Opinion: Why are people no longer going to the Theater

The movie business is in an uproar.

People are going to the movies less and less – and it’s all the fault of those downloaders. Those criminals. Those PIRATES!

Or so they would have us believe.

Seriously. How many times have you decided not to watch a movie in the theater because you downloaded it? None? Me neither. Most people have neither the time, the knowledge nor the equipment to download movies. And there is no evidence that those who do have stopped going to the theater as a consequence of viewing a downloaded movie. Quite the contrary… but I digress…

For most of us, there are other reasons – good ones – that the theaters are conveniently disregarding.

  • Overpriced movie tickets.
  • Overpriced snacks and idiotic “bring-no-food” policies.
  • Unpleasant experience – dirty cinemas with sticky floors, yelling kids, ringing cellphones etc.
  • Poor product coming out of Hollywood.
  • Lower disposable income than bygone years.
  • Too much advertising.
  • Too much competition (DVD+Home Theater =Cheaper + better)

Instead of competing in the marketplace like everyone else, the MPAA (the movie industry’s mouthpiece) is lobbying like mad to pass laws to guarantee their profits. If you make a movie available for download before it has been released you can go to jail for five years. They seem to think, like their counterparts in the music business, that it is ok to treat your customer like criminals.

This years Oscars have featured numerous appeals from millionaire superstars begging the rest of us to spend $7-$10 per person to watch unoriginal, poor movies in grotty movie houses. It seems to me that the MPAA are doing a wonderful job of killing the theater industry all by themselves.

Here’s how to get me back in the theater:

  1. Lower the prices – $5/person is enough.
  2. Cheaper snacks. $3 for a Hot dog and a $4 for a coke is gouging.
  3. Show decent movies or have a 30-minute refund guarantee.
  4. Keep the theater clean.
  5. Cut out the ads!
  6. Stop those who ruin the experience for everyone else.

I leave you with a quote from this discussion:

“1 wife, 3 kids, and you – $34.50 on check card
1 popcorn 1 large coke and 3 small kids packs – $27.50 on check card
Going back for 2 hot dogs and another drink to replace the one your kid spilled – $20.00 on check card
Waiting a month to see the movie at home on DVD for $3.50 – PRICELESS”

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