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Does streaming mean the death of movie theaters?


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I miss going to the movies. It's not about the communal experience. Once the lights go out I barely notice anyone else in the theater. I've had very few movies end with applause or dead, dead, dead silence. A few were remarkable however.

It's about the "going to the movies". Buy a ticket, find a seat, anticipate something new. No distractions. No commercials. A big screen. In the dark. 

I watch old movies and some new ones on my TV...Netflix, etc. IT'S NOT THE SAME.

It's like going to the ball game vs. watching it on TV. 

It's better...in person.

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Unfortunately, once movies picked up in the mid-80's to late 90's, theaters became big-box outlets to PURCHASE your moviegoing, and joined the Wal-Marts out on the highway.

Up to that point, they had been little 3-screens downtown, or in the college towns, or, in the suburbs, a little 3-screen on the strip-mall next to the supermarket.  Which made it easier to go to any movie if it was Wednesday night and you just wanted to get out of the house, even if it was to see a Julia Roberts rom-com.  
Until Hollywood stopped making middle-tier rom-coms, or comedies, or suspense dramas, or anything you wouldn't immediately rush to but might see on a Wednesday night if you had nothing to do.  And then the big-box cinemas took away the little theaters on the streets and strip-malls, which couldn't compete with chain-store rent, and made it more of a big concentrated effort to go to a theater, which you now wouldn't do unless it was absolutely necessary.  Basically, you used to pick up the paper and see mwhether the theater was showing anything good, not whether what you wanted to see was showing at your theater.  (Which now it was, once cineplexes got into the business of showing Every Movie Released in the Last Month)

And then convinced us that it was absolutely necessary to go during the opening three-day weekend, because the theater industry had overbuilt itself to the point that movies only had three weeks to live, and studios didn't have six weeks or two months to compare their ****s on the playground, they had to do it by Out-Record-Breaking-Opening-Weekending each other in succession.  And the "rock concert" mentality of seeing Rise of Skywalker or Avengers: Endgame the minute it hit enslaved the audience into doing the studios' bidding.

Hopefully, the fact that it took Warner an entire month to brag about Wonder Woman finally making $100M might remind them of how things used to be in the old days, before we had 4500 theaters that were mostly empty the rest of the week, but we'll need a few small theaters still open to provide a working illustration.

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Personally, I think if streaming ill hurt anything, it'll be scheduled network television.   Personally, the biggest appeal of going out for a movie is the going out part.  I hear you about concession prices, which is why going out for dinner is part of my movie going experience.  More than a few times, a nice meal in lieu of movie snacks has ended up cheaper.

Love the modern blockbusters, or hate them, there is that sense of a shared event, whether it be at the theatre, or in discussing the film afterward, and the numbers show that it's pretty obvious that people still want that, and I think after nearly two years of enforced huddling in place,  when this plague finally blows over,  people will want it even more.

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10 hours ago, rjbartrop said:

Love the modern blockbusters, or hate them, there is that sense of a shared event, whether it be at the theatre, or in discussing the film afterward, and the numbers show that it's pretty obvious that people still want that, and I think after nearly two years of enforced huddling in place,  when this plague finally blows over,  people will want it even more.

Interesting comment.    All I have to add is that the water cooler has been replaced by social media.

 

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I have a big-screened TV at home and watch mostly TCM but we have a couple of subscription services, so often catch movies we would have seen in the theaters after they go to Netflix or premium cable.  I have to admit, I love watching my 50" HD  flatscreen from my living room couch, accompanied by my cat, blankie,  and a glass of wine and maybe a few squares of dark chocolate.  Often, we'll watch something we missed seeing in the theaters and say, "I'm so glad I didn't pay $10 for that."  The resolution on my TV is beautiful and I can control the sound, which in theaters is often overly loud and distorted, with more emphasis on sounds of explosion than comprehensible dialogue.  The thing I regret is that when we go to vacation spots, usually beach towns, our favorite thing to do on rainy days was go to the movies, which we won't do now in the time of COVID.  So, we have to live with whatever is available on the sub-par TV at our vacation condo.  

