Friday, January 01, 2010

The Permanence of 3-D, Part VII

I keep bumping into naysayers who tell me, "Three Dee is a temporary thing, it can't last ..."

And then I keep running across articles like this:

In 2008, Paramount topped the list with foreign boxoffice of $2.037 billion followed by Warner Bros. ($1.81 billion), Universal ($1.71 billion), Fox ($1.6 billion), Sony ($1.38 billion) and Disney ($1.37 billion).

2009's boxoffice bounty was shared by at least one independent, Summit Entertainment, which logged foreign revenue of $877.2 million, a 41% increase from 2008 ...

For Disney and other studios, the growth of 3D exhibition abroad was "very, very important," said Marcoly. "If you look at our top five movies this year, four of those five had a 3D element to them." Disney top four films in 2009 were 3D releases: "Up," "G-Force" (overseas cume of $165.6 million), "Disney's A Christmas Carol" ($173.8 million) and "Bolt" (153.3 million).

"I think 3D has reinvigorated the marketplace as far as interest for a moviegoer," said Marcoly, who added that 3D locations have the added advantage of charging higher admission prices. ...

Mmm. Those higher admission prices. It makes a distributor's digits tingle.

And then, as The Reporter points out, there are those towering grosses from Avatar Three Dee, which have News Corporation vibrating with glee from top to bottom.

Stereo movie viewing. It's only going to get bigger.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

The movie grosses this year hit an all time high. Up a whole 10% from last year. Movie houses running a slew of advertisements before films in front of an audience that is basically held hostage to watch them is also at an all time high.

Both of these facts will be ignored in the next article bemoaning the horrific toll of online piracy...

Dan Winclechter said...

I know it's irrelevant, but is there any evidence that 3D is attracting more viewers and not just the same ones who were going to see these movies anyway? It seems consistently ridiculous for people to say that 3D has "reinvigorated... interest" when the increased grosses are due solely to higher admission prices.

I just hate the pretense, but then, Hollywood always avoids addressing raw ticket sales, instead opting to gloat about the newest record-setting weekend by a blockbuster, a record usually achieved only through price inflation.

g said...

Movie houses running a slew of advertisements before films in front of an audience that is basically held hostage to watch them is also at an all time high.

And thats a new thing, how?

PS) Id love to see hard numerical facts on the affect of online piracy before really arguing the point...but it cant be good for the industry, right?

Anonymous said...

So, I've never quite understood how having to sit through advertising on Television made network TV "free" , but when we're forced to sit through advertising in movie theaters (and can't even turn the sound down on the ads like on TV) the movie ticket prices are still going up and up and up ?

And regarding what Dan Winclechter posted: Absolutely agree. You nailed it. If the industry can only be "reinvigorated" by inflating the ticket prices to $15.00 , it's a false reinvigoration, driven by spectacle and inflated prices, not creativity .

If 3D doesn't move beyond spectacle then it may eventually lose it's box-office draw. I am reminded of David Mamet's book "Bambi vs. Godzilla" where at one point he mentions:

" ...there are films of which we, quite literally, applaud the grosses, while the films themselves are unwatchable (e.g., Titanic)."

Anonymous said...

No offense, but you people act like snobs sometimes.

I think the last decade has brought us peaks and valleys; some of the best films EVER made, but also some of the worst. But the peaks have been so high that who cares about the valleys? Just dont go to those movies.

Te industry isnt as dismal as some of you portray. In fact, Id argue that in animation, AND live action, the next decade will have a lot to live up to.

Anonymous said...

Count me in as one of the "snobs." I absolutely dispute that the last 10 years have given us some of the "best films EVER made." I think that, with the exception of Pixar's films, the last 10 years have been absolutely dismal for film-making (both live-action and otherwise), following a prolonged descent through the 90's as well.

The last 10 years have been notable for lots and lots of spectacle. Not so much for good movies.

Anonymous said...

Some call it snobbery. Others call it having some experience and perspective (and not falling for the latest gimmicks).

