Survey reveals new factors in moviegoing decline

posted by Michael Zoldessy on January 10, 2007 at 6:43 am

Not just the content on screen, but competition from other leisure activities is pointed out in a new study on decreasing theater receipts.

The global decline in movie theater attendance is not a result of unappealing content, but rather reflects a dissatisfaction with the movie-going experience and increasing competition for the consumer’s share of time and money, this according to a global survey of consumers conducted by PA Consulting Group and the Motion Picture Association of America.

The survey also revealed that while consumer-spending habits will not undergo any fundamental changes over the next five years, movie attendance and home entertainment sales, including the sales of DVDs, will decline as entertainment options increase.

To read more on this analysis, go to PR Newswire.

Comments (42)

schmadrian
schmadrian on January 10, 2007 at 1:19 pm

And now, ladies and gentlemen, to offer up the counterpoint to this study, longislandmovies!

TheaterBuff1
TheaterBuff1 on January 10, 2007 at 10:39 pm

I would say — at least based on my own studies and observations — that the number one reason why movie theater attendance is down is due to the great divisions that exist in American society nowadays. Add to this that not many movies coming out of Hollywood these days aim to unify as they once did. I suppose arguments could be made that that’s every bit as much good as it is bad in that Americans have matured to the extent of being much more individualistic now. Still, it’s sad when you see the big, single-screen movie palace of old in a state of ruins because of it, particularly if you vividly remember when it had been otherwise. (Or at least I feel that way, given where I stand as an individual.) Movie theaters once gave people a greater sense of what was happening in the world, of the direction that the world was heading in. If movies made didn’t reveal this they didn’t get to make it to the big movie theaters that everyone in a unified way went to. But now so many people little care about that direction the world is going in. There’s that great detachment now. That anyone could really be that detached is all purely an illusion, of course. It’s fantasy to be sure, but one which movie theaters nowadays, if they are to remain in operation, must hopelessly try to align themselves with. It will all play itself out eventually. But to the point of humanity’s complete demise? Or will a grasp of reality take hold once more at some point? For it’s there that I see the need for the large, single-screen theater once more and a sudden resurge in movie theater attendance. But we haven’t got there yet. And there’s no telling when we will. It will happen when it happens. A “Finest Hour” if you will. Or not, as in so much for all of human history.

schmadrian
schmadrian on January 11, 2007 at 2:53 am

Some very interesting thoughts. But I think you’ve presented an imbalanced perspective; the ‘demise’ of the single-screen theatre as a means to unify people has at least been met by television and the Internet. And I really don’t know that people seventy-five years ago were more interested in what was happening in the world, what direction it was going in. (World Wars don’t count; they’re not reflective of people, but governments.) Isolationism has been the American hallmark since its inception. And I really don’t know that the ‘divisions’ that exist in American society today are any more demarcated than they were fifty, seventy-five, a hundred years ago. Are you suggesting that it was more homogenous back then?

Single-screen theatres were gathering places, allowing people of all (most) means to come to an often glorious setting and see the same entertainment. They were the ‘great leaveners’. That still happens today at movies…as well as in front of the tv and the computer monitor. Times have changed…as have the means to address people’s needs.

I think you’re conflating the demise of the single-screen theatre with what this report proposes…and that’s another discussion entirely.

KenLayton
KenLayton on January 11, 2007 at 6:51 am

“Dissatisfaction with the movie-going experience”. You see…commercials are having an effect!

TheaterBuff1
TheaterBuff1 on January 11, 2007 at 11:36 pm

Although WWII clearly went a long way in putting all Americans on the same side in a unified sort of way, and regardless of homogeneity, I was thinking far more of the Great Depression, which did far more to boost movie theater attendance than anything else that has ever happened before or since. While television enables people to see what other people around the world are seeing, what it doesn’t enable people to see — at least firsthand — is other peoples' reaction that which they themselves see. While the Nielson Ratings inform people if or not the shows they watch regularly are what other people do, still, seeing others' reactions is totally missing from that. So perhaps moreso than anything else, movie theaters enable people to see where many others are at. And they do indeed help to unify people in ways that television could not even begin to. Which is why I do indeed feel that the absence of single-screen theaters, and theater attendance being down, are both very much political. And I have seen movie theaters fold in direct correlation to certain politicians taking office. Which is the major reason why I feel that movie theaters should have a type of diplomatic immunity, totally unlike how it is with other types of businesses.

When I go to the theater, and no doubt it’s the same with many others as well, I go not only to see a movie presented in the absolutely best possible way, but also to experience other peoples' reactions to the same presentation. And to be sure, there is something very reassuring and self-confidence building when your reactions to the movie and others is identical. But you can understand, of course, why many politicians don’t want that to occur — particular at times such as now when they’re pushing to continue on a ridiculous war, or to totally redefine what ethics and morality means or what have you. And needless to say the ultra privileged set doesn’t want this to happen either.

Of course at the other extreme, single-screen theaters can be used as a powerful propaganda tool as well, the exhibiting of Leni Reifenstahl’s “The Triumph of the Will” at theaters all throughout Nazi Germany during WWII being an excellent example. And again, television, which addresses people separately, cannot even begin to match that, nor computers and the Internet or what have you.

Now Ken Layton has made an excellent point about commercials in theaters driving a lot of theatergoers away, while in many ways I feel that ties in with what I’m saying. For commercials shown in theaters greatly undermine the theatergoing experience, which is also to say the socially unifying experience. Again, I see it as being very political.

As for movie theaters having diplomatic immunity so as to rise above the constraints of politics gone amuck, there would have to be certain trade-offs theaters would have to surrender to qualify for this. And number 1 would be NO COMMERCIALS! Add to this, nothing could be shown that could said to be unreasonably racially biased, or violence-instilling without fair justification, and so forth and so on.

