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Poor Theatre Chain Results


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#1 Richard Boddington

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Posted 17 August 2005 - 09:37 AM

Here's some info from IMDB today that merits examination...

The box office slump hit exhibitors' quarterly earnings reports Monday when AMC Entertainment, which operates 229 theaters with 3546 screens worldwide (making it the second-largest movie theater chain behind Regal Entertainment Group), reported a $27.7 million loss during its second quarter. A year ago it reported earnings of $15.9 million during the same quarter.

From making 15.9 Mil to losing 27.7 Mil compared to the same quarter last year?

At what point does a "trend" become a new reality? If the numbers stay low for another three years will that be long enough for Hollywood execs to finally start to look at the content of what they are spewing out? Or have DVDs and good home entertainment systems taken a bite out of the theatres that can't be replaced?

Of course since we are dealing with the market we'll never really know.

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#2 DylanCJohnson

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Posted 19 August 2005 - 10:59 AM

I find it a bit strange that the answer to the drop in theater patronage seems to be to increase the costs of tickets (as has been happening over a number of years). That approach may work with gasoline, something that most people actualy "need" to buy, but the general public doesn't "need" to go to the movies, especialy when so many cheaper DVD options are available. Isn't lowering your price against the price of an opponent the normal course of action in a capitalistic competition? Lower your prices and advertise more, stick it out for a while and build up a new customer base and more customer loyalty?

"Hey, you at home, tired of waiting to watch the latest movies on your small home television?! Well come on down to Mega-Plex 3000!!! (insert special effect of tv morphing into huge movie screen) We've brought back the cheap matinee show and come enjoy our new Midnight Madness $5.00 show that comes with a free drink and free large popcorn!!!!!"

It seems strange to me that although I see a constant river of ads for movies, I never see any adds for Movie Theaters untill I actualy go to the theater and they show me that little reel that starts every show!!!!!!!!!!! An add for a movie is no longer an add for a theater, it's an add for a DVD.

I love movie theaters. I mean I freakin' LOVE movie theaters. An image on film is about a billion times better than what I see on a television, but for an industry (just theaters, not movies themselves) to take this much loss and not advertise their product is foolish.

People may not "need" to go to the Theater, but they do "need" to be told stories. Right now, DVD is the cheaper story. If you want people to go to the theater, make them go with advertising, value, and good old showmanship.

(Back in the mid-nineties, a theater in my home town changed over to new management. As a promotion, popcorn and drinks were both 50 cents for like two months. EVERYONE was going to see movies for those two months)
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#3 Greg Gross

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Posted 19 August 2005 - 12:13 PM

I can count the number of films seen this summer on one hand. Every single
time I went there were no more than 20 people in the room I was in. I'm just
about to break my slump by viewing "Four Brothers","Broken Flowers". There
are a lot of films for teenagers out there, of course I crave true drama and ro-
mantic comedy. I just was not impressed by "War of The Worlds" from the story
pov. I was impressed by the cinematography and special effects. Is the cinema
as we know it, over? I remember the end of hollywood,I cried. I missed Hitchcock
riding on a bus beside Cary Grant. Whats happened? Are there no more films like
"The Note Book", "The English Patient","North Fork","Something's Gotta Give","A
Very Long Engagement"? Why did I see more people at the independent cinema
than I did at the cinema centers,this summer? The critics hacked the hell out of
"The Island" here. I thought it was a fine film, so did everybody who viewed it
that I talked to. I'm presently running "Faces" right now on my wide screen and
enjoying every minute of it. Something funny is happening, its making me realize
that life is just life,things happen even though love is central in our minds. I would
like to see the cinemas survive,at the bottom of the movie poster,far right hand
corner,we could see the words- produced in Digital Cinematography or filmed in
Panavision. I'll take the Panavision but to each his own.

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#4 Lars.Erik

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Posted 19 August 2005 - 12:33 PM

If one looks at the history of Hollywood, this always happens. At some point, a genre will outplay it's role. Today that genre is dominated by CGI movies. Michael Bay's "The Island" being the latest.

All of these films have the similar scripts. You know what I mean, sure there are some good films coming out here and there. But people are getting fed up with big blockbusters with lots of CGI and little story.

Same thing happened in the late sixties. Hollywood made big budget musicals, westerns etc. People got fed up and Hollywood tangled itself in a financial disaster.

And what happened? A small movie called "Easy Rider" came out. With no typical big budget trademarks it blew the world away with innovative cinematography and a damn good script. People loved it because the creators actually had somehing to say. Not just out to make a buck. And then Hollywood followed up with similar movies.

I believe we are at the same turning point these days. In a few years, maybe even next year, we will see a new great indie film that will turn the tides. And the world of CGI will then change. Sure, it will be there in a strong way. But the films will concentrate more on the story than the CGI.

We are a social race, we go to the cafè shop, we go out to see our friends, restaurants, etc. People will go to the theatre, they just need new stories. Better ones than the ones we see today.

Edited by Lars.Erik, 19 August 2005 - 12:39 PM.

