Hollywood Heading Toward a Cliff

STORY BY Artie Vincent

Published: July 11, 2013

The movie lines started forming days earlier and, in some parts of the country, those lines eventually were three times longer than some of the most popular rides at Disney.

 Within hours of its midnight showing on June 14th, ‘Man of Steel’ surpassed $21 million, eclipsing the record mark set by 2012’s ‘The Avengers’ of $18.5 million. Soon, though, these monumental movie-going moments many end. 

  The rapid increase in many internet-based streaming and distribution services will overrule the movie-going experience, according to numerous Hollywood czars. These executives, like Steven Speilberg and George Lucas, foresee “a world where going to the movies is no longer a casual outing, but a high end experience more in line with Broadway.”

Lucas, along with Speilberg, spoke on a panel at the University of Southern California as they ushered in the school’s new Interactive Media department. Also present at the event was Microsoft Interactive boss Don Mattrick, whose company’s newest Xbox console (Xbox One) will take movie and TV streaming to the next level with its release in the Fall. 

In an article from TheVerge.com (http://www.theverge.com/2013/6/13/4425486/steven-spielberg-george-lucas-usc-film-industry-massive-implosion), the filmmakers believe they will be less movie theaters in the near future and replaced by bigger, high-tech movie stadiums. The two compared the experience to that of going to a sporting event, where patrons will dish out $50-$100 to watch a new blockbuster film. 

“And that’s going to be what we call ‘the movie business’. But everything else is going to look more like cable television on TiVo,” Lucas told the panel. 

Today, the public has access to original programming on Hulu and Netflix. Tablet and smartphone apps like HBOGo, Showtime Anytime and Starz Play give cable subscribers a distinct advantage. Of course, iTunes and Amazon could eventually be that ‘new’ movie hub, as it currently offers an endless amount of films to rent and own. They may eventually give users the option to renting out a new release film at home.  

These all have played a critical role in the large demise in the DVD and Blu Ray sales, as well as rental stores like Blockbuster. So who says these giants can’t it overtake the movie theaters? 

“It’s not going to have a cable or broadcast,” Lucas said. “It’s going to be the internet television.

Smaller, independently owned movie theaters have felt the pressure in the digital age.  As of last December, they were about 32,863 out of 39,777 theaters in the US that have converted to digital projectors, as stated in recent article on auctioncentralnews.com.

Bill Campbell, owner of the Centennial Theatre in Sheridan, WY, told the website that  the smaller theaters just don’t have the funds to convert to digital as it costs $70,000 to purchase a projector. 

“It’s still a pricey proposition for the theaters to come up with money,” Campbell said. “And now, it’s on them.”

Many of these charming, small-town America theaters have gone to the community to help raise funds to purchase the projectors in order to stay in business. Hollywood has slowly turned 35mm reels obsolete. Most of these theaters won’t even get new releases until month after it is out in theaters. 

The larger corporate theaters like AMC, Regal Theaters and Muvico will eventually lose the public eye, mainly due to overpriced tickets and concessions. 

An article on Indiewire.com (http://blogs.indiewire.com/pressplay/grey-matters-show-stopper-the-end-of-the-american-theatrical-moviegoing-experience#.UAOZLpHYGtd) states that movie attendance dropped to a 16-year low in 2011. 

The LA Times said that ‘total box-office per film’ has fell 13% in 2011. All because an average family will spend $60-$100 per movie outing. If you break it down, a family of three spends $14 per adult ticket and $10 per child ticket. Then, large popcorn with two large drinks goes for nearly $25. That’s not including transportation. And if the family wants a meal, it costs nearly $12 per person for a mediocre burgers and fries.

So, as Lucas and Speilberg predict, the average family will soon have the choice to spend $30 to stream a new blockbuster release at home rather than spend $75 on a night at the theater.  


Other Stories by Artie Vincent
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