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Awake In The Dark
What you're watching these days on the Big Screen and the Small Screen.


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Old May 19th, 2005, 04:38 AM   #1
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Where is it going?

It's a fact that less and less people are seeing movies. The percentage of flops is higher than ever. The profits are low. Ratings are down. It's a sad thing when the top grossing film of the week when it's almost summer is only pulling in 20 mil.

I've heard a few things. Optimists say it's just bland content. Other people say, of course, video games. Film is a relatively old medium that will be taken over by video games. While I agree this may in fact happen, I still don't usually think we're there, because while films often provoke emotion in people and have forced change and whatnot, I haven't really seen much of that in video games.

I also tend to think that perhaps Hollywood could take a lesson from the independent scene: cheaply-made movies that people will still pay to see, so that even if it doesn't gross 150 million dollars, it will still be able to profit. But that's just my thought.

So I'm just starting this topic to ask you all: where do you think it's going? Is filmmaking going to lose its audience and profitability? (I'm 18 and an aspiring director, and often fear that by the time I'm ever able to make it in the industry, there won't be much of it left.) Will it bounce back with better products? Or will it be fully taken over by video games and other forms of entertainment? Is it lying to myself to assume that in 15 years, the average person will still be interested in films as much as they are now?
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Old May 19th, 2005, 09:04 AM   #2
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"Video games will replace the movies" .... yeah, and "Television will replace the movies"... and "The VCR will replace the movies"... "Computers will replace books"... and...

Movies will still be around when you get old enough to direct. What changes are in store? Different distribution formats, different acquisition formats, different 'storytelling' formats... but movies will still be around.

Look, there are only 24 hours in a day. Far as I know, that's always been the case. People have to eat, sleep, work, deal with their families/relationships and THEN with any time left over, they get to relax and recreate. What changes over time in any society and group within that society, is how much disposable time and income they have. This will fluctuate depending on economy an demographics.

Given a finite set of time for recreation, if you INCREASE the ammount of options available to any given group for recreation choices... than the ammount of time on any given choice will "decrease".

So yeah, when television came in, it was projected to "kill" the movies AND radio. And, to the extent that the PERCENTAGE of people who watch movies is DOWN compared to the numbers of say... 1939. The NUMBER of people watching movies is up. (Because the population is greater.) Ditto with broadcast TV and cable TV. The ratings numbers on all the major networks are down, (and dropping). In fact, I read this morning that FOX NEWS ratings have dropped over fifty percent since the election. People are saying the internet and blogs are 'killing' mainstream media.

The NHL canceled its season, and television replaced it with BOWLING and got better numbers. People want to watch SOMETHING.

I still go to the bookstore to buy books, and its crowded with people.


So this rambling discourse is simply an effort to quiet any fears that 'movies are going to go away'. People LOVE telling and hearing stories. Have since the dawn of time, and that's not going away. Study your craft. Learn the current technologies. Keep an eye on what's comming down the pike in terms of acquisition and distribution.

And read. A lot.
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Old May 21st, 2005, 10:53 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Hollister
Optimists say it's just bland content.
FWIW, I think it is a combination of uninteresting content and ticket prices; in other words it is a "value" issue. The price of a movie ticket is going up to support the higher cost of producing the movie. Movie concession prices are a joke.

Most of the content is aimed a 13 to 18 year olds as far as I can tell. Always was and always will be. As mentioned in another post, they are probably the only group that has both the disposable income and the time to attend movies.

Where it's going? More of the same judging by the past few years.

Good luck.

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Old May 22nd, 2005, 09:01 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Dennis Vogel
As mentioned in another post, they are probably the only group that has both the disposable income and the time to attend movies
Interesting that you mention this, and it does seem to be part of Hollywood's twisted "logic." A couple days ago they devoted a radio show to this topic on Bloomberg with a couple of industry analysts. One of them discussed this specific point, that Hollywood targets the young audience. The analyst cited this strategy as one of their biggest problems. First, the US population is getting older and older, and this should be the largest potential movie audience. Second, it really isn't true that young people have the most disposable income, especially considering how expensive movies, concessions, etc have gotten. Third, young people have more and more entertainment options to choose from, and with the high cost of movies they are excercising these other options.

OTOH, older (retired) people have nothing but time on their hands, many of them can easily afford the high cost of movies, and even more important - they have a tradition of frequently going to movies for entertainment ever since they were kids. But for some reason, Hollywood seems to ignore this demograhic. The analyst concluded that they "just don't seem to get it."

