Sure seems like going to the movies these days almost requires one to take out a loan. While everyone, I figure, is now aware of the increase in 3D ticket prices we can safely say that all across the board, movie tickets and going to the theater just doesn’t cost what it used to. Further, what’s the drive to see something in cinemas when it’ll be out on-demand or to own in less than 90 days? So that got me thinking. Just how much money would be “too much money” to the average movie goer? And what could be done to keep people going to the theater instead of waiting for it on Amazon/Netflix?
I suppose that, like anything, cost increase was inevitable but these day’s it’s like getting robbed right at the ticket booth. What I see happening, aside from normal (some would call it abnormal) inflation is that the ticket price increases have been slight enough that we are gradually getting used to the lunacy of a movie going experience. What is to keep people from saying, “Fuck it, I’ll wait until it comes out to rent” and instead spend that money on a nice dinner. I’m starting to lean that way.
So I think in order to make going to the theaters worth it (since the environmental/venue situations don’t seem to be improving), the studios have to come up with something to motivate me and keep me coming back. Since the window between the theatrical release and home viewing is getting smaller, it is still not small enough for the vast majority of people in the world who are getting more and more accustomed to immediate gratification and instant digital satisfaction…basically people don’t want to wait anymore. Theaters could be an unnecessary middle-man that, if conditions don’t improve all around, could (and I stress “could”) become as unnecessary as land line phones.
While not every film can be Avatar, The Dark Knight (or something similar) that truly is a worthy experience that you HAVE to see in the theaters, in my mind there’s something that can be done that make movie going worth it. The issue that really worries me is that seeing a movie in the theaters costs almost as much as it does to own it for home use. That’s the thing I don’t think people are realizing and it should really be addressed by the studios. Why would their audience pay two times for the same movie? I would so hate to pay $20.00 to see the upcoming Iron Man 2 and then pay another $20.00 to get it on Blu-Ray at some point. So because of recent events, I racked my mind to come up with these 5 suggestions of devices to use that should keep people interested in seeing a movie in the theaters and keep people in the seats.
1. Certain percentage off the purchase of a home copy –
In order to get we the audience to buy the movie on the back end, we should be given some enticement. Notice I didn’t give a “numbered” percentage. The reason behind that is, sure the studios want to make money, but I feel that the more money the movie (and therefore the studio) makes, the more of a reduced percentage the ticket holder can redeem with their ticket stub. Further, the studios can cut deals with major retailers (perhaps exclusives) that when the movie comes out, certain retailers will honor the ticket stub for a reduced price.
2. Digital download included with ticket price –
Sure, pretty much every movie is starting to come replete with a digital copy. But how do you get ahead of the game? You get ahead of the release date with an exclusive “Digital Download”. Studios could offer the option (for ticket stub holders) to reclaim their digital copy of the movie an entire month before the home release date. That would certainly get me excited.
3. “Two” Viewings for the price of “One” –
Printed right on the back of the ticket reads: “Redeem for 2nd viewing after 14 days. Good for 60 days“. Now fairly enough, this idea does have the capacity to backfire something terrible (i.e. counterfeiting). Yet if it is handled correctly, with say, bar coded ticket stubs, this could get people more keen to paying $15 bucks. That way, if they know that if they use stub again, the movie really only costs $7.50. It does take the idea of supply and demand to a whole new level, and the theaters would have to plan for and estimate that the proceeding weekend’s viewers might be repeat (stub redeeming) patrons. But on the plus side for theater economists, a repeat viewer could potentially buy more concessions and fill up a theater that was already pretty empty. For any uncertain studio execs, the good news for you is that like any coupons/gift cars etc, there’s a good amount of people who just don’t use them.
4. Free Movie ticket(s) with DVD/BD purchase –
Yeah, I know they’ve already done this idea to death with stooopid re-releases of X-Men and Spider Man which were horribly named X-Men 1.5 and Spider-Man 2.5…but how about something waaay cooler?? And not just in some poorly packaged re-release. What might be more intriguing would be to throw in something like an actual celluloid frame from the film, an autographed lithograph/concept artwork, or a free digital copy of the score/soundtrack, etc. No one wants some lame content or extra behind the scenes footage bad enough to buy the same movie they (maybe) already own just to get a free movie ticket. Also, this is what would make me buy a DVD/Blu Ray…throw in 2 free tickets! That’s more fun when you can go with a friend or a date.
5. Ultimate Collector Grade Swag!!
Now this is the idea I like most of all. I’m not a crap/junk collector but I do like quality cinematic memorabilia. Japan has crazy ticket prices but they do provide each ticket holder with some really fine promotional material. It’s kind of like a press kit but reads more like a literary special features with exclusive behind the scenes photos, stories and the like. To certain viewers this may seem desirable (i.e. ME!!) but I admit, it’s probably not for everyone.
Sure would be neat to get one of these along with my $7.50…
Like any tangible product, there has to be a market and like any manufacturers they have to find ways to get continued interest in the product. So to keep emotions from running high, it would make sense to appease the consumers with something so that they believe they will find value in their purchase…even if the asking price is considered rather effen high.
Those are my humble suggestions for a crazy price inflated movie ticket world. Any thoughts from the viewers at home? Has anyone seen a recent 3D movie think the 3D was worth the price? Do any of you find the current ticket prices off-putting?