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Consumers Prefer Movies At Home 738

Ubergrendle writes "A poll conducted by Ipsos on behalf of the Associated Press and AOL confirmed that 73% of movie viewers prefer to watch movies at home rather than at a theater. This article comes on the heels of a consistently poor box office this year, even despite the presence of the new Star Wars film. Despite this demand for home viewing, only 5% admitted to downloading a movie from the internet."
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Consumers Prefer Movies At Home

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  • HA! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TripMaster Monkey ( 862126 ) * on Friday June 17, 2005 @12:14PM (#12842586)

    This is what I have been telling everyone for years!

    Let's go over the pros and cons, shall we?

    • Home Theater: You have full control over the movie. You can pause it while fixing a snack or visiting the little moviegoers' can rewind to watch an exciting scene again, you can fast-forward past the boring bits, etc.
      Theater: You lose. You have no control. Don't you go to the bathroom...cause I'm not gonna tell you what you missed.
    • Home Theater: You are in the privacy of your own commute is zero, you are among friends.
      Theater: You drive x number of miles to be squeezed into a packed, filthy theater with unidentifiable gunk coating the floors and other 'movie patrons' who smell like either really bad milk or really good cheese.
    • Home Theater: You can dress (or undress) as you can watch your movie in your stocking feet, in a bathrobe, or stark naked.
      Theater: Public area, public standards of decency apply (barely), see above reason for why you should *never* take off your shoes in a movie theater.
    • Home Theater: You can enjoy whatever food you care to make for yourself at a reasonable cost.
      Theater: You are forced to purchase the theater's overpriced, low-quality slop.
    • Home Theater: Private bathroom ('nuff said)
      Theater: Public restroom. (ick)
    • Home Theater: Price of movie anywhere from $3.00 to FREE (for whole room).
      Theater: Price of movie anywhere from $2.00 (no more dollar shows anymore, apparently :( ) to $9.50, and that's PER PERSON.

    The choice seems clear.
    • Re:HA! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by yellowbkpk ( 890493 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @12:16PM (#12842611)
      Home Theater: You don't have to spend $9.50 on a ticket to watch 20 minutes of TV ads and commercials.
      • Re:HA! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Mr_Silver ( 213637 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @12:30PM (#12842825)
        Home Theater: You don't have to spend $9.50 on a ticket to watch 20 minutes of TV ads and commercials.

        Unless, of course, you're watching the DVD of "Master and Commander", where you're forced to watch 20 minutes of adverts and the fast-forward and menu buttons have been kindly disabled during this time.

        • Re:HA! (Score:3, Funny)

          by doubledoh ( 864468 )
          Man, if there's one thing that would drive me to murder, it would be being forced to watch adverts on my own dvd. Death to hollywood.
        • Re:HA! (Score:4, Informative)

          by Rude Turnip ( 49495 ) <[valuation] [at] []> on Friday June 17, 2005 @12:34PM (#12842881)
          Hint: Try the "next chapter" button. Does the trick for me.
          • Re:HA! (Score:5, Insightful)

            by ergo98 ( 9391 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @12:43PM (#12843003) Homepage Journal
            Next chapter is usually disabled. I believe it's Shrek 2 that has some monstrous ad for Madagascar on it (among others), and they disable the menu and next chapter buttons (WHICH INFURIATES ME btw. My next DVD player will be purchased based upon it having a back-door around this abusive bullshit, and Hollywood can suck on a choad). To make matters even more fun both of my DVD players (from entirely different manufacturers, and made 6 years apart) crash if I fast forward past the end of that chapter. I'm forced to fast forward, and then hit play right before that craptacular ad ends.

            Nothing engenders sympathy for video pirates more than the abusive practices of the large media companies.
        • Fair Use (Score:4, Interesting)

          by MarkByers ( 770551 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @12:52PM (#12843125) Homepage Journal
          If you have bought a copy of the DVD, you can legally download another copy where the annoying faetures are removed, under fair use. Well you can in Europe anyway, not sure about other countries.
          • Re:Fair Use (Score:3, Informative)

            by sabernet ( 751826 )
            applies most places(even here in Canada), but not in the States. The ominous DMCA prohibits the circumvention of any copy-protection mechanism, and I imagine(as it's so loosely written), that it also extends to bypassing it by downloading content from someone else who has himself bypassed it.

            But IANAL
          • Re:Fair Use (Score:3, Informative)

            by Zardoz44 ( 687730 )
            Or use DVDShrink and rip&burn your own copy. DVD burners are almost standard in computers now. Probably better quality than a download, and much quicker.
        • Re:HA! (Score:3, Insightful)

          by swillden ( 191260 ) *

          Unless, of course, you're watching the DVD of "Master and Commander", where you're forced to watch 20 minutes of adverts and the fast-forward and menu buttons have been kindly disabled during this time.

          My DVD player is a MythTV box. Not a problem.

          That said, I prefer going to a theatre. I have a nice TV, surround sound, etc., but the theatre has one *HUGE* advantage -- It's Not Home. This is more meaningful to my wife than to me, but it's nice to get *out*, to get away from the kids. Dinner and a

      • Re:HA! (Score:3, Insightful)

        Home Theater: You don't have to spend $9.50 on a ticket to watch 20 minutes of TV ads and commercials.

