Update Cinemas, Not Just Shows

So why didn’t Mission Impossible III live up to the hype. I don’t believe it was hype at all. I think Mission Impossible III fell victim to the same problems as many quality films released today. As film-goers become more saavy, and jaded by bad filmmaking, good films are being mistaken for “just another action movie”. People see explosions in commercials and think that’s all a movie offers. So they are willing to wait for the DVD. I think that MI:III didn’t live up to financial expectations because of the changing landscape in the U.S. Middle-class incomes are shrinking, and they make up the majority of film-goers because movies are still much more affordable than live theater. So people aren’t going spend much needed dollars on just any film. People are working longer hours, and much harder. Add to that the net, peer-file-sharing and home entertainment improvements, and less money is going to be available for an 8-10$ movie.

But another aspect to this, and what really could be the savior, is the baby-boomer generation. Studios are so busy mass marketing to younger audiences, are they forgetting who grew up with these shows originally? As baby-boomers age, they simply don’t want to go to noisy theaters with young kids. I have interviewed a good number of Americans over 45 who are huge film buffs, but are tired of going to theaters on Friday nights, and seeing police cruisers outside, alongside under-age drinkers. Even in suburban and rural areas, theaters have become a “proving ground” for teens trying to look cool and hook-up. It’s not about movies, it’s about hanging out. Now, I have absolutely nothing against kids hanging out, but there should more theaters for older fans to “hang out”, maybe have dinner, and have other pre-show activities of interest. Why don’t studios get creative and open theaters that offer more? Or sell DVD’s in theaters? I think Austin’s Alamo Draft House is amazing! But you won’t find a theater like it in these parts. And this is New York City! Why is that?

Just like kids hang outside theaters, what if there were lounges for people to read before a film inside theaters. With film magazines and books. Now, I know there are random examples of more creative, more mature movie-going environments, but most people don’t want to travel more than 30 minutes for the experience. More-over, since most theaters don’t individually do much advertising, even to the local communities they serve, people don’t know what’s out there. Maybe people assume most theaters offer similar quality and experience. Which is far from the truth. And why doesn’t my local theater advertise to my community? Offer regular specials, more events and activities to get people in the theater and in the seats? They make most of their money on concessions anyway.

Spending all those millions on updating to digital projection won’t mean much if everyon’s home watching the same film on a computer, with much the same quality. Make it more enticing to go out and meet new people in person, instead of online.

So, now comes the call. There’s great creativity going on out there in film… so take some of that creative energy and apply it to final presentation where it was meant to be…in movie theaters.

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