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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 February 21st, 2003, 12:23 PM   #1
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It's about time

People sue theaters over commercials before movie

Despite my feelings that too many people sue over too many things, I'm with these people.
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Old February 21st, 2003, 12:31 PM   #2
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Where can I sign onboard for some frontline action.

Its perverse isn't it. Paying your 10 beans for someone/some company to bombard you with adverstisements.

The movie going public is a huge focus group for marketing. Next they'll be placing camera's in the theatre and customizing advertisements according to the group's reactions.

Cheers!
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Old February 21st, 2003, 12:43 PM   #3
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This suit's going nowhere except the publicity route. But I certainly agree with its spirit. I rarely go to theaters any more. I made an exception last December and regretted it. Nearly thirty minutes of ads and trailers, followed by a film that was too long and a bit thin in the plot line. Not to mention the filthy film print projected slightly out of focus and bouncing around so much from gate jitter it gave me a headache. All enjoyed in the comfort of a filthy theater. So what's not to like?
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Old February 21st, 2003, 01:52 PM   #4
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Yeah, Dylan it's pretty sad when the experience you get in a living room with a nice projector is better than a huge theatre with expensive projection and blast 'em sound.

Pros of going to a theatre:
- you actually leave your house
- shared audience experience
- big picture
- see a film that you normally couldn't rent (festivals, indies)
- someone else cleans up the mess
- film released in theatres first *variable

Cons:
- big ticket price
- expensive concessions
- a**holes in the audience
- underlighting on the projection
- too much volume in the audio
- 30 minutes of commercials
- not comfortable chairs
- set times

Pros of staying at home:
- less expensive than going out
- comfortable couch vs chairs *variable
- audience you can pick or eject
- your own food and drink, alcohol possible *variable
- watch whenever you want

Cons of staying at home:
- you don't get out of your house
- hard to rent festival films
- no large shared experience (unless you get together a party)
- smaller picture *variable
- smaller sound *variable
- you clean up the mess
- gotta return the movie *variable
- have to wait for films to be released on DVD *variable

A lot of these pros and cons are rapidly changing as people get their hands on some excellent projection and put together awesome sound at home. Many films worth seeing aren't actually released in theatres but you *have* to order on DVD. In particular, overseas productions. For example, you can go to Chinatown right now and get a nice bootleg of Zhang Yimou's heralded "Hero". The release date for North America hasn't even been announced!
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Old February 21st, 2003, 03:16 PM   #5
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All the ads before movies has resulted in me going to far less movies, they always piss me off. I think I need to start using Netflix, with them you should be able to get ahold of just about any film.
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Old February 21st, 2003, 03:42 PM   #6
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Even with Netflix, there are a good number of DVDs with mandatory trailers displayed before the menu will come up.
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Old February 21st, 2003, 04:31 PM   #7
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Actually, surprisingly few. When a saw theater-style trailers and ads spew forth from a Disney DVD a few years ago I thought "Oh no, here we go. They're going to wreck this, too." But out of nearly 450 DVD's that we own and the 3-4 Netflix discs per week that we watch I only recall 1 or 2 that had pre-crap.

Sshhh! Let's not talk about this too loudly.

The original laserdisc version of Hitchcock's "Dial M For Murder" featured a trailer and old newsreels that original (circa) 1954-55 theater patrons would have seen. Now THAT was good stuff! Sadly, the DVD release ommitted that material.
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Old February 21st, 2003, 04:55 PM   #8
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I think I'm gonna sue you guys for making me read all that, and wastin' 5 minutes of my life!

-Nori
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Old February 21st, 2003, 05:50 PM   #9
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I don't mind the trailers. Granted they are still trying to sell you something.

I'd be much happier if the theaters advertised the ACTUAL start time of the movie. You almost always arrive there early, so you'd probably still see the commercials.

Not that it matters. Can't fight the machine.

What's this Netflix thing?
If they start putting more ads on DVDs, it'll be the final insult.
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Old February 21st, 2003, 05:57 PM   #10
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Regardless of commercials...there's nothing like watching a movie on one of the huge old-era screens, though. Not sure how many of those still exist in North America, but you can still find them here.

For me, going to the movies became less of an experience when they starting making the multi-plexes, with the quarter-size screens. Felt like going from a Cadillac to a Volkswagen...and still does.

