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That’s funny. I do work for a top five exhibitor, and my theatre saw a good uptick in attendance this summer. Our market share over our local competition also jumped up dramatically this summer. Maybe it’s because our theatre isn’t crappy, our projection isn’t crappy, and our staff isn’t crappy. And while the summer might not have filled with several soon-to-be-classic movies, what summer ever has been? Every September, we hear the same calls of how the just ended summer season was one of the worst ever, how there were only one or two truly worthy movies and how the endless stream of junk from Hollywood is going to kill the industry. What other great movies were released in the summer of 1975, along with Jaws? What other perennials were released the same timeframe in 1977, the summer of Star Wars? Or 1981, the summer of Raiders? Or 1984, the summer of Ghostbusters? We have enough time and distance to accurately judge.
Let’s go back 25 years, to 1985. Back to the Future was a smash, but what else came out that summer? The other major studio and indie distributed films of that summer were The Black Cauldron, Brewster’s Millions, The Bride, Cocoon, D.A.R.Y.L., Day of the Dead, The Emerald Forest, Explorers, Fletch, Fright Night, The Goonies, The Heavenly Kid, Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Legend of Billie Jean, Lifeforce, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, The Man with One Red Shoe, My Science Project, National Lampoon’s European Vacation, Ordeal by Innocence, Pale Rider, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Perfect, Prizzi’s Honor, The Protector, Rambo: First Blood Part 2, Real Genius, Red Sonja, Return of the Living Dead, Return to Oz, Rustler’s Rhapsody, Secret Admirer, Sesame Street Presents Follow That Bird, Silverado, St. Elmo’s Fire, The Stuff, Summer Rental, Teen Wolf, A View to a Kill, Volunteers, Warning Sign, Weird Science and Year of the Dragon.
Take a good look at that list. It’s about par for any summer. A lot of crap you’ve probably forgotten about, three or four titles you might watch once every ten years and two or three more you might actually own on DVD. The most shocking part of the list is that two of the five Best Picture nominees from that year, Kiss of the Spider Woman and Prizzi’s Honor, were released that summer. That didn’t happen very often, although it’s more likely to happen now there are ten BP nomination slots. But still, really think about it. How many of those movies did you see in theatres back then (assuming, of course, you were old enough at the time to go to see most of them). That summer, I saw Back to the Future, Cocoon, Explorers, Fletch, The Goonies, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, National Lampoon’s European Vacation, Pale Rider, Prizzi’s Honor, Real Genius, Silverado, St. Elmo’s Fire and Weird Science in theatres. Of those, I only own one on DVD after all this time, which is of course Back to the Future. I’ll watch most of the others once every few years. But of the ones I didn’t see in theatres that I would ever watch again is Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, and I haven’t watched it in years.
Go back to any summer movie season in the past thirty five years and you’ll see the same thing over and over again. Mostly crap, a handful of films we’d watch if we stumbled across them on TV and a few we would actually own.
Except that movie attendance has been at a steady level for the past several years, despite the addition of all the new HDTV equipment. Unless one are a Ted Kaczynski-level recluse, most humans need to get out of the house from time to time, and movies are regularly one of the best and most cost-effective ways of doing so.
When I started working in movie theatres, as a teenager in 1986, there were about 1.05 billion movie tickets sold. VCRs still weren’t as prevalent as they’d become a few years later (hell, Sony was still making and selling Beta machines), laserdiscs were a niche market and televisions were still 4:3. We were just about to be introduced to a new gaming system called Sega, and we were a decade away from DVDs being introduced or from the internet finding mass acceptance. Mobile phones, if you could even afford one, were large and only made phone calls for another 15 years. Widescreen HDTVs were twentysomething years from becoming a must-have for even the most ardent early adopter. Yet, here we are, a generation later, with all this technology available to us, with all these different ways to watch movies in the comfort of our homes, or even on the road on our smart phones or DVD-equipped SUVs, and 1.4 billion movie tickets were sold in 2009.
The end of movie theatres has been predicted for… well, almost as long as there has been movie theatres. From the days of the nickelodeon to today, some nutjob has been screaming doom and gloom about exhibition. And yes, movie attendance has fallen by 2/3 since the days when 75m people went to the movies in the 1920s and 1930s, but we humans still continue go to the movies, in boxes of all shapes and sizes, no matter what the size of our HDTV screen is, what our internet connection speed is, or what entertainment boxes we might have connected to the internet and our HDTV screens.
Is Chicken Little at it again? Did he lot learn anything from when he posted nearly the exact same rant a year ago?
