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Movie Theaters Aim for Live 3D Sports 150

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the maybe-try-movies-that-don't-suck dept.
teutonic_leech writes "ZDNet has an article claiming that movie theater operators plan to be screening live 3D sports events by 2007 in a bid to lure sports fans away from their home theater systems and bolster sagging mid-week ticket sales." From the article: "Other chains are looking to much-improved digital three-dimensional projection for an experience theatergoers can't get at home. But while the projection has greatly advanced from the early 3D days, special glasses must still be worn to achieve the full effect."
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Movie Theaters Aim for Live 3D Sports

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  • by michaelhood (667393) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @04:32AM (#14993057)
    Why hasn't "3D" technology advanced in the last 15 years?

    It's severely lagging behind all the other technologies. Where are holograms?
  • Beer? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TwilightXaos (860408) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @04:36AM (#14993062)
    So they are actually going to be selling beer in the movie theater for sports?

    The cinemas brought in vendors to stroll the aisles with hot dogs, peanuts and beer

    Will the prices be the same as at the ball park?

    If so, I would reckon that it won't be a big hit. The main reason I do not go to the movies is the price, and not just of the tickets. I would pay $8 or so a ticket if I could get a 42oz Coke for under $2 or so.
    • Re:Beer? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RajivSLK (398494)
      A little off topic but what the fuck do you need a 42oz coke for? Personally, I think the theatres are doing you a favour buddy. I'm guessing this is an american thing.. (are the seats wider too?)
      • With those 42oz soft drinks, you'd think they'd have to install ballpark-style urinal troughs in the movie theater restrooms to handle all the traffic.

      • Diet Coke....0.41 calorie / 100 ml :D
      • Yeah, I know. 42 Ounces? Just go to the 7-11 where you can get a Gallon of Soda for a dollar and watch the game at home.

        Yes, consuming mass amounts of corn syrup is just as much an American thing as being judgemental and opinionated is other peoples' thing.

        I've seen people regularly consume more than a gallon of beer in a day and lead moderately healthy lives, so don't knock it.

        Besides, us Americans are so busy destroying the world that the low energy and stress requires a crutch of soda, food, and guns.

    • Re:Beer? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Realistic_Dragon (655151) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @05:05AM (#14993109) Homepage
      So they are actually going to be selling beer in the movie theater for sports?

      No, they are going to be selling Bud.
    • Re:Beer? (Score:3, Funny)

      by Scarletdown (886459)

      So they are actually going to be selling beer in the movie theater for sports?

      The cinemas brought in vendors to stroll the aisles with hot dogs, peanuts and beer

      Will the prices be the same as at the ball park?

      They shouldn't have to charge stadium prices for the concessions, since no studios will be taking away the majority of the theater's ticket sales, which is why the theaters usually charge those horrendous prices for snacks. That is where their earnings mostly come from.

      Hopefully, the NFL and other spo

      • Please explain why one theatre in my city charges $5 for a movie, and the other charges $12. They both play the same movies, they are both owned by big corporations, and as far as I'm concerned the quality is about the same. The super-duper multiplex is the one charging high prices, while the one with only 3 screens charges less. I guess movies don't scale well.
        • Please explain why one theatre in my city charges $5 for a movie, and the other charges $12. They both play the same movies, they are both owned by big corporations, and as far as I'm concerned the quality is about the same. The super-duper multiplex is the one charging high prices, while the one with only 3 screens charges less.

          This is a complete guess (since there is insufficient data for an actual analyzis), but it might be that the manager of the theater with 3 screens is fighting desperately for su

          • This is a complete guess (since there is insufficient data for an actual analyzis), but it might be that the manager of the theater with 3 screens is fighting desperately for survival

            In other words, the manager of the smaller theater realizes that whether he charges $5 or $12 per ticket, the percentage of those ticket sales he gets to keep are so slim that it doesn't matter one way or the other. So, draw the customers in with a low admission price, and hope that enough people will go ahead and buy food and

            • The guy charging $12 per ticket is making at least $7 Gross more per ticket. I'm sure there's a flat rate per person, and it's not based on a percentage of the ticket cost. Otherwise, you could just charge $0, or $1 of some measely fee, and just pack the theatre full for every showing, and make more money on concessions. You might as well fill up the theatre every time, because empty theatres don't sell concessions. What I think it is, is the cost of the giant multiplex, the building, the land, the land
    • Re:Beer? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Paradise Pete (33184)
      I would pay $8 or so a ticket if I could get a 42oz Coke for under $2 or so.

