Wednesday, February 29, 2012

the death of movies

I didn’t watch the Academy Awards.  Even if I had a TV, they would have been on at some ungodly hour, and even if I’d been awake, I still wouldn’t have given a shit.  This proved to be a mistake when I went to a pub quiz the following evening and half the questions were about the Oscars, but I digress.

I gather from this blog that a good deal of the ceremony was a pity party in which the stars and starlets lamented their shrinking profit margins, due (I guess) to digital pirating.

Strictly speaking, I’m not the biggest fan of illegal downloading.  I believe in paying artists for their work.  Since movies can be (and often are) valuable cultural assets, I think they’re worth supporting.  And contrary to popular belief, not everyone who works in the film industry is a billionaire living an extravagant private jet, coke-orgy lifestyle.  Believe me, I know.

But I think the studios are pointing their guns the wrong way.  Instead of guilt-tripping people for downloading tenth-rate copies of their movies, they should put pressure on the corporate theater chains to stop robbing the public blind.  As of now, a non-matinee ticket will run you $10 (if you’re lucky.)  Pick up an over-sized popcorn, Mr. Pibb, and box of Raisinets (‘cause hey, tradition is tradition), and that’ll be another $15.  Unfortunately a few minutes later you realize the popcorn tastes like Styrofoam, and the soda’s more than you could ever drink.  On top of that, if the movie sucks, you go home feeling like a complete chump.
If people don’t pay for movies, others won’t be able to make them.  That’s just a fact.  But if the production and distribution arms of the industry want to save them, they need to give people an incentive to come back to the theaters.  A good place to start would be lowering the ticket price so that a family of four can afford to go more than once a month.  When it comes to snacks, offer quality over quantity, and tag them at reasonable prices.  Small investments in the long run.

Think it over, Hollywood.  Now that you've been hustled, you know how the rest of us feel.

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