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On 9/13/2021 at 12:04 AM, rjbartrop said:

Love the modern blockbusters, or hate them, there is that sense of a shared event, whether it be at the theatre, or in discussing the film afterward, and the numbers show that it's pretty obvious that people still want that, and I think after nearly two years of enforced huddling in place,  when this plague finally blows over,  people will want it even more.

Some people "still want that."

Not everyone wants or needs that "sense of a shared event."

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Warner Bros.' strategy of releasing movies to theaters and HBO Max on the same day is very popular with consumers, according to a new survey

Travis Clark Mar 10, 2021, 9:55 AM

When Warner Bros. announced in December that it would release all of its 2021 movies simultaneously to theaters and on parent company WarnerMedia's flagship streaming service,  HBO Max, it rocked Hollywood.

But a new survey suggests that the strategy is very popular with consumers, which could have a lasting impact on how movie studios release films.

More >> https://www.businessinsider.com/hbo-maxs-same-day-streaming-theater-strategy-is-popular-survey-2021-3

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15 hours ago, rosebette said:

I have a big-screened TV at home and watch mostly TCM but we have a couple of subscription services, so often catch movies we would have seen in the theaters after they go to Netflix or premium cable.  I have to admit, I love watching my 50" HD  flatscreen from my living room couch, accompanied by my cat, blankie,  and a glass of wine and maybe a few squares of dark chocolate.  Often, we'll watch something we missed seeing in the theaters and say, "I'm so glad I didn't pay $10 for that."  The resolution on my TV is beautiful and I can control the sound, which in theaters is often overly loud and distorted, with more emphasis on sounds of explosion than comprehensible dialogue.  The thing I regret is that when we go to vacation spots, usually beach towns, our favorite thing to do on rainy days was go to the movies, which we won't do now in the time of COVID.  So, we have to live with whatever is available on the sub-par TV at our vacation condo.  

How did you manage to get Blankie  into the theater?   Must have been during the Winter when you could hide him/her inside your coat.  ;) 

So, does the cat like popcorn?  or prefer Sno-caps over Milk duds....?  :D 

Sepiatone

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15 hours ago, rosebette said:

I have a big-screened TV at home and watch mostly TCM but we have a couple of subscription services, so often catch movies we would have seen in the theaters after they go to Netflix or premium cable.  I have to admit, I love watching my 50" HD  flatscreen from my living room couch, accompanied by my cat, blankie,  and a glass of wine and maybe a few squares of dark chocolate.  Often, we'll watch something we missed seeing in the theaters and say, "I'm so glad I didn't pay $10 for that."  The resolution on my TV is beautiful and I can control the sound, which in theaters is often overly loud and distorted, with more emphasis on sounds of explosion than comprehensible dialogue.  The thing I regret is that when we go to vacation spots, usually beach towns, our favorite thing to do on rainy days was go to the movies, which we won't do now in the time of COVID.  So, we have to live with whatever is available on the sub-par TV at our vacation condo.  

I'm with you on the 50 inch screen in your own home. I have that also.

I never even think about going back to the theater and having to put up with all those - ugh - people.

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3 hours ago, Eucalpytus P. Millstone said:

Some people "still want that."

Not everyone wants or needs that "sense of a shared event."

Of course everyone doesn't want it, and it's never been about what everyone wants.   However, the numbers from movies like "Avengers: Endgame" and the latest "Iron Fist" movie suggests there are still enough people who want it to make it viable.

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Should the movie theatre goes the way of the Dodo bird (never happen, IMO), I, for one, shan't mourn its passing.

In my small corner of the universe (which has more than a few movie theatres), a moviegoer must either reserve a theatre seat in advance or select a seat at the box office. The days of casually or spontaneously sauntering into a movie theatre are gone. As is easily and impulsively changing one's theatre seat (when Magic Kareen Abdul O'Neal sits in front of you or Jabba the Hutt plops beside you). On the plus side, no more "Can you scoot down one seat so that I and my boyfriend can sit here?"

