Theater Owners Feel Betrayed By MPAA

It's playing for the theater owners

MPAA Betrays Theaters: Asks FCC To Let Studios Join Modern Age

In a filing today with the Federal Communications Commission, the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) reinforced the benefits of allowing studios the option of sending movies fresh from the box office to tens of millions of American households.

“Many of us love movies, but we just can’t make it to the theater as often as we’d like.  That is especially true for parents of young children, rural Americans who live far from the multiplex and people with disabilities that keep them close to home,”  MPAA Chairman and CEO Dan Glickman said.  “Having the added option to enjoy movies in a more timely fashion at home would be a liberating new choice.”

So the MPAA wants to bypass theaters to sell directly to consumers? Pardon me while I pick up this trombone… wah-wah.

I can appreciate the traditional film-going experience. Really, I can. But I could not be happier about this. I don’t see movies anymore. Mainly because of the reasons cited by MPAA Chairman Dan Glickman. I’m too fucking busy. I’m married, I live a good thirty minutes from a cinema (w/traffic), and I work fifty hours a week. Finding time when my wife and I are both off work, both aren’t ready to pass out, and have something we can agree on has become too impractical in a world filled with the convenience of Red Box, Netflix, Hulu, and other services which cater to the customer’s needs. And that’s what this boils down to.

Purists cry foul, but let’s really look at what theaters have become. There was a time when a ticket to a matinee cost close to four dollars. The cinema was located in a strip mall. And you had easy access to roll up, hand over some cash, and see a movie before some other activity. Theaters today are stadium-sized behemoths situated in malls that are so large they require parking structures. Tickets today can cost as much as $15 dollars and chains still do nothing to ensure your experience is free of noise, cell phones, chatty teenagers, screaming children, or any of the other annoyances that make home viewing more attractive. And they cater to younger audiences which means that not only do I have to park, take an elevator down, and walk two city blocks through the Mega Mall, but I also have to wade through droves of 14-year-olds who may or may not use the film as background noise while they text message each other about their plans later that night.

For theaters, the cost of their service has gone up, the quality of that service has gone down. Their only innovation over these past 25 years is the addition of commercials before previews and a slide that says “Please turn off your cell phones”. They have done nothing up until this point to stay ahead of the curve, instead acting like all companies do when their customers have no other options which is maintain the status quo by performing the bare minimum to get by. This filing ensures that consumers may now have a choice, which means innovation and competitive pricing with regards to snacks and other price-gouged garbage. For purists, this is actually a good thing. The bad elements of the cinema experience will have been rooted out by direct purchase leaving the enthusiasts to enjoy the films in the way in which they see fit. Which the theaters will now have to cater to because they won’t have a choice.

I have little patience for industries with captive markets these days. Airlines, cable providers, telecommunications, you name it. Being put “out of business” is always the excuse, forgetting entirely the others who were put out of business when they began. It’s 2009 and the entire world has to stifle progress because a bunch of lazy baboons want to maintain their death-grip on a meal ticket that should have expired long ago. Here’s to ya…

Maybe now they can use one of their 48 screens to show something independent so people don’t have to drive 50 miles to the Nuart. Just sayin.


One thought on “Theater Owners Feel Betrayed By MPAA

  1. The MPAA and the movie companies are directly responsible for this phenomenon in the first place. Their fee structure for showings is well known to be as close to highway robbery as you get and makes the medical industry look like a charity organization. We writers made gravy off that very thing. Where did we think those tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars were coming from? The industry banks on box office and pays us with a piece.

    The movie-going public has known this for years. They’re not remotely retarded enough to believe those mom and pop movie theater owners were trying to movie-jack them with $5 Snickers bars. The people who work those theaters are their fellow countrymen and they exist in society too. They’ve made this clear for anyone who wants to listen.

    The concentration effect of large box theaters was as inevitable as WalMart and megamalls. If we could Star Trek transporter our goods home, the way we download movies, the stores would curdle and die.

    I still believe the big screen is a proper tool in communications of the content of films. As with music and action, the method of delivery adds to the emotional reaction. Even high definition heads-up displays with Bose quality headphones are still not a substitute for the real experience of being in a cavernous space with a gigantic image and atmosphere dominating sound, and around other people to share the experience.

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