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More Theaters Threatening Movie Moguls

Deadline Says:

Nikki Finke (who's just fnishing up her medical leave with a last visit to the doctor) will be posting a complete update on the battle over DirecTV's recently announced premium plan in partnership with Sony, Warner Bros, Fox and Universal to offer on-demand movies only 60 days after they premiere in theaters. On Wednesday, she revealed that Regal Cinemas warned studio marketers that it will drastically reduce the amount of play time for each of the quartet's movie trailers in every Regal movie house (just in time for the summer tentpole season, too). The Cinemark chain is following suit with boycotting trailers and signage from the participating studios. Now comes this statement from AMC Entertainment:

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MinimeJer052073d ago

I'm all for AMC and Regal theaters fighting back. I dislike the idea of renting a movie at home that fast and I think that if that does it happen, it will increase piracy and cause a drop in ticket sales at the theaters. I feel that the best experience is the movie theater and I don't want to see it fall. I think it's smart that they are going to decrease trailers from those studios if they go ahead and do it!

Crazay2073d ago

You're not wrong by any stretch but there are good things to it as well. For me, I have a small kid. This makes it VERY difficult for me to make it to the theater. For this reason, I built a home theater complete with an HD projo and 92" of beauty. For people like me, it's a great alternative.

MinimeJer052073d ago

Yeah, I can see lots of good coming from this for instances like you mentioned and just for nights when you don't feel like going out, but still want to check out a new film.

I just see it leading to piracy and even Blu-ray and DVD sales going down, which would suck :(

Crazay2073d ago

For sure. it's not like keeping it in theaters has kept the piracy down though.

MinimeJer052073d ago

Yeah, theaters haven't really helped that much, but allowing someone to watch it at home will definitely increase the piracy rate. Can you imagine how easy it could be to copy a film if you order it on your Cable Box?

If one guy copies it off one of those 30 dollar rentals, they can share it with all there friends or upload it and pass it around like wild fire.

Perkel2072d ago

LOL and you know that almost all films are ripped from DVD before even film goes to theater ?

Theatre will die soon as big TV will get cheaper also you must think about VR. It's not 90' with veeery big VR. Today yechnology can get you picture about as big as theatre even with surround sound all in one device.

If they can overcome price then maybe will survive.

Crazay2073d ago

There are for sure ways but \I think the tech exists to disable PVR and it would no doubt be done in the same way as Netflix I suspect.

Soldierone2073d ago

It would be better if you needed a movie ticket to get the on demand stuff. Most movies are pushed out of major theaters before this time period anyways due to the amount of movies releasing. Come summer you have 4 or 5 movies releasing each weekend, and theaters only hold like 16 or so theaters.

That and talking with distribution people. They noted that when you release a film free on the internet (youtube for example) it actually boosts sales, since those same people go buy the actual film. The same theory could be said here if done correctly.

JL2072d ago (Edited 2072d ago )

Here's the problem, and why I think the theaters are against it:

You mention most movies are out of theaters by this time period anyways. True. But the lack of the overlap does not mean the On-demand won't affect the theaters. It can still have a huge impact on them.

It's like this: Nowadays, people know if they want to see a movie they need to go to the theater or else they'll have to wait another ~4 months to see it on DVD (which is their only other option). That's a bit of a wait. Thus, due to excitement to see a movie, they go to the theaters to see it so they don't have to wait so long.

Now, imagine that time cut in half. You'll have far more people that are like "Hey, we could wait 2 months and watch this for just a fraction of the price. And it's not even that long of a wait." Thus, they postpone it for a couple months and see it when it releases.

This will definitely have an impact on theaters.

That being said, those theaters aren't so innocent themselves. $8 for three sips of coke? Really? $6 for a mere handful of popcorn? You have to be kidding me. Not to mention prices of tickets keep rising and rising. The theaters have partially brought this on themselves. A trip to the theater can easily get expensive. Especially weekly trips. So they're essentially pushing their audiences towards other options. And in a world of "now now now", this is an option that would be readily welcomed.

In all honesty, this whole direct-to-consumer thing is inevitable. With the popularity of streaming on the rise, more people having big screens and "home theater" setups, and the instant gratification society we live in, it's only a matter of time. Furthermore, studios can probably make more money in a direct-to-consumer model than they can via theaters. It's going to happen. Nothing the theaters can do about it.

Now, if the theaters won't to save themselves, they need to stop worrying so much about content, but rather focus on the experience. For a lot of people, they go to the theater for the experience. If they just want movie night then it's fairly likely the have Netflix. But instead they're wanting to have date night, or just a fun night out on the town. Theaters need to cater to that experience. They need to provide more than just an overpriced movie with criminally overpriced snacks.

