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  • Fair Movie Prices

    I was reading todays SF Chronicle and it came up with this idea...

    Movie prices bucking common sense
    SF Chronicle - 6/1/06
    by David Lazerus


    The Poseidon is belly up, but theaters don't have to be -- if they vary charges

    I was up for a movie recently. The family was out of town, I had nothing much better to do, and it seemed like a perfect chance to take in one of those big, fat summer blockbusters that serve no better purpose than to kill brain cells and promote hearing loss.

    I'd already seen "Mission: Impossible III," and neither "The Da Vinci Code" nor "X-Men: The Last Stand" had opened. So a check of the movie listings left me with pretty much one choice -- "Poseidon," the big-budget remake of "The Poseidon Adventure."

    Trouble was, the reviews had been deadly. Lots of eye candy, sure, but uninteresting, one-dimensional characters caught up in unsurprising situations. There was no way I was going to pay $10 (or thereabouts) for the experience.

    But what if, because of all the dreadful word of mouth that surrounded "Poseidon," movie theaters were to charge, say, only $5 per showing? Would that have gotten me to go?

    In all honesty, yes. I'd pay $5 for a sucky film that still has state-of-the-art special effects and some stars I sort of like and revisits one of the all-time great disaster movies (right up there with "Towering Inferno"). There are worse ways you could spend a couple of hours.
    The question, therefore, is this: With movie theaters taking ever more heat from home-theater systems and DVDs and cable channels like HBO, why not introduce a sliding scale that makes ticket prices more attractive for films that aren't exactly the next "Lord of the Rings"?
    Full story - Movie prices bucking common sense

    So the question I am posing is this... knowing supply and demand, why price fix the box office... Lazarus has a point here, a movie studio and a theatre could make more money off of a "single and double" if it cost less, and more money off of a tent pole feature if it cost more... essencially you would make up the differance in volume of ticket sales.

    In some ways it means each film would be "brand managed" off of some fair market value for viewing said film...
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  • #2
    Re: Fair Movie Prices

    Didn't we think this up, too?

    I'd go it one further: On Friday and Saturday night, charge even more than now. On Wednesday afterward, charge less. At the moment, the Friday and Saturday crowds are probably paying for the theater expenses incurred on Wednesday.
    Secondly, the studios need to wean actors, producers and directors off the "percentage of first dollar gross" contracts. The percentage of the gross has to be built into the price we pay. If that amount adds up to, say, 50% of the ticket price, then in order for the theater to stay in business with, say $5 of expenses and profit, it has to charge at least $10 per ticket.
    I think after a movie makes its contracted costs back (i.e., the amount that the studio and the artists agree on in the contract, not some fancy studio accounting scheme that is intended to screw artists out of heir share of "profits"), THEN the actors, directors, and producers can start collecting the money that they have "earned."

    Currently, it might make business sense for the theater NOT to show a movie (or severely curtail the number of showings) than to show it to a 10%-of-capacity audience. Not saying that's what they do, just that it would make more sense.

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    • #3
      Re: Fair Movie Prices

      I don't care how they do it, but if theater owners want me to go to the movies more often, they have got to make the prices more reasonable. If they don't want me there, they can leave the prices as-is.

      For me, it all came to a head when my family of 3 went to go see "Madagascar." It was a terribly mediocre family film that cost us almost $30 plus concessions. As I was leaving, I realized that we just spent over twice as much as it would have cost us to buy the DVD and own the darn thing. I really have to be very choosy about what movies I go to now.
      <o>

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      • #4
        Re: Fair Movie Prices

        I don't even go see movies at the "big" theater anymore. We went to see the Incredibles and it was $8.50 a person (including a 4 and 6 year old). and then we got a drink and a big popcorn - It was around $30.00 also. I could have bought two of the dvd's for that. So, we just wait until movies come to the $3.00 theater. Sure, it's a month or so later, but it's still a big screen. Also, we have a drive-in, where we get 2 movies for $6.50 for an adult - kids 12 and under are free.
        sigpic
        Will trade husband for Disneyland and DCA Pins!

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        • #5
          Re: Fair Movie Prices

          Forget the prices, I'd be fine with them if they'd ensure two things.

          A quiet and uninterupted environment that was cell phone free. Nothing irritates me more than people on their cell phone or texting while watching.