        No shit. I can live with high ticket prices, or I can live with commercials before the movies, but the combination really has been enough to discourage me from going to theater lately. And I used to be a movie junkie.
      • Re:HA! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Rostin ( 691447 )
        I own a small TV I got for free from my parents because it has a few problems they weren't willing to live with. I don't really know what size it is because I don't care. I'm guessing it's around 20 inches. To get a "home theater" system, I'd have to lay down hundreds and hundreds, perhaps thousands and thousands of dollars.

        On the other hand, I can pay $9.50 (it's actually a little cheaper where I live) and see a movie in a theater. More like $5 for a matinee.

        Assuming a "home theater" system costs $10
    • Re:HA! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rootofevil ( 188401 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @12:17PM (#12842637) Homepage Journal
      you forgot

      -Home Theater: Some jackass talking during the movie? Feel free to smack them, since its a family member or friend.
      Theater: Ask someone in a theater to be quiet and you might end up in the dumpster out back with some extra ventilation in your chest.

      -Home Theater: Beer.
      Theater: soda, for which you pay more than alcohol
      • Theater: soda, for which you pay more than alcohol

        A bazillion years ago, when I used to work in a theater, a manager told me that most of the ticket price went for the flick, and the concession stand turned on the lights and paid the meager salaries.
        One of the real advantages of a theater is the other people; movie theaters tend to always be open on holidays, especially around the end of the year, when people without immediate family who paradoxically want other people around, and anonymity at the same

      • Re:HA! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by HardCase ( 14757 )
        -Home Theater: Some jackass talking during the movie? Feel free to smack them, since its a family member or friend.
        Theater: Ask someone in a theater to be quiet and you might end up in the dumpster out back with some extra ventilation in your chest.

        Bingo! That's got to be the biggest reason why I'd rather stay at home than go to a movie.

        I have to wonder what the moviegoing experience is in a major metropolitan area. In my city, the closer the theater is to the city proper, the better behaved the audien
    • Re:HA! (Score:4, Informative)

      by Gribflex ( 177733 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @12:21PM (#12842681) Homepage
      Only $9.50?
      Dude, where I live movies can cost as much as $16 CDN per person. Even after the conversion, I wish I had it as good as $9.50.
      • Re:HA! (Score:3, Interesting)

        $16 CDN??? My God, man...I was padding the $9.50 figure to bolster my point...I had no idea things had gotten that bad...but then again, I haven't seen the inside of a movie theater in years...
        • Re:HA! (Score:3, Informative)

          by cei ( 107343 )
          Dude, you're way off, at least for the big cities... In Los Angeles there are theaters that regularly charge $14 per ticket, and a few that will charge more because they're trying to throw in some "added value" to the moviegoing experience. (Granted, in these high-priced examples, they don't show ads, and sometimes not trailers...)
      • Re:HA! (Score:3, Informative)

        by Idimmu Xul ( 204345 )
        I've just looked in to getting tickets for Batman Begins from the Vue [] cinema chain online, £6.75 + 50p booking fee which is like $13.50 USD :(

        Not to mention when you get their if you want a coke or popcorn you're looking at another £5-6 ($9-11) :(

        And (no offence) the sizes of the drinks and popcorn are clear 'American' sizes, i.e. ranging from 'huge' to 'fucking huge', with 'fucking huge' costing only about 25p more than 'huge' :(

        You can buy the DVD when it comes out for pretty much the price
    • Re:HA! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ergo98 ( 9391 )
      I love how the submissions says the following:

      Despite this demand for home viewing, only 5% admitted to downloading a movie from the internet.

      Despite? How in the world is this despite, as if downloading movies is part and parcel of watching movies at home?

      I drop by my local Blockbuster every now and then and peruse their selection of full-quality DVDs, getting very recent movies. My life is too busy these days to differentiate between 0-dayz and 3 months old, and I'm perfectly happy to wait until it c
    • You missed a couple:

      • Home Theater: Show starts when you want.
        Theater: Show starts only at specific times and you have to sit thru 10 minutes of commercials.
      • Home Theater: With your friends or alone.
        Theater: With a random selection of people (not always a bad thing).
      • Home Theater: Can fit a dozen friends
        Theater: Can fit a hundred hooligans.
      • Home Theater: Booze!
        Theater: usually have to sneak booze in.
    • Re:HA! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jarnis ( 266190 )
      Plus the fact that they show you buttload of commercials before the actual thing you PAID to see.

      Movie theaters and the whole business can only blame themselves. It was different ballgame when a big movie screen competed with your average crappy 20" junk TV and VHS tape.

