It’s kind of sad that it costs less to go to a fancy restaurant with your loved one than it does to go to the movie theater nowadays. Those of you out there with children, I truly sympathize. Tickets and concessions for two adults is harsh enough. I can imagine how costs can skyrocket when the rugrats start pulling your pant leg asking for anything and everything. It’s no secret that in the past decade theater attendance has flatlined and even declined in some regions across the world. Movie executives cite piracy as the key reason for this but how true is that? True the technology of our day has made it relatively easy to illegally download movies but that is a trend that has been around as long as VCRs. Heck I can remember watching a bootleg VHS copy of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles my pops bought for 5 bucks in Chinatown. Film studios cite this reason so adamantly because they actually make more money in DVD sales and revenues from on Demand and pay per view providers than they do in ticket sales. That’s incentive enough for them to vilify piracy.
But what about the good ole movie theaters? Is the age old past time of a night out at the theaters coming to an end?
Theater owners need to shake things up in order to bring people back. As it stands the format of the movie watching experience hasn’t changed in over 70 years. You pay for your ticket, buy some goodies then sit in the dark and watch a movie on a big screen. Pretty simple. Pretty basic. With the evolution in technology providing us with super large TVs and killer home theater systems why would we want to go to the movies when you can have a comparable experience at home – for far less money? The novelty and uniqueness of the movie theater experience is dwindling away. It’s up to theater owners to create a new niche to attract their clientele. Forget 3D. Movie theater’s salvation lies in 4D. The answer is to make the experience personal once again. Whenever you hear about 4D it usually refers to specialty theaters found in amusement parks, resorts and tourist traps that play custom 3D movies, have complex overly expensive audio and video systems and a bevy of interactive elements from vibrating or moving seats to mist sprayers. 4D doesn’t necessarily have to be exorbitant. It just requires some rethinking. For example, Gold Class Cinemas has taken initiative and introduced a new way their customers enjoy a movie by offering gourmet style meals while seated in lavish comfortable recliners.
You don’t have to break the bank in order to offer a memorable experience. I remember many years ago when the remake of Night of the Living Dead came out I went to a midnight showing the day before it was released. I saw an ad in the paper that said “the first 100 zombies to show up in costume get in free”. Needless to say I was there in my all ooey gooey goodness along with 200 other wannabe deadheads. Although only 100 of us got to see the flick for free it was a blast watching a movie with a bunch of zombies. Everyone had a great time and some very weird friends were made that night.
Why not take that a step further? Wouldn’t it be the bee’s knees to have theater staff dress up based on what’s currently out? I’m not talking hokey Halloween costumes you can by at the corner store but legit costumes. Tattered clothes for a disaster flick or Victorian outfits for a period film. How awesome would it be to have ushers lumber down the isles during their regular check ins dressed as the undead during a zombie movie or have a fog machine roll in an misty layer while watching a horror movie? Perhaps having the scent of smoke when something is burning on the screen or that sweet smell of flowers when someone’s in the fields.
Here’s another idea inspired by the MP3 download scene. The music industry’s biggest gripe with illegal downloads was the fact that they were losing money because people weren’t buying CDs anymore. My counter to that was why weren’t their artists putting out CDs that were worth buying. How many times have you bought a CD in the past only to end up liking maybe 2 or 3 songs out of the 15 or so tracks? Digital downloads allow you to buy individually now and offer 15 – 30 second previews of their songs so you can see if you may want to buy it or not. Why not take that radical concept to the movie theater realm? Pay your money and watch 15 minutes of the movie. If you don’t like it, leave and get half your money back. I wouldn’t say get a full refund because then that can be easily taken advantage. Half makes for a certain level of commitment on both sides. Theater owners can immediately see what movies fail epically and which are legit therefore making their selection process a bit more meaningful. Meanwhile movie goers don’t have to feel like complete asses for having shelled out hard earned money on crap movies.
My wife even had the wicked suggestion of having food options that relate to what’s playing. Think about how much it could boost the local economy by having catering from neighborhood eateries. Restaurant owners would receive unprecedented publicity and the cinemas would offer a one-of-a-kind experience at the same time. In most nations you have access to dozens of diverse ethnic foods options so availability wouldn’t be too much of an issue. It would have been dope to chow down on some burritos when I saw Machete!