      I see it as a good thing that theaters charge so much for food and drinks. They need to make money. If they make it from people paying absurd amounts for popcorn that means that my cost is subsidized.

      • I see it as a good thing that theaters charge so much for food and drinks. They need to make money.
        You can't necessarily make more money simply by charging more. People don't like getting ripped off, even the "stupid masses" we love to deride here on /.
    • I usually just bring in my own food. I haven't ever been told I couldn't and as long as you don't bring food that disrupts the other patrons (chips make lots of noise, bag and eating) I don't think they really care.
    • I won't repeat what's already been said about coke, but I think this idea could actually take off.

      Imagine a cinema packed full of fans, all drunk, a huge 3D screen that shows the whole field, surround sound relaying the noise of the stadium, it would be almost like being at the game. You wouldn't even need seats, let everyone stand up.

      As long as there's no commentary, no angle changes, no half-time analysis, no replays/close-ups and all the other things that make televised sport so insufferable, I'd definit
  • I was promised a holodeck [wikipedia.org] many, many years ago. What gives?
    • by n0dalus (807994) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @05:27AM (#14993132) Journal
      Kif: The Holoshed's on the fritz again -- the characters turned real!
      Zapp: Damn! The last time that happened, I got slapped with three paternity suits!
    • I was pretty sure star trek took place around the year 2400. If so, I think you have a while to wait for your holodeck. Cue the Trekkies correcting me on that date.
      • Of course, you could have just done a Google Search [google.com] to find that info. But, the act of actually doing a search to find an exact date perhaps would label one as a "Trekkie". Does that make me one? I hated Enterprise, if that helps. Except for T'Pol. She was HAWT [google.com].

        Incidently, the first TNG episode was in the year 2363, according to one of those Google links. Holodecks were around sometime in the first season. So you were right, relatively speaking. It's still "a while to wait".

        • I looked at the wikipedia article, and didn't see any dates (except for the airings of the episodes) at first glance, so I just gave up and went with what I thought was right.
  • Q: "Why hasn't 3D technology advanced in the past 15 years?" A: "It isn't marketable." Prediction: "Desperation does not improve the marketability of 3D technology." May the wind be always at your back, -TimCeeteSmith
    • I don't know if your statement about not being marketable was just a quip or not, but it's completely wrong. 3D was a huge sensation in the 1950s, so it certainly can be marketable.

      The problem nowadays is that 3D production suffers from several things:

      Right now, 3D is relegated to crap movies or movies to kids. Look at the titles that have been produced in 3D in the past 20 years:
      Friday the 13th, part 3 - Oh, yeah. Great family film.
      Jaws 3 - A 3D turd.
      Spy Kids - Cheesy kid flick
      and a few other
  • pfft 3d... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mister Impressive (875697) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @04:46AM (#14993080)
    Who needs 3D glasses when I have my beer goggles !!
    • Exactly. Who needs expensive 3D equipment to make you think you're standing on the sidelines, when you can just get hammered, tackle your floor-lamp, kick an empty bottle through your window, and think you won the game for your team?
  • while the projection has greatly advanced from the early 3D days, special glasses must still be worn to achieve the full effect."
    Glasses? Glasses are for nerds! Sports fans won't get on board with this until they make 3D contact lenses.
  • I already wear special glasses!! When is the screening?? :)

  • by mieses (309946) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @04:59AM (#14993100)
    i can imagine watching ice capades this way (dark room, stadium seating) but not competitive sports.

    how are you supposed to watch sport in a movie theatre? are you supposed to be loud? order drinks? heckle the other fans? get up to the bathroom, step on someone's toes and block their view? it seems very awkward, formal, and not very relaxing.
    • This has actually become very popular already in the Boston area, where Fenway Park sells out most of the Red Sox' season by February. While baseball is kind of a religion here, not everybody can fit in the church. Several local movie theaters show the local cable broadcasts on the big screens, sell concessions, and make it a fun time, from what i've heard. It's cheaper than tickets to the game, and moreover, for things like Red Sox-Yankees games, it's the closest most people can get. And yes, there is
  • by DeadboltX (751907) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @05:00AM (#14993102)
    The appeal to watch a sports game on a huge screen is very appealing.
    The appeal to watch sports in 3d is nonexistant.