      Now movie theaters are being 0wnz0red by home theater setups that are quite good enough as far as picture and sound quality goes. And you don't have to watch cubic assload of stupid commercials or spend time to actually get to the theater.
    • See the latest movie at the cinema with my lady and the total cost mounts up. Drive for 30 minutes and park up £2.50. Buy a pair of tickets £13.00. Buy a coke and a medium popcorn between us £5.50. Total = £21

      Buy the DVD from the supermarket a few months later to watch at home as many times as I damn well please = £10-15

      Lets just say I dont go to the cinema too often these days.
    • The major reason for me is that my local theaters screens are getting smaller and my home theater is getting bigger. I used to go to the theather to see movies on the "big" screen. All of the theaters in my local area have switched from a few large screens to many smaller ones. Sure, they can carry 20 different movies now, but the quality isn't much better than what I get at home. As the average TV size goes up and everyone has at least 5.1 surround, theaters are going to have to do something to draw pe
    • OK, I'm obviously in the minority here, but I LIKE going to the theatre. Theatre popcorn tastes better than the stuff you make at home (same logic applies to hot dogs at baseball games), the sound and picture is much better than my "crappy" 27 inch TV, stadium seats are pretty comfy, and some movies are just better seen as a shared experience.
    • $9.50 per person? That's cheap compared with Londons West End cinemas which charge twice that (£11 per person = $20), plus booking fee if you book online.
    • Home: Your gear is set up and operated by someone who cares. Theatre: The camera is operated by a minimum wage highschool student in his afterschool/weekend job. The cameras are out of focus, the camera mount jitters, the projected image is never the same size as the screen. Home: DVD $15-$25 that you can watch again and again (if it's really that good) Theater: $7.50 (seniors, kids, shows before 2pm) to $11.00 (full price) [per person] to see the damned thing only once (and the same price again if it's
    • Re:HA! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Catbeller ( 118204 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @12:27PM (#12842781) Homepage
      9.75 US for a ticket, TEN DOLLARS for a large popcorn and sugar water.

      You forgot the commericals. I saw Batman Begins on Wednesday.

      I sat down at 6:45 for a 7:00 show. I waited through a THIRTY-FIVE MINUTES OF COMMERICALS AND TRAILERS before the show started. My legs and my mind had gone numb.

      How much will you pay me for a half hour of my free time, Loews?
    • I took my wife and kid to see Madagascar last weekend. Tickets for the three of us was $28 and one medium popcorn and one medium pop was $10.

      While I think $28 for two adults and one kid is too high, I'm willing to pay it every once and a while. It's when I'm paying $10 for a popcorn and a drink that cost the theatre less than 20 cents that I get really ticked off.
    • by kevcol ( 3467 )
      These are all great points- and also missing is you don't have to do the messy 'cut-the-hole-in-the-popcorn-bucket' trick to surprise your date.
    • Forgot one (Score:3, Insightful)

      by trezor ( 555230 )

      Home Theater: Currently limited to crappy-ass TV-resolution
      Theater: Experience the awesomeness of film.

      But yeah, I agree. Movie theaters haven't really got all that stuff going for them these days.

      Give me DVDs with full HD-resolution released in a somewhat sane timeframe, and you probably won't see me going to the theaters anytime soon.

    • Home Theater: You can cry into your ice cream while watching your favorite romantic comedy for the fifteenth time

      Public Theater: You can't cry because you're afraid the tears will blur your vision; causing you to miss a second of your fifteen dollar movie. You can't cry because you're afraid to get your 5 dollar popcorn soggy. You can't cry because the guy sitting next to you is an ex-convict.

      Home Theater is clearly the better choice for cry babies across the globe.

      j/k sweetybear
  • by slusich ( 684826 ) * <slusich@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Friday June 17, 2005 @12:15PM (#12842602)
    No surprise there.
    I won't go into a theater anymore. I use Netflix and buy the movies I really want to watch. I've invested in a HD widescreen 52" television and a decent 6.1 surround sound system. Now when I watch a movie:
    1. I can get up to go pee without missing any of it.
    2. I don't have other people annoying me while I'm trying to watch it. (Well, other then the wife and kids, but what can you do?)
    3. I can smoke, and have a glass of scotch.
    4. I don't have to watch a half hour of commercials before the movie starts.
    And I can do all this from the comfort of my sofa in my boxer shorts.
    Oh, and I've never downloaded a feature movie off the net. I've seen them, the quality isn't what I want.
    DVD's and home theater systems have made the theater more of a hassle then a special event. Unless you're going by yourself, you're going to spend as much if not more going to the theater then you will buying the DVD. Leave the theaters to the teenyboppers on dates. They're not there to watch the movie anyway.
    • even they should watch the movie at home... they can get involved into more, erh... action.. without risking being arrested for anything ranging from indecent exposure to whatever you want above that
    • Oh, and I've never downloaded a feature movie off the net. I've seen them, the quality isn't what I want.

      You can use a website to find the checksum of a file that has high quality. If you download at random, you will mostly get bad copies, but if you use a verified downloads site, you get high quality copies.
  • by syntap ( 242090 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @12:16PM (#12842621)
    Home Theater: Private bathroom (icky)
    Theater: Public restroom. (ickier)
  • Hmmmm (Score:4, Funny)

    by NerdBuster ( 831349 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @12:17PM (#12842631)
    Sex is better at home during a movie than in a theater too :)
    • Re:Hmmmm (Score:2, Informative)

      by Trigun ( 685027 )
      Not necessarily, but the bathrooms are still icky.
    • I don't know about this one. There's a defenite thrill of doing something "naughty" where you shouldn't be. Don't discount the stimulation your CNS provides with the small bit of stress you have over the risk of being caught.
  • Why is there a shock at the comparison between the ideas of:

    a: not watching at theatre
    b: not downloading illegally

    Are people really so forgetful of rental services that someone thinks that a and b are mutually exclusive?