If we want to bring theater attendance back up again, think in terms of what drove this when theater attendance was at its highest level — which to the best of my knowledge was the Great Depression. We can say, “Oh, well they didn’t have television back then to compete with.” But I think that’s a total cop-out. And keep in mind they did have radio. And of course there were books back then and so on. People read a lot. Still, the movie theaters did well. Very very well. And I can’t say that it was because it was more homogenous either. People from all ethnic and racial backgrounds flocked to see the same movies and each in their own way identified with them, and with how all others around them did.

schmadrian
schmadrian on January 12, 2007 at 6:01 am

TheaterBuff1: Honestly, I wouldn’t even know where to start in responding to your thoughts. So I’ll just throw out a few of my own that come to mind:

-times have changed and so have people’s wants.

-options. Many, many more of them now.

-one of the hazards of a site like this is the preponderance of ‘romantic nostalgic tunnel-vision’. (I still can’t believe this paragraph: “As for movie theaters having diplomatic immunity so as to rise above the constraints of politics gone amuck, there would have to be certain trade-offs theaters would have to surrender to qualify for this. And number 1 would be NO COMMERCIALS! Add to this, nothing could be shown that could said to be unreasonably racially biased, or violence-instilling without fair justification, and so forth and so on.” You do realize we live in a free-market, capitalist, somewhate-democratic society, yes?

-if single-screeners ever make a come-back, it won’t be for the reasons you suggest (not that I even agree with the reasons you’ve proposed for their demise.)

-I have to ask, because I think it informs your slant: in what era did you grow up?

TheaterBuff1
TheaterBuff1 on January 12, 2007 at 11:26 pm

The post-WWII era. Meantime, getting on with talking about the era of today, these days it would not be unusual to hear the typical person say, “Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ may well be a good film, but it’s just not something I’m really into.” Do you see what I’m getting at? Furthermore, do you know of many people right now who find Clint Eastwood’s “Letters From Iwo Jima” even mildly offensive? For right there’s your classic tunnel vision if ever there was such, not what I’m putting forth. You’re defining “today’s world” as a free-market, capitalist, somewhat-democratic society, but I myself am looking much higher than that — straight on at actual truth itself. The rest is all just convenient denial. And, incidentally, if I find a way to bring a single-screener back it will be for all the reasons I’ve given. And it will be flocked to by people who realize — or who will have come to realize — that there are forces in this world greater than ourselves. Do you recall the classic ending of the 1950s movie “War of the Worlds”?

schmadrian
schmadrian on January 13, 2007 at 3:14 am

“Furthermore, do you know of many people right now who find Clint Eastwood’s "Letters From Iwo Jima” even mildly offensive? For right there’s your classic tunnel vision if ever there was such, not what I’m putting forth."

Just what are you getting at here?

TheaterBuff1
TheaterBuff1 on January 13, 2007 at 10:22 pm

“Letters From Iwo Jima” is Clint Eastwood’s follow-up to his “Flags of Our Fathers,” which makes the case for how the flag raising at Iwo Jima was largely propaganda and even goes so far as trying to draw parallels between that and the war in Iraq….as if there really are any. And “Letters From Iwo Jima” tells of the famous battle from the Japanese viewpoint. In brief, Eastwood is abusively using his Hollywood stature to take advantage of a U.S. government gone amuck. And you see how the American public is right now. Little to no reaction. And in his relaying the account of the Iwo Jima battle in both cases he’s not relaying the full story. And for what ultimate aim, pray tell? Whether intentionally or otherwise, one clearcut aim is to fester overseas hatred towards America, in the far east especially. Another, to justify America’s going the same route as a runaway empire it once rose up to put a stop to. And a third is perhaps Eastwood’s never quite achieving the legendary Hollywood stature he had hoped for and so maybe this is his revenge for his ego having been assaulted in that way.

As for the tunnel vision connection to that, in Eastwood-like fashion, many Americans right now put their own egos ahead of what’s of far greater importance and thus can very much identify with where Eastwood is coming from, while failing to see the bigger picture — hence the tunnel vision aspect. This has happened before, of course, Japan up until 1945 for instance.

And movie theaters — particularly single-screen theaters where many people see the same film collectively — do not sit well with those with tunnel vision. They want truth to be what they want it to be, and home theater systems, of course, play beautifully to that. But home theaters playing to tunnel vision in that respect can also be very very dangerous. Movie theaters can enable people to get a somewhat accurate reading on what other people are thinking as well, to provide a very major reality check. Which does indeed matter. And whether the theater is packed or empty speaks volumes either way. Of course, when used for propaganda purposes, like the home theater, the single-screen public movie theater can be very dangerous as well. Through their fostering a type of group think, public theaters can lead a whole theaterful of people in the wrong direction, as was the case when Kung Fu movies were heavily exhibited in ghetto theaters back in the late 1970s and early ‘80s. There were actual cases where such showings in that setting, or in theaters in downtown settings away from the ghetto (seen as being the blame for the ghetto plight), culminated in violence sprees after the theaters let out.

But doing away with movie theaters completely was not the best answer. If movies are of good quality, and they stay loyal to the truth in a constructive way, people will come out to the theaters. The commute to and from them must be pleasant, of course. And any theater operator who ignores that…well, that’s just another type of tunnel vision. And of course attending them must always be kept affordable. A point that Hollywood itself needs to become more sensitive to.

schmadrian
schmadrian on January 14, 2007 at 5:08 am

OMG.

OMG!

(Can I say that loud enough and repeat it enough?)

I hate to say this…but I actually would like to have coffee with you…just to say I’ve experienced it.

I’d respond to ‘all this’…but frankly, my time’s better spent chasing squirrels to try to pet them.

shivers and the whole display here

Wow.

TheaterBuff1
TheaterBuff1 on January 14, 2007 at 7:32 pm

-I have to ask, because I think it informs your slant: in what era did you grow up, schmadrian?

schmadrian
schmadrian on January 15, 2007 at 3:10 am

The post-WWII era. I’m a boomer. Although not nearly as old a one as you are, I suspect.

: )

And a comment from an outside observer: “I’m absolutely flabbergasted reading that.”

