Another reason why theatrical movies are dying

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amcLast weekend when I caught the very entertaining Scarlett Johansson action film “Lucy” in a New York City multiplex I was appalled by the number of commercials that were shown before the movie.

In addition to the endless bank of trailers for upcoming releases — all of which looked and sounded the same — the audience was forced to sit through inane ads for everything from Oreo minis to video games to cars.

At home we can download movies for a couple of bucks and there is no clutter preceding them but in theaters these days chains such as AMC and Regal and National Amusements believe it is kosher to charge more than a month of Netflix service for one film and then subject us to the advertisements we avoid in our home viewing.amc1

A 30 or 60 second spot is a thing of the past on network TV — except during special events like the Super Bowl and the Oscar telecast — but at least one of the movue ads clocked in at 60 seconds (which seems like an eternity when you’re stuck in a movie theater seat being forced to watch it).

AMC tortures the audience twice by packaging pop culture ads in a presentation it calls “First Look” which is a rather cheesy collection of “interviews” promoting some TV show or B-movie. In between these features we get more ads for snacks and cars and video games.

Advertisers must love the captive-audience aspect of this terrible way theater chains are making some extra money. But it seems like a very short-sighted plan in an age when the customer can choose to stay at home in an ad-free entertainment environment.

It has been suggested that moviegoers can avoid this intrusion by showing up closer to the scheduled start time for the film, but with a popular attraction you have to arrive early to be sure of a decent seat.

Add on the extortionate pricing for refreshments and seeing movies in a theater is increasingly a lose-lose situation.

Joe Meyers

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2 Responses

  1. Dan Baron says:

    Hi Joe,

    A friend of mine and I have been talking about “Moscow on the Hudson” since Robin Williams died. I think it’s his best movie, certainly one of his best…and my wife and I showed it to my kids last year on New Year’s Eve. It holds up well. Mazursky movies were rarely huge at the box office, and are of course diminished (in terms of publicity) in the light of big money earners. Glad you steered people to this movie.

  2. I am waiting for a major movie theater chain to try this:

    Price of Movie in Theater A: $X

    Price of Same Movie in Theater B:
    (with no ads and no one under sixteen permitted – even if PG or PG13:)

    $X + thirty percent