    Wtf? Over.

  • Maybe..... (Score:2, Informative)

    by nevek ( 196925 )
    We dont like paying 11$ for a movie!
  • DUH!!! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Shadow Wrought ( 586631 ) <> on Friday June 17, 2005 @12:17PM (#12842639) Homepage Journal
    We all saw what happened to Pee-Wee. Aint't no way that's happening to me again.
  • by OctoberSky ( 888619 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @12:19PM (#12842656)
    Well wonder why?
    Movie Theater
    Ticket: $9.25 x 2 = $18.50
    Popcorn: $3.75 (would you like a large for $2.00 more?)
    Beverage: $4.25 (would you like a xxl with free refills for $2.00 more?)
    Candy: $3.00
    Going home and getting laid: Priceless.

    Home Theater
    Rental: $4.00
    Popcorn: $1.00
    12 Pack of Coors Ligh: $9.99 + deposit
    Candy: $1.24
    Turning Gili off, and getting laid: Priceless.
  • by TobyWong ( 168498 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @12:19PM (#12842659)
    When 2 tickets cost more than the DVD it becomes a no brainer. The only time I ever go to a theatre anymore is for a movie I *REALLY* don't want to wait for. An example of this would be the LOTR movies. 99% of everything else I have no problem waiting for the DVD release and watching them then.
  • No Annoying Kids (Score:5, Insightful)

    by randomErr ( 172078 ) < minus city> on Friday June 17, 2005 @12:20PM (#12842671) Journal
    The main reason my wife and I don't go to the movies a lot are the kids, specifically the teens. They come in, talk the whole time, can't turn off their cell phones, and usually leave a big mess behind.

    The price is the second reason, but it's mainly people who can't shut up or at least talk at a whisper. At home I can send my kids to bed if they get noisy.
  • by Buran ( 150348 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @12:21PM (#12842683)
    I'm hearing impaired. Captions are required for me to be able to watch movies or TV. Yet theaters do not provide this vital service to their disabled patrons (the only one that does in my area is a science museum with rear-window captioning installed in its IMAX theater).

    This is why I will wait for the DVD unless it is a movie I really can't wait to see, and even then I have to know the basic story first (like LOTR and the Star Wars films). I have no choice but to wait for the DVD release.

    Whatever happened to the class-action lawsuit that was planned to force this accomodation to be added under the ADA? This is, I feel, a valid reason to bring suit. If there's space for wheelchairs, they're accomodating the visibly physically handicapped -- but those of us with that invisible disability get stiffed.

    (Oh, and the overpriced food is another thing ... stop whining that people bring in their own food when you're putting the screws to people. Oh, and maybe you should go into that Walgreens across the street someday, which is selling "theater size" boxes of candy for HALF what you are!)
    • The River East theater complex in Chicago on Illinois street has a sign saying that they provide captioning for the deaf, or descriptions for the blind, in one of their theaters. Noticed it while waiting in line last Wednesday.

      Bathrooms are very clean, too.
    • Whatever happened to the class-action lawsuit that was planned to force this accomodation to be added under the ADA?

      I'm not that familiar with the ADA, but I believe that it is more for "equal opportunity" vs "equal amenities under every circumstance". By that I mean, that the ADA specifies things like handicapped people must have equal opportunity physically to access a public place like ramps, bathrooms, and I guess those electric carts for those that can manage to make it to a store, but are unable to
    • This is, I feel, a valid reason to bring suit.

      Not to sound like a jerk or anything.. ok maybe a little, but why should everyone else have to have their theater experience compromised just to accomidate you? What about blind people? Should the theaters have headphones with a narrator describing what's going on for each movie?

      Maybe there should be theaters with captions, but asking them all to do it is like asking Ford to put handicap controls on the steering wheels of all their cars.

      With Obesity becoming
  • The last line of the article makes it sound like downloading movies is something that everyone does but just don't 'admit' to.

    Could it be that most people would rather spend the $4-$8 on a rental or $10-$18 to buy a movie instead of going through the still complicated steps to find, download and burn a dvd of a low quality bootleg?

    Movie piracy over the net in the US is vastly overrated.

  • Let's see, I can take my family to the theater to watch a movie that may or may not be good, and in doing so spend $8 per person for tickets and $4 per person for snacks (for me, the total comes to $48). Or I can rent a DVD (or watch by PPV) for $5, provide my own (better) snacks at home, and watch the movie on my big screen HDTV. And, if the movie turns out to be really good, I can buy a DVD copy for about $25. If the movie turns out to be not that good(tm) (and 80% of the movies these days fall into th
  • I believe that Mr. Cuban has proposed something like this, but imagine if the movie studios really took off with this idea. What if on the day a movie is released, it's:

    1. Available in the theaters
    2. Available on DVD
    3. Available as a pay-for-download (say either pay-per-view, or an iTunes Video Store kind of idea (granted, that would mean Apple or someone would have to come up with a good home media Tivo like device that's not a whole fricken' computer - say around $300 or so. Tivo should be hopping over that.)