    When people get together to watch a game they are always cheering booing, having fun, being noisy.. This is what you would find at a sports bar where it is acceptable.
    I can't imagine this going over very well inside a theater where you are confined to your small seat.. the atmosphere is a lot different and I can see a lot of people getting annoyed at other people for being loud.
    • Think about how a 3D view from the cameras that move over the field in Football would look. That is one experience you can't get from watching the game live.
      • Why would you want that experience?

        The whole point in going to the stadium is that you look at what you want to look at, rather than what some MTV-reject director wants you to look at.
    • by CaptainPotato (191411) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @05:58AM (#14993158) Homepage
      ...at a cinema in St Kilda (Melbourne) at 4am with 400-500 other people. The atmosphere was absolutely fantastic. People were standing up, cheering, waving flags (no firecrackers or flares, at least). I'd definitely do it again. In fact, I did. I organised about six games to be shown live in the University cinema where I was working. Even though it wasn't brilliantly advertised, the cinema was pretty much full each time and people really enjoyed the group atmosphere and got into the swing of it.

      Trust me, a sports telecast in a cinema is very different from seeing a normal film, at which people are expected to be quiet (unless it's a 1950s b-grade, I suppose). It's a lot more like being at a stadium than watching a television.

      If I could go to a cinema on a Sunday night and see a live Formula One race (no waiting around for a delayed telecast), I'd be there every race.
      • Yeah, they do the same thing with WWF (I refuse to call it WWE) in Canada. I've never actually been to see WWF in theatre, but I imagine the crowd is quite loud and spirited. I would expect it to be. Just because it's in a cinema doesn't mean it has to be quiet. It just usually is that way, because a lot of movies are reliant on dialog, and missing out can make you lose the store. I don't imagine people cared very much if others were quiet during the silent movie era.
    • In my experience, the limiting factor to how loud and obnoxious the audience gets is not the audience but the management. I once went to a showing of Rocky Horror that got shut down in the middle because the operators were worried about damage to the upholstery or something. Shutting off the film was, perhaps, the single worst thing they could do to protect the seats, though, since the crowd did get rather annoyed at being told to stay put until the police showed up. (I guess they figured the cops would
  • by fred911 (83970) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @05:01AM (#14993103)
    I've got 1 word

    PORN

    It built the net
  • ...else you'll only see it in, uh, one half dee.
  • in a bid to lure sports fans away from their home theater systems

    Welcome to the Land of the Fat.
  • by blank_vlad (876519) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @05:29AM (#14993134)
    ...when Janet Jackson's boob flopped out at the Superbowl?
  • I would love to see this happen, just as long as they don't focus on only football/baseball/basketball. Formula 1, Champcar, WRC would be awesome in the theater. Especially because I can't see it on TV without paying $100+ a month (which is literally impossible for me). Unfortunately, I bet the only auto racing they show is NASCAR. */me spits on NASCAR's antiquated technology and boring tracks*
    • Re:Auto Racing (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Scarletdown (886459)
      I would love to see this happen, just as long as they don't focus on only football/baseball/basketball.


      Mmmmm... Katerina Witt or Michelle Kwan in 3D on the big screen... I'd be a regular theater patron for that.
    • Auto racing would be way more interesting if it involved all the cars that I would consider buying (100% stock), ran them on a difficult track (ice, potholes, speed bumps, gravel, greasy spots, grooved pavement, hills, sideways slopes, metal plates...), loaded them up with crash dummies and luggage, and factored selling price into the scores. If an automaker won't participate, punish them: buy the car and let some random person drive it.
  • 3d video games (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Statecraftsman (718862) * on Saturday March 25, 2006 @06:00AM (#14993161) Homepage
    They've got the 3d part right but it's not 20th century sports we want to watch. It's 21st century video games. I would seriously love to go watch Counterstrike or Doom3 in a theater in 3d. The games don't have to be played live but if they wanted to go the extra mile, there's a lot of potential. For example, supply wireless controllers, create games that use them cleverly and the theater could turn into an amazing 3d interactive environment.
  • video in stereo (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thedletterman (926787) <.thedletterman. .at. .hotmail.com.> on Saturday March 25, 2006 @06:14AM (#14993180) Homepage
    I've been a long-time proponent, that HD wasn't the next logical step in video, but stereo vision. Our eyes use 2D with lighting coming from different angles at two receptors to build three dimensional images using our mind. We don't truly see in 3D. Portble movie players like the video ipod will not take off with a 2" screen... but with a special pair of glasses that use a 1/4" lcd projection onto the lenses to create a 3D stereo effect with the device(s) connected via bluetooth broadcast... now we are taking advantage of technology. Super-low power consumption, 3d video, share the experience with your friends... it's how portable video was meant to be. Add a charging pad similar to many digital cameras for the glasses.. no wires.. you've got the ipod video killer. Now if only i could patent a stereo-video encoding format...
    • Better yet, store video as a sequence of light fields [stanford.edu], and then project the field using an array of projectors onto a diffuse screen with microlenses to create an auto-stereoscopic display. (Sorry, I can't remember off the top of my head which site had the info about the microlens diffuse screen projection) I've also seen a demonstration where one places a microlens sheet over a specially generated image to create a nice "stereo" view, much like holograms but in full color.
    • I was just to a 3D Imax. They use perpendicularly oriented polarized lenses, and I assume polarized metallic strips on the screen, with active projector targeting.