In the end it all comes down to selfishness. Cinemas refuse to change their format and want you to spend more and more money for the same old thing. Until they come to grips with the fact that they have to change with the times they’ll suffer the same hardships that the music industry did with the advent of MP3 technology. They didn’t want to adapt and got burned. The jury is still out for the movie theater industry but the clock is quickly running out.
All images courtesy of Google image search
I love it when I’m able to get away from the city… even if for just a couple of days. I spent the past couple of days in the quaint little tourist town of Tobermory. It’s located in cottage country at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario, CA right on Lake Huron. There’s nothing much to Tobermory in regards to being a bustling metropolis. The tourists outnumber the residents at least 3 – 1, there’s no such thing as street lamps for as far as the eye can see, and the term “walking distance” can’t be applied to anything convenient as far as goods are concerned. There are no Tim Horton’s. No Blockbusters. Heck there’s not even a movie theater within 100km. No dance clubs, supermarkets, malls, or internet cafes.
So why the hell would anyone go there?
For those exactly those reasons. Fresh air, mom & pop shops, an abundance of untouched nature and relaxing beaches are the selling points to this Canadian oasis. It’s kind of a throwback to a time when you could pass a stranger on the road and welcome them with a wave and a warm smile as opposed to locking your door and turning a blind eye. All too often we get so wrapped up in the day-to-day of everyday city life that we can’t even appreciate the little things like a cloudless sunny day or having the feeling of cool wet sand between your toes. As I drove back home reminiscing about sitting on the beach in the dead of night with family and friends, listening to the gentle crashing of waves against the rocky shore and staring up at the crystal clear star mapped sky above it made me think about how excessive are.
Everywhere you look there’s someone expressing their opinion about technology. Some feel we are becoming too dependent on it while others feel our future lies with the expansion of our scientific boundaries. Sadly both sides are about as fanatical as South American football fans when it comes to getting their point across. I love to play Devil’s Advocate whenever possible because people need to have things put back into perspective. It pains me to see and hear technophobes blabber on and on about how much we need to sever our ties and get back to basics. Let’s have a look at the word technology. There are several definitions:
- the branch of knowledge that deals with the creation and use of technical means and their interrelation with life, society, and the environment, drawing upon such subjects as industrial arts, engineering, applied science, and pure science.
- the terminology of an art, science, etc.; technical nomenclature.
- a technological process, invention, method, or the like.
- the sum of the ways in which social groups provide themselves with the material objects of their civilization.
Living off the grid does not make one exempt from the trappings of technology. Everything revolves around technology. Get used to it. Technology isn’t just wires, electricity, metal, plastic and gadgetry. Technology refers to the practical application of any process to enhance the way of life. Even a simple wooden outhouse with a shit bucket for a toilet is considered product of technology. There is absolutely no way we can abandon technology all together even if we wanted to… which none of us would want to do no matter how adamantly protested. Unless you plan to roam the wilderness butt naked and hunt with your bare hands (because any kind of weapon would be considered using technological means) there’s not much to argue about.
I honestly don’t think we’ve become super dependent on technology like some would suggest. Yes we’ve come leaps and bounds in the past century and we have access to far more innovations than we have ever had in history but the problem isn’t with our advancement but our own over-indulgence. As a species we are glutenous, excessive, and materialistic in whatever we do. Be it land, money, political power, religious influence or whatever there’s no end to our insatiable hunger for more. Advances in technology aren’t to blame for our decline in social graces or detrimental effects on the world around us. It’s our own human nature that’s the problem. There is no moderation in anything we do. Everything has to be now. Everything has to be in abundance. Sharing is a deprecated term and “living within your means” is an unattainable goal for most. I can sit here till the cows come home and balk about how selfish humans are but at this point in time it’s pointless. People are going to do what they’re going to do. To spend time trying to coerce them into a more logical and frugal way of thinking is just an incredible waste of time. Instead of damning those who can’t live without excess, let me commend those that can.
Balance between necessity and excess is the only way to progress effectively as a race. No one is saying that you shouldn’t or can’t have nice things but c’mon… does one person really need a half dozen cars, several cellphones, multiple houses, etc.
Excess incites jealousy.
Jealousy breeds animosity.
Animosity leads to violence and self-destruction.