@ Meg: Word.
The local Regal wants $8 for a cup of ice with some soda stuck to the cubes. For $8, I can buy a 12-pack of Coca-Cola and a box of Orville Redenbacker microwavable popcorn, or a decent microbrew 6-pack.
I don’t mind spending a little money when I go out, but gawd a’mighty! There ought to be a little value associated with the expense.
The lovely Mrs. Cinematic was out last week at a used bookstore that also stocks films and vinyl. She returned and presented me with a pristine Criterion edition of The Lady Eve, including the little booklet inside the case. Price? $4. We love old bookstores. It’s like striking gold on a treasure hunt.
You bet I’ll take a $4 Criterion over a $70 trip to the movies for the privilege of getting my shoes stuck to the floor while fighting the temptation to strangle the microcephalics who will not stop talking.
@ Santino: Yeah, that extra money is worth it for the superior experience. When I lived in Virginia Beach, I went to the Naro arthouse cinema in Norfolk, which has been in business since the 1940s. It cost a little more, but I never once saw anyone in the auditorium fiddling with an iPhone, Blackberry, Raspberry, Dingleberry, etc. Just movie lovers enjoying the communal experience of watching a good picture.
You can sue people for charging too much for something when you have the option of just not buying it?
I haven’t seen a lot of mainstream movies with good enough visuals for me to be seriously bothered by dimness anyway.
Of course you can if there’s price fixing going on…. Just look at the class action lawsuit involving overpriced compact discs. I don’t quite understand suing though in this case. If it’s that much cheaper to buy at a pharmacy, just smuggle.
Who wants to sue Criterion with me??? :D
Well since we’re back on the cost/theatrical experience discussion:
complaints like Santino’s and Cteve’s about AMCs, talking teens, and faded scenes are exactly why the megaplex model of theatrical distribution is in decline and making way for boutique cinemas such as the Alamo Drafthouse, which advertise themselves as being aggressively willing to kick asshats out for the improved experience of their politer customers.
Nevertheless, there is little reason to complain and less logic to sue prices of things unless those things are needs, and Criterion discs and theatre popcorn are not needs. Anyone who has actually worked in a movie theatre knows why the prices are so high and a theatre does reserve the right to refuse service to, for instance, customers trying to bring in their own food items. In return, customers have the right to do without: if the price of a ticket is too much, if the price of popcorn is too much, don’t buy it. Theatres only stay in operation because of those concessions, and the only way to change that without putting theatres out of business is to force studios to accept less in return for their movies (not under the consumers’ control) or have the government subsidize theatres (waste of time and money, unless you want to consider movie theatre projection a cultural/artistic artifact for preservation, which I don’t). 20-somethings suing movie theatres for concession prices are evidence of a consumer society that doesn’t understand the concept of “doing without”…. one of the underlying sociological reasons behind WHY we overconsume and have rollercoaster economics in the first place.
That same culture of refusing to “do without” is why people download movies with the specific excuse that they want to see it but think that it’s not good enough to purchase, as opposed to the people who download movies because they are not available in the market.
I wonder what, adjusted for inflation, the biggest box office flop ever is.
… Sometimes I’m not sure if you know when I’m joking or not, Polaris…
DFFoO, I know you were joking. But a link was placed to an article about someone who is actually suing over concession prices, and the familiar old complaints about same are in this thread non-ironically, and that is what I am responding to.
“I wonder what, adjusted for inflation, the biggest box office flop ever is.”
There are a few different ways you could calculate it. If you go by net losses adjusted for inflation, I believe it’s still Cuthroat Island.
“exactly why the megaplex model of theatrical distribution is in decline and making way for boutique cinemas such as the Alamo Drafthouse, which advertise themselves as being aggressively willing to kick asshats out for the improved experience of their politer customers.”