      That's all very nice, and very immersive. However, there was something a bit disquieting about it for my vision -- as if my retina had to be out of sync with my focus (which indeed is the case).

      I'm not sure that's a bad thing -- maybe it would help my nearsightedness, or maybe not. But I can say it bothered me just slightly, and my 1.5-year-old
      • The idea is that a pair of cameras, with a shared focus distance, at an angle that replicates the angle of the eyes would be all you need. simply project the video to the corresponding eye, and your eye will be tricked to replicate the same focal distance.. adding instant depth perception to the movie. The only problem to this is your eyes would be forced into a focal distance as determined by the camera, and trying to shift focus onto background images or whatnot could be pretty disorienting, or it could e
  • Special glasses must still be worn to achieve the ANY effect. :)
  • This Is True. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CheeseburgerBlue (553720) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @06:59AM (#14993226) Homepage Journal
    A company I was contracting for flew me down to L.A. two summers ago to pick the minds of Hollywood 3-D talent before engaging in the production of a complex 3-D corporate production up here in Canada.

    (The experts I talked to were mostly Canadians themselves. L.A. seems to have more Canadians than Canada.)

    At any rate, that's when I heard all about James Cameron's new manga-derived massively budgeted 3-D feature ("Battle Angel", if memory serves), George Lucas' plans to 3-D invigoroate all six of his Star Wars picturers, and learned that Fox has been recording Superbowls and other big, big sporting events in 3-D for a couple of years now, in order to create a library of games for 3-D viewing.

    The company I consulted had even developed a high-definition 3-D Steadicam-like unit, and I got to see the test footage they'd shot at a recent football match. The cameraman could literally wander right into the field, with somebody tapping his shoulder whenever he needed to get out of the way of play.

    To repeat a 3-D cliche, IT WAS LIKE YOU WERE ACTUALLY THERE, ON THE FIELD.

    I have no interest in sports but it was obvious that someone who was into sports would definitely think it was the coolest thing they'd ever seen.

    • So now instead of chunking rocks towards the viewer to keep him engaged, you get an upclose shot at a lineman coming up from a surprising direction -- the hit -- the sky -- then switching to another cameraman as they discuss the unexpected development...
  • by ScrewTivo (458228) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @08:09AM (#14993316) Homepage
    well. With sports isn't that the idea? It is truly awesome, you see everybody reaching from their seats to grab items that appear right in front of their eyes, but when the motion gets to fast then it gets blurry. It happens even at their newest 3D movie Mickey's PhilharMagic. All the parks have a 3D movie and I enjoy seeing them over and over because the effects are so awesome and the air conditioning is great!

    I thought they needed special theaters to show these movies but the family just saw Chicken Little in 3D at a regular theater. It is impressive. The glasses are just polarized lenses at 90 degree offset.

    I don't know if this is the system they are talking about here, but Disney is typically on the cutting edge of this stuff and they have been doing 3D for years. Kodak sponsors the exhibits.
  • Visual overload (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dangitman (862676) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @08:50AM (#14993360)
    I dunno, I think we're all getting so visually overloaded. It's enough looking at computer and TV screens. Most 3D technologies also cause extra brain-strain trying to perceive a virtual object as "real" or solid. I don't think we're going to get enough resolution and solidity to get around this problem any time soon.