    You can go to the movies and see it on the screen, and on your way out buy the DVD if you like. There - theaters and studios just got your money twice!

    People (such as myself) with young children who don't attend many movies since small crying children in theaters are bad could either rent the new release (even at a premium of $10 for the rental of a "brand new!" movie release could be worth it), or pick it up in a store for $20 - $25 to own (maybe "new movie" DVD's are a little more, which would be acceptable, then go down in price after six months or so depending on the movies popularity), or tell the machine "I want to buy this movie - go download it" and, if the machine is set up smartly to auto-download certain movies in encrypted format for use (I believe DirectTV was thinking of an idea like this), I'm watching it.

    Or use Pay-per-view. Whatever.

    The movie industry could drive hugh amounts of revenue. Rather than hand-wringing with "Oh, nos! Teh bad hack0rs will steal our movies if we let them be downloaded", odds are they could see a doubling or tripling of sales the first 48 hours a movie is out. They could have re-releases of the DVD with the cool "Director's cut" (or even offer that the day the movie is released and get around the rating systems in the theaters) and get people to buy it twice.

    It's so brain numbingly obvious, it's a mystery to me that nobody's at least tried it. At least maybe on a lesser known title that they don't expect to do well at the box office and see how it goes.

    Anyway, this is all just my own opinion. I could be wrong.
    • 1. Available in the theaters
      2. Available on DVD
      3. Available as a pay-for-download

      Almost, but not quite.

      In first run you make the DVD available, but only in the theater. This brings the theater owners on board by giving them an additional profit center. The movie becomes an "ad" for the DVD.

      Then you make the retail DVD and pay per download release cuncurrently with second release to the theaters. Second release theaters and "art houses" are the only ones still selling the "theater experience" and do so a
  • I went to "Revenge of the Sith". In the middle of the movie there was this constant babbling behind me. I turned around and looked and there was this slob on his cell phone and he promptly gave me the finger.

    Though I went and got the usher, I still feel inclined that I should have used my own physical force.

    MPAA - if people stop going to your movies it's because they might be getting tired of cell phones in theatres.
  • by Shky ( 703024 ) <> on Friday June 17, 2005 @12:25PM (#12842747) Homepage Journal
    For me, there are theatre movies, and there are 'renters.' Most comedies, dramas, or any other movie that I'm only somewhat interested in get rented. But although I have a pretty good set up here (5.1 surround, Sony Wega HDTV) it still doesn't compare to the sound or screen in a good theatre. Star Wars, Batman Begins, and other huge movies like that demand a theatre. My home theatre just doesn't compare.
  • I prefer watching a movie at the Alamo drafthouse (
    * No one under 18
    * Food
    * Beer

    What else could you really want?

  • WTF ?? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Adult film producer ( 866485 ) <> on Friday June 17, 2005 @12:25PM (#12842757)
    I guess their definition of a 'slow year' is different from mine.. Here are the box office totals for the latest star wars flick,

    Domestic: $336,736,523 49.5%
    + Overseas: $344,085,178 50.5%
    = Worldwide: $680,821,701

    Fuck, it'll hit a billion in a few months probably.
  • I like the cinema, its a good trip out and movies do look so much better on the big screen.

    Downsides are the cost of soda/snacks ($5.00 for a medium coke is blatant extortion) but I can live with it.

    The real limiting factor is that now we have a baby we can't go anywhere unless we get a sitter.
  • The Big Screen (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NetSettler ( 460623 ) <> on Friday June 17, 2005 @12:26PM (#12842777) Homepage Journal
    If you think the numbers are high now, just imagine how high they will be when large flatscreens get cheap...

    They don't call theaters "The Big Screen" for nothing.

    And besides, in all the rush to have more choices for moviegoers at theaters, the Big Screens you get at theaters are getting smaller while the ones you get at home are getting larger. As theaters make more and more small rooms to watch in that aren't that dissimilar to home, what's the difference other than sharing the room with a lot of noisy strangers.

    Eventually, to survive, I predict that theaters will have to go back to the really big screen. Or start featuring other things, like food [], just as air conditioning was once a big draw (and might be again if the poor in the US keep getting poorer and return to the days where they can't afford "basic needs" like dvd players and air conditioners).

    There may also be a few kinds of specialty movies, like comedies, where a critical mass of people who are smart enough to get the jokes and make others realize it's time to laugh doesn't hurt either...
    • Re:The Big Screen (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kfg ( 145172 )
      They don't call theaters "The Big Screen" for nothing.

      In my city we have the benefit of having a fully restored vaudevillian theater (and one that was considered the most luxurious in its day at that. The first time I saw I show on Broadway in NYC I was shocked at how pathetic the theater was) with plush seats, $2 tickets, snacks at the same price as you'd pay at CVS and biiiiiig fucking screen.

      It's God Almight theater.

      Makes a big difference in the willingness to leave home to attend.

