The movie theater is dying.
I know that experts say that each year movies gross more money than they did the year before and that box office records are broken over and over again. But I don’t buy it. Sure a tent pole summer blockbuster is going to make a few hundred million, but doesn’t it seem like it’s at the expense of all the others. It’s literally feast or famine and the big hog is hoarding up all the good stuff.
But let’s face it, movie theaters have A LOT of things going against them. They are hugely expensive (a family of four is looking at forty plus, even at a matinee). Home theaters are getting bigger and better. And now even internet piracy is robbing the tent-poles of their opening weekends.
Still don’t believe me? I recently saw a theater family film promotion that showcased 7 past animation showings over three months for just 6 dollars. Does that sound like a theater raking in the dough… or trying to find any way they can to keep water out of a sinking ship. In this turbulent economy, luxury is always the first to go… and expensive screenings of movies you can see online or rent for half the price in a few months… well that might just spell the end.
BUT… there is a solution… even if it is only temporary.
One thing that cinemas have been banking on for years is the appeal of a singular experience. Going out. Sitting down with an audience in a dark theater. Getting popcorn. It’s an EVENT. Sure you could wait, but its like being at an “it” party or the first person with an I-phone. You want to BE THERE when it happens, not lagging behind. Cinemas need to push this philosophy even farther by showing movies at the their theaters in a way that CAN’T be duplicated. You HAVE TO GO to a theater to see it.
And that way is… 3-D.
Love it or hate it, it can’t be duplicated with any real cost or effect outside of the theater. I know some people get a headache from it and find it gimmicky with pick axes flying at the screen or what have you, but it makes the viewing experience unique and is actually more realistic.
Personally, I’m a fan. The first 3-D image on the screen always gets that gentle gasp or murmur from the audience and that makes me laugh. I like the gimmicks and blatant nods toward the audience. If the film is good enough, I usually forget about the effect twenty minutes in and it can make even some of the worst movies infinitely more watchable. I mean, what’s the point of renting “My Bloody Valentine 3-D”? It’s only designed to be seen with a rowdy talkative full-house on a Friday night at your local multiplex. If filmmakers actually begin to embrace this new practical weapon in their movie making arsenal we could even be witnessing the creation of a new genre.
Granted, I’m sure technology will soon rob this fun-filled exclusive from the theaters and bring it home for the DVD crowd to enjoy, but until then, theaters need to embrace their advantage and pander to the EVENT movie… not just the popular blockbusters.
Because, if you’re a sinking ship… you might as well try and sell a few snorkels before you go under.
Hit me back. Until next time.