    2D screens also suffer from this problem, but to a lesser degree, because there is another layer of abstraction there. We aren't trying to trick ourselves into thinking it's real - we just go to watch a show. I'd prefer to spend more time looking at natural objects, anyway. Mmmmm. Boobies.

    • Right, because it takes the brain more effort to put together a 3D image from two eye image sources than a 3D image from two eye image sources.

      IE, reality or special glasses.

      • Right, because it takes the brain more effort to put together a 3D image from two eye image sources than a 3D image from two eye image sources. IE, reality or special glasses.

        That is correct. It is very different. Physical objects are much easier for your brain to process than virtual images. That's not even taking into consideration resolution limits - or a big one for theaters - different viewpoints. A stereoscopic image only truly works from one vantage point. A theater, by necessity, has many differen

      • Right, because it takes the brain more effort to put together a 3D image from two eye image sources than a 3D image from two eye image sources.

        The two images from that come from real objects differ according to the real geometry of our eye spacing and our distance from the object. In a movie theater, our eyes are fed two images where the difference has been calculated beforehand by a technician who had to make a wild-ass guess at the average seating distance and eye spacing. It will always be slightly off

  • At the 3D attractions at Walt Disney World, like "Honey I Shrunk the Audience," and that Muppets one and the Bug's Life one and the other one with Donald Duck, there are smells put out and wind generated to enhance the experience, along with the occasional spray of water or cascade of bubbles. Maybe they should do that with the sporting events.
  • by joel8x (324102) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @09:16AM (#14993394) Homepage
    -Will they allow you to drink beer and eat wings? Probably not

    -Will they let you pause the DVR so you can take a phone call or take a piss? Definitely not

    -Will you be allowed to scream obscenities at the top of your lungs when you team screws up? Most likely not

    Sports viewing in public belongs in Bars. A movie theater seems like a lousy place to watch a game.
    • -Will they allow you to drink beer and eat wings? Probably not

      -Will they let you pause the DVR so you can take a phone call or take a piss? Definitely not

      -Will you be allowed to scream obscenities at the top of your lungs when you team screws up? Most likely not

      From TFA:
      The cinemas brought in vendors to stroll the aisles with hot dogs, peanuts and beer, sold team gear in the lobbies and encouraged fans to loosen up as they would in the ball park.

      I don't know about wings, but they'll definitely let

    • You can't pause the game at a Sports Bar, and most of these theatres DO encourage loud behavior and sell food, which you'd know if you'd read the article.

      Feel free to stay home...
  • And make sure you squawk and cluck and complain if the person next to you dares talk on the phone.

    Paying to watch commercials? oh yeah.
  • When I read stories like this one, and the one about theater wanting to move to digital projection, I just can't help of thinking of someone rearranging deck chairs on some large cruise ship that was built a while ago. I'm pretty sure it met a rather depressing fate..

    /theater is dead
    //it's not dead because of the lack of "technology"

  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @11:08AM (#14993696) Homepage
    Won't work. Geometric distortion is the fatal flaw in all screen-and-glasses systems. The geometry of the image only looks natural from a very small number of seats, and only if the camera is photographing with a "normal" focal-length lens. Under all other conditions, the 3D image has distorted geometry. Actually this is true even with flat images, but it is much more acceptable in those situations.

    3D movies work for "fantasy" movies, where Cabinet-of-Dr-Caligari-like distortions don't affect (or even enhance) the viewing experience. They work for short novelty films and roller-coaster-like "This-Is-Cinerama"-type spectacles. But when you want a sustained, realistic impression of physical presence, the distortions much more serious.

    Think of it this way. Can you enjoy sports in black-and-white? Yes. Can you enjoy sports in reasonably faithful color? Yes. Could you enjoy sports in psychedelic, distorted color? I doubt it, although such distortions might not matter in a comedy or a cartoon.

    Why is this distortion inevitable? It's because in a live theatre every single eyeball gets a different view of the stage, one for every eyeball in the audience. Someone sitting front left sees a stereo pair, someone sitting rear right sees a stereo pair, but they are different stereo pairs. In a 3D movie, everyone sees the same pair of images. Put a 3D camera in a live theatre, then screen the results: the only person with an undistorted view is the person sitting in the same seat the camera was in when it shot the scene.

