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8 November 2005

Cinemas as police-states: why box-office revenue is in decline?

I've not been to a cinema in ages - mainly due to lousy content - and I still object to paying $12.00 or more to watch ads - and I see the experience is getting lousier. The other day, I went by the Eau Claire Market and the IMAX theatre was shuttered. The Multiplex there wasn't very busy and seemed to be concentrating more on the video game arcade out front - which has turned into a sleazy hang out of the local street kids. Sort of like the old East german shopping arcades....

From Boing-Boing.net this morning

Cinemas as police-states: why box-office revenue is in decline?

by Cory Doctrow

....It shouldn't amaze me, but it does. The thing that keeps people turning up at the cinema is the cinema experience -- big screens, the companionship of others, the show of it all. Souring that show with stupid, insulting anti-piracy ads (um, why are you showing condescending, threatening ads to the people who paid money to see the movie -- shouldn't you be targeting the people who don't buy tickets?) is bad enough.

But converting cinemas into airport security zones and asking ushers to act like Sky Marshals is positively suicidal. What fantasyland are MPAA executives inhabiting in which treating your customers like criminals makes them want to go on spending their money at your business? The rest of the story


I saw Farhenheit 451 the other night on Turner Classic Movies. I remember when I saw it the first time at the Grand Theatre downtown when it came to town in the mid-70's. Back then - the ushers only checked to see if you were bringing in your own Candy bars - and not to throughly either. There was still a smoking balcony in the Theatre in those non-smokefee environment days, and a Truffault film always seemed to generate a large number of clove and Gitanes smokers. (We knew those funny cigarettes where, ahem, clove.) And the smoke circling the room, refelected in the beam from the projector made the environment part of the magic of the movie.

Somehow the guys who run these places are missing the point. The Cinema is supposed to be about entertainment - as Cory says "The Show of it all" - Well, I agree and I've been missing the show - and it seems to be dieing out. I'm not going to get nostalgic for the "good old days" where for a quarter you got a newsreel, two cartoons and the movie. I get my cartoons via cable these days and "Tripping the Rift" would have never made it into a moive theare. Although "Duck Dogers in the Twenty-fourth and one half Century" probabily would. And I use the internet for my news - not to mention posting on Cole's Notes. So I'm not going to call for a return to the old movies - but I'd like the Cinema owners to consider what the heck they are doing. A good starting point are the articles linked to this blog note.
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