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Matt Hawes
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 16 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 15332
Posted: 05 May 2020 at 1:47pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

...will there be one?

With most families these days having widescreen TV
sets, streaming services, and such, and now the
uncertainty of when theaters will reopen due to the
Coronavirus, will theaters actually survive?

Thoughts?

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Brian Floyd
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Joined: 07 July 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 6897
Posted: 05 May 2020 at 3:10pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I don't see movie theaters going away any time soon. However, I see studios releasing movies direct to Video On Demand - which is what AMC and other chains are banning Universal for * - and simultanious theater and VoD releases becoming more prolific. Those moves will hurt the theater chains. But when an order of nachos costs six bucks at the concessions, I'm not exactly sympathetic.

* To be fair, the Universal ban is because they decided to do that with TROLLS, which was supposed to be a theatrical release.






Edited by Brian Floyd on 06 May 2020 at 12:41pm
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Bryan Eacret
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Posted: 06 May 2020 at 11:08am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

It was the new Trolls movie that caused the problems for Universal.

ONWARD is a Pixar movie that was released right before the shelter in place orders started. It tanked, likely, because of the concerns for the virus, or, equally likely, from lack of interest in general. Disney decided to release it on demand and then put it on Disney+. 


Edited by Bryan Eacret on 06 May 2020 at 11:09am
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Bryan Eacret
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Posted: 06 May 2020 at 11:14am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Back on the subject:

I think movies theaters will come back. It may take a while, but humans seem to have an incredibly short memory in regards to events. How many people in states that have opened up are already going to movies and doing other dicey things without regard for their own safety or the safety of others? 
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James Johnson
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Posted: 06 May 2020 at 11:38am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Matt,

I'm going to copy/paste my response from the "Bye-bye AMC" thread:

With the advent of streaming services, ( and now the pandemic), who didn't see this coming.

The movie theater experience has gone done hill. 

Overpriced tickets
Overpriced food
Smart phones
Annoying patrons (always a given)
Lack of comfort
Big Screen Home Theaters

..and now, until a vaccine/cure is found, social distancing will kill the theaters even more.

Come to think of it, even out of fear, folks will stay away. 
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 06 May 2020 at 12:40pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

It was the new Trolls movie that caused the problems for Universal.

+++++++++++++++++++++++
D'oh! I'll go edit my post. I knew it was either ONWARD or TROLLS, but went with the wrong one.

I'm following James and copying/pasting my response from that thread, too. But adding a big more after:

What I will not miss about theaters is the inevitable inconsiderate jerks.

You know what I mean: The people who have their cellphone turned on so it rings at some point. The family who brings along kids who either won't sit down or won't shut up. And especially the jackasses who constantly get up from their seat to go down to the concessions or bathroom and just have to exit out where you're sitting so you either have to scrunch your legs up or stand up so they can get by, or are in the row in front of you blocking your view when they do it. 

I went to a movie a few years back where this couple in the same row got up and exited the row at least five times during the movie, and just had to go right by me every. single. time. 

To add to that:

Concession prices are ridiculous. Six bucks for nachos?! If I didn't get discounts on drinks and popcorn for being an AMC Stubs member, I probably wouldn't buy anything at all. If they didn't have flavored Coke, I definitely wouldn't. (I prefer Pepsi.)

There are some movies I'd still go to the theater for. Like The Fast And The Furious franchise movies or certain sci-fi films. 


Edited by Brian Floyd on 06 May 2020 at 1:00pm
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 06 May 2020 at 1:10pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

The correct answer, I believe, is that none of us know yet. In the short term, the movie exhibition business is going to suffer terribly. Even if theaters start opening, I'm doubtful enough people will likely want to share an enclosed dark room with hundreds of strangers for 2.5 hours, masked or not, to make the business viable. Yes, they can seat you every third seat and every other row but it's a little like the old smoking sections of a plane. If you're seated in row 9, it doesn't much matter if it's no smoking if the guy in row 7 is smoking (or has COVID-19 and sneezes.) Down the line if the outbreak is still around but somewhat diminished, theaters will face devastating decisions. How far do you spread out the seating and how many safeguards do you install / disinfecting crews do you hire? Whatever adjustments come would cost plenty and make the prospects of profitability far more challenging without a crazy price increase. The most palatable outcome is a super effective vaccine or magic bullet "antidote" which renders the whole discussion moot. Both of those appear to be a year or two (or longer) from any plausible occurrence and I don't think any of us are smart enough to opine regarding their likelihood. Yes, there is the theoretical shangri-la of eventual "herd immunity" but that, too, appears to be years away and scientists don't even seem to agree that surviving the virus guarantees that you are immunized from getting a severe or deadly case again in the future.

