author keeps using it, but only defines the IP part.

    What does SFBIP mean? Author keeps using it, but only defines the IP part.

    1. [2]
      Minori
      Link Parent

      Hollywood’s obsession with sequels, franchises, blockbusters, and IP (“SFBIP”)

      3 votes
      1. Plik
        Link Parent
        I saw that, got it now, didn't make the association with the first three items in the list 😅

        I saw that, got it now, didn't make the association with the first three items in the list 😅

        4 votes