TheaterBuff1
TheaterBuff1 on January 15, 2007 at 8:31 pm

Since anytime following World War II can be classified as the “Post-WWII era” (including now, even) I feel I need to clarify in my case that I’m not a baby boomer, but am in the age group that came right behind that demographic. So if you’re a boomer that makes me younger than you, plus I now much better understand your total blindness to many things. The vast majority of those in your age bracket were totally insensitive to the important needs of those coming up behind you, and with your having been set for life that way that’s never changed. Add to this that you’ll be heading into Social Security next and it will become a case of so much for that once-nice thing too. Totally spoiled, your generation was given many great things, but you didn’t know how to manage them the right way, including a vast array of wonderful movie theaters that were holding up fabulously well when your generation entered their doors, but were in total ruins and shambles when your age group left them to move onto whatever else it could destroy. And you thought so highly of yourselves for this when truth be said it was one big duh-uh!!! And I for one — I suppose in a way that really upsets you — don’t want the story to end this way. I’d much rather prefer a “War of the Worlds” type ending instead.

For let’s be real about it; your generation blew it. And the evidence of that is seen in the way so many of the once upon a time great theaters are today. Take a good hard look around you, schmadrian: This one’s now a furniture store, that one got torn down, this other once-great theater is now a drug store or bank or some other stupidity. It’s like what the heck?! When the reins of decision-making were passed onto your generation was it a classic case of the mispassing of the reins or what? And the answer to that question, of course, is YES in all-caps (uh, just in case you can’t think that highly.)

Anyway, that’s just a nice hefty dose of truth. Now back to your gurglings…

schmadrian
schmadrian on January 16, 2007 at 2:23 am

Well, I’m glad I could provide some degree of venting for your generational spew. Sounds like you’ve got a lot of misdirected anger there and I suppose it’s better released here than in an arena involving real-life interaction; sounds like you’ve got enough bile there to make the news in some messy ‘Live from CNN’ way.

Interesting about your age; I would have pegged you for a senior-citizen, blinkered and self-absorbed, prone to going off on rants and diatribes that befit a cloistered existence. But as you’ve given a strong hint as to your age, I guess that points to you being a blinkered and self-absorbed Gen-Xer, still prone to rants and diatribes…only just seasoned differently. (As my friend the observer opined about your blatherings, ‘What’s next, the Christian card?!?’)

Very intriguing that you would choose to assign so quickly all the mistakes of my generation to me personally, not having a clue as to what I may or may not have contributed to said ‘crimes’. And that you have chosen to demonize this demographic, seemingly choosing to ignore everything that led up to the admitted indulgences of the ‘Boomers’, the circumstances that created the beast, instead, taking them so harshly to task for making such a mess of the world. Such a simple approach…one reminiscent of a high school student with far too much belly-gazing time on their hands, an exercise in facile name-calling, chest-puffed in umbrage, in high dudgeon in full-effect, protesting the neighbour’s H3, or lack of proper composting with a solitary mini protest march up and down the driveway, home-made bullhorn in hand.

Rather than get yourself worked up into such a lather with your own quite-bent-out-of-shape rhetoric over the loss of single-screen theatres (and some fascinating turns of logic as to why it’s all unfolded that way; are you sure you’re not some addle-brained pensioner writing Letters to the Editor while your troop of felines bounds over the stacks of rotting newspapers…?), have you ever thought to putting aside your sizable enmity towards ‘those who came before’ and looked at it from economic and sociological viewpoints, rather than your amusing spin on ‘The Reds are coming! The Reds are coming!’? You might want to do a little research in that regard, keeping your vitriol about how badly things were screwed-up in other aspects of the world at bay…you know, dealing with one issue at a time, while keeping the big picture in mind in the background…?

Again, thanks for an amusing start to my day. You’ve reaffirmed my belief not only in the endless variety of people in the world, but in the value of the web, and sites such as this, to provide a forum for those sufficiently-sequestered people clearly unable to follow the bare-bones advice ‘You need to get out more.’

P.S. You go on a lot about ‘truth’ in your posts. Surely you’re familiar with the saying ‘There’s three sides to every story; yours…mine…and The Truth.’

TheaterBuff1
TheaterBuff1 on January 16, 2007 at 10:38 pm

I found your comments to be typical of those of your generation, including how you cop out by saying those who came before yours are to blame for anything that’s wrong with your generation. Most people even to this day don’t even know who the babyboomers are because they mistakenly identify you with the cultural things you were brought up with. To give some examples, we think of the baby boomers and we think of peace, love, Woodstock, the Beatles and the whole bit, when in truth your generation was only the consumers of all that, not the creators of it or even the advocators of it for that matter. You could’ve been, the opportunities given you to do so were tremendous, but you chose not to. Yet we not in the baby boomer generation went on thinking your generation was about peace, love, Woodstock, etc., when it all was just a big lie. For look at the baby boomers now. A war is currently raging in Iraq a thousand times worse than Vietnam ever was, but since those in your generation face no threat of being sent over it’s like what’s it to you? When your generation was young a being sent to Vietnam was a direct threat to you, those of the older generation over you cared about it. And somehow from that you blame them for what your generation is?

I blame the generation that came before you for passing onto your generation the reins of power by mistake. But see, when they did so they were fooled by the culture you embraced, mistaking that for you. But now here your generation is, with the reins of power, and are all these wonderful things now happening as a result of it? Quite the contrary. Movie theaters at their finest are dying in your hands. And of course theater attendance is down. People can’t flock to theaters if they don’t exist, nor will they if they’re being managed improperly. Your generation embraced all the culturally marvelous things. But only to squeeze all life out of them. And when you did you never came back with anything creative of your own. For how could you when yours was just a generation of takers only? Intrinsically speaking, in your generation there was no peace, no love, just a lot of gimme! gimme! gimme! And you got got got in a way that I can only cite as a huge throwaway. “Pearls before swine” as it were, just to play the Christian card where it’s fitting.

schmadrian
schmadrian on January 17, 2007 at 1:26 am

I feel bad that not only are you unable to listen to what’s being told you, but your cognitive abilities are clearly impaired. My guess is that I was wrong, you’re not a Gen-Xer, you must be a Gen-Y pupplet, over-juiced with an abilitiy to string words together with an admittedly admirable enthusiasm. Are you a recent high school grad?