Don’t know why I never noticed this before, but ZaSu Pitts' name is spelled incorrectly in the theatre description.
Saw my first movie here in many a year a few days ago, and the theatre is still as charming as ever.
Except Sensurround wasn’t rumbling seats. It was a precursor to what we call an LFE today.
As usual, the author of yet another “3D is dying” article can’t see the forest for the trees.
Unlike years past, there has a glut of 3D titles the past few months. A Christmas Carol had six weeks to itself as the only major 3D release before Avatar took most of its 3D screens away. Avatar had nearly three months to itself before Alice in Wonderland came along. Now, movies have a week or two to maximize their 3D ticket sales before finding themselves edged out of those screens by the next 3D movie, especially since most theatres that do have 3D capabilities only have two or three 3D screens. With four 3D titles in release right now (Toy Story 3, The Last Airbender, Despicable Me and Cats and Dogs 2) and a fifth coming out this Friday (Step Up 3), it’s impossible to maximize 3D earnings potential without some cannibalization.
Imagine how many more of these types of articles are going to be written in November and early December, when there are no less than 10 3D movies scheduled between mid-October and mid-December. Of course, when Tron: Legacy kills in 3D, there’ll be a slew of “3D is back!” articles, probably written by the same people writing it off today.
With all due respect to Mr. Kiefaber and the Friends of the Senator, but if Mr. Kiefaber has indeed “struggled for a decade” to keep the Senator afloat, as the article linked above states, maybe it is time to let someone else take a stab at running the place. Or to use the Senator as an anchor for an Arclight Hollywood-type complex, which helped revitalize the Cinerama Dome.
The only movies SM wasn’t already getting were the small indie releases that played at the Landmark or Sunset 5 and didn’t do enough to warrant opening in more theatres around the area.
Because getting around the Third Street Promenade area, especially on weekends and holidays, is a nightmare as it is. But make sure you read the whole paragraph… the city wants to see the number of seats in older theatres reduced so that there is a modest overall gain if and when the new complex opens.
That this theatre got added to CT is just one more reason why I love this site.
The Mann Glendale theatres do not post their showtimes until Thursday afternoon, and has been that way since the time the Pacific 18 opened up across the street two years ago. The remaining theatres usually get their showtimes programmed Tuesday afternoon, but for some reason, it takes a couple hours for them to propagate online.
I worked as an assistant at the Criterion in 2006 and 2007, and it is not a barrel of fun to run. I hope AMC keeps some of the managers aboard, because it has a good crew currently.
Patrick Goldstein posted a somewhat polite, if incorrect on many of the details, obituary on the theatre…
Thanks, Ian. My staff, who worked their butts off to help give the theatre its first positive uptick in sales in nearly a decade, will be very pleased to see you think their losing their jobs is a positive thing.
But it is no longer the largest megaplex by a long shot, in terms of location size or number of screens.
The Beverly Connection was opened and operated by General Cinema.
It’s mere coincidence.
The best I can research, only Foot Locker, Victoria’s Secret and (at least until Thursday) the theatre are the only three original tenants at the Beverly Center that are still open.
I too remember Starky’s Deli, quite fondly in fact. As an assistant at the theatre nearly 20 years ago, I would regularly find myself on my break in the arcade, spending a single quarter to play the T2 pinball game for half an hour, before giving up the game and whatever free games I had accumulated to some kid watching me play. I think the downfall for Starky’s, though, was the night in 1992 when there was some kind of commotion that caused hundreds of kids to come running out of the place for their lives and to the only place that was still open at the time: the theatre (we did midnight shows every weekend). I heard it was a shooting, but I was never able to confirm it.
Yes, there is a lot to say about the closing of the theatre, but now is not the time to say it. I will try to take some pictures Thursday night, but it’s going to be an incredibly busy night, closing a theatre one last time. Plus, we have a screening of the Maynard James Keenan wine-making documentary Blood Into Wine that night, which should take us out with quite a bang.
This theatre’s just had nothing but bad luck.
I’m going to post here my comments there, so no one else has to waste their time reading such a bad article…
“There are several problems with your argument, Mr. Cargill…
First, and most importantly, studios have owned movie theatres since the Paramount Decree. Mann Theatres has been owned by a partnership between Warner Brothers and Paramount Pictures for a number of years. Universal had a 49% ownership stake in Cineplex Odeon as the latter rose to become a titan of the industry in the 1980s. And Tri-Star Pictures bought the Loews theatre chain in 1985, retaining ownership of the chain (which even changed its name for a while to Sony Theatres after the Japanese corporation purchased all of Columbia Pictures’s assets in the late 1980s) for seventeen years. The Decree might still exist on paper, but it hasn’t been effectively enforced for quite a while.