I’m not 100% sure of that. I wish I had the article handy but I recall seeing something recently where a theater (maybe a chain?) was instituting a new policy essentially encouraging talking and texting on your cell phone. It sounded very bizarre but I think they were trying to play off of the “no cell phone” thing but giving people a place who want access to their cell phone in a movie theater. Of course I have no idea if a place like this will do well. lol
And this might be my own skewed perception but it seems like theaters are getting more lax over letting people bring in outside food. But maybe it just depends on the theater (multiplexes owned by huge companies are probably more strict than mom and pop art houses).
Funny that Cutthroat Island doesn’t have the notoriety that Heaven’s Gate, Ishtar, and several other famous flops do.
Yes, amazingly Cutthroat Island beat out Waterworld (both 1995) by losing a greater percentage of its investor’s money (as well as sinking the careers of Renny Harlin, Geena Davis and Matthew Modine in one fell swoop).
Budget $98 Million
Gross $10 Million
That’s gotta hurt!
Waterworld – that was infamous for years. Kevin Costner’s waterloo. One of those flops late night tv hosts made fun of in their monologues.
People don’t bring in their own food to movie theaters?
Honestly the portions bother me more than the prices. I can either have no candy, or I can have three times the regular portions, and nothing in between?!
My view on downloading and streaming is it’s only okay for the purposes of helping you make a consumer decision, or of course if it’s not available otherwise. Anything I would ever download is something I would never have bought if I did not get to watch it first, and in a lot of cases it’s led me to buying the film.
I think Waterworld was once derisively referred to as “Fishtar”
people do but buying some popcorn and a coke at the movies esp for kids is part of the fun so they shouldn’t have to
“I can either have no candy, or I can have three times the regular portions, and nothing in between?!”
Some of the bigger chains like AMC have a rockin deal – for $6 you can get the kids meal which includes a baby popcorn, baby drink, and for $2 more, you can get any candy you want. If I buy food, this is usually what I get because it’s less money (although still a rip off) and I get a variety of stuff (with nice proportions).
Yeah, are there people who never bring their own food to movies? I just can’t imagine that.
Anyway, since the thrill of sneaking half-assedly-concealed candy and coke into theaters is long gone, lately I’ve been sneaking in beers. It’s fun because I get to drink a beer during the movie and because I’m breaking the rules!!
^I hope it does not make you loquacious :)
“Honestly the portions bother me more than the prices. I can either have no candy, or I can have three times the regular portions, and nothing in between?!”
I can agree with that. The portions are smaller outside the US everywhere else I’ve been, and have made for pleasant experiences. They do the portions bigger in the US to offset that same feeling of overpricedness, as well as general American lack of portion control, but it does drive people into buying kids’ boxes and so on just for the ability to consume everything they pay for.
I always tell the concessionaire when they’re trying to upsell me, “I worked at a movie theatre so I know the deals, I’m buying this because it’s how much I can possibly consume.” Most of the time they’re cool with that, sometimes they get a little flustered
I feel kind of sorry for minimum wage workers that are ordered by management to deliver an upsell spiel. and sometimes it’s a rather long script they have to recite verbatim. It’s not like the’re getting any share of maximized profits.
Yes. I can imagine the pain in their heads from delivering the same lines over and over again, as though Kubrick was demanding endless retakes.
As an aside, my cinema-going snack of choice is roasted macadamias with two bottles of Dos Equis. Since no theater stocks these comestibles, I smuggle in my own.
I know for a fact that the local AMC pops a weekend’s worth of popcorn on Fridays and packs the fluffy kernels into enormous plastic bags stored in a utility room. They dump a load into the bin at the concession stand before opening the doors, turn on the heat lamp and — voila — old popcorn at exciting modern prices. I guess it saves them time, although you’d have to be mighty lazy not to make fresh popcorn for your customers.
As for the original focus of this thread, I think last year’s Mars Needs Moms is now the biggest money loser of all time, with or without inflation adjustments for Cutthroat Island.
According to the numbers I looked at, if you adjust for inflation, Mars Needs Moms net loss was $140,513,991, which puts it below Cutthroat Island, The Alamo (2004), The Adventures of Pluto Nash, and Sahara.