Have you not done any research into cinema history at all? Come clean; the potential embarrassment of this admission is nothing close to the embarrassment you’re causing yourself with your wild declamations about things of which you are clearly ignorant.

But I do thank you for beng so entertaining in your contributions to this thread. I’ve been able to share your many ‘interesting’ viewpoints with various and sundry elsewhere and it’s a nice change to be shocked by someone’s words and not have epithets involved.

I’m not going to try to point you down the straight-and-narrow regarding ‘my generation’ as you so clearly have your mind made up, firm in your prejudic- I mean, your convictions. Good luck with that intractibility the rest of your life; who knows, maybe it will provide you some comfort on those lonely nights, pining away for what never was.

TheaterBuff1
TheaterBuff1 on January 17, 2007 at 10:14 pm

Pining away for what never was? Oh-ho, that’s a good one! What a convenient lie that is for you to hide behind rather than coming totally clean. And it places you right up there with the Holocaust denyers and those who theorize that the whole astronauts landing on the moon bit in 1969 — right before those in your generation acquired the reins — never happened, was totally faked.

As for greater generational clarification regarding myself, I’m in that age group right between the babyboomers and the gen-Xers, which I suppose we could classify as the “firsthand eyewitness generation.” For I saw all the wonderful things your genreration was given firsthand, okay? For I experienced these things to a degree, too. Firsthand. And I saw your generation destroy them firsthand — like that child hiding in the closet of a house where there was supposed to be no eyewitnesses. I saw the beautiful seaside resorts that once had been, and the magnificent movie palaces that YOUR generation brought down, and I saw the great universities our nation once had crumble in your generation’s hands. Before your generation came into a position of decisionmaking we could put a man on the moon. But now? Take a good hard look at the timelines, schmadrian. How life went from everything is possible — which is where things stood in 1969 — to how nothing is now. Your generation took it upon itself to knock everything beautiful down and to make sure it stayed down. And your generation did a good job of that, I will say that much. And your generation also wants to knock down all truth of what I’m saying here. Make it the “perfect crime” as it were. But the TRUTH isn’t going to go away that easily. For there were firsthand witnesses, and I was one. One of many.

schmadrian
schmadrian on January 18, 2007 at 3:38 am

1) Seek advice on meds levels
2) Consider relenquishing your membership in the ‘Blame Society'
3) Remind yourself that we’re not really having a conversation here, and that despite your continued harrisome invectives, I haven’t actually responded to any of your 'accusations’. I would, but I hardly think that this thread on this site is appropriate. Should you want to actually engage me in dialogue, please feel free to email me at olorinfilms_at_gmail.com

TheaterBuff1
TheaterBuff1 on January 18, 2007 at 9:13 pm

This is truly amazing, schmadrian! There was a time when regular neighborhood theaters and movie palaces were in top form and plentiful all throughout the United States and attendance was high. And then there’s now, 2007, when we can hardly make that same claim. Something had to have happened between the two time periods to cause that sharp downward transition. Something truly major. And while we can be quick to cop out and say oh it was the advent of TV or whatever, my having lived through much of this stretch between the two time periods firsthand I’ll be just as quick to say, no, it wasn’t that. But if somebody says the baby boom generation brought the great neighborhood theaters and palaces down, well, suddenly it’s BINGO! So much so that with your quick but very baseless defense of the baby boom generation — as one who’s a member of it — I feel it best at this point to advise you of your Miranda rights.

Meantime, from my side of things, right now I feel as if you and I are Rod Steiger and Marlon Brando in the back seat of that cab, with you, the older brother, deflecting all blame elsewhere when I try to pinpoint what it was exactly that prevented me from being the contender I was meant to be in life. But as I look at you directing all blame away from yourself I can only reply, “No, it was you Charlie, remember?” My memories are of what I saw. And there’s no crime in seeing. But your memories, as one who’s a tad bit older, are of what you did that I merely saw. And that you’re now denying. Like me, you can bear witness to what happened in that stretch of time also. But in your case, unlike it is in mine, it is so self-incriminating that I do indeed have to advise you of your Miranda rights at this point — while if it were me and I were you I would just come totally clean. I would do just as Burt Lancaster did in “Judgement at Nuremberg,” just to highpoint the difference in character between you and I.

And sure, we could take this discussion private by e-mail exchange as you suggest. But need I remind you, schmadrian, the title of this CT page is “Survey reveals new factors in moviegoing decline,” just to do the big reality check. And when in that survey I don’t see the reason that I know why movie theater attendance is down — way way down from what it once was — then if this isn’t the right place to publicly state what the actual reason is then what place, pray tell, is?

I post here publicly to expose what the actual reason is. And you post here to publicly deflect from what you know to be true. And why would you do that? What would your motive be?

ceasar
ceasar on August 14, 2007 at 11:01 am

That I can voutch for on the fact. When Pemberton Cinema 4 was open and owned by both Regal Entertainment Group and later bought by Village Entertainment,both chains made a fundametal mistake. It was in marketing. Both chains targeted the blacks and teenagers. And more than once black films got held over more than one time. Both chanins never made an effort to appeal to the white young adult market. Now even the teenagers started not going to the cinema here too. Becouse choices were limited. Now some the stories I heard in regard to Pemberton Cinema 4 has been this:
broken seats
sticky floors
broken projectors
and the quality of films never came into this market. Like say to the Tinsel Town in Pearl and Clinton UA14. And both chains didn’t adapt to the fact that cinema has moved out of the mall and into the traditional box. Also crimes took place at the cinema. Last year it was used to break in the mall for example. Now Regel nor Village didn;t consider improving the experince nor thier markets. It’s as if they followed the regional stereotypes. But Regal and Village Entertainment should’ve realize that they too lost thier teen markets to the more choice cinemas like Tinseltown,Malco 17 etc where the experince is first class. Who would want to see a movie on the screen where projectors constantly broke? Or two employees fight among each other? Both chains should share the fault of reality check in a changed demographic.

ceasar
ceasar on August 14, 2007 at 11:30 am

Whem I did a Google search on Movie attedence surveys. PA isn’t the only one that has done one. Zogby reported the samething in their findings as well.

