Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/11/20/changing-market-conditions.html
Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/11/20/changing-market-conditions.html
But, seriously, who goes to movie theaters anymore?
Sure some do but, most people have giant TVs at home with sound bars or stereo hook ups that easily mimic a theater, minus the crowds, the over priced craptastic food, the sticky floors and an hour’s worth of commercials.
Strong-arm who really?
This ruling is a mixed bag for me.
For one like you said, there’s a ton of streaming options these days but on the other hand the monopolies in the long run is going to hurt small town theaters. Those theaters are already having a difficult time trying to keep up with the changes to projection tech. Hell even larger chains are having a hard time and that’s making the movie going experience less enjoyable in the states. Just look at Ang Lee’s Gemini Man. It was shot in such a high frame rate and resolution, no theaters in the US can show it in it’s original format
Is there NOTHING that the current powers-that-be won’t crapify in the name of enabling the blood-sucking wealthy to suck more out of us?
My wife and I do. We go every Sunday and the theater is usually full. The experience is still great. If your theater sucks, look around for a different one.
I say get rid of anti-trust rules but monitor the situation. If the sky falls they can always be re-enacted.
Expect to see a lot more of this kind of thing in the coming year, especially if it becomes increasingly likely that Biff won’t get a second term. It’s a rush to revoke as many laws as possible that protect us from monopolies and other business practises that are unfriendly and unfair to consumers and the natural environment.
For the origins of organized crime in show business, see Dan Moldea’s Dark Victory: Ronald Reagan, MCA, and the Mob (Viking Press, 1986). From a review in the LA Times:
As MCA’s power and influence rapidly expanded, organized-crime members muscled their way into lofty show business union positions. Depicted in the book as the liaison between the Mob and the labor unions is Chicago attorney Sidney Korshak, another “Dark Victory” main character. Moldea is meticulous and thorough in these areas, carefully pointing out relationships between mobsters and moguls, MCA or otherwise.
Consider also the earlier (1920’s) business of Joseph Kennedy making a fortune in Hollywood. Allegations have been made (I can’t find the reference right now*) that Kennedy made his films fast and cheap thanks to corrupt labor unions.
*(Source, if memory serves, is High Treason: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy & the Case for Conspiracy by Robert Groden and Harrison Livingstone.)
I think the problem is that this law should have been extended to cover streaming services. Instead of a theather per movie studio, we have a page per movie studio.
Can you name any example?
Like, Prohibition comes to mind, but that’s the reverse.
Don’t see Disney’s power lessening at all, and they had Sonny Bono sucking their mouse off from his senate seat 20 years ago
Based on what I’ve seen… many (especially younger folks) still do, and for the latest blockbusters that wouldn’t be available for home viewing “soon enough” for one’s curiosity. Also – for me – the communal “electricity” and massive screens amp things up in a way that home viewing just can’t capture. (I suspect that the level of theater patronage may be governed by local demographics.)
Changes in projection tech forced by major studios. First 3d then 60fps (which has largely gone unused), and so forth. With the almost collapse of the projectionists union meaning the people with the skills to calibrate such things to contractually obligated standards now lives with studio employees. But such work is still done at the theater’s expense.
Many of those independent theaters could have, and did, afford an upgrade to modern digital projection. The problem came out of the studios forcing it on a time line (by not providing prints or through contract) and then forced repeated upgrades and projection changes over time on short notice. So it wasn’t buy a new projection system. It was buy a new projection system every 6 months for a decade. Before you’d even paid off the first.
And that’s sort of the problem with this. “Market conditions” have changed. But its not that theaters aren’t important in the face of streaming. Its that the studios already control the major theater chains through other means. Contract requirements to gain access to major releases. Their parent companies own or control a significant amount of theater chain stock. Technical requirements a theater has to hit to show major releases (where all the money is these days). Among other things. In practice it all looks exactly like the studio system these rules we’re created to break up. Except studio control of distributors and the move to digital has let them kill the second run and repertory models, which is what kept most of those smaller theaters going in the past.
If the rules are no longer effective. I don’t see how just getting rid of the rules is gonna improve things.