Of course, on the flip side, studios need to watch out with a business model like this as well. Something like this could seriously eat into their home video market.

outwar60102071d ago

i hate watching things at the theatre where im charged extortionate prices for their food and tiny portions(i used to work in a cinema and put up with a lot of crap for charging £4.10 for small popcorn which was tiny and £6.30 for large) and being treated like crap because i have an iphone 4 that can record in 720p or the fact that i take my netbook every where IM NOT GOING TO PIRATE BUT WILL IF YOU CONTINUE TREATING ME LIKE THIS!!!!!!!! i like buying blu rays relatively quickly and can watch them in my comfortable set up and can choose who i watch them with(crying babies and people checking emails with brightness on max annoys me)

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Crazay2072d ago

If I recall correctly, the price for a movie through one of these On Demand rentals is supposed to be somewhere around $20-30. an awfully steep price to pay but still less than a date with your girl...or guy...or goat. I don't know what it costs to see a move down there but here its about $13 per person for a standard movie. If its in 3D or IMax its $18. Now there's a new style of screen they're working on at many locations that have leather reclining seats and it's reserved seating and that $25 per person.

That means you're looking at a cost of $26-50 just to get in the building and then factor in what you spoke about with the over priced refreshments. Eff me - $8 for a popcorn? When all is said and done, you're spending a very minimum of $50 for a night out and people don't want to do that anymore. Sure there are the purists (I'm looking at you JL) who love the experience but I'm spoured on the whole thing myself.

I'd sign up for this in a heartbeat.

JL2072d ago (Edited 2072d ago )

lol Don't look at me. I'm not one of the purists who love the experience. Honestly, I probably go to the theater less than most people here. Usually when I go it's just as something to do with my girlfriend. Or occasionally the movie I really can't wait to see and I'll take an afternoon trip myself to the theater. But really, I'm far from a regular movie goer. I am MUCH more likely to wait for DVD.

In fact, I don't even buy into this whole "oh but this movie is just something you have to see on the big screen at the theater" type of arguments you get for some movies. Forget that. I have a big screen HDTV at home with a plenty suitable surround sound that is definitely good enough a substitute for me.

Top that off with the fact that I'm antisocial and hate people (especially crowds--which is why I tend to go to the weekday matinee when I do go) lol and I'm the last person to advocate going to the theater for the experience as opposed to sitting at home. There is a reason my site is CouchPotatoClub, cause that's where I'd much rather reside lol

As for the experience thing, I was only making the argument as a means to point out something the theaters can do if they feel the pressure and want to ramp up attendance. Cause there's nothing the theaters can do about how the studios decide to get their product to the consumers. But there is something the theaters can do in order to make the theater-going experience a more enticing thing (they can start with lowering those criminally outrageous prices too).

But yes, all in all, I was presenting a counter-argument so to speak. I actually like this On-Demand idea (though that price is a little steep). That just means even fewer reasons to have to leave the house lol I was merely pointing out the reason the theaters are actually upset and how this could in fact affect their business (though I could care less really). Like I said, it's only a matter of time before we get to a day where this direct-to-consumer thing becomes a norm. And I'd much rather have it that way.

Soldierone2072d ago

@JL I see what you mean, but also remember this is On Demand. So its expensive and isnt streaming. Its literally buy the movie, it plays at a certain time and doesnt stop. It doesnt have pause or rewind or anything. And people have grown out of that.

Also the theater will always have an advantage. It will be the go to spot for badass movies. If you make a REALLY GOOD movie people will go see it. If you making your standard Hollywood film then obviously you are not looking to make it big anyways.

I also agree with whats said above. The reason im not with the theaters in this isntance is because its AMC. They got rid of student/military discounts. Their ticket prices are nearly double that of Harkins. They have no food specials, hell your not even allowed to bring in outside drink anymore. I went there with 30 bucks just to buy two tickets, ended up paying another 10 dollars just to get in. By then their 13 dollar soda wasn't an option at all.

You dont see companies like Harkins or Ultra Star fighting that much because they are still profitable. They have drink specials. They have 4D theaters. They have ticket specials. And most of all they have a quality experience gurentee.

JL2072d ago

I don't think that set time and those other restrictions would have an effect. I mean the theater operates the same way. Also, (I didn't realize this till you said it) but the way you describe it makes it seem that it's not like Comcast On-Demand where you watch what you want when you want, but rather they'll be treated more similar to PPV events. Not sure if they'll allow it in a case like this, but I know with my cable (Comcast) I can order a PPV event and record it (just recently did it with Wrestlemania). So, if that's an option, it does become "what I want, when I want" with the ability to rewind/etc.

I don't think the theater always will have the advantage here. The theater really doesn't offer me anything worthwhile to warrant me going there instead of staying home. Well, they won't have anything to offer me if this On-Demand thing goes into effect. Just a 60day wait. Might be totally worth it no matter how bad I want to see a movie.