TheaterBuff1
TheaterBuff1 on August 14, 2007 at 11:25 pm

What should be kept in mind with these surveys is that when movie theaters were at their height and attendance was high likewise, they had represented a fundamental part of American democracy — which for the most part I don’t feel exists in the U.S. right now. And not just limited to Pennsylvania, where it just so happens I currently reside, and did when this survey was conducted back in January 2007, but in many parts (if not all) of the U.S. right now.

Movie theaters, when operated right, inspire people to do really meaningful things with their lives. I know that certainly was the case when I attended movie theaters during the 1950s and ‘60s. In those years of my growing up, we would go to movies and then actually do what the movies would inspire us to. To give a good for instance, I believe it can be fairly said that when many young people in 1967 saw Sidney Poitier in TO SIR WITH LOVE, it inspired them to go into the teaching field. And no doubt many a traveling cross-country motorcyclist got his inspiration to do this from EASY RIDER when it made the rounds of theaters in 1969.

In brief, when movie theaters were at their height, we so often found ourselves (who we wanted to be) when we went to the movies. We discovered what our true likes and dislikes are. I know that in my case, for instance, it was no coincidence that after I saw THE AGONY & THE ECSTASY in 1965 I suddenly became very heavily into art. And I believe it can be fairly said that many an athlete was born from having seen BRIAN’S SONG at a well-run theater.

And see, this is precisely what made the movie theaters so powerfully alluring to us back when they were at their height. They woke up wonderful things within us; enabled us to “discover ourselves” as it were. Who we were. And who we wanted to be. What we really wanted to do. Which is exactly what is desired in the context of a true democracy. But in an anti-democracy? Well that’s something else entirely.

I stopped going to movie theaters, well, first and foremost, because the ones in my area started getting shut down left and right as a new sort of politics began taking hold. But not only that, but because the ones that did remain open started being operated totally differently. In place of championing American democracy, suddenly they were all about money money money, and if you don’t like it, don’t bother coming. So okay, we said, and we stopped bothered going. So that’s my survey on it.

schmadrian
schmadrian on August 15, 2007 at 6:00 am

stares at TheaterBuff1’s comment

keeps staring

tries to head-shake his stare away

ceasar
ceasar on August 15, 2007 at 8:29 am

I remember when the cinema houses were at thier heights as well. In the past Vicksburg had several cinemas,the Strand,the Joy Theatre which are now torned down. Now what did this mall cinema was I believe market shifting. Becouse the new cinmeas like the stadium cinemas like Tinseltown,the Clinton 14 and the Malco in Madison offer bettr films and choice. Where Regel didn;t do its proper market research. And then Village Entertaintment abused the mall property. Now the Pemberton Mall deteroting more it has left the door open for more crime to happen. Listen last year the Pemberton Cinema was used as a conduit for theives to break into the mall to steal XBoxes from the local electronic store. Crime too played a real factor: for one thing Renee Williams who runs the mall hasn’t announced a new cinema property owner. Well some are speculating she hasn’t found a new operator.
Now I came across too in a Google search an article in the Atlanta Business Journal that Caremark Cinemas and Regel Entertainment Group also reported attendance down at thier cinemas.
What both cinema operators didn’t do with this cinema was to offer move movie choices. They catered to the black market more than the whites. And even the well criticize films with black casts didn’t come here either. Another factor too is they would run movie trailers for films like World Trade Center and that movie wouldn’t open here on that opening weekend. Once again I call that deceitful advertising on thier part. With four screens sometimes a new film would open and they would have to accomodate for five films. Like limit showtimes and also the cinema operators would only keep a film for a week sometimes.
But I believe catering to one market and limited choices is what cruxified it; now local leaders are scrambling to find a new operator. Now with commercial real estate and subpirme mortgate having moved into the marketplace,I wouldn’t be surprised if the operators are going to wait and see before coming into this market. But I can tell you the anger over its closing hasn’t ceased. It’s like a hurricane.

TheaterBuff1
TheaterBuff1 on August 16, 2007 at 1:53 am

schmadrian, uh, let me guess: That staring at my comment you speak of is a carry-over from how you once stared at the big movie screen — not being able to make any sense of it while all those around you were greatly inspired by what they saw.

Anyway [ahem] getting on with discussing caesar’s intelligent commentary at this CT page, it’s very encouraging to hear that the folks of Vicksburg are outraged over the closing of the big movie theater there. I just hope Vicksburg’s movers and shakers hold that same outlook, and don’t try to come across like they know better. At this late stage, we continue to think of movie theaters strictly as businesses, forgetting that they’re also major artistic outlets, in that movies have long come of age as an art form. That is, do we go and shut down the local art museum because it isn’t making enough money? Or the local library? So why the differentiation when it comes to movie theaters? It’s crazy! And whether movie theater attendance is up or down shouldn’t make a difference. Like if a church’s congregation suddenly drops off sharply, do we all say, “Oh, well that’s it. Let’s bring on the bulldozers and knock that sucker down!”? With the exception of what I witnessed in Atlantic City, NJ when the big casinos rose up to be the new rule of law there, the answer is of course not, that just isn’t done! Or at least not in an actual democracy it isn’t.

My whole take on this survey business is that whether theater attendance is up or down, we still want to keep the beautiful threaters around either way, because movie theaters just in themselves — at least the really well-designed ones — are special. Far too special to let surveys — which can be doctored — determine their future, and whether they should remain or be demolished. But see, that’s life in a democracy thinking. And maybe America’s just this big third world now…ruled over by backwards-minded folks like schmadrian.

schmadrian
schmadrian on August 16, 2007 at 3:37 am

Oh, God… I’ve just gone and perused the earlier potions of this thread… Now I remember you. I referred this topic to friends and they laughed their gluteus maximi off.