Furthermore, a local theatre -- which used to be a favorite of mine -- converted to a "dine-in" cinema . . . similar to "dinner theatre." As if popcorn-munching, soda-slurping, and candy wrapper-crackling weren't enough distractions, now peckish pinheads chowing down on full-course meals and getting sloshed on beer and wine are part of the "shared event" of moviegoing. I dig that theatre owners are doing anything and everything to lure customers. But, serving meals sends the wrong message to, and "enables" bad behavior in, clods who don't know how to behave in public.

At this particular dine-in dive, moviegoers/diners can press a button (located on an armrest of their seat) to "page" a waiter. Meals must be ordered, and are served, before a movie starts. Nonetheless, I've witnessed annoying nitwits repeatedly and vigorously lay on their buttons -- during a movie! -- to order another round or request an appetizer ("Where IS that waiter?! I need service!"). I've also heard horse's hindquarters complain about meals ("This sauce is crap!"). Yo, Galloping Gourmet! You're eating in a movie theatre, not at Delmonico's! And you're expecting haute cuisine?! GTFOH!

There is a place to watch a movie while feasting on Thanksgiving dinner. It's called Home.

Another former theatre fave is now under new management that decided to show movies only once or twice a day amongst its schedule of live theatre, stand-up comedy, and bingo games. Now if I wanted to see a movie at that particular venue (which I no longer do), I'd have to plan my day around its limited screenings. Only one 3:00 p.m. showing on Saturday? What am I, going to a movie or going to the opera? Feh!

Yeah, I just "love" the "shared event" in a movie theatre, sitting amongst:

  • Ma 'n Pa Kettle 'n their squallin', squawkin', squabblin' younguns
  • Hearing-impaired codgers narrating the movie to one another ("What did he say, Herbert?" "He said, 'Yippie Ki Yay, Mother******!'")
  • Skunky B.O. Plenty and his similarly fragrant, flatulent bud Le Pétomane Louie
  • Wisecracking MS3K fans sharing their "wit" by talking back to the movie screen ("Hey, Black Widow! Show me your hourglass!")
  • Willy Wonka drowning out the soundtrack while obliviously digging into his big bag of cellophane-wrapped sweets

. . . and don't get me started on incurable cell phone addicts!

Some film buffs might long, yearn, pine, and hunger for the shared event of moviegoing and communal experience in a movie theatre.

I ain't one of 'em.

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6 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

How did you manage to get Blankie  into the theater?   Must have been during the Winter when you could hide him/her inside your coat.  ;) 

 

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4 hours ago, Eucalpytus P. Millstone said:

Some film buffs might long, yearn, pine, and hunger for the shared event of moviegoing and communal experience in a movie theatre.

I ain't one of 'em.

Hey, you do you.

One thing I can see streaming affect is the kind of movies that get shown in theatres, though it's really a trend that's been happening for a while.

Theatres are really best for the big flashy spectacles, the sort of films that use that big screen and big sound to best advantage.

If you want something a little more intimate, with complex characters and stories, the place for that is increasingly what used to be called "the idiot box", and streaming will just continue that trend.

 

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Sometimes going to the movies is about the communal experience. Yes, I can get irritated by moviegoers who won't shut up, or who eat their popcorn too noisily. But the kind of experience I remember during the turtle scene of Cannibal Holocaust is unique. It couldn't be duplicated at home whilst streaming the film. You need that audience to be grossed out with.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Swithin said:

Sometimes going to the movies is about the communal experience. Yes, I can get irritated by moviegoers who won't shut up, or who eat their popcorn too noisily. But the kind of experience I remember during the turtle scene of Cannibal Holocaust is unique. It couldn't be duplicated at home whilst streaming the film. You need that audience to be grossed out with.

I'm not sure if I saw Cannibal Holocaust (based upon the little known romantic story by Louisa May Alcott, right?). I saw some Italian cannibal movie during which an alligator/crocodile was brutally and actually slaughtered by "natives."

I loathe, detest, despise, and h-a-t-e filmmakers who show or simulate animals being hurt or killed.

