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hamradio

Moviepass Shutting Down

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The article makes sense. Why depend on some app when the theater companies can do it themselves. A movie company is only going to participate in an app that promotes their own theater chain. All this app did was show the big companies how to get more people into the theaters.

You never start a business doing something that the already established companies can easily do themselves. They will just crowd you out.

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ūüėČ

MoviePass had a disturbingly loyal cult at the beginning, for pretty much exactly the same reason that Bitcoin did:  A 21st-century generation that believes homegrown online startups can solve any problem in the world, without quite stopping to figure out that one nagging question that sank a previous generation of Dot-Com startups twenty years earlier:  "Where is the money coming from, and/or how exactly does this plan make a PROFIT?"  And, like Bitcoin, the only answer offered was more evangelism about how "their" new service was going to change the world as we knew it.

If it came and went in the first year, that wouldn't have been so bad--But by the second year, they were bleeding money, and half the cult was STILL loyal, hoping it would dig itself out, while the other half felt "betrayed" and rabidly started painting the service as "Greedy!" and "A swindle!" if it had to cut back on the free movies it could dish out.  By the end, almost everyone had left it, and the company was struggling to stay out of bankruptcy just to annoy all the analysts claiming it was over.  

Anybody remember Toshiba clinging onto¬†HDDVD until the bitter end?...Yyyeah. ¬†That's what we were talking about. ¬†ūüėď

5 hours ago, GGGGerald said:

You never start a business doing something that the already established companies can easily do themselves. They will just crowd you out.

One NYT article on the rise and fall of "Internet Unicorns" (a term which became popular once Moviepass started becoming a more high-profile failure than all those shopping/food-delivery services) came up with the perfect metaphor I've been quoting ever since:

"I've got a great idea for a new startup: ¬†I'm going to sell dollar bills for $0.75! ¬†If it catches on, I might be able to buy them in bulk from the Treasury, and sell them for $1.25! ¬†I can also make a profit by selling customer data to third-party agencies...What can go wrong?" ¬†ūüėĀ

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I was always suspicious of MoviePass.  It just sounded too good to be true.  I couldn't understand how the company was turning a profit--obviously they weren't. 

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I had a great time with MoviePass. I saw almost 100 movies in the time I was a member and figured I spent about $1.30 per movie. I knew it wouldn’t last and didn’t care. If some venture capital firm wanted to buy my movie tickets for a year or so, I’d let them. What a fun ride.

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Yes, I remember hearing about them. I conversed with some people who used it all the time, many times a month, and I remember when it began to hemorrhage money, because people couldn't go for unlimited movies anymore. To me, the service seemed a bit excessive. Its one thing if you go to a film maybe once or twice a month, but it was a whole other ballgame when people were going multiple times a week to almost every film in release. it's not surprising that they reached the end of the line.

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1 hour ago, CinemaInternational said:

Yes, I remember hearing about them. I conversed with some people who used it all the time, many times a month, and I remember when it began to hemorrhage money, because people couldn't go for unlimited movies anymore. To me, the service seemed a bit excessive. .

Back in my late-70's/early-80's formative years, when theaters were still local downtown independents, our local art-theater used to offer a prepaid punch-card of ten $3 tickets for $30.  That was about half my moviegoing childhood, since it was an arthouse that scheduled its movies, rotated them weekly, and even threw in a few classic-revival double-features on Wed-Thurs. when things got slow.  I always knew what present I'd get at Christmas and birthdays, and I watched more classic movies at the age of thirteen, just because they were free, then I've been able to find on Netflix in the past year.

That's a little different from offering a service to give free pre-paid $10 admissions to already overbuilt and cash-strapped studios and cineplexes, and users so in love with it, they knock themselves out to wring every last psychological penny out of it.  

Quote

Its one thing if you go to a film maybe once or twice a month, but it was a whole other ballgame when people were going multiple times a week to almost every film in release. it's not surprising that they reached the end of the line

I remember the Abuse-By-the-Faithful was this bad back when disk-by-mail Netflix first started back in the birth of DVD--with disk-struck early-adopter fans bragging about how they were able to "beat the system" and wangle eight rentals a week on a 2-title subscription--and that actually was the proverbial Nice Thing, and the reason Why We Can't Have Them.