Seriously; are you SURE you’re not living in the 50s?

“At this late stage, we continue to think of movie theaters strictly as businesses, forgetting that they’re also major artistic outlets, in that movies have long come of age as an art form.”

Um, that’s right. Movie theatres ARE businesses. End of discussion. As much as I tend to look at them as ‘cathedrals’, I’m not so hand-clenched naive as to believe they’re deserving of any ‘protection’ from normal market circumstances. The landscape has changed, it will continue to change, many cinemas will fall by the wayside as art-lovers (read that as ‘movie-lovers’) find more preferred ways to view their ‘art’.

Fact is that the film-showing biz is incredibly arrogant. It’s decided, to a great extent, not to change with the times, to instead say ‘This is what we want to do, how we want to do it.’ It’s mostly been unwilling to adapt. To actually find out what its customers want. It’s preferred to keep its head in the sand.

And for the record, in this discussion, the only ‘backward-minded’ participant surely isn’t me. I’m not the one constantly hearkening back to halcyion days.

ceasar
ceasar on August 16, 2007 at 8:49 am

Let me tell you Vicksburg so called mover and shakers try to come across as smart. But they’re not. They’re narrow minded. I’ve been listening the local ams show and the hosts have tried to play things up as hunky dorey. Where reality is a different story. One of the former alderwoman Gertrude Young has claimed she’s been in cotact with the cinema chains of the Viacom Corporation. But I’m skeptical about it. But one truth has emerged: money which this town worships has shifted out of here and they’re in a panic about it. The real ones who have been hurt by this cinama closing have been the kids. Both black and white. U see this town’s leaders have never cared for them either. But I’m pleased they’re the ones extremely upset.
By the way I find all your opinions informative. I believe Regal made the serious mistake of not building a new cinema to meet the new trends. Regel Eneternainment also went public on the stock market too by the way. I figured they sold this cinema to Village Entertainment becouse the profit margins were weak. They should’ve done market studies and ask the why question why they’re going to the cinemas in the Pearl,Madison and Ridgeland. But this town has always been backward. To Jackson and Monroe,La the city whose population hasn’t growned by the way, has the perception of nothing to do. I can voutch for that becouse its true. Now before the closing Village Entertainment was bragging to the local paper about renovations. In fact they pulled a delayed tactic and said that renovations were going to take place this summmer.
Now the real problem has been the Pemberton Mall itself. Where the Malls in Jackosn metro area have undergone rennainnaces,Pemberton has been losing business and with the high rent which CBL instituted and taking store profits. CBL hasn’t faced the real problem of growing crime at the mall which will make a cinema operator think twice. I can tell you as movie buff I took the closing as a slap in the face,an insult. I can tell you this closing embolden me I didn’t expect I hit the cinema sits like Cinamrk,Regal and Malco and I told what happened. Especially on how the two feuded but I want last operator and CBL just have a hard time. At one time I can tell u at the old Battlefiled Mall which has been torned down—there was a cinema outside the mall. Cinema 4 in fact. I want to say that putting Cinema in malls was an 80s trend but I could be wrong.
This summer when I had an oppertunity to visit the River Centre Mall in San Antoine,Texas. It has an AMC Cinema and an IMAX cinema in the same place. I found that to be real cool.

ceasar
ceasar on August 16, 2007 at 8:54 am

Another thing I did a few days ago I passed on to the Google search engine that this cinema is closed too. Last year when Flags of Our Fathers,and Letters to Iwo Jima were released they didn’t open here at all. They did open in Jackson metro area. Like the Malco 17 in Madison. I can tell you in 2003 Eastwood’s Mystic River didn’t open here either.

TheaterBuff1
TheaterBuff1 on August 18, 2007 at 1:10 am

One of the best “regular” theaters I can remember was located in a mall — meaning that a mall theater CAN still qualify as having high artistic merit and thus worthy of protection accordingly. The “regular theater” of the past I’m referring to was the Premiere, located in the Neshaminy Mall here in Pennsylvania just outside of Philadelphia. I saw DR. ZHIVAGO there sometime back in the late ‘60s. And at that time it was run impeccably. And although it was all new at the time, already it had a lot of class to it. It was DESIGNED with class. Add to this that it had just about the best theater sound system I’ve ever experienced, anywhere — before or since.

But then the great tsunami of the know-nothing schmadrians came along to override it with their bubblegum, graffiti and public urination, snobbishly treating it as a “business,” nothing more. And in today’s world as a result of this shear stupidity on the part of people like that that once great theater is no more. And the same holds true of countless many others. Meantime, you would think that maybe, maybe, just once, that the schmadrian types would look back on ALL the destruction they caused so as to see themselves for who they really are, and how all that hideous destruction they left behind in their wake is the REAL them. For that’s what I see, looking at this matter accurately. And straight on. And so, too, is caesar, as you can see.

Meanwhile, despite the wall that you, schmadrian, and all the other schmadrians now constitute in your shear arrogance, there IS a future seeking to push through it all. And that future that’s now lining up at your big sealed gates isn’t going away. And no, schmadrian, what I speak of in terms of what’s currently lining up outside those gates of yours isn’t people per se. But rather, it’s the truth itself. And it’s a truth that you don’t want to be exhibited in well-run neighborhood movie theaters and big city movie palaces so that many can know about it other than just you and I. And yes, I get that, in terms of what it is you don’t want; you don’t have to keep repeating yourself. But you seem to think that suppressing the truth in that way as well as by other methods somehow makes truth disappear into thin air. But all I can say is, tsk tsk, schmadrian. I’m so glad I’m not riding on that train you are, the one that’s going to be crashing up really big time soon — while you keep comforting yourself, looking to the past, and smugly saying, “Well, it hasn’t happened yet.” Well of course it hasn’t. Because crashes are what happen ahead of the fact, not behind it. You’re looking back, I’m looking forward, and from a totally different train. The one called truth. And that’s right outside your big sealed gates.

schmadrian
schmadrian on August 18, 2007 at 3:10 am

TheaterBuff1:

1) Thanks for allowing me a few good, early-morning laughs. Nothing like a chortle to start the day.