Anonymous said...

I agree that grosses are misleading. The gross take for two 3-D viewers is equal to the gross take for 3 2-D attendees.

Is anybody simply counting asses in seats?

Anonymous said...

"So, I've never quite understood how having to sit through advertising on Television made network TV "free" , but when we're forced to sit through advertising in movie theaters (and can't even turn the sound down on the ads like on TV) the movie ticket prices are still going up and up and up ? "

Because these ads (and concessions) are where the theaters make THEIR money. Studios have been tight fisted about their profits, and now that the studios have agreed to foot the bill for digital conversion, they'll have more to bargain with (for a while). Notice the ads can't use the (same) digital projection. It's not allowed under the contracts.

Theater ads nationwide are MOSTLY local, and therefore the cost to profit ratio is more immediatly seen. BIG BUCKS for theatern owners ensue....

Anonymous said...

Snobs.

How convenient you caveat all the Pixar films as out of the running! Yeah, lets disqualify the best films and THEN call it the worst decade. How convenient of you.

But fine. What about films like The Emperors New Groove? Totally underrated film. The first Ice Age? Put Blue Sky on the map. Lilo and Stitch. Wonderful. Triplettes of Belleville. Howls Moving Castle. Madagascar. Horton Hears a Who. Kung Fu Panda. Surfs Up (horribly underrated). Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (also underrated). Bolt (nominated for an academy award). And those arent even the PIXAR films!

While we're at it, let's exclude all the Lord of the Rings films, Pans Labyrinth, There Will be Blood, No Country for Old Men, Million Dollar Baby, Mulholland Drive, Eternal Sunshine, the new Batman movies, all of Tarantino's movies of the decade, the too-numerous to list comedies, Little Miss Sunshine, District 9, AVATAR..I mean...Im getting tired listing them, and Im not even beginning to scratch the fucking surface!

If you didnt like the films of the last decade, then you simply DONT like movies.

Maybe you should get a new job!

And please, dont assume I dont have experience and fall for "gimmicks."

Anonymous said...

"Because these ads (and concessions) are where the theaters make THEIR money."

Do you have ANY clue about which you are talking about??

You don't. Cinema chains in America use their leverage to exploit the asses in the seats of their cinemas. What they are doing is double dipping.

As a consumer you paid a price to see a movie. You buy what is stated on the ticket. PERIOD.

Throwing a stream of car ads at people who paid to see a movie is the big corporations giving us all a screw job. Cinema companies do not "make their money on onscreen ads", they make extra money on onscreen ads. With movie tickets right now over $10 a pop they are making a healthy profit. Plus, consider the fact that chain cinemas have contracts with studios so only they can show a highly anticipated film - blocking it from being shown at smaller independently owned cinemas.

Movie studios can bitch and moan that online piracy is taking a toll on box office receipts, but they'd best look at the way Regency, AMC and the rest of the corporate chains are exploiting their customers. THAT is what is keeping people from the movies.

You buy what you are sold. My movie ticket has the name of the feature on it. Running a string of advertisements for a solid 15 - 20 minutes before a film is bordering on being illegal. Its a bait and switch. The corporations get what they deserve.

Anonymous said...

"Do you have ANY clue about which you are talking about??"

Apparently much, MUCH more than you. Distributors squeeze up to 80% of profit from the first 3 weeks of film projection in theaters. The ratio shifts to Theater owners after 3 weeks (although most films don't make it much beyond this timeframe). Film costs more than digital. Distributors/Studios wanted theaters to pay for digital conversion---but they wouldn't give in on profit sharing by the theater owners. So, theaters said "F" you to paying for digital conversion.

So the studios are paying for it (strategically). And they're keeping the same profit. Projection IS better (although I love the qualities of goof film stock) overall. But theaters aren't making any more money. So they show ads. The ads when the lights are on...before show start time. The STUDIOS are responsible for the ads attached to the film being shown. Theaters are supposed to show only 2 other trailers--some show more....and the requisite "phones off" "dlp Cinema" and "sound" clips.