Last I checked theater attendance is up, but the theaters themselves are struggling to make money. Even the big ones. Excepting small to medium chains like Alamo Drafthouse that are following the model those guys developed. Serving food and alcohol, repertory showings, festivals and special events. The big chains have been ponderously adding those sorts of things as they’re revenue streams the studios can’t control, and the whole place to hang out/more than just a movie thing attracts customers more reliably.
For all the belly aching about the death of movies blah di blah. The industry as a whole is very healthy and seems to be making more than they have for decades. It’s just that all that is consolidating into major studio releases; Indies and smaller movies are struggling. And not a lot of that money is going to theaters. That seems to be a factor of major studio control of the market, not no one showing up.
90% of the movies I see in a theatre are either older movies and foreign films in series at a couple local theatres that do their own or work with college film studies profs or first run indie movies. Sadly, those are becoming impossible as Disney has started locking down the entire Fox film catalog for their streaming service. that will only get worse.
I also will go see the occasional mainstream first runs with friends and family, but primarily at a nicer place that had food/drinks and no teenagers. The consolidation of US movies is well down the path of turning live audience movies into a wasteland of tits and explosion spectacle films for teens and twenty somthings.
I don’t go to first-run movies, period. But I love going to the second-run theaters where I can have a beer and slice of pizza while enjoying the movie. This move will shut those places down, fast. Or, they will be forced to sell out to the studio, who will jack up the prices and homogenize the experience.
This feels kind of like how the FCC allowed so much cable industry consolidation that they started acting like monopolies, which convinced a lot of people to simply cut the cord.
I only see maybe one or two movies in theaters in a year. They’ve just gotten so expensive and my backlog of books and streaming content only ever seems to grow. If I had to cut them out entirely I don’t think it would affect my life much at all. If the whole industry is ruined then I can’t feel that bad because it was already dying anyway.
The real problem with this is the danger of vertical market consolidation, something we’re already seeing in the streaming market. We now have a dozen separate streaming providers, each with their own proprietary content that you can only access if you continue to pay a subscription. Though we have many options right now, keep in mind that many of these services are currently operating at a loss in an attempt to corner the market. In 10 years, get ready for far fewer options at higher prices, plus, imagine never being able to own a copy of a film or television and having to pay every time you consume.
As for theaters, once the giant media conglomerates can again control every step in the production, distribution, and retail for their product, say goodbye to the few small-town theaters, second-run, or art houses that still exist. The problem is that if Disney/Marvel/Fox owns your local theater, they have little incentive to show the competitions’ product, even if the public demands it.
As @Ryuthrowsstuff said, even with these rules in place, the studios still exert tight control over the major theater chains, so doing away with the rules isn’t going to make things better. You can already see this in the ways the studios have conspired to keep Netflix-produced films out of theaters to deprive them of both ticket sale and award contention. This is bad for consumers in terms of prices, but also in terms of art. It’s also bad for those employed in the industry as wage competition is all but eliminated when fewer players run the business.
Bit of an optimist, eh? The realist will say “good luck with that”.
My wife and I do. We often take her mother too.
“Most” according to whom? We don’t. Also, the theaters in our area have been refurbished so they aren’t the crap they were in the ’80s when I worked at one.
They aren’t perfect – now they slam you with non-stop ads while you wait for the movie to start, which didn’t happen back in the day.
But they could be worse. And the DoJ rolling back measures designed to allow competition isn’t good, period. And this:
Is even worse in my opinion.
It seems like the takers are taking in larger and larger measures. I keep waiting for the tipping point to occur, and the masses to rise up. Fucking with the bread and circuses that help pacify those masses is risky, and it makes me wonder just what they have planned.
Have you met them? No. Nothing is sacred except the dollar.
History is full of examples where liberties taken away are hard to get restored. Look how long we’ve been fucked over by the DMCA*. Saying this strikes me as being a bit too optimistic/gullible when faced with everything happening around us these days.
*ETA: Oh yeah, how could I forget the Patriot Act?
And once Bush is out of office we’ll get rid of the Patriot Act and everything will go back to normal.
What comes after trillionaire?
I was happy to discover the AMC club deal - $5 tuesdays.