Recently Spielberg and Lucas shared some of their thoughts on the future of the movie theater industry. They are predicting ticket prices could go up as high as $150. They foresee few movies being made with larger budgets and lasting longer in theaters. They see the movies becoming more like Broadway and its shows.
Is there a Baptist doing their accounting these days? If this prophecy comes to pass it will be like pressing the self-destruct button on the entire industry. How many ways can this go wrong? I can barely calculate. First, the studios will only make movies with at least a 300 million dollar price tag. They aren’t going to make a movies for less than that because theaters aren’t going to be able to sell a $150 ticket for a movie that cost $20 million to make. That means the only films that are going to be made are big budget, special FX blockbusters and that may appeal to a broad audience, it won’t be enough to make back the money it took to make the movie because most people will probably only watch it once and wait until it is released on video.
Maybe not even that since with the high ticket some theaters may give out extra perks, such as digital copies of the film you’re going in to see. So you watch it once and then get to take it home and watch it all you want for FREE.
Another point is the fact that when I go to see a movie, I go to see the movie. If they go ahead with this and give goodies away with the ticket, I have no idea what they could give you that would make a $150 movie ticket seem okay. I go to the movies to see the movie. I don’t want to take home a bunch of crap.
This would also mean fewer films would be made and that would take a lot of paying gigs from the actors and crews. The reality of acting, as I’ve heard, is that only 1% of actors actually make a living at it. With fewer movies for them to star in (extras, character roles and the like) bring that down to .5%
Let’s now take a look at who’s paying to see these movies. An average family of 4 would be looking at quite a steep bill for a little fun. I’ve seen birthday parties at some theaters. Can imagine forking over $150 for seven people at once? Who has that kind of money? Not the average movie goer, I can assure you of that. These prices are going cut the audiences severely. Mr. Spielberg and Mr. Lucas better make sure all their rich friends go to see their movies about thirty or forty times a week.
So to break it down we have smaller audiences with fewer viewing options all so the AMC can charge $ 150 a head. Sounds suicide to me.
Remember the 80’s and 90’s? Back in a time when movies came out and could be in theater for months. Titanic was in theaters for a year or something like that. Three Men And A Baby was being promoted for over 6 months. Maybe longer. I saw the ad in the paper and remember it being altered for three or four different holidays. The reason the movies did so well back then was because tickets were cheaper, therefore more people could afford to go to the movies. One of the reasons people don’t go to the movies anymore is because it’s getting so expensive. Seems to me the strategy would be to find a way to make movies more affordable to the average person.
I just hope these guys are wrong because I don’t see a pretty picture if this should come to pass. Theater chains closing down. More unemployed. The studios could start going under as well. If they give out copies of their movies when people go to see them in theaters, they will lose a fortune. No one will need to buy or rent the movie when it goes to video and there’s always the threat that some people may pirate the movie and that’ll undercut their theater profits severely.
The entertainment industry is on thin enough ice these days. This concept seems like it would be the bullet in the head for everyone. I don’t want to see that happen. I like going to the movies. It’s fun. There’s nothing like the smell of the popcorn or the sensation of hearing those booming sounds and seeing that huge screen. If Spielberg and Lucas love movies as much as they have claimed in the past, they would be on the other side of this argument and try to preserve the purity of the movie going experience rather than siding with the greedy corporate side of Hollywood. I know it’s show business, but it’s also still an art that should be accessible to all. Whether you can cough up half a billion to make your movie or not.