Another interesting statistic that came out of this program was that movie ticket sales amount to about $10 billion annually, but DVD sales are a $25 billion business. That says a lot all by itself. Another problem they cited is the "multiplex factor." They're cramming many theatres into the same space that one theatre used to occupy, and the screens have gotten considerably smaller, making the overall experience less impressive. As one of the guests said, "as theatre screens get smaller, TV screens are getting larger."
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Old May 22nd, 2005, 01:48 PM   #5
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I think it's a combination of:
1. High prices in theatres
2. Less quality from Hollywood (HOW MANY REMAKES WILL WE STILL HAVE TO SWALLOW? C'mmon, now they are remaking Oldboy, a beautiful Korean movie. Why don't they just put their money in more advertising for these beautiful ORIGINAL foreign movies instead of remaking everything that sounds like anything)
3. I think (but I'm not sure) public these days more and more begin to love indies with a little more edge. But that's just a guess. I think many people have like an overdose of empty blockbusters and now want to go back to some more edgy movies.
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Old May 23rd, 2005, 07:33 AM   #6
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add to that home cinema have become quite extensive.

i have a front screen projector and 6.1 surround sound system. i can turn my subwoofer up much louder than the cinema allows (though my neighbor hate it). my projection size can rival that of smaller local chain cinemas. and often i'm in no hurry to watch a film once it has been released (such as the upcoming War of the Worlds). i don't mind waiting for the DVD. in some cases (like Kingdom of Heaven) there is an extended cut waiting. the only thing i may or may not miss is audience participation. and believe me i'd rather not miss it because people are rude these days with cell phones, loud chit-chat during the movie, pushing+shoving during lines and seatings, etc. so what's left? the movie itself. when LOTR trilogy came out people went out in droves to see it, the recent Star Wars drove people to see it. it's all about creating interesting content for people to see. when indy4 comes out (whenever) people will see it. why? it's a combination of star power, story that generates interest. it will always drive people to the cinemas, the power of myth.
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Old May 23rd, 2005, 04:22 PM   #7
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I really appreciate all your input. Just being 18, the thought of film not being as popular when I'm older is a truly terrifying one, although probably not a realistic fear.

Either way, it sounds like you guys are defending that filmmaking will continue, but it will shy away from the theater and will be more about your living room. In that case, I'd like to present this thought and question to you.

I personally find that a movie is much more intense with audience involvement, giant screens, darkness around, etc. We, too, have a nice home theater, but the experience is still not as intense as in a theater. Plus at home, you have a tendency to pause a movie to answer the phone and other things that otherwise can make a film less intense, and more like just some moving pictures on the screen. Do you think there will be any film genres that will die as a result of this, or ones that will skyrocket? For example, I'm a big fan of dramas. Not many people are. But I do recognize that in an intesnse dramatic film, the experience is incredible on the big screen, but not so much in my living room. Do you think this will hurt films that aren't flashy and explosive? What KINDS of films do you think will get more popular?
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Old May 24th, 2005, 12:40 AM   #8
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Hey Daniel,

I for one do not go to the movies nearly as much as I once did for many reasons. Bloated prices, crappy seats, either freezing or baked climate, but I would endure all of that if only more movies had some actual content. I'm bored to DEATH with the action / CG movies that keep popping out of HollowWood. And I like well done CG!!! But for @#$% sake use CG to support the story, not hold up the picture! Ack.

I'm another one of those guys that has a 72" screen with projection & 6.1, (far, FAR, less cost than even a single 26" LCD/plasma). It has to be real damn good (reviews) for me to hassle with the theater anymore, although I honestly wish that was not the case. I donít mean to sound crusty, Iím a movie nut, I just wish HollowWood looked closer at some of the trash they release. I too have been somewhat of a drama diehard, more so recently. See my post regarding Harold and Maude, it was either watch that tonight or Bad Boys II (can't bare to watch it), tonight I made the right choice.

Peace~!
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Old May 24th, 2005, 07:03 PM   #9
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i dunno why but i have seen several talents (such as John Woo+Chow Yun Fat) move into game development in the past few years. perhaps the next big entertainment medium is video games. it has already surpassed movies in terms of sales. but i don't it is quite ready for a director like john woo yet. the aegeon physics processing unit is not quite so ready yet. once the physics, lighting is done as close to pre-render CG as possible THEN and only then do i think directors can take advantage of an interactive medium to tell a story. i tend to think of it as close to "holonovels" of the star trek universe. i imagine a story that is so interactive and draws you in (much like half-life 2) that you can feel for the characters that you are interacting with and eventually you may even cry over when they are shot down in slow mo or dying in your arms. i really imagine a title taking people's breathe away the way that Return of the King or Forest Gump does to an audience. but that's far,far down the future. i hope to be there on the forefront when that happens... but in the next 30 years at least film is still king.

i think the next Star Wars-like franchise is right around corner. i can almost smell it and feel it. someone out there is cooking up somn very sweet and i for one can't wait! who would have thought LOTR would be that successful? at first it was unadaptable but it has become a classic in its own right. and if there truly aren't anything as big or good coming out soon then perhaps it's time to create SOME! that's where we come in!
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Old May 26th, 2005, 08:09 PM   #10
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Cost, cost cost. With a ticket for a 10 million low budget character based narrative costing just as much as a 150 million shlockbuster, why should I pay that. Wait for DVD, and/or Netflix and watch on my Home Theater.