The ads before the lights go off are what I'm talking about. It, along with the expensive concessions, are where the THEATERS make their money.

The Theater and the Distributor are two seperate entities, thanks to, guess who? WALT DISNEY (with Sam Goldwyn, David O. Selznick, and a few others). Antitrust laws and all...

There are no "contracts" to prevent big films from being shown at independent theaters. There ARE contracts to get the distributors films shown at the places that attract MORE AUDIENCE MEMBERS. These are the bigger chains. I frequent my local independent theater a lot. I get to see art films and classics. AND A LOT MORE ADS. And the projection is crap.

So yes, I guess I DO know far more about this subject than you.

And yes, I hate the ads, too!

Anonymous said...

I'm so terribly sorry. It does, indeed, appear that you know far more about this subject than I do.

Thanks for the info.

Anonymous said...

Wow...this is a new year. Someone actually conceded to another person who may have had more knowledge on a subject. (This obviously wasn't Arlo)

BuckPrivate said...

I absolutely HATE commercials in movie theaters. At least at home I can hit the mute button. Commercials are the main reason I seldom go to movies anymore, and wait to rent most movies on DVD.

Anonymous said...

" Commercials are the main reason I seldom go to movies anymore, and wait to rent most movies on DVD."


Speaking of which, does anyone know of a reliable online source to get figures on sales and rentals of DVD's ?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of which, does anyone know of a reliable online source to get figures on sales and rentals of DVD's?

http://tinyurl.com/yd8nt4c

Commercials are the main reason you dont go the movies? What an absolute idiot. Aww, you poor baby. You are so precious you cant let your poor widdle eyes and poor widdle ears be bothered by a local ad for a restaurant or business? What a ego-centric, poor pathetic life you must have.

I have an idea. When you go to the movies 15 minutes early to get a good seat (or is your time so precious you cant do that either?), do what the rest of the same world does...ignore the ads and have meaningful or fun conversation with the people you came to the movies with.

Know what, you sound like a douche anyway. Maybe it IS better you stay locked up at home so we dont have to put up with you here. You probably talk through the whole movie anyway.

Mister Anonymous said...

The poster above replied to his own post conceding the pint. Thats the kind of infantile douche we are dealing with here.

Now to his weak response:

"The ads before the lights go off are what I'm talking about."

So you mean 'the slideshow'?
The stills for local businesses that cycles when the lights are up?

Wonderful. Thats a totally irrelevant to the issue. What I am talking about (and the issue for the nation at large which has been bandied about the press and social circles) is the commercials run before a film when the lights go down.

Last time I was at a film they played ELEVEN commercials before the previews started. Thats a considerable amount of time that the theater is using to exploit theatergoers already being in their seats.
I'll state it again because you seem to have delusions about the common good for me and other individuals - People buy what they are sold.

You want to show commercials before a film? Lower the ticket price.

"
The Theater and the Distributor are two seperate entities, thanks to, guess who? WALT DISNEY (with Sam Goldwyn, David O. Selznick, and a few others). Antitrust laws and all...

There are no "contracts" to prevent big films from being shown at independent theaters. There ARE contracts to get the distributors films shown at the places that attract MORE AUDIENCE MEMBERS. "


Wow, you're a moron. Squared. In the same breath as bemoaning anti trust laws(where did you get that simple minded position) you grossly misstate the sad state of free market in the cinema business today.

Major movie theater chains use their clout with distributors to prevent independent theaters from showing many of the most popular first-run films. Its a common industry practice called "clearance" whereby theaters are given exclusive rights to show a film within a certain radius around their theaters. This is an antiquated premise put through when cities has over a hundred single screen theaters in a small radius.

Now, big chains use the threat of pulling a film from their screens nationwide to pressured the distributors into denying competing independent theaters in certain local markets access to first-run movies.

You're defending this.