So...we should also sue on the basis that size DOES matter. Let's get the movie-going experience back to the way it was.
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Old February 21st, 2003, 06:01 PM   #11
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There are plenty of good theatres in Vancouver that have excellent screens and stadium seating. It's not the venue that's the problem in most cases here. It's more the content and other parts of the experience.
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Old February 21st, 2003, 06:22 PM   #12
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http://www.netflix.com

You pay $20 a month for unlimited DVD rentals.

Basically you have three at any time and whenever you return one they mail you the next one on your rental list. Since they have a huge inventory you're more likely to find rare movies as opposed to going to blockbuster. BTW All shipping is free.
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Old February 21st, 2003, 06:49 PM   #13
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Advertainment

The upcoming, and most insidious, hazard ahead lies in advertainment or "branded entertainment". This is basically the concept of weaving promotions into the storylines of films and broadcast programming. If you think it's an odd outlier movement think again. Film companies are working on this new business opportunity. Mandalay Films has created Mandalay Branded Entertainment, for example, dedicated to this concept. Companies like auto manufacturers and beverage purveyors are sponsoring free seminars, directed mainly to young wannabe Spielbergs, teaching techniques of weaving their products into prominent visual and storyline positions of scripts. It's a clever move. Many young filmmakers will likely see this as their big, and probably only, chance to make a feature not realizing that they will become, at best, minor technicians on their own projects.

Of course this will churn forth hundreds of miles of film garbage and perhaps lead to a backlash that ultimately recesses the public theater business. But the grind of growth and earnings that publicly-held businesses face is relentless. It appears that all legal, and some illegal, avenues must be pursued to such ends.
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Old February 21st, 2003, 07:07 PM   #14
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Sony's trying something new here in Japan. They're sending out young, attractive people to bars and other social-gathering places with strategies on how to strike up a conversation that will lead to promoting one of their products. You never know that's what they're doing or that they work for Sony... it comes across as just making conversation or passing on personal info.

How's that for stealth advertising?

Imagine how easy this would be for movie advertising. Someone sits down next to you at a bar and has a page of Premiere magazine open featuring the movie they're promoting. They look over at you..."Hey, have you seen this movie? I just saw it. Awesome. You should check it out."
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Old February 21st, 2003, 07:35 PM   #15
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"I'd be much happier if the theaters advertised the ACTUAL start time of the movie. You almost always arrive there early, so you'd probably still see the commercials."

As with most changes in the exhibition business, this can be blamed on STAR WARS. Prior to its success, advertised movie start times were the real deal, trailers followed the feature presentation (hence the name), and trailers, film shorts, newsreels, cartoons, etc. ran pretty much continuously, along with B movies (full length films double-billed along with the feature that you weren't necessarily expected to sit through). All these extras were holdovers from the vaudevillian origins of film exhibition, when feature films would be accompanied by various live acts as well as film shorts.

Through 1977, when you bought your movie ticket, you could sit down in the theater through as many projection cycles as you wished. When STAR WARS fans took advantage of this to stay through multiple continous showings (despite the fact that all of them were sold out), exhibitors initiated the policy of clearing the theaters after each showing.

Nowadays, advertisements have replaced the cartoons, muzak has replaced the newsreels, the feature attractions are B movies, and the only live entertainment acts are the underpaid ushers mopping up $4/cup spilled Sierra Mist.

Another thing movie theaters had going for them in the good old era of unlimited viewings was that they tended to be the only buildings equipped with air conditioning, and thus they served as daytime refuge for the masses during the hot months. Such a practice might seem anachronistic in this age, but during last summer's August heat wave I found myself in Berlin, a city in which air conditioning in public buildings is still not common. A cool movie theater would have been, pardon the expression, just the ticket.

My mother oftentimes waxes nostalgic for seeing the stars in movie theaters. Not just movie stars up the screen: even the smaller movie palaces had astronomically-correct constellations painted on the ceiling with radium. While waiting for the next Merry Melodies you could brush up on your expertise of the cosmos, she tells me. I'm interested if any of the other old fogies on the boards remember those days, or know of any theaters that still have the radium stars. (Probably, they were taken down along with all the asbestos.)

Those offended by commercials shown before movies shouldn't move to Germany, where pre-feature ads may contain nudity and sexual content regardless of the rating of the film they're attached to. Can you guess what this one is advertising?
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