Also, I'm not at all on the theaters' side. My previous comment wasn't about that. It was just to explain their standpoint on this issue. Just because I can understand their problem, doesn't mean I give a crap about their struggle, cause I really don't. Want to gain my business some more? Quit making it a vacation-sized-budget required to go to the movies anymore.

And finally, your final paragraph there exemplifies what I was talking about. Not that I'm on theaters' sides, but from an objective view, if theaters do want to fight dwindling sales, they need to look beyond the content/movies (which they can't really control) and look to what they can control: the experience. My point being, that they experience they offer now (just a movie and overpriced snacks) isn't enough to hold them up in a struggle. But with those theaters you point out, they focus on the experience. And here they remain profitable and content. Just proof that the big chains are focusing on the wrong thing. It's not the movie that matters to the general public really (they have millions of ways to see movies all the time these days), but rather the experience that draws most of them in. Again, not my viewpoint that the experience will draw me in, just talking generally. I'm all for the guys that can bring those movies to me as quick as possible without making me leave the house. I'd much rather wait a couple months and stay at home rather than have an "experience" out and have to deal with people that get on my damn nerves and overinflated prices, which seriously, how it's not against the law (considering they forbid you to bring in outside food/drinks) is beyond me. It has to be price gouging or extortion or something.

Soldierone2071d ago

Yeah I see what you are saying.

I have a decent set up at home, I dont have a giant TV so that could be why I still think theaters are awesome. However wouldn't you still go out to see major releases? For example Inception just released, all these people are talking about it and how great it is, that wouldn't make you get up and go? Taking it further, lets say you did wait it out. Now you have seen it, all the visuals etc...now you want to see it again, would you just simply watch it again at home, or go spend a few bucks to get the theater experience.

Plus movies are always going to be the go to thing for dates and going out, especially places here where we have malls and movies...that's it. Literally nothing else, unless you are a sports fan or own off road vehicles. We don't have arcades anymore, and it's usually too hot to go to the lame theme park we have. Itd be a little weird asking a girl on a first date to your house to watch a pay per view movie haha I don't know what the prices are for these yet, but Im assuming they will be more than your average PPV event so that alone will turn many people off.

Either way I will admit I am semi rooting for this so the theaters change. A full cup of soda costs the seller maybe at most 30 cents a cup. No need for it to be over 3 bucks. Popcorn shouldnt be anywhere near 10 dollars. Outragous ticket prices shouldnt exist beyond the first week, since movie companies take less of a cut. I believe by week 3 theaters have a 70 percent cut pet ticket sold?

I have no doubt the next step these companies will take is "WE HAVE IT EXCLUSIVE" and AMC will have no problem with it. However thats when I personally will stop going.

JL2071d ago

Oh I'm definitely not saying I won't go to the theaters anymore. Like you said, it's still a go-to place for dates (especially with me and my girlfriend both being big movie fans). So I'd definitely still go from time to time for date night. But this could definitely dissuade people from going as often. Especially families. That's the biggest ones I think.

It says this service will be $30 per movie. Now if I look at it as just me, obviously I'm getting off cheaper by going to the theater rather than ordering. If I'm talking me and my girlfriend, still cheaper for the theater. But it is getting towards that point where it becomes a viable option. However, if you look at a family; maybe parents with two kids that want to go out. Undoubtedly they save quite a bit of money going the On-Demand route rather than packing up the car to go out to the theater. So it's a much more enticing offer for them. And they're the ones more likely not to care about the new release status of movie, rather they're just wanting to watch a movie and simply choosing from what's available. So it makes no difference to them to wait.

As for me, as much as I loved Inception, I actually never went to the theaters for it. Waited till Blu-ray. I have no problem waiting. Sure there will be the occasional movie that I just NEED to see as soon as possible (I'm looking at you TDKR), but waiting a couple months is no big deal for me. And like I said, some of them won't even have to wait that long because I do still go to the theater here and there for date night.

No_Pantaloons2072d ago

They can threaten all they want, they really can't do much. This is a basic supply and demand.

Theaters are too expensive, people will find other options. Then they'll be forced to change things up to re-attract consumers. They need to start by lowing prices, as its clearly the biggest hurdle for most, I know it is for me.

I used to go a lot, but barely ever now. I have 55" high def lcd, ps3 for bluray, surround sound, and I can cook, buy or order out any food I want for far less then what they charge for basics. Not to mention the movie starts when I say it does.

I know people say atmosphere, and I agree, but that's a double edged sword nowadays, too many inconsiderate people bring baby's and kids (even to R rated movies, wth, gj parenting.)
Not to mention the several people who CANNOT turn their cellphones off, EVER, cause they're just TOO important.

I wish them luck, but they need to step it up to get people running back.

newn4gguy2072d ago

I love this!

I just don't want theaters to go under.

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