January 3rd, 2012
Roger Ebert gives six reasons why he thinks movie revenue was way down in 2011. Here is one of them:
3. The theater experience. Moviegoers above 30 are weary of noisy fanboys and girls. The annoyance of talkers has been joined by the plague of cell-phone users, whose bright screens are a distraction. Worse, some texting addicts get mad when told they can’t use their cell phones. A theater is reportedly opening which will allow and even bless cell phone usage, although that may be an apocryphal story.
I agree with all of his reasons and I’ll add one of my own. Actually, it is sort of an addition to one of Ebert’s reasons. He says that ticket price is a problem. Ticket price wouldn’t be a problem if the movies (and the theater experience) was really, really good. When I see a movie trailer I usually ask myself – “Is that worth driving to the theatre and spending $30 to see?”
The answer to that question could be “No” for several reasons. The movie may not warrant “the big screen experience”. The movie may look funny or entertaining but I’d just as soon watch it in the comfort of my home, on my couch, in my PJs, on Bluray. Or, the movie is in 3D or XD or EXTREMELY OVERRATED ACRONYM – which means I’ll likely not care to see it at all.
I don’t think the theater-going movie industry has a chance to remain as large as it has been in recent past. I think it will see a slow and steady decline and level out right where they should be. People will still watch “larger” movies in theaters or on first dates and will see “smaller” movies at home where they are most comfortable. And that should be OK. The industry simply needs to adapt.