I never got into MoviePass for the same basic reason: ¬†Every time someone bragged about their mega-watching, I would stare...."There actually ARE two or three movies you'd go to see this month? ¬†I have enough trouble finding one! ¬†ūüėģ¬†"

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Maybe two years ago, a friend of mine who knows how many movies I go to see, recommended MoviePass to me, which was the first time in my life I'd ever heard of it. I was highly skeptical, as I often am of most things that are new to me. Like some of you, I didn't understand why a theater chain would accept it, and I feared I wouldn't be able to make it work as often as I would like. Soon after, AMC started its A-List program. I probably see at least 80 per cent of my theatrical movies at the AMC chain closest to me. You pay $20 a month, and you can see 12 movies that month for "free", or I guess actually about $1.50/movie, depending on how many you see. I've never gone to 12 movies in a single month, but I've seen as many as eight in a month, which is $2.50 a movie. And this is a theater with both the enhanced Dolby and IMAX screens, and those are included too. About the only thing, alas, that isn't included are the TCM Fathom Events screenings, for which you have to pay full price.

But yeah, what Gerald said. AMC maybe perceived Moviepass as a small threat, so they just created their own similar, in-house program. Is this profitable for them? I don't know. They get $20 a month from me guaranteed. A number of people I know who seem to think they understand how the theater business works (I"ve never known anyone in real life who worked in movie theater management, so ...) think the theaters get virtually nothing from admissions anyway, and the real money is from all the ridiculously overpriced concessions ($8.65 for a medium popcorn? And AMC did away with small popcorns a couple of years ago), so maybe the purpose of the program is just to get people inside the theater.

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Being able to go to any theater was the best part of MoviePass. The small art house theater across town was more than happy to accept MoviePass as was the Flix Brewhouse that serves great beer and has some of the best projection. The theater closest to me is an AMC Classic 16 and is a bit run down. If it were nicer and had better projection I would definitely join the A-List since it is literally a short walk from my home. 

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Sorry to hear that. The AMC nearest me is a little less than 10 years old I guess and has already had a couple of refurbishments, so it still looks great. I've noticed a tear in at least of the screens, however, though I would hard presses to say which one of their 14 screens that was, otherwise I"d try to make to point to avoid that particular screen.

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It‚Äôs great to have a neighborhood movie theater within walking distance. I still go there quite often since it is so convenient but wish they would invest in updates but I fear they aren‚Äôt getting the traffic they once did. As the public demands more ‚Äúdestination‚ÄĚ theaters with IMAX, meals, alcohol, bowling and so fourth I think these plain old movie theaters will struggle.¬†

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2 hours ago, spauldingd said:

It‚Äôs great to have a neighborhood movie theater within walking distance. I still go there quite often since it is so convenient but wish they would invest in updates but I fear they aren‚Äôt getting the traffic they once did. As the public demands more ‚Äúdestination‚ÄĚ theaters with IMAX, meals, alcohol, bowling and so fourth I think these plain old movie theaters will struggle.¬†

Now that the Digital Wars are over (and Disk won¬†ūüėĀ¬†), my newest Movie-Activist crusade is "Burn the Cineplexes": ¬†

The overbuilt chain cinemas--which have to build themselves out on the highway shopping-mall fringe, or IN shopping malls, just to support their size--were the product of an optimistic boom during the 80's and 90's, when studio output was high.  But with studios cutting back to a third of their releases from twenty years ago, there's not enough product to fill a 15-screen theater, and failed movies from two to three months ago have to continue on in "zombie release" simply because there's nothing new during a slow January or April to keep the theater filled.  (And chain theaters aren't independent enough to rotate out the movies for something else, since they basically "work for" the studios to keep their current product exposed.)  Back in the 80s', a "wide release" of Back to the Future was in 1500 screens, while a hit current studio release like It: Chapter Two is released in 4500--That's also literally cutting movie lifespan to a third of what it can expect, which is why successful movies now have a #1 run of two weeks at best, before pretty much every single person in the country has the chance to see it.  And, why studios have now reduced the entire box-office industry--and pressured the audience's psychological mentality--into a flash-paper series of one-off elimination "Box-office weekend record!" competitions to outdo each other on opening, while letting the Mon-Thurs. and second-week business basically go hang.  Like the late retail chains, that's a lot of empty business a very LARGE brick-and-mortar overhead has to pay for, and ticket prices can only pass on the expenses so far every week.

