In the Wire, Idris Elba played Russell “Stinger” Bell. An ambitious movie producer drug lieutenant who manages to work his way to the top of the shit-pile world of film drug dealing. Stringer figures out over competition murder, not drugs, are what push away audiences attract the police attention, and creates a co-op with the other gangs to ensure their product reaches as many people as possible. Empty theatres street corners mean no profit.
So, this is the summerof hollywood’s collapse. Hollywood's Walter White (Spielberg) and Jesse Pinkman (Lucas) saw the writing on the wall. And have been sounding the alarm for a bit now. Even elder statesmen like Los Pollos owner Gus Fring (Steven Soderbergh) saw that shit was coming apart. It is a total systemic collapse, and here is why:
A) Competition – perhaps the greatest folly of all is assuming that the moviegoer can drop everything instantly to get to the theatre for the two-week it is playing.
B) Price- used to be movies cost $7, or $8. My allowance could do that twice or three times a month. In uni on a Tues, I could get a pint, burger, movie and return transit for 22. Now it starts at $14…
C) Experience – ticket prices rise as we are forced 3D, but there are blown speakers, rude staff, and sticky floors. You can’t charge premium prices for grindhouse experiences.
I tolerated ads in the theatre because I foolishly thought more ads meant the ticket prices would remain the same. While ads are multiplying, the quality of film is more or less stagnated. Theatre owners are seeking to normalize their profit margins, if not grow them, without creating a better theatre-going experience for the consumer.
Gizmodo beautifully pointed out, to pirate or purchase? When the pirate is better product than the purchase, the logical answer (morals aside), is to pirate! Why in sweet, sweet lady Liberty’s name would I pay $50 for a ticket at a shitty theatre run by investors and not film aficionados, and get a digital copy of something I can only watch in Ultra violet, or only in itunes, or only in Microsoft? My legally purchased itunes movies won’t work with my legally purchased xbox because of DRM bullshit.
We need Stringer Bell to create a co-op of film companies to balance out the release dates, so we have time to get to the theatre. We need a Stringer to act as a lobbyist to ensure reasonable pricing at the movie theatre, and we need a co-op to ensure a strong movie going experience.
I shelled out $20 to see Pacific Rim in Imax 3D and it was absolutely fantastic. But I don’t want to see R.I.P.D. in 3D or Imax. I want a bag of popcorn and a howling good time. If you want to charge me $14 to see it, throw in a bag of popcorn and a soda, and cut down on the ads. Because I’m still paying to come see the movie, because I still want the experience.
Also, if you are reading this in a theatre on your smartphone and the movie is playing, I’m going to fucking kick you in the back of the skull.