I don't know if you are old enough to have seen The Exorcist during its original theatrical release, Swithin. But, there was a utterly idiotic and disgusting, nauseating trend of audiences puking in theatres during the movie (Are they hurling in Milwaukee? They're hurling in Milwaukee!). I saw the flick in Westwood, California and still remember the stench of vomit when I entered the theatre auditorium. The "communal experience" at its "finest."

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18 minutes ago, Eucalpytus P. Millstone said:

I'm not sure if I saw Cannibal Holocaust (based upon the little known romantic story by Louisa May Alcott, right?). I saw some Italian cannibal movie during which an alligator/crocodile was brutally and actually slaughtered by "natives."

I loathe, detest, despise, and h-a-t-e filmmakers who show or simulate animals being hurt or killed.

I don't know if you are old enough to have seen The Exorcist during its original theatrical release, Swithin. But, there was a utterly idiotic and disgusting, nauseating trend of audiences puking in theatres during the movie. I saw the flick in Westwood, California and still remember the stench of vomit when I entered the theatre auditorium. The "communal experience" at its "finest."

I not only saw The Exorcist, I was in college studying Theology and had a course in demonology around the time the film was released. We had to read the book and see the film. Our teacher -- a Jesuit -- tried to get Father Thomas Bermingham, the technical advisor to the movie, to speak to our class, but he was too busy. He also had a small role in the film. (Father Bermingham had taught at my university.)

In the demonology class, we were more interested in the accuracy of the exorcism process, as well as in Pazuzu, than we were in vomit.

175px-Thomas_V._Bermingham.jpg

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33 minutes ago, rjbartrop said:

The type of audience does make a big difference.  I got to see the premiere of The Phantom Menace, where you had people in costume and others engaged in lightsaber battles, and it was a lot of fun.

Oh, man! Don't get me started!

I'm not into "cosplay." That said . . .

When Wonder Woman (2017), which I skipped, was in theatres, I was in line (for another movie) behind a young lass dressed up like WW. Very fetching! Wouldn't at all have minded having her tie me up with her lariat.

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1 hour ago, Eucalpytus P. Millstone said:

Oh, man! Don't get me started!

I'm not into "cosplay." That said . . .

When Wonder Woman (2017), which I skipped, was in theatres, I was in line (for another movie) behind a young lass dressed up like WW. Very fetching! Wouldn't at all have minded having her tie me up with her lariat.

Sounds like going to the theater has become theater in and of itself.

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10 hours ago, JakeHolman said:

When Warner Bros. announced in December that it would release all of its 2021 movies simultaneously to theaters and on parent company WarnerMedia's flagship streaming service,  HBO Max, it rocked Hollywood.

But a new survey suggests that the strategy is very popular with consumers, which could have a lasting impact on how movie studios release films.

More >> https://www.businessinsider.com/hbo-maxs-same-day-streaming-theater-strategy-is-popular-survey-2021-3

As a traditionlist, I'm sorta sad to hear this news, but if it helps keep movie theaters alive, I'm not totally unhappy about it?

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20 hours ago, Eucalpytus P. Millstone said:

 

  • Ma 'n Pa Kettle 'n their squallin', squawkin', squabblin' younguns
  • Hearing-impaired codgers narrating the movie to one another ("What did he say, Herbert?" "He said, 'Yippie Ki Yay, Mother******!'")
  • Skunky B.O. Plenty and his similarly fragrant, flatulent bud Le Pétomane Louie
  • Wisecracking MS3K fans sharing their "wit" by talking back to the movie screen ("Hey, Black Widow! Show me your hourglass!")
  • Willy Wonka drowning out the soundtrack while obliviously digging into his big bag of cellophane-wrapped sweets

. . . and don't get me started on incurable cell phone addicts!