The solution would be to bring back local 1-3 screen micro-theaters on downtown main streets (yeah, maybe your movie will be sold out on Friday, have you tried seeing it on Monday?) where not EVERY single movie opens in your home town on opening day...Gosh, you might even have to go out of town to see it.  In the old days of small independents, if a movie didn't prove successful, the manager would be rotate it next week for another new title that did, which meant there was usually something to see every week without going too far out of your way.  Unfortunately, the reality of that is the rising cost of downtown real-estate, which is already causing too many college-downtown art-theaters to close, assuming we had any left in the early 10's.  

...Sorry to vent, but does hit at the MoviePass Dilemma that while users fell into a rabid honeymoon for going back to theaters, we should be rekindling audiences' interest in movies by thinking about what theaters CAN show (how about filling up those empty Lion King screenings with a few more manager-picked novelties/revivals?), than about how big we can show the few we have and how to pay for them.

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4 hours ago, EricJ said:

which is why successful movies now have a #1 run of two weeks at best, before pretty much every single person in the country has the chance to see it.

I remember one of the theaters in my hometown celebrated ONE YEAR (!) of showing Dances with Wolves in 1991. I don't know that even Avengers: Endgame would make it in a first-run theater any more than about three months today.

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Just now, sewhite2000 said:

I remember one of the theaters in my hometown celebrated ONE YEAR (!) of showing Dances with Wolves in 1991. I don't know that even Avengers: Endgame would make it in a first-run theater any more than about three months today.

My father recalls when one theatre played Fiddler on the roof for about 5 years in the 1970s.....

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My downtown movie theatre manager told me (some time back before it closed) he worked for a 70mm outlet in Richmond, VA. He showed  "The Sound of Music" for a year.  If I done something like that, would had lost my sanity. The songs, over and over and over again!.  Oh the humanity. :o

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3 hours ago, CinemaInternational said:

My father recalls when one theatre played Fiddler on the roof for about 5 years in the 1970s.....

Feel sorry for the projectionist.

man-sitting-with-legs-apart-in-padded-ro

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1 hour ago, hamradio said:

My downtown movie theatre manager told me (some time back before it closed) he worked for a 70mm outlet in Richmond, VA. He showed  "The Sound of Music" for a year.  If I done something like that, would had lost my sanity. The songs, over and over and over again!.  Oh the humanity. :o

Most of the "Sappy G-rated Julie Andrews" jokes we grew up with in the 70's, which was retroactively piled onto "Mary Poppins" (sit down, Lawrence...) was pretty much the product of a 1969 culture driven screaming out of its gourd by Sound of Music playing in some big-city theaters for FOUR YEARS.  When Mel Brooks made an offhand joke on the "Twelve Chairs" set that he was making "a musical romp about Adolf and Eva", guess which annoyingly happy WWII musical he was likely thinking of at the time.

But back then, of course, you could go back to a theater and see it again (and again...), since the tickets were a dollar, home theater didn't exist, and you couldn't wait for the movie to show up on TV.  Even in the 90's, before production cut back, most movies you went to once or twice, and wondered whether to buy the disk.  Except in the cases of movies you didn't realize were that good the first time, and had to take someone else to go see it, like "The Gods Must Be Crazy" playing in big-city arthouses for two years.

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On 9/16/2019 at 11:27 PM, hamradio said:

Feel sorry for the projectionist.

man-sitting-with-legs-apart-in-padded-ro

You know what that man in the padded cell is incessantly mumbling under his breath don't you? "If I were a rich man/Daidle deedle daidle/Daidle daidle deedle daidle dumb"

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