      The only downside
  • For most of the movies out there I say to mysel Ill wait for the DVD. Because there is no good point watching it at the theator. Unless it is a movie with a lot of good effects Like LotR or Harry Potter or Star Wars. Then it is worth watching it to get the full effect of the movie with surrond sound and the like. But for the other movies where there is no real wow effect from seing it in the theator vs. watching it from home like any lower key non-action movie. Like most comidies or Dramas there is no p
  • This is something that I finally got my wife to understand, in any given year there is only a small handful of movies that you *have* to see in the theater the first time. For example, Lord of the Rings. On the other hand, there are a whole lot more of "wait until it's out on DVD" movies. For example, oh, any chick-flick ever made.

    The bonus to this is by the time they come out on DVD she's usually forgotten about the "must see" chick-flick-du-jour. Even if she remembers she usually waits for a time whe
  • I saw Sith in my local cinema (I'm British - I go to the cinema to watch a film...), and now that it's a god-knows-how-many screen multiplex the screen was, of course, tiny. The actual auditorium was also undersized; the green emergency exit sign was so close to the screen that it cast a permanent green glow over the bottom right portion of the screen.

    So much for the full cinematic experience... I remember the good old days of 1000+ seaters and grainy, still image ads for the curry house "just round the co
  • "Consumers" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by albeit unknown ( 136964 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @12:33PM (#12842868)
    Why can't we be called "people"?

    I for one am tired of the implication that my only purpose in life is to mindlessly devour everything marketed at me, and to take on as much debt as possible in doing so.
    • Perhaps because in relation to the topic at hand, a consumer is precisely what you are. The movie industry doesn't give a flying rat what else you do in your life, because your only relation to it is as one who *consumes* their product. Unless you're involved in the production or distribution, of course. See, using "people" would imply every last person on the planet, and a lot of people don't consume movies at all. "Consumers" makes it clear that we're only talking about those who consume the product in qu
  • by FerretFrottage ( 714136 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @12:34PM (#12842878)
    When I view a flick at home, I don't have to worry about attendants in night vision goggles trying to take my camcorder. I can just set the camcorder on a tripod, perfectly centered on the screen I might add, although I had to then shift a little right or left to see the movie. Regardless, when filmed at home, there is much less hassle and I don't have ticket collectors asking me if that's a tripod in my pocket.--and I get a perfect miniDV recording of the movie on my 60" TV as it was meant to be seen.

  • I have been collecting DVD's since they first came out (In the mid 90's, DVDs cost $9 ). In our house, we have some odd 600 DVDs. More than half of these, we could have seen in the theatres, but chose to wait until DVD. It cost us less, and we ended up with the movie.
  • $10+ a ticket? for two people that is $20 then add on overpriced popcorn and drinks

    WHILE you can wait a few months for the flick to come out on DVD and you can own it, and watch it as many times as you want for $15

    let me see which i prefer....

    but there are some films you have to see in the theater, but more often than not, home works better
  • I'm beginning to shun theatres based on the unavoidable, loud commercials that play during the 20 minutes before the previews start and the six dollar popcorn. 2 tickets + 1 popcorn + 2 sodas ~= 10 movie rentals, and i can pause the dvd when i get up to go to the bathroom.
  • by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @12:38PM (#12842947) Homepage
    Most of the comments here have come down on the home-viewing side. I'm going to pick the cinema side instead though. My reasons...

    • It's an event. That is, you're watching something outside of your normal environment and so it feels more of an occasion. Also, you've put in effort to be in a certain place at a certain time - you're more likely to feel anticipation in such circumstances.
    • Screen size and sound. Unless you've paid beyond a fortune, the cinema will have your home setup beaten.
    • Timeliness - films are out first at the cinema, so you've got a chance of seeing it before you already know everything there is to know about it from friends who tell you the plot. I'm ignoring net-based leaks here, I really think that's a tiny minority of people.
    • Concentration. If I'm at home, I'm at home. I know there's work to be done, things to be cleaned or tidied, phones that might ring....generally tasks to sort out. None of that feeling in a cinema.

    That's pretty much it for me. There are downsides involving ignorant cinema goers making too much noise, but not much else. If I'm taking my wife for a night out, very rare for us now as we have young kids to look after, it's likely we'll go for a film. Whilst I enjoy watching films at home, it simply doesn't feel anywhere near as special.


  • by yagu ( 721525 ) * <<moc.liamg> <ta> <ugayay>> on Friday June 17, 2005 @12:39PM (#12842954) Journal

    Hmmmmmmm, let's see... movie at the theatre:

    • Drive and deal with traffic
    • tickets, $9 per person (more if you purchase on-line)
    • 20 minutes of non-deferrable commercials before movie starts
    • unwanted previews of other movies
    • people in front of you you can't see over easily.
    • fat guy sitting in next seat (hey, wasn't he the one next to me on the plane?)
    • bag or box of popcorn for five or six dollars per person
    • three dollar drinks (hey, these are non-alcoholic!)
    • rude and/or non-existent service from the theater staff
    • gum under your shoe in your seat, guaranteed to go home with you
    • other viewers who won't stop talking during show
    • cell phones
    • pagers

    Or, movie at home:

    • pick movie from on-line database,
    • walk to mailbox to retrieve said movie
    • popcorn for entire family, fixed in popper... $1
    • drinks for entire family (including margaritas for Mom and Dad, less than $10
    • pause movie for bathroom breaks
    • no commercials (okay, sometime the dvd's don't let you skip those)
    • no traffic
    • movie starts at your start time.
    • optional "other" movie for kids to watch downstairs.

