The new issue of Entertainment Weekly has a great article about the decline in movie ticket sales. It's based on a reader poll conducted on the EW website, and it's written with real verve that takes the Fantana factor into account. Who, having survived the Macarena-like Wanta Fanta hasn't contemplated waiting for a movie on DVR? Yeah, I mean DVR and not DVD.
It's not so much the pre-movie ads for me, however. It's inertia in my free time. Ticket and DVD sales are really based on how big a hurry you're in to see a movie. Lately I'm more patient. Often before a movie works its way to the top of my Netflix queue it's already on Encore.
There are more and more flicks I'm willing to wait on these days.
Fantastic Voyage to the Core
I was telling my buddy, Robert, the other day that even if I don't have release date information, I can tell I'm watching an off-season movie -- one of those modestly-budgeted flicks for release between January and Memorial Day or in the fall. There's something to be said for a script that has to rely on character and situations rather than pyrotechnics to generate suspense, but for every Memento and Panic Room there's a Domestic Disturbance or a Godsend or The Forgotten.
A lot of weaker movies are churned out these days to keep product on the market and stars in the spotlight. Even really big stars don't mean a movie you can count on any more, and this whole German financing deal means there's no gurantee big, high-concept movies are going to be any good either. (Once upon a time you could tell studios made sure big money movies were watchable if not built to be critically revered. I had this realization watching Starman back in the day.)
What's kept me out of the theater lately? I've noted before when I was a kid Homer Formby was all you got on Sunday afternoon. Now it seems every movie ever made is available at some point during the week if you have the right channel package. Last Sunday I caught The Core, which I thought was a pretty good "blockbuster."
Yesterday afternoon it was Fantastic Voyage - letterboxed and spanking of "1966 prestige release."
I did get out for the new Batman Begins and for The Island, but I have plenty of reasons to stay home - like 80 hours worth on my DVR. Well, a little less since some of those are HGTV shows Christine selected.
What's the answer for movies? Bring back roadshow pictures.
Hollywood's Death Spiral