 

Luckily, I've dealt with very little of the complaints brought up here.  And must admit, as a kid I too, along with many others, used to like blowing into those empty cardboard  boxes of whatever candy( forget now which one, possibly "Boston Baked Beans")  and making that horn like sound.  But then, that was during what was known as a "kiddie matinee" where most of the patrons were unruly and didn't mind others joining in on the fun.  ;)  But as an adult, I too would be annoyed with some of the type of patrons you brought up here.  And as mentioned, I was lucky enough to not having had to deal with them often enough to put me off going to movies.  TICKET PRICES are more of a factor than people's behavior.

Sepiatone

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7 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

Luckily, I've dealt with very little of the complaints brought up here.  And must admit, as a kid I too, along with many others, used to like blowing into those empty cardboard  boxes of whatever candy( forget now which one, possibly "Boston Baked Beans")  and making that horn like sound.  But then, that was during what was known as a "kiddie matinee" where most of the patrons were unruly and didn't mind others joining in on the fun.  ;)  But as an adult, I too would be annoyed with some of the type of patrons you brought up here.  And as mentioned, I was lucky enough to not having had to deal with them often enough to put me off going to movies.  TICKET PRICES are more of a factor than people's behavior.

Sepiatone

It is about ticket prices and new movies being crap, for me.

Theaters have traditionally been more of a Winter activity for us.  Too many other things to do when the weather is warm.

The only really memorable issue I've had with other theater patrons is someone sitting directly behind me, slouching down, and resting their knees up against the back of my seat, pushing my seat back and forth.  Had to either kill him or move, so I moved.

Oh yeah, and some pot head essentially doing a hit and run in the theater parking lot, swinging open his door and smashing into the door of my parked vehicle, thereby denting it, then fleeing the scene.  Saw the white paint marks up high with the dent, but no white truck.  My buddies and I walked the entire parking lot.  Little wuss...  All in the timespan of the 10 minutes that it took for our friends to arrive, while we waited at the door of the theater.  Went back to get something, that's when I discovered it.  10 minutes, max.

Next time I go to that theater I will be parking and walking from the nearby Home Depot.  I've gone to many different Home Depots, Lowes, and Menards, and never any damage to my vehicle.  Not once.  Something to do with pride of ownership of their clientele, versus the stupid punks that can show up at the multiplex theaters.

Similar thing happened at a buffet several towns over that is now closed down.  My friend witnessed a fat unkept middle aged woman pull up next to my vehicle, get out, steal one of my plastic hubcaps, then leave.

So movie theaters and buffets.  Beware.  Show up in your crappy old beater, if you have one.  And don't sit in front of any slouchers that stick their knees into your back.

Best mannered/most respectful crowd I have ever been with in a movie theater?  That would be Rambo 4 (2008).  Bunch of middle aged to older guys who looked like they all had served.  That was a communal experience.

Bear in mind I don't go to theaters all that often.  A nice large vintage theater that shows really old films, mostly comedies, that would be a different story.

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7 hours ago, Movie Collector OH said:

It is about ticket prices and new movies being crap, for me.

Because I'm still in "The Rat Race," I can handle the ticket prices . . . but then, I also go to cheaper-priced matinees at senior citizen prices. After I retire, a movie will have to really appeal to me to shell out for it.

Whether new movies are crap is a matter of opinion and taste. I tend to agree with you, Movie Collector OH. Very few new releases interest and excite me. But, I also realize that I live in America, which really doesn't give a good GD about the elderly (at least the non-famous, middle-income and lower-income elderly). Not being in the desirable demographic, I'm "invisible" to most -- not all -- filmmakers. The "crap" produced by Hollywood today is not meant for me.

A new release that did impel me out of my "rocking chair" is The Card Counter. Paul Schrader is one of the very few filmmakers who pique my interest and command my attention.

7 hours ago, Movie Collector OH said:

 . . . A nice large vintage theater that shows really old films, mostly comedies, that would be a different story.

There is such a theatre not too far from my zip code. Unfortunately, it's been closed during the pandemic. It shows only "classic" movies (1920s through 1960s), sometimes with "guest stars" (a showing of The Reluctant Debutante was attended by Sandra Dee and John Saxon). Ticket prices and concession prices are relatively reasonable ($1.50 for a "jumbo" sized bucket of popcorn).

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