I guess if moviegoers are too dumb to notice unacceptably inferior projection they’re not going to notice the popcorn is too chewy. They just want to stuff their faces and see and hear big explosions onscreen.
“I feel kind of sorry for minimum wage workers that are ordered by management to deliver an upsell spiel. and sometimes it’s a rather long script they have to recite verbatim. It’s not like the’re getting any share of maximized profits.”
I straight up argued with my corporate management about this. Corporate’s argument is, of course, that upselling increases profits by getting that extra 25-75 cents per size upgrade. My argument was, that’s fine but you don’t see the several dozen customers you are losing at the back of the line because you cannot move the customers fast enough when you have to recite an entire script involving upsales, comboes, promotions, and charity requests (“Would you like to donate $1 to fighting children with diabetes after buying $15.75 worth of popcorn, soda, and candy?” True story). They say they look at the receipts and crunch the numbers to find the most profitable sales — I told the district manager that people deciding NOT TO BUY because they’ll be LATE FOR THEIR MOVIE don’t create a zero-sum receipt. DM guy sez, “Hey, are you a business major?” I sez, “Hey, does any of your corporate business majors ever work this floor?”
I’ve had customers complain to me about things like this and I always tell them the best thing they should do is fill out one of those comment forms. Complaining to the minimum wage guy isn’t going to change corporate culture, nor really is complaining to his boss because his boss is just going to lean heavier on the minimum wage guy to move lines faster by … reciting everything faster???? Because at the speeds in which you have to say those scripts (and yes, they are called scripts), most people cannot even hear what you’re saying anyway — and often cut you off because WHAT CUSTOMER WANTS TO HEAR THAT SHIT?
It’s just one of those larger corporate culture malpractices that has less to do with them being directly evil and more to do with them simply not taking a half fucking second to put themselves in the position of what it’s like to be a customer. They make you say things like, “Welcome to Regal Entertainment Group, can I interest you in a candy combo today?” and justify it by stating that it makes customers feel more welcome, which makes them want to buy more shit. Raise of hands: who likes being greeted by robotic teenagers hurriedly reciting scripts after you’ve been waiting in line for fifteen minutes and your movie has already been playing for five? NOBODY. Whoever came up with that concept is just simply wrong, because they don’t connect their own customer experiences cognitively with the customer service practices they’ve “researched.” Since people are in general unable to connect their own perspectives with that of “the other people’s”, it results in corporate culture “upselling” which only serves to piss absolutely everybody off. What I’m saying is, those self same corporate people writing the script for Regal Entertainment Group then go to Hastings and hear the same spiel, they get irritated and impatient and frustrated and think to themselves, "God, I can learn something from how poor the customer service is at this OTHER corporation. I better write a script for my corporation so that my workers don’t come off like those robots. "
There was a lot of corporate crap I could take and there was a lot of stuff my fellow workers would complain about that I understood the corporate’s side, but I drew the line at that corporate culture of customer service bullshit. No customer in the entire fucking world likes it. They all completely fucking hate it. But since people deciding not to buy don’t leave zero-sum receipts, corporations don’t get to hear that side of the sales floor because most customers believe they cannot communicate to the corporate offices.
Which they can and should.
We’re still talking about John Carter, right?
I used to work at a Regal, too! I didn’t do concessions or box office, though… all I did was sweep popcorn under the seats. I’m not even joking – that’s what we did!
Anyway, I wonder when they’ll decide to actually make a film about Bongo and the Ants.
People who don’t notice subtle differences in visual projections are so stupid.
Also, since I’m a programmer, I can’t believe people don’t notice subtle differences in rendering speed. What idiot wouldn’t want to use Webkit browsers?!
And as a shoe enthusiast, how could anybody be comfortable walking around in cheap shoes? Do they not notice the differences in arch support?
And speaking as a medieval cavalryman, how could you ever want to use an inferior lance? Don’t they notice the subtle differences in balancing? What kind of idiot would charge on cavalry without a top of the line lance?
“People who don’t notice subtle differences in visual projections are so stupid.”
It’s not that they don’t notice. It’s that they don’t care.