Movie theaters will survive in some fashion eventually. Too much money riding on the industry (and too many passionate fans of the experience) for this to be the extinction event. The question is, will the eventual new model be something palatable / affordable / widely available. As long as COVID-19 lingers as it is now, I don't see many viable solutions unless you want to bring back drive-ins but even that comes with huge expenses and a diminished viewing experience.
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Dave Phelps
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Posted: 06 May 2020 at 5:04pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply


 QUOTE:
Movie theaters will survive in some fashion eventually. Too much money riding on the industry (and too many passionate fans of the experience) for this to be the extinction event


This. There may be new corporate overlords involved, and the next year or three is going to be rough, but I don't see pandemic-induced downturns being permanent.
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Michael Roberts
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Joined: 20 April 2004
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Posted: 06 May 2020 at 8:57pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

The question is, will the eventual new model be something palatable / affordable / widely available,

-----

My prediction is that it will go in the other direction. If you are following the slow demise of the shopping mall, the shopping malls that are still thriving are the high end ones with expensive eateries and boutique stores that cater to the upper-middle class and above. The suburban malls are losing out to Target and Walmart.

Similarly, I expect the theaters that survive will be the luxury theaters whose customers are willing to pay $20-25 a seat for reclining sofas and in-seat food and drink service. They'll also be more likely to make the sort of accommodations for COVID-19. Even before all of this, I felt that the movie theaters in my area were moving in that direction anyway.
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Tyler Kloster
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Joined: 25 November 2006
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Posted: 07 May 2020 at 8:02am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

I certainly hope they are able to survive. Despite
everything that has been listed above that's horrible
about the modern theatrical experience---the ticket
prices, the concession prices, smart phones,
inconsiderate patrons---it's still, for me, the best
way to watch a film.

I certainly don't dislike the home viewing experience.
I wouldn't have about 1,000 Blu-Rays and DVDs and
subscriptions to 4 streaming services if I did.

But there's nothing in the home viewing experience
that matches when you're part of an audience laughing
in hysterics at a great comedy. Or when the audience
jumps or even screams at a horror movie (my favorite
genre). Or just that wonderful, wonderful feeling
when you're watching a film, any film, that you can
feel the entire audience connecting with.

The famous "portals" moment of AVENGERS: ENDGAME is
great, but part of what made it so incredible was
experiencing it with an audience, as that well-
circulated video makes clear. And oh man, if I can't
see this year's new HALLOWEEN film on a big screen,
there's a small part of me that doesn't want to see it
at all.
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Rick Senger
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Joined: 16 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 8660
Posted: 07 May 2020 at 9:22am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Similarly, I expect the theaters that survive will be the luxury theaters whose customers are willing to pay $20-25 a seat for reclining sofas and in-seat food and drink service.
*****
Totally agree. This was already the trend. I do think there will always be hunger for the other end of the spectrum as well, but if you can only fill 40% of the seats in the same amount of real estate, that model doesn't seem viable.

that wonderful, wonderful feeling
when you're watching a film, any film, that you can
feel the entire audience connecting with.
*****
That's movies at their best; a shared, communal experience where audience reactions amplify and enhance what you see / hear / feel. The electricity of the packed Boston theater in which I saw JAWS in the seventies was possibly the greatest cinematic high I ever had (STAR WARS not far behind). I was the right age seeing the right movie in the right place and it led to a lifelong passion for film. Both are enjoyable on the home big screen but there's nothing quite like seeing a quality movie in a packed and receptive movie house.
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Bryan Eacret
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Joined: 08 February 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 617
Posted: 07 May 2020 at 3:46pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I don't need other people around to enjoy a movie. However, I want to see movies on the biggest screen possible and with a great sound system. This alone will keep me going to the movies when things settle down. Plus, it's nice to get out of the house. 

I have a large TV and decent sound system at home, but it in no way comes close to the movie theater. 
I have been to the drive-in by my house and it's hard to actually pay attention to the movie because of the novelty of where you are, the screen is small/far away, the sound is your car stereo or a portable system and all the other things going on around your car. It's fun in a different way than going to a theater, but I don't go if it's a movie a really want to see. 

 
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