Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Digging Deeper: The End of Movie Theaters?

Movie theater attendance is declining; there is no debating it.  What is debatable however, are the main reasons why and what the theater industry can do in order to get the attendance back up.  In the CBS Sunday Morning segment “The end of movie theaters?” many questions and statements are made regarding these issues of this decline in attendance at movie theaters.  One of the main reasons for the decline that they make, which is an obvious one, is the economy. People aren’t able to fill their wallets like they used to, and when you have less money than you used to, you have to cut back on things you used to do, which for a lot of people was going to the movies.  Another reason for the decline that is proposed in the segment is movie rentals, why would people pay 8$ for a movie when they can wait a few months, rent it, and enjoy the movie in the comfort of their own homes, especially when the homes have surround sound audio and big screen televisions.  I feel that another problem that the theaters are facing pertains to social media; so many people will go to a movie, immediately tweet or post on Facebook about it, and if they thought the movie was awful (which half of the movies produced today seem to be), then millions of people see that and decide to spend their money elsewhere.

            One of the solutions offered in the CBS segment to this issue is simple, yet I believe to be the most effective, create more blockbusters.  In 2011, there were only two movies that made over 300 million dollars in profits, compared to at least four movies that made over 300 million in profits the year before, which makes a huge difference.  Many people only go to movie theaters to watch the blockbusters, so by creating more blockbusters, you get those people into the theaters more often.

           One idea that I have for increasing movie theater attendance is obvious, lower the prices.  However, I feel that they should only lower the prices for certain movies.  Why is it that I have to pay the same price to see a movie that cost 100 million dollars to make as opposed to a movie that cost 5 million to make?  That’s like charging the same price for a Porterhouse steak and a McDonald’s cheeseburger.  Why not keep the blockbuster movies prices the same, because people are obviously willing to pay for them, and lower the prices to view the smaller movies?  I believe this would increase the revenue generated for these movies because, even though people are paying less to see them, more people will attend them, increasing revenue in the long run.

            Ultimately, movie theater attendance is declining, and something must be done if movie theaters want to stay in business.  The CBS segment was a great example of this dilemma.  It relates to the issue of balancing creative and commercial impulses in media-marketing by showing that the two impulses are not in balance and that is a reason for the declining box office.  It shows that they are focusing too much on commercial impulses; they need to take a step back and start to get their creative juices flowing again.          

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