Because you are an idiot.


Now - just to call you out - let me know what independent art house theater you frequent. Because I can probably find their name on a complaint to the California Attorney General about distributer's practice of clearance.

In Los Angeles I go to the Aero, The Egyptian, and The Silent Movie Theater on LaBrea, and I have yet to see ONE commercial running before a film when the lights go down at those theaters.

So really, what in the sam hell are you talking about?

Anonymous said...

Mister Anonymous--you really need to get out more. And education would be good--because YOU have NO idea what you're talking about.

Have no idea about the Aero. The Egyptian is subsidized by the film industry, Academy, and the state. And the Silent Movie Theater hardly turns a profit. You can have fun at those theaters...many do.

But they HARDLY turn a profit. And major distributors know they can't make a profit exhibiting at tiny little theaters like that.

Stop being stuck in the past. Get out more. Your mothers basement must be dank after all these years.

Arlo said...

Or you can all just do what I do--download every movie on the internet for free through bit torrent.

I don't really care how many of lose your jobs because I steal the movies you work on. I got mine!

Steve Hulett said...

I absolutely HATE commercials in movie theaters.

Me too. Solution: Go in ten minutes after the movie's start time. See the last two trailers and all the cars blowing up and people flying through the air. Take deep breath. Watch movie.

Anonymous said...

Oh Arlo...you arent the real Arlo.

I can smell a fake Arlo a mile away. He's usually much more long-winded and so full of angst it drips off of him.

Nice try though, and it did make me chuckle.

Anonymous said...

PS) Everyone should stop bitching about commercials. Jesus, they're just commercials, and your time is NOT that valuable.

Arlo said...

"Or you can all just do what I do--download every movie on the internet for free through bit torrent. "

I've got an imposter - and I feeble one at that.

I would never boast that I download movies "for free". I have downloaded movies (mostly those that have not been released by the studios) and I pay for them every month when I pay my internet cable bill.

:)

Anonymous said...

"they're just commercials, and your time is NOT that valuable."

Speak for yourself.

My time is very valuable and I find commercials to be mentally caustic. Most people who aren't bothered by them aren't that smart.

Mister Anonymous said...

Have no idea about the Aero. The Egyptian is subsidized by the film industry"


The Egyptian and the Aero are run by the same organization and they are non profit and viewer supported. I've organized programs for them.

You are thoroughly ill informed. But moreso.

Anonymous said...

Me too. Solution: Go in ten minutes after the movie's start time. See the last two trailers and all the cars blowing up and people flying through the air. Take deep breath. Watch movie.

You can't do that if you care about getting a decent seat.

Anonymous said...

Save for a few of the nicer theaters where you pay a premium, the average theater truly is a crap experience. Pure crap, commercials, everything. Projection is poor, sound is poor, service is non-existent, and food is, of course, way over-priced. A good ball game is way more fun and the people are usually nice. You get a live experience without a formula. Theaters could do way better. Seriously, I like a food court over AMC or Regal or whoever the fuck runs these slimy chains. Sitting at home with some friends or the one neighbor's house with the good tv and sound is a blast compared to the movie theater.

Maybe once a year there is the big movie that everyone has to go see and wait in line, have a good time, dress up, whatever, etc. The rest is complete and utter garbage. Wait for the DVD or the download, you know? Shit, this is nothing new. Movies have been like this since 1971. It will never change, not for 3D or any other dumbshit glasses they make me wear. I am absolutely convinced they will be showing porn between the commercials soon. Bring it on. Whatever.

Anonymous said...

"Funding for the restoration and maintainance of the Egyptian comes from several sources. The Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) owned the building and was planning to repair it themselves, while Cinematheque would lease it for their use. However, after the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, the city sold the building to American Cinematheque in the Fall of 1996 for a nominal $1.00 and provided a grant of $3 million towards its repair. The CRA also loaned Cinematheque federal funds from the Commercial and Industrial Earthquake Recovery Loan Program in the amount of $2 million. The project is expected to cost $9 million, the remainder of which will come from fundraising efforts and existing equity. The prominence of the building and the large size and high technical level of the auditorium will make the Egyptian a popular rental spot for premieres, press screenings, and receptions; this is one of the ways in which a non-profit company can sustain itself financially in such a facility."

