Follywood

One of the entertainment stories this summer has been the cinema box office slump, both in the U.S. and in Europe. Many theories are flying around as to why the tally is dwindling, and here are a few reasons why I frequent the multiplex a little less than in previous years.

1. Surrounding noise. Insipid teenagers and adults having their own conversations with each other or via the decade's hottest toy, the cell phone. I loved MST3K, but I'm not a fan of hearing constant commentary around me.

2. Comfort. It's just more comfortable lounging on the couch than sitting in those seats. Stadium seating is indeed nice, but there are still the grimy floors, kids kicking the back of your seat, and late patrons wandering around in the dark looking for a seat and obstructing your view.

3. Quality. I've just gotten pickier on how to spend a valuable summer weekend evening. And TV retreads, sequels, and based-off-comics/superhero flicks seem to be in abundance this year, and each of these "genres" just don't excite me (though I am quite interested in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).

4. TV and other entertainment competition. Although we've entered Rerun Season now, television seems to have gotten better over the past few years. I'd rather watch an episode of Lost, Alias, or Desperate Housewives (or the hilarious The Soup on E!) than head to the local cineplex to watch Bewitched or the latest Adam Sandler yawner.

DVDs satisfy #1 and #2, and their exploding growth rate testifies to this.

Other reasons mentioned such as concession stand prices (though outrageous), movie trailers, and even the cheesy commercials haven't been major deterrences for me. And it's true that some movies lend itself better on a very large screen while watching with a crowd. Films like Hero and Star Wars III are visually appealing, and comedies are sometimes better in a packed theater when everyone's laughing all at once.

But aside from this, I can relate to those who choose the DVD route to watch a good movie in peace, or just engage in other entertainment outlets.

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Theater Redeux Doug Allen at

Theater Redeux
Doug Allen at Catallarchy is covering the Why I hate the cineplex theme that we had not to long ago. Joe Bob says check it out....

You hit lots of good points.

You hit lots of good points. A couple factors not mentioned:

* Price differential between movies and DVDs is important too. Not only have movies gotten more expensive, but Netflix & high-bandwidth pirating both make DVDs cheaper.

* Quality of home entertainment systems (ie big screens just keep getting cheaper. People can afford DVD-resolution projectors).

Are DVD sales really

Are DVD sales really increasing? I read that the opposite was true and that for example, The Incredibles had pretty weak sales where something unexpected such as Tyler Perry's Diary of a Mad Black Woman had produced more than atequate return both at the box office and on DVD.

I find that I'm spending

I find that I'm spending more money at my local second-run theatre -- with lower prices, no obnoxious advertisments, and a distinctly quieter clientele -- than I am at the first-run theatres. I think the first-run theatre business, which is increasingly consolidated, is simply pricing itself out of its own market.

With the only two major chains in my area long having been best-buddies and now busy merging, the first-run business has no meaningful competition, and so no reason to get their pricing right. As a result, they make poor business decisions and unsurprisingly blame market conditions, video piracy, weather, cosmic rays, etc. But I think the reality may just be ordinary business stupidity. With advertisments and poor choices of which movies to run, they lower the quality of the product; as attendance sags, they raise ticket and concession prices to stay in the black. Lower quality plus higher prices equals business failure.

I guess they didn't get the memo: Never blame "market forces" when plain old stupidity is an adequate explanation.

DVD sales are slowing,

DVD sales are slowing, they're reaching critical mass. the number of people without DVD players is becoming increasingly smaller, while those with DVD players have gone through and purchased their replacement library. New DVD sales will still be good, better than movie ticket sales, because of the added value of owning the movie for a few dollars more than seeing it in a theatre.
Home theater's are also becoming increasingly cheaper for quality that exceeds 90% of the local theater quality. I've only been to one movie theatre in my life that I would rather watch a movie in than my own personal home theatre (and no its not an IMAX theater).

Hollywood, like the RIAA is based on old-school economic policies and until they learn how the modern consumer thinks they will continue to lose money, and piracy has nothing to do with it.