    Yeah, I'm not sure I get it... why would anyone prefer the theater over watching movies at home?

    • The last movie I saw in the theatre was probably LOTR_ROTK. There were a lot of noisy kids... I probably heard people blurt out "Mr. Anderson" twenty times whenever Elrond popped up on the screen. It got old after the first time. Movies are still cheap entertainment for kids, and they long ago stopped trying to attract adults (at least in my part of town).
  • Food prices (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tedhiltonhead ( 654502 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @12:39PM (#12842957)
    Many people here are complaining about theater food prices. For many theaters, concessions are their only opportunity to earn real money. In my local area, out of an $8 ticket, the theater keeps about $1. ONE DOLLAR. Concessions *require* a huge markup to bring in enough revenue to make the theater profitable enough to exist.

    So, the real culprit for high concession prices is Hollywood, for requiring theaters to pay them so much.

    This is, however, an excellent reason to eat dinner *before* the movie. :)
  • I call bullshit... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kalgash ( 158314 ) <> on Friday June 17, 2005 @12:43PM (#12843002) Homepage Journal
    On the numbers about the decline of box office reciepts. See Dave Poland's [] weblog entry [].

    This is yet another press hit for the MPAA in support of their cry of declining revenues due to "internet freeloading scum".

  • by jfengel ( 409917 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @12:45PM (#12843025) Homepage Journal
    I'd rather see movies in the theater much of the time. There are only a few I'm willing to pay $10 to see, and others I'll watch on DVD. But since all the threads so far have dissed movie theaters, I'll defend them.

    The best reason to see a movie in the theater is the size of the screen and the corresponding resolution. Movies that are beautifully shot don't translate well even to a 30"+ screen. Partly that's because of the DVD format with its limited resolution. The beauty is often in the details. A gorgeous landscape is just a blur on a DVD; the best work of an actor comes out in tiny movements.

    I saw Hero on the big screen and loved it; I can't help but think that part of the reason I liked House of Flying Daggers less is because I saw it on DVD. I'm sure it's at least as beautiful, but I just can't see it.

    On DVD I'll often watch movies in pan&scan rather than widescreen because widescreen costs me even more of my limited scan lines. Often you can cut off part of the picture as less relevant; it ruins the composition but at least I can see what's going on. Sometimes that doesn't work, either. The only way to appreciate the movie is to watch it at the theater.

    Maybe I'll change my mind when I start seeing high-definition DVDs. Even then it'll cost me $3,000 for a large TV and new DVD player; I can see a LOT of movies in the theater for that, even if I splurge and get the popcorn with simulated artificial butter-flavored grease.

    Yeah, I don't like crying babies and overpriced popcorn and $20 for me and a date, either. But I go because there are things I do like that I just can't get at home.

    (Also, it's creepy to invite your date over to your house for a first date. Movie theaters are a nice, neutral place.)
  • by TheKubrix ( 585297 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @01:07PM (#12843338) Homepage
    Don't get me wrong, I **love** going to the cinema, but as of late its becoming a horrible experience.

    The prices have skyrocketed (where I live its now $10 / ticket). People are rude and inconsiderate (hell, just read a recent experience []). Not to mention the crowds. I don't get how the Box Office is not increasingly making a profit, everytime I go (especially during peak hours), there are HORDES of people.....

    Either way, thanks to options such as Video on Demand, DVR, and Netflix, I rarely goto the the cinemas now, unless its a movie I can't wait to see, but even to that, I have to wait a week or so, otherwise its ruined....
  • Great Article (Score:5, Informative)

    by pbooktebo ( 699003 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @01:08PM (#12843343)
    I think that the best thing I've read on this issue lately is an article in the New Yorker by Louis Menand. It is about the historical perspective (TV robbing movies of their dominance, the rise of the blockbuster, etc.).

    Here's the url: at_atlarge []

    My favorite quote:
    And what is the main cinematic experience? The tickets, including the surcharge for ordering online, cost about the same as the monthly cable bill. A medium popcorn is five dollars; the smallest bottled water is three. The show begins with twenty minutes of commercials, spots promoting the theatre chain, and previews for movies coming out next Memorial Day, sometimes a year from next Memorial Day. The feature includes any combination of the following: wizards; slinky women of few words; men of few words who can expertly drive anything, spectacularly wreck anything, and leap safely from the top of anything; characters from comic books, sixth-grade world-history textbooks, or "Bulfinch's Mythology"; explosions; phenomena unknown to science; a computer whiz with attitude; a brand-name soft drink, running shoe, or candy bar; an incarnation of pure evil; more explosions; and the voice of Robin Williams. The movie feels about twenty minutes too long; the reviews are mixed; nobody really loves it; and it grosses several hundred million dollars.
  • Baby Booth (Score:3, Interesting)

    by chiph ( 523845 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @01:08PM (#12843344)
    One cool thing that the theaters in Germany had was a "Baby Booth". It was an enclosed area at the back of the theater with a glass front. It had it's own sound system, and people with small children could watch the movie from there without disturbing the other patrons.