    Another way to think of it. Suppose that in a 3D movie Ann Miller is twenty feet from the camera, and suppose she pitches a handkerchief directly toward the camera and it lands ten feet away. When the results are screened, whereever you are sitting you are going to see that handkerchief come straight toward you and land halfway between you and the screen. If you're sitting ten feet from the screen at the right, that handkerchief will come toward the right and land five feet away--and all the depth in the scene will be half as deep as it should be, and every cube in the scene will be a parallelopiped skrooged toward the right.

    If you're sitting forty feet from the screen at the left, that handkerchief will come toward the left and land twenty feet away. And all the depth in the scene will be exaggerated, twice as deep as it should be. And everything that's square will turn into a rhombus, skrooged toward the left.

    And it gets even worse if you add wide-angle and telephoto shots. Telephoto shots flatten depth; in a baseball game, the batter seems to be standing only ten feet from the pitcher. But it's not that obvious in a 2D image. In a 3D image, you will get the same effect and you won't be able to ignore it.

    Do you think this sort of thing is likely to affect your enjoyment of a sports event, which consists (in part) of appreciating the precise geometry of the playing field and the skill of the players in judging distances? I do.
    • The distortion has never bothered me, even when sitting waaaay off to the side at a 3D film. Human brains are remarkably good at dealing with unrealistic perspectives and distortions. I can use my binoculars without issue despite the dramatic collapse of depth perception they produce. I can look at an image taken with a fisheye lens from the side and still make sense of it. Seeing skewed off-center 3D is just one more thing your brain needs a second to get used to. I don't really think it would be a hu
  • by Simonetta (207550) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @01:54PM (#14994323)
    Theaters should deal with the real problem. Which is that the film distributors, and film is what the theaters do, demand 90% of their box office receipts for the first two-three weeks of any new movie that shows in the theater. With this type of arrangement, there is no way in hell that any theater can make any money from showing films. Which, as mentioned eariler, is what they do. So there is all this desperate nonsense, er... explorations into alternative revenue sources like 3D sports and digital film image projection.

        Problem is, these other things aren't revenue generators. Au Contraire, they are revenue burners because the theaters have to absorb the costs of this new presentation technology without any assurances that the public will be willing to pay more for film and video services that they already get from their 'home theaters'. In fact it is unlikely that the people who put up many thousands of dollars for 'home theaters' (which are just big screen televisions and loud stereos) can be brought back into the theaters by anything that the theaters offer because the people who bought the 'home theaters' don't have any money left.

        So that just leaves the people who used to go to movies but don't anymore. And usually why they don't is because the films are either too expensive or too stupid. And the reason that the films are too expensive is because Hollywood has lost the ability to make high-quality reasonably priced entertainment products.

        We are at the end of Hollywood cycle now; this one has been the 'BlockBuster' era that started in 1977 with the original Star Wars movie. So there is going to be a period of contraction in the industry and the same time that there will be bursts of huge amounts of money thrown at projects of truly dubious artistic and commercial merit. Huge projects with no realistic expectation generating any real profit [stuff like Peter Jackson's King Kong, Disney's Treasure Planet, and Oliver Stone's Alexander] will continue to pop out of Hollywood as the industry goes into its final crash-and-burn cycle.

        This has all happened before. The most recent Hollywood down cycle started in the mid-1950s and lasted until the mid 1970s. The defining bomb movie of that era was Cleopatra(1964) staring Elizabeth Taylor, who was the Lindsay Lohan of the 1950's. Cleopatra cost about $500-$600 million in today's equivalent dollars and brought in about 1/10th of its cost in box office. Check it out on DVD or VHS if you want to get an idea of what kind of projects are being currently planned in Hollywood for the 2007-2009 season.

        Anyway, the theaters are the only people who can stop the Hollywood descent in madness by demanding a much better return schedule on box office receipts and forcing Hollywood into developing higher quality, less-expensive product.

        But the theaters are unlikely to take this opportunity because they are run by mediocre, narrow-minded, business and marketing majors who would be challenged should they ever have be called to operate anything as complex as a K-Mart Men's department. You know these guys; they're the ones with the white shirts, bad haircuts, and vaguely worried looks on their faces that you see when you stop at McDonald's for a MuffinBurger before going to work in the morning. These guys are not going to be generating solutions to Hollywood's basic problems.

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