2) I discovered elsewhere on this site a better idea of your age; this explains a lot. Just about everything, in fact.

3) What do you actually know about my stance on anything, espectially cinemas?

4) What on earth are you going on about with all this ‘truth’ hokum?

5) Clearly, an increase in your meds is indicated.

TheaterBuff1
TheaterBuff1 on August 19, 2007 at 4:46 am

No, those meds are for you to take, schmadrian, and please, feel free to them all at once. And just tying that to this Cinema Treasures' webpage, while it’s sad that over all that movie theater attendance is down, you’re suuuuure one consumer the theaters won’t miss! So regarding the meds, please feel free to swallow the whole bottle all at once. Classy theater operators everywhere will thank you for it!

And as for my age, in your delirium you must be getting me mixed up with someone else, for in terms of the age I’ve put myself across as being at this webpage and elsewhere, I’m consistent on that throughout this entire website.

Meantime, one last thing I need to ask you here, what the heck are “espectially cinemas”?!

schmadrian
schmadrian on August 19, 2007 at 6:43 am

LMFAO!

I’ll say one thing for you, TB1: you surely reflect your age group.

ceasar
ceasar on August 20, 2007 at 10:09 am

When I read the survey results of movie attendance. I can tell you the local paper in thier editorial got it all wrong. Especially with the fact over,dvds and the internet. I’m not kidding here the Vicksburg Post missed its mark. And the surveys can back that up. I can tell you even high rent forced FYE out of the mall. And FYE had some real good dvds too.
I can tell you none of the teens don’t shop at the local Be Bop record shop.

TheaterBuff1
TheaterBuff1 on August 20, 2007 at 9:56 pm

Thank you, schmadrian, while I’m glad to see you’re not all bad, in that you give someone in my age group, who your age group normally looks down upon, at least a little credit where credit is greatly due. But beyond that one small break in your otherwise normal behavior, let me just say that as a general rule you very much reflect your age group, too, though sorry to say that is not a compliment.

Moving on from there and getting onto caesar’s latest commentary, yes, caesar, you’ve picked up on how the media creates its own reality, and far more so today I believe than ever before, except perhaps the time of the Third Reich. And with the schmadrian-types forcing the theaters to shut down, it creates a situation where people are exposed to the media individually rather than collectively (where people can compare notes), and there ARE political reasons for that. Attendance is down because it was FORCED down.

ceasar
ceasar on August 21, 2007 at 8:29 am

Despite low cineam attendance I believe now the real problem with cinema operators in this market is going to be subprme mortgage issues. Why? I can tell you the commerical real estate,and housing real estate is way overpriced. Now with subprime in the marketplace; I bellieve any major cinema chain is going to be asking questions on commerical real estate. I’m not kidding here either.
What has been interesting though none of the city leaders and the greedy chamber of commerce haven’t heard any takers. They talk of investors interestied in this market like say Warren Theatres of Kansas City,Kansas. But so far no takers. I suspect cinema investors are looking long hard at the commerical real estate prices here. As this continues the more cinema goers here are going to venture the more classier cinemas in the Jackson metro area. But publicly local leaders don’t want to talk about it. Now I suspect too the cinema operators may know that money has been leaving this marketplace. A reality local leaders now have to face. CBL,which owns the Pemberton Mall,has been quiet as well. I wonder if crime issues at that mall has popped u and some have refused to do business with Renee Williams. The year is almost up since the feud between CBL and Village Entertaintment closed cinema. And I believe some cinema operators are thinking twice.
Now on the CBL front what has been interesting the mayor offer them two million to reinvent the old Pemberton Mall. And they supply the rest like ten million. But CBL hasn’t responded to the mayor’s offer at all. Another factor when a crime happened at the CBL out of Chattanooga didn’t respond to the local paper’s question.

TheaterBuff1
TheaterBuff1 on August 22, 2007 at 2:46 am

What we need to have put in place — nationwide — is legislation that declares movie theaters as the exception to the rule when it comes to how they are treated governmentally. But we can’t hope to see such legislation until great government in the U.S. rises up once more. Had movie theaters been around back when America was founded and the U.S. Constitution was being drawn up, the case of American movie theaters would be a totally different story today.

And unnecessary complexities such as you list, caesar, are what so threaten American movie theaters today. It should be a case that no matter what, the theaters we have left at this point in time still get to stand — AS theaters. If I’m a theater operator, I want my only concern to be running the the theater in the best possible way. That’s it, and all the unnecessary crap be damned. For running a theater well is a form of artistic creativity. It’s above all that other garbage. And if the law doesn’t see it that way, then the law is flawed. We once had slavery in this country. It was legal. But it was also wrong. And it’s the same principle needs to be applied here, really. But little good is my saying that here and now when we have such a crappy government all around. And kiss-ups like schmadrian saying yes yes yes to it in their shear blindness, stupidity and jealousy of others better than themselves.

But when it comes to theaters and assessing them, just look at them straight on. Is the theater in question being run well or isn’t it? If it isn’t, what is causing it not to be? But when we determine what’s causing it not to be, if that is the case, let’s not get too swept up in that diagnosing that cause, but rather keep the matter — and the solution — very simple. For instance, is the theater getting taxed too high? Solution: Do away with the stupid taxes. Let the theater operate tax exempt if need be. Is the theater being patronized by schmadrian types who are abusing it, ruining the experience for the respectful theatergoers? Solution: Blackball the schmadrian types from patronizing the theater. And if the theater operator is running the theater in a ruinous way, similar to how it was when Chicago’s Edgewater Hotel became when it fell under new management, the law should be able to step in on the theater’s and patrons' behalf and put an instant stop to that.