You also say consumers are having trouble getting what they want, when they want it. Movie theatre attendance is higher than its been in many years, and with the advent of the megaplex and digital cinema, consumers rarely have to worry about finding out their movie sold out. There are a veritable plethora of stories about how all-digital projection cinemas were able to adapt on the fly during pre-opening midnight shows to have movies like the recent Iron Man and Twilight sequels to play on every screen in the building, when originally only three or four screens were planned.
VOD and PPV have never been that big of a factor, despite how badly the studios might want it to be. Fact of the matter is, with the FCC’s recent ruling, there was nothing that was stopping Paramount from doing a one-time-only, $20-per-pop VOD screening of Iron Man 2 on the night before opening. But Marvel and Paramount had so much money tied up in the film that possibly cannibalizing that opening weekend crowd, from which they will get as much as 90% of the ticket sales minus the house nut, that no distributor will ever seriously go that route with their big tentpole films. There is a reason why only Magnolia and IFC Films regularly do simultaneous or pre-opening PPV/VOD screenings with theatrical, and more often than not, the films that get this kind of treatment only do marginal business in theatres.
And then your points about DVD are completely off-base, from the minor point about the video window (which is more like seventeen to eighteen weeks, instead of twenty) to your ascertain that movies cannot be rented for 28 days after they are released on DVD. Blockbuster has a deal with some studio-affiliated home video distributors to have some titles only available for rental at Blockbuster for 28 days before being released to Redbox and Netflix, but anyone who wanted to rent The Blind Side or Sherlock Holmes the day it was released on DVD could have done so, provided they went to Blockbuster, and provided the Blockbuster they went to had enough copies to go around that day.
Oh, and while the lack of available Digital 3D screens did hurt Avatar when Alice was released, there are a number of theatres still, to this day, more than a month after its home video release, playing Avatar in 3D, and doing very good numbers with it.
There are many other points I could make, but I have to go to work now. Suffice to say, it’s not that much of a surprise that such a poorly researched, poorly constructed argument sat for nearly two weeks before even one person felt the need to comment on it. "
What’s this “we” crap? “We” sat through Smell-o-Vision? “We” sat through the Tingler? You’re at least ten years younger than me, and that stuff was a good 15 years before I was born.
And why didn’t you think of a 3-D skin flick first? Probably because it happened before you were born. At least I was alive when The Stewardesses was shot, although about 15 years too young to see it.
And what’s with the red/green mention? Best as I can tell, the only theatrically released movie that used red/green anaglyph glasses was the 3-D sequences in the 1961 Warners movie The Mask.
I know this is supposed to be for entertainment purposes, but you could have some a modicum of real research, instead of relying on legends incorrectly passed from generation to generation.
Jordan (and everyone else), if you haven’t seen the South Korean western “The Good, The Bad, The Weird” yet, I highly encourage you come see it at the Beverly Center. It starts Friday, and will be in the big house at least for the first week. I caught it at the 2008 AFI Film Festival, and it’s an incredible trip. A wonderful re-imagining of the classic Eastwood/Leone classic shot in anamorphic widescreen, and it’s going to look and sound awesome in that theatre.
I wonder how much from every $500 pass TCM paid Mr. Zeitchik to pimp this idea, especially during a down economy? The only person I know who went was able to go thanks to a press pass. The rest of us normal folk couldn’t afford to get in.
The recent Bollywood movies 3 Idiots and My Name Is Khan (the latter released by Fox Searchlight) had intermissions built-in. Those used to Bollywood movies enjoyed the quick break, while those unaccustomed to Bollywood movies just thought the film was over, and I had to make sure I had someone posted near the main exits when the film was getting out, to let those patrons know there was still another hour and a half of the movie to go.
Even when I did live in downtown Long Beach in the mid 1990s, at Ocean and Lime, I’d drive to AMC Marina Pacifica or UA Marketplace to see a film instead of going to the Pine Square. A bleh theatre if there ever was one.
Salvation is the act of saving or protecting from harm, risk, loss, destruction, etc. The Village and the Bruin were never under the threat of harm, risk, loss, destruction or anything else. They were never going to close permanently after March 31st. There were a number of exhibitors who were negotiating to pick up the pair of theatres for their own circuit, if the right deal could be made. Regency was the one who signed the lease, and that’s all there is to it. There was never an eminent threat of the two theatres closing and being torn down, and thus, no salvation. This was not a situation like the National.