          If it's that important, then leave the building. Although if it were up to me, I'd do cell phone checks just like hat and coat checks.

          The other thing would be making sure the theatres were clean, a lot are still messy and sticky and stuff. They need to clean the theatres better than they do now. Don't care how, they just do. I'm sure there's little argument about that.

          Bye.

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          • #6
            Re: Fair Movie Prices

            Originally posted by BFJen
            I don't even go see movies at the "big" theater anymore. We went to see the Incredibles and it was $8.50 a person (including a 4 and 6 year old). and then we got a drink and a big popcorn - It was around $30.00 also. I could have bought two of the dvd's for that. So, we just wait until movies come to the $3.00 theater. Sure, it's a month or so later, but it's still a big screen. Also, we have a drive-in, where we get 2 movies for $6.50 for an adult - kids 12 and under are free.
            I wish we still had a $3 theater! We had a couple that ranged from $1 to $3.50, but the last of them went under last year. That one was a $1 theater!

            For that price I would see absolutly ANYTHING! I even went there on a Saturday afternoon and see a triple feature for $3!

            Ahhh, I miss last year!
            sigpic
            Check out my podcast: www.drunkondisney.com

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            • #7
              Re: Fair Movie Prices

              I love this idea. I have to be pretty sure nowadays I am going to like a movie before I plonked down $9.50 for a movie. And to make it worst, Regal Cinemas in my area has decreed that after 3PM on Fri-Sun is full price...not matinee. And then I rarely pay that and use my Costco movies passes after the initial "no passes" period is over. And then there are the people who don't know how to act right in a movie theater....

              In Tulsa, OK, they still have bargain theatres. Well, they did the last time I was there in 2004. They charge 50 cents for a matinee and $1.00 for the evening show. The movies are just ones that have been out longer. I saw POTC (for the 2nd or 3rd time) around Thanksgiving in 2003. And you don't always have to wait that long either. (It was just a very popular movie as you may or may not remember. ) I've also seen there I am Sam, Along Came Polly, 50 First Dates, Gosford Park, etc. over the years. Some of these movies I wouldn't have given the time of day, but for 50 cents...why not?

              We haven't had a bargain theater in years around here. I miss them.
              Amanda
              Just remember without a well written Disney Villain, there would be no point in the Heroes and the Princesses. Have you hugged a Disney Villain today? :love:

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              • #8
                Re: Fair Movie Prices

                we have a dollar theater here, but I nver go to it. the theater is disgusting, I don't think they ever clean it.

                The last movie I saw in a theater was national treasure at the theater in DTD...

                I guess you can saw I don't go to movie theaters that often..

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                • #9
                  Re: Fair Movie Prices

                  It's no secret that the increase in ticket prices has far outpaced the rate of inflation. Theater owners need to wake up and clue-in. Between Netflix and $9.99 DVD bins at Wal-Mart, people are going to continue to lose interest in spending $30+ for a night at the movies when they can have a perfectly servicable movie experience at home.

                  Theaters are going to have to start re-examining their pricing, it's ignorant and suicidal if they don't. They're also going to have to look at the overall theater experience -- i.e., all the annoying commercials (I spend $10 for a ticket and then I stil have to watch 20 minutes of soda and car ads???).
                  "I'm working on changing Hollywood...at the studio that fired me twice."
                  --John Lasseter

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                  • #10
                    Re: Fair Movie Prices

                    Originally posted by Doopey1
                    Theater owners need to wake up and clue-in. Between Netflix and $9.99 DVD bins at Wal-Mart, people are going to continue to lose interest in spending $30+ for a night at the movies when they can have a perfectly servicable movie experience at home.
                    I think Wal-Mart is down to $5 now... so is BestBuy... but you can find decent older films going for $7.50 almost at any large discounter...

                    I think that as the technology progresses Theater's will find their market place, but it means changing their operational model. Opening up pricing to "fair market" value may make sense if they wish to remain economically viable - and this would be an easily implemented short term fix.

                    A second thing that needs to happen is to transform their businesses in to full service media retail stores... A place where one can see first run movies, purchase related DVD's (or media content) and soundtracks on the spot... This is a kind of convergance that needs to happen if theatres are ment to be economically viable in the long run...
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