But all told, think in terms of running a theater the best possible way. That’s all. The rest, don’t worry about. It has nothing to do with it. If the theater is being run well but patrons are abusive, the law should bear down on those patrons. If the theater is being run poorly, much to the outcry of the patrons, then the law should bear down on the theater operator. What’s so hard to understand about that?

ceasar
ceasar on August 22, 2007 at 8:01 am

Theatrebuff I can tell you that feud between Village Entertainment and CBL wasn’t pleasent.I can tell you it went down with Village Entertainment. Their management I suspect chased away patrons. What got some frustrated with this market was that both Regel and Village to open this market to more movie choices.And u can find more choices in the Jackson metro market place. One question I did address to Regel who were the first owners and I’m now thier customer again was this: why didn’t you build new cinema here? Becouse the metro area has reflected the trend of cinemas out of mall. U see I figure too the limited choices chased away the teen market to Jackson and thier cinemas. But I can tell the black patrons here were abusive; what lead to close down was to black employees fighting among one another. Village also didn’t keep its word on renovations. Thanks to some on here on the board I learned that Village Entertainment wasn’t good tenant. Also Village followed the same practice in marketing films more to blacks than to whites. And the black films got held over more than several months. It also reflects poor short sightfulness on Regel and Village on the fact that this town’s demographics have changed. Very first run films didn’t run here at all. They would show trailors but they never would open. I call it deception on thier part and bad business.
Don’t worry people here are voicing more against taxes too down here why? They’ve now discovered its work against getting businesses in here.

TheaterBuff1
TheaterBuff1 on August 23, 2007 at 12:47 am

Caesar, that’s an all new low I’ve not heard of till now, running trailers of films the theater which is running them has absolutely no plans to exhibit. As in, how does that happen?! Sounds like an awful lot of incompetence going on there more so than anything. For is it so difficult for them to grasp? Don’t run trailers of films you have no intentions of showing? And you’re absolutely right! That is false and misleading advertising — which is illegal, by the way. But, who’s upholding the laws right now? Who?

As for taxation itself, I’m not opposed to that per se. ONLY when it’s taxation that’s not paying for anything — such as a responsible government which taxation is supposed to be paying for, but isn’t. Which most clearly seems to be the case where you are. I thought the North up here was starting to get pretty bad, but it sounds like the South is getting hit pretty hard, too, when it comes to real government.

In terms of employees fighting with one another, that’s not just a black thing. People are people no matter what color. And if they’re put under bad circumstances where they’re forced to resolve things for themselves while management just looks the other way, they’ll fight. Whether black, white, red, yellow or whatever. For I have worked at places where grown whites fought with one another like little children, and places where black employees got along with one another like peas in a pod. And it all comes down to one thing: the level of the management’s competence. That plus competent planning over all.

Meantime, always stay focused on the obvious. For when people are pushing for the obvious, but they are coming up against a wall of being denied what is obvious, it’s only a shear fool who gets swept up in arguing on behalf of the obvious when that point comes. Obviousness is a line in the sand. And if that line is disregarded, then it’s time to fight and overthrow that which is denying the obvious rather than argue. For OBVIOUSLY you don’t show people trailers of films you don’t plan to show. And OBVIOUSLY you don’t let employees fight out disputes among themselves. And all these other things you’ve been telling me.

Running a theater the right way is all very simple really. But not when the obvious gets chucked in the trashcan. Then running a theater the right way becomes the hardest thing in the world. And that sounds like what you’re describing to me.

ceasar
ceasar on August 23, 2007 at 8:35 am

That’s a real good question over the laws. Let me tell you I cought onto the trailor pattern about five years ago. I figured out it when the trailor, The Mothman Propehices was ran. I wanted to see it becouse of the subject matter. Well anyway when it didn’t open I wrote a complaint comment to Regel Entertainment about it. And gradually I discovered this pattern. U know back in'99 Regel ran the trailor for Magnolia with Tom Cruise. Now I learned that came out on limited release for example. Like New York and Los Angeles. But that same pattern of running trailors continued under Village Entertainment as well. U know before the cinema was close the crime problemitic issues con’t. CBL alone had closed over six or nine stores related to the issue.
Now I can tell you on Saturday afternoon attendance really dropped. On some films hardly anyone. Real interesting from my point of view. But I can tell Village Entertainment was real incompentent. U know what I like about the cinemas in Jackson metro area and in Peconland Mall,which has a Cinmark 10 screen by the way. There classy and modern. But the owners let the old four screen fall into disrepair. I believe another turn off to locals was the fact when u have five films on a four screen format—showtimes get screwed up. And both chanins did this.
One fact that was never done was a market study. Why? Becouse the demographics have really changed. But one my friends told me a few days about a digital cinema he went to in Birmighhanm. He told the sound and picture quality was fanstatic. He told me that’s the type cinema he would like to see here.

TheaterBuff1
TheaterBuff1 on August 24, 2007 at 1:35 am

Absolutely digital cinema is the wave of the future. And once theaters have it, there should be no excuses for theaters running trailers of films that never come to that theater where the trailers are shown. For you still have me shaking my head over that!

Meantime, have you ever thought of starting up your own theater to take full advantage of that other theater’s incompetence? For there’s the old saying, if you want something done right, dyi. Unless in that instance politics itself is the big problem. In that case, run for office. But then maybe the electorate in that area is the problem. In that case I would then say just step out of the way and let them drop the bombs.

ceasar
ceasar on August 24, 2007 at 8:22 am

If I had the finaicial means I would. And if I did I wouldn’t put in a mall. I would follow the trends etc. On the local bullentin board people are now expressing thier minds on the issue.

TheaterBuff1
TheaterBuff1 on August 25, 2007 at 12:57 am

Caesar, if you have a good plan put together and if you’re in a place that you feel will be fully supportive of it, you don’t need in-pocket money to get a start in the theater operation business. Not at all! Just the strong desire to do so, a willingness to work hard, and a certainty that your plan is a good one, so much so that you can convince others to invest in you. Maybe a good start would be for you to land a job in an existing theater to learn the inside ropes a bit and to compile a long list of what-to-dos and what-not-to-dos. For instance, you can learn an awful lot from observing a bad manager how to be a good one. So think on this more, and let me know how it goes.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment