Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Movie? After the Ads...

"Moviegoers should get used to those ads shown as they settle into their seats."

That's right, boys and girls. According to
USA Today, companies will spend even more money to get more ads on the screen by summer of 2006.
Now, I don't know about you, but I can't stand the ads. If I want commercials, I'll watch TV. So, here are some logical conclusions from this:

1. Fewer people will attend the movies.
Too many people already treat the movie theater like TV. That means talking (be it with other people or on phones), being slovenly, or worse. With more ads and quicker DVD (or home video) releases, a majority of people will stop going and just wait. Doesn't sound bad, right? Except, the next step is:

2. Theaters start going out of business.
With people not showing up, screens start to close. The rapid demise of megaplexes matches only the former rapid growth. Jobs are lost, the economy suffers only slightly. However, the real losers here are us. With fewer screens, Hollywood has to find alternate ways to get money from sponsors. An ingenious idea is formed....

3. Ads are put on DVD (or home video).
That's right. Ads, which cannot be skipped, are added to the movies. Thus, whenever the disc is put in, you have to suffer through 20 minutes of commercials before the film. The cycle continues. People will have to start the movie, walk away to do something for 20 minutes, and then return.
Now, there's no movie theaters and ads littered throughout DVDs everywhere.

This issue is much bigger than you think. There's a
class action lawsuit against the Loews Theater chain, and at one point Congress asked for a bill where theaters would put down two times. The first when the ads started, and the second when the film actually started. Unfortunately, too much pork got added to this bill, and it was defeated.

I really can't tell you what the best way to fix the problem is. I like the idea of two times, but it will never fly. Theatres know they'll lose money if they implement it, sponsors will try to get rid of it, and there will problems with seat selection. (Imagine showing up at seating, say ten minutes before the film starts, you save your seats, and then leave for a half hour to grab dinner. When you return the rest of the theater is pretty full, but you have your seats. Is it fair to show up and then leave?)
Still, if I ran a theater chain, that's what I would do. Two times. I really believe that would bring in more business, and I would make it clear by using two colors. Black for start time, and red for actual film start time.

I love going to the movies. It's a sacred ritual to me. The problem I have with the ads is not their presence (though alot of them bug me as, like TV, they are way too loud), but the fact that if you go to a 2.5 hours long film, then you're in the theater for three hours. And a half hour of that is ads and previews. That's a long time for people who have a great deal of take home work (I'm just saying....).

Maybe you don't notice, and maybe you don't care. I can't speak for you, dear reader. All I know is that for my entire life I have been a movie theater goer. When the lights dim, it's a feeling of joy for me. Places like the Heights and the St. Anthony Main Theater don't have ads before the films. It's just straight to the previews (usually one or two) then the movie starts.

Then again, what do I know? I'm willing to pay 8 bucks for a ticket, 10 dollars for popcorn and a drink, and then sit through...well...nowadays schlock. I could be wrong.


Meridita said...

St. Anthony Main! That's MY theater, baby... I lovelovelove going there... It reminds me of the Excelsior Dock, my childhood theater. There's just something better about those smaller theaters, isn't there.

Leab said...

Once upon a time...I worked there for four months.
I needed extra cash when I started grad school.