High priced food, bad food, stale popcorn.....

And for families, the Sat matinee has gone from 3.50 a ticket to 6 to 6.50 a ticket, though the theaters do have 'discount' combos for kids. Plus, kids have more options now days as as far a games, sports, what ever the latest fad being sold to parents is....

Because of the internet, it's become easier for people to select just what suits them, instead of being challenged or offended or even enlightened.

Movies were once the place the poor could go to escape their dreary existance. Not any more.
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Old May 26th, 2005, 11:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Carney
Movies were once the place the poor could go to escape their dreary existance. Not any more.
AMEN brother!
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Old May 27th, 2005, 01:47 PM   #12
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The NYTimes had an article today 5/27/05 on how movie theatre attendance is down this year and they are worried about what happens after Memorial Day.

Basically the article echoes everything discussed in this thread... there are so many other choices for one's diversions.

One line in particular strikes me...."The theatrical release is becoming basically an advertisement for the DVD release."

I too, have basically almost stopped going to movies in theatres and opting for Netflix. The movie going experience is just not the same anymore... travelling time,[in some instances parking issues], high prices, smaller screens, "irritating" fellow movie goers,[feet on chairs, cellphones, hairdos blocking my view], expensive snacks, fifteen to 25 minutes worth of commercials/coming attractions etc.

Bleeechhhh..

With home theaters and high definition displays and surround sound...the experience at home is pretty darn good.

Of course some things like IMAX has to be experienced in the theater. And I still love the one-screen movie palaces like the Zegfield in NYC(they have DLP also!) but I wonder how much longer it can survive?

Watching a film at home means, we won't be "going out" and experiencing a film with a crowd, but the tolerable theatres nowadays, in my opinion, are the art house theaters showing smaller films usually attended by a crowd of people that love film. They are usually much more respectful too.

I do agree that when you see a film in theater...you make a commitment to concentrate and focus on the film and there are supposed to be no other distractions. Dramas work best on the big screen.

But with HD-DVD, super high speed internet in the future-can the day be where major first run films come to directly to your house first?

In addition, with the digital video revolution, there should be much more choices of things to watch...and if it can be delivered over the net...hmm it should get really interesting...
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Old May 27th, 2005, 03:02 PM   #13
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just as lucas says, the future of movie delivery is online (one way or another). the problem is you have all these people who are only looking@money. here's a newsbite from
http://www.eonline.com/News/firstlook.html

"TOUGH SELL: Movie exhibitors refusing to book Soderbergh's upcoming murder mystery on the grounds they don't exhibit films already released to DVD. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the move is a response to billionaire Mark Cuban plans to produce and release six of the director's flicks on three platforms--film, DVD and pay-per-view--simultaneously, which theater owners say will hurt their business."

that's crazy. why can't everyone realize that it is upto the consumer to choose the way to experience the film for the first time! it isn't up to the content distributors. we've arrived at a time in history where consumer's right to have a choice is outweighing distributor's choice at choosing the outlet of the media. one perfect example is mp3. the people's demand is they want music anywhere anytime and by the looks of iTune they're willing to pay for it! but when mp3 first began, people's choice outweighed the distribution method who didn't "get it" and (i'm not advocating piracy) they ended up stealing it. a lot of young people have conditioned to themselves to say stealing is right because of choice, portability, etc. anyway we'll have to leave mp3 for ANOTHER thread altogether but you apply that same principle to divx/xvid encoded movies.
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Old May 28th, 2005, 06:24 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John C. Chu
Watching a film at home means, we won't be "going out" and experiencing a film with a crowd, but the tolerable theatres nowadays, in my opinion, are the art house theaters showing smaller films usually attended by a crowd of people that love film. They are usually much more respectful too.

I do agree that when you see a film in theater...you make a commitment to concentrate and focus on the film and there are supposed to be no other distractions. Dramas work best on the big screen.
I agree with those too.
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Old June 24th, 2005, 08:00 PM   #15
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There will always be a market for a well-told story.

If you have good stories to tell, and the ability to do so - be it video game, book, comic, film, or TV series, there will always be a place for it.

-Steve
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