Anonymous said...

Seriously, if you hate commercials that much, just go to the Arclight. They even have reserved seating.

Anonymous said...

Most people who aren't bothered by them aren't that smart.

I would argue it takes more brainpower to have patience than to be a whiny little bitch.

And trust me, your time isnt that important, unless your name is Barack Obama, and even he takes time for R & R.

You're just being a ridiculous troll.

Anonymous said...

My time is very valuable and I find commercials to be mentally caustic.

20 bucks says he's the guy who struts around, shooting his mouth off, trying to "educate" everyone else, while really only causing people to roll their eyes and glance at each other in silent, uncomfortable understanding: this guy is a tool.

r said...

Some movies simply connect with a large portion of the audience, and sometimes, you or I are not part of that audience for whatever reason. What I concider to be the great movies of the last decade may differ from anybody else. I happened to enjoy "There Will be Blood" (overacting and all), I enjoyed "No country for Old Men", "The Big Lebowsky", "Master And Commander", "The Insider", and a few more I can't remebet right now. What I mean to say is, there have been great movies in the last decade. And there have been shitty movies as well, but there have been shitty movies from day one! The 80s was awful, and so were the 90s. So I don't agree that the last decade has been any worse than previous decades.

And concerning commercials, I have long terminated my cable account. Too many commercials, and shitty programing. In fact, as Noam Chomsky correctly points out, tv is a vehicle to deliver commercials. The programs are the filler, and not the other way around.

if someone's time were so valuable, what are you doing here wastng your time commenting and stuff?

rufus

Steve Hulett said...

Go in ten minutes after the movie's start time. See the last two trailers and all the cars blowing up and people flying through the air. Take deep breath. Watch movie.

You can't do that if you care about getting a decent seat.


You can if you have the internal fortitude to wait a couple of weeks after initial release.

You can also use lower cost passes then. But of course, biding your time might be too burdensome.

Anonymous said...

And concerning commercials, I have long terminated my cable account.

The only thing that sucks about that is now you're simply paying for internet service, keeping them rich, while eliminating any type of revenue source for networks like Fox (who get money from cable networks).

That eventually trickles down until people working on The Simpsons get laid off (hypothetically, of course).

Im not attacking you, Im just providing a different perspective.

As it is, with the advent of the DVR, I never watch commercials anyway, and the networks still get a piece of my money. Seems like a win-win.

r said...

Well, I don't pay for internets either. I'm such a cheap bastard. But I do think the internets should be free. Starbucks anybody?

What can I say, I'm an animator and I don't have a steady job, so I have to save as much money as I can.

Oh, and I don't have a phone line either, just the cell.

rufus.

Anonymous said...

Well, no arguing with that.

Anonymous said...

If cable passes on rate hikes to the consumer b/c of murdoch and the rest demanding they treat network like cable, I will definitely pull the trigger on the bastards and go all internet. TV is always free in my mind. The $75 or some odd dollars for television is just not worth it.

Anonymous said...

Let's see...there's a saying for that....soemthing to do with cutting noses and faces...

Yeah, let's TV and cable out of business! that'll send a message to all those production companies trying to make animation!!!

r said...

Some day, perhaps soon, people will realize cable is a luxury they can't afford anymore and end their subscriptions as well.
Stagnation of salaries and inflation and taxation is making life more and more expensive for the middle class. The gulf between the middle class and the rich is expanding. These congloms have made their bed (laying off millions of workers) and soon they'll have to lay in it!

Of course CEO's and executives cannot understand what it is to not be able to afford something. Throwing slogans like "biting the hand that feeds you" does nothing to aleviate the situation for someone collecting unemployment.

r

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