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#5 Greg Gross

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Posted 19 August 2005 - 01:35 PM

Thank you for your post.
Could that be a Panaflex,I see at the end of the tunnel?

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#6 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 19 August 2005 - 03:59 PM

Yeah, I think we're on the verge of something new here. Maybe a new 70's era again with visionaries like Bob Evans running studios? The recent appointment of Brad Grey as head of production at Paramount might suggest that a shift is happening.

The studios have been surfing on the post-Jaws blockbuster wave for 30 years now, it had to end at some point. The greed has become Hollywood's downfall - to quote the late Goldwyn "people are staying away in droves" - this is the third year in a row with decreasing theatre attendance.

I think it's a combination of home cinema becoming more prevalent, more and better DVD releases and films that fail to connect with the times - for instance it seems that action is all but dead as a genre now. The overpriced concessions and the cattle-feel we get from attending multiplexes don't help either.

I personally think this is good - something new and better will come out of this, I'm sure. The industry needs rethinking and rejuvenation from time to time.
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#7 Richard Boddington

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Posted 19 August 2005 - 04:22 PM

David Lean once said that he typically spends a year writing the script, a year shooting, and a year editing, that's a three year process per film. I really think the number one thing missing from todays movies is, "craftsmanship." Few in Hollywood take real pride in their work, the mantra is to bang things out as quick as possible, and rely on 20 million dollar per picture stars and 80 million in CGI effects. The last films that I think exhibited real craftsmanship where the Lord Of The Rings series.

George Lucas' prequels where all an abomination. Which is a real shame because his 1977 Star Wars is a masterpiece.

On the other hand as people line up in droves to watch the mindless drivel of the Dukes Of Hazard what does that say about audiences? Yes I'm a snob.

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#8 Max Jacoby

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Posted 20 August 2005 - 01:34 AM

Are there no more films like...  ..."A Very Long Engagement"?

Since that film got released this year, I think it is a bit too early to already lament the disappearence of such a movie. Although personally I found it entirely forgettable.
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#9 Tina Coggins

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Posted 20 August 2005 - 02:20 AM

What do you think about this article? I think the whole compressed windows stragegy business is a lousy idea, though, as someone who has to sit through 20 minutes of crapola commercials (because I don't like to be late to the theatre, but prefer to be on time or a bit early), I've had enough of it. And that's on top of a glut of sub-standard movies made for sub-standard minds. And yet, there's nothing like the theatre experience.

Movie theater owners fire back at studios

By Nicole Sperling Fri Aug 19, 5:10 AM ET

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Tired of being blamed for the box office slump, the nation's movie theater owners returned fire Thursday, accusing the studios of delivering sub-standard product.
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"Here's what we know about 2005: The movies are not as good," said John Fithian, president of the National Association of Theater Owners.

"They're not terrible; they're just not as good. And so the industry has experienced a temporary drop-off compared to 2004, the biggest box office year in movie history."

His remarks were part of a direct rebuke to Robert Iger, who is about to take over as CEO of the Walt Disney Co. Iger said last week during the firm's third-quarter conference call that the industry should move toward the simultaneous release of theatrical films and videos. In 2004, the average gap between a film's release in theaters and on video was four months, 16 days.

Fithian said that compressing windows "to placate this instant-everywhere appetite" would result in a world with "no viable movie theater industry ... at least not a theater industry devoted to the entertainment products of Hollywood.

"(Iger) should know that Hollywood studios would be merely one shriveled vendor among many in that new world of movies-as-commodities-only," he added.

Neither Iger nor Disney chose to respond to Fithian's comments.

Year-to-date box office sales stand at $5.57 billion compared with $6.05 billion at the same time in 2004. Pundits have cited exhibitors' pumped-up onscreen advertising, rising ticket prices and rude patrons as primary reasons moviegoers are staying home.

During the earnings call, Iger said, "I don't think it's out of the question that a DVD can be released in effect in the same window as a theatrical release. Although I'm sure we will get a fair amount of push-back on this from the industry, it's not out of the question. I think that all the old rules should be called into question because the rules in terms of consumption have changed so dramatically."

While no major exhibitor has suggested taking aggressive action against Disney based on Iger's comments, theater owners in the past have shown tremendous resistance to anyone who advocates a compressed windows strategy. Many in the industry believe it's just a matter of time until a major studio attempts such an experiment in the hope of reducing marketing costs and maximizing profits across the various platforms.

Edited by Tina Coggins, 20 August 2005 - 02:25 AM.

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#10 Paul Bruening

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Posted 21 August 2005 - 07:59 PM

Hey all,

There's something else afoot in Hollywood. As producers find themselves following the 90's formulas of high-concept, CGI heavy movies, they are finding, as well, that viewers are waining in their enthusiasm for CGI gimmicky, remakes of remakes. And those are just the obvious remakes. So many movies being put out are just repackaged crap of what worked ten years ago. But, you know what? That's fine with me. A wanna-be-big-screen producer like me would be glad to wiggle around those lumbering giants and snatch some national release, ticket sales. Keep it up Hollywood. You're singin' my tune!!!



Let's do lunch.
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