Go Big Or Go Home!

July 25, 2011

Over the weekend, I went to our local Regal Cinema multiplex. Before the coming attractions, the following appeared on screen:

Scenes from movies were shown, first at full screen size, then progressively smaller until the images had shrunk so small that they fit onto a computer screen which appeared at the very bottom of the huge movie screen.

Then, these words appeared on the huge screen with the small computer screen still at the bottom of the frame:

“Movies were never meant to be seen on a screen this small.”

Then the following words filled the entire screen:

“Go Big or Go Home!”

The buzz in the theater was enormous and I joined several other people who applauded enthusiastically.

“Wow,” I thought. “There it is in a nutshell. Go big or go home indeed.”

Movie attendance has been plummeting as more and more people choose to wait for a film to become available on pay-per-view or DVD. The Regal Cinema on screen message reflects the very real truth that theater owners are fighting for their very continued existence.

So today, I want to explode the myth that the Regal ad has so poignantly exposed: new movies cannot just stop playing in theaters and be shown on home computers instead.

There is a very real and shocking economic fact at play here:

If a movie never has a theatrical run, thereby getting none of the exposure and publicity that such a run generates, the film itself cannot cost more than $750,000 to produce because that’s just about the most that such a film can be expected to garner from DVD sales, etc.

No more theaters: No more films that cost even a million dollars to produce.

That’s not conjecture or hyperbole. It’s math.

So, it’s all very well and good for people to assume that they can just wait for films to come to their homes but if people don’t go to movies in theaters, then eventually those movies won’t be playing in their living rooms because the cost of making and promoting them will become so prohibitive that the numbers of films that get made will continue to shrink until very few if any are left.

And, by the way, that’s where we are right now!

In short, we who love movies need to support movie theaters and help change that entire experience so that it becomes more pleasant and economical or we will wake up some morning to find that movie theaters have gone the way of the drive-in movie theaters that were once so popular and now have all but disappeared.

From the very first page of Bringing Back The Old Hollywood:

Fade In.

We’re in a family room in the year 2023.

A couple in their early fifties are watching one of their favorite films on Turner Classic Movies as their teenage daughter walks in, sits next to them for a moment, and speaks.

“You guys are so cute with your old movies.”

“Thanks, sweetheart,” Mom laughs.

“Can I ask you something?” the daughter responds.

Putting the film on pause, Dad says “Sure. What’s up?”

“It must have been so cool for you guys to have lived during a time when they still actually made new movies every year. What was that like?”

Fade Out.

Or Not.

It’s up to us.


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