    I wish the theaters in my area would add something like that.

    Chip H.
  • by turthalion ( 891782 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @01:12PM (#12843403) Homepage
    From my blog entry this morning... saves me retyping it all in.

    So the CBC [] has this story [], about a recent poll of Americans which found that 73 per cent of them prefer watching movies at home, whether through DVD, VHS or pay-per-view, rather than in the theatre.

    I'm sure Hollywood will get in a panic about this, and the MPAA will claim that piracy is to blame, even though only 5 per cent of those polled said they had downloaded a film.

    My response to Hollywood is: can you blame people?

    You're paying about $10 to go to the movies these days, just for admission (and even that's likely to get worse in Canada, when you read this [] about Cineplex Odeon buying Famous Players) to watch the latest crapstravaganza featuring the current flavour of the month actor who can't act their way out of a paper bag. The main character has some token development, and is surrounded by wooden characters brought to dubious life by bit actors. When will Hollywood realise the importance of casting for the small roles? Most of the Hollywood movies I've really enjoyed are the ones that people all of the roles, large or small, with quality character actors. Look at Shawshank Redemption, or even Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings, which didn't win any actors any awards, but were riddled with people who know how to act. And that makes it so much more convincing versus say, garbage like The Fast and the Furious.

    So people end up staying home--why get the car out, haul the family down to the theatre, spend $40 on admission and $30 on popcorn and drinks for a feature you're pretty sure, based on track record, is going to be disappointing? Much easier to stay at home and spend a few bucks renting the DVD or watching the pay-per-view.

    But appallingly bad films are not the only reason people are staying at home. Look at the difference in the viewing experience.

    At the theatre, I'm stuck in a seat that allows limited shifting of body position, the floor is sticky, people beside me talk to each other about other things throughout the movie, the guy behind me is busy explaining the film to his girlfriend (or worse yet, summarising the plot of Episodes I, II, IV, V and VI of Star Wars at the same time as watching and trying to explain RotS), I'm nowhere near the center of the screen because I no longer have the inclination or energy to line up first or barge past everyone else when they open the doors to get a good seat, the picture is grainy, often out of focus, and the sound is turned up so high and the sound system so poor that high-frequency noises like R2D2's beeps, are actively painful...

    Contrast that with, say, watching a DVD at home. I get the seat I want (though I can move during the film if I want, as well). I can put my feet up. My seat is right in the center of the screen. I can have the amount of ambient light I want. I can get up and go to the bathroom without missing the only meaningful line of dialogue in the film, the popcorn is cheaper and tastes better, the picture looks great. And as for the sound system (audiophile geekout coming up, you have been warned)...

    I have extreme control over the volume. I can boost the center channel volume so as to hear dialogue perfectly, while keeping the rest of the speakers lower. I've got an Arcam [] AVR100 amp driving the rear speakers, center channel and subwoofer, and a Musical Fidelity [] A300 [] dual mono amplifier driving some Monitor Audio [] Silver 8 [] speakers on the front, and the whole experience is way better than what you get
  • Admitted? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Skim123 ( 3322 ) <mitchell AT 4guysfromrolla DOT com> on Friday June 17, 2005 @01:19PM (#12843474) Homepage
    only 5% admitted to downloading a movie from the internet

    When you say 'admitted' you make it sound like way more than 5% of those polled downloaded a movie from the Internet. I wouldn't be surprised if the number was low. My parents, for example, still use dial-up. They have no idea what the heck a bittorrent is or how one would even go about getting a movie on the Internet. And once they have it they have no idea how they'd watch it on their TV. I would wager most movie-watching folks fall into this camp...

  • by Big_Al_B ( 743369 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:58PM (#12845692)
    I've seen several tons of people lamenting the $40 tickets (family of 4) plus $20 snacks ($5/per) for a movie out. Granted $60 is no small number. But the cost of home theater viewing can get very, very large too.

    My HT, which I do love and prefer to going out, cost a relatively economical $4400 for the TV, DVD player, VCR, 7.1 receiver, speakers, cables, and in-wall wiring in new construction. Add another $900 for 60 or so DVDs. That's the one-time charges. I could take the whole family out to 88.3 movies for that same money. That's one movie a week for 1.5 years

    My "HT" is also my family room, so I didn't go all out on gear. When I build a dedicated room in my unfinished basement, I'm estimating $25,000-$28,000 for equipment and furniture, plus $10,000 construction for a 14x20x9 room. (And then there's the other basement rooms...)

    For recurring charges, add another $30+ (beyond basic charges) per month, or ~$400/year, for HD cable, DVR, and 2 movie channel groupings. And maybe $4/month for the rare DVD rental. That's ~$450/year, or another 7 1/2 movies/year I could go out for.

    Finally, food and drink at home is, of course, much cheaper than at a theater, but it isn't free. I won't bother estimating how much gets consumed during movies in my house, but it would be considerable.

    So, yes, theaters gouge, but HT costs aren't trivial.

It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead