Top movie writer David Germain said that the reason why this year’s box office receipts are below last year is not because of piracy, but because the studios did not have a successful blockbuster.
Last year they had Avatar, or Dark Knight but this year they did not have a single must see mass market flick, Germain wrote. However this shows up one of the problems that Hollywood has been having adjusting itself to the digital age.
Lately, the studios have tried to encourage people to the cinemas by creating a product which is worthwhile experiencing in comparison to what they have at home. No, not really. The movie studios have jacked up the price of a ticket so much that they are comparable to live concerts, sports games and restaurants. A family of four has to mortgage their house to see a movie and when there are other, cheaper forms of entertainment, they will not bother. Most people will wait for it to come out on DVD and watch it at home.
Once users were happy with the fact that they were tossed in a room with a bunch of strangers. The worst you had to worry about is someone rustling their sweetie packets.
Now you have to worry about people carrying mobile phones which ring and send messages, or worse the idiot who insists on shouting a review of what you are watching to their mate who just rang them. By the way I hope that operation to remove a liquorice allsort from your eye was successful, but you really had it coming. As far as audience experience goes, sitting in a dark room with a bunch of kids watching Twilight would drive Cary Sherman to bittorrent to avoid the experience.
Then there is the small matter of the inflated prices of food available in the movie theatre. I have never been sure why popcorn and fizz, which has to be about the cheapest food product to make next to deep fried sand costs so much. And what is actually inside that hotdog? It tastes foul so it might be platinum, but I doubt it.
Germain points out that the films being screened are overhyped disappointments and there is a complete lack of choice. Last year indie, foreign or documentary films did really well, they also cleaned up at Netflix and Blockbuster.
He said that the message he is getting from the statistics is that while people still love movies, theatres are losing their charm and the studios have lost the plot.
Of course if you believe the MPAA, everything will be better if they could crucify a few more P2P pirates.