Off Topic Messages

Blockbusters or Damp Squibs ?

Tue Jun 28, 2005 2:27 pm

Interesting article in today's Independent newspaper [UK].

States that for the last 18 straight weeks this year, theatrically released films have under-performed 2004 at the US box-office.

This hasn't happened since detailed records began a generation ago.

Things like Kingdom of Heaven, Cinderella Man, Bewitched & Herbie Reloaded, although not out-and-out flops, have failed to really shine.

Batman Begins has started a decent, but less than stellar run.

Exceptions have been Revenge of the Sith, Ocean's 12, and Meet the Fockers, which have all done well.

Perhaps we now just wait for the DVD's [4 months later, on average] than pay through-the-nose for the privilege of seeing things on the big screen !

Tue Jun 28, 2005 2:43 pm

Innaresting (like Neil Young says). I can't speak for other people, and I have know idea about the reasons for all this, but for me the problem this year is that the blockbuster movies have all sucked. I have seen one film at the cinema this year, "Revenge of the Sith" (which wasn't too good either, I watched it just because I love the original "Star Wars" films), and I'm also going to catch the latest Tom Cruise film tomorrow. That's it.

Keith Richards, Jr.

Wed Jun 29, 2005 5:09 am

Colin -
I do think that the dvd market is cutting into the theatrical boxoffice. Of the movies you mentioned Kingdom of Heaven has performed more-than-respectably in the U.S., and has also done well in the foreign market.

Batman Begins is performing reasonaby well, they've already green-lighted a sequel. This film wasn't a fun, fantasy popcorn flick like the Tim Burton films. It's grounded in a realistic approach, and takes it's time allowing it's story to unfold. This requires some patience on the part of the audience.

War of the Worlds should be big, and King Kong will also likely do some great business.

I believe Cinderella Man under-performed due to the title, and the Crowe controversy.

I love dvd's, but I'm still old school. I love seeing a movie on the big screen.

Wed Jun 29, 2005 1:36 pm

Pete -

There is something about seeing films on the big screen along with a live audience, isn't there ?

I remember in Viva Las Vegas, during the car race, the camera is positioned 'on board' one of the cars, looking through the windscreen.

At one point, the road rises & then falls, and the whole audience gave an 'ooh !'

The moment comes & goes unnoticed on the DVD !

Wed Jun 29, 2005 1:52 pm

Like Pete, I love the cinema, and going to movies.

I love the smell of popcorn, and the big screen and the trailers...

damn shame it costs so much now.
Ticket: $6.50 - $8.00 at your average mall cinema.

Maybe $3.50 at a mom & pop theatre still operating.

"Cinderella Man" I missed but I'd like to see eventually.

But I think I'll pass on Bewitched. It's a IWTSOTV

Some films, imo are worthy of big screen, but other films are IWTSOTV
(I'll Wait To See On TV)

On big screen this year, I want to see:

"Fantastic Four"
"War of the Worlds" (I like H.G Wells and Spielberg - dn't like Cruise tho)
"King Kong"


I pride myself on, due to my generation's life and times, to having seen certain movies in theaters when released.
Young Frankenstein
Star Wars
King Kong '76
Smokey & Bandit
Superman the Movie
Close Encounters of 3rd Kind
heck, even Purple Rain and Give My Regards To Broadstreet

--- I was there in the theatre for them.

- pretty much mid-70s to late 80s films that made an impact in our pop culture.
But many people I know have only ever seen those films on TV.
And of course, I've only seen Elvis movies on a TV.

We need more retro-cinema.

I did get to watch in a theatre:
"Golden Voyage of Sinbad"
"King Kong '33"
"Batman '66"
- and all were films before my time but brought back for limited engagements.

I wish there were theatres for classics.

Wed Jun 29, 2005 4:51 pm

Yeah GG, the movies do cost an arm & a leg! Fortunately, here in Columbia S.C. we have a theater that plays most of the major films after their box-office run, but before their dvd release. The cost: $1.50!

Certain movies were made for the big screen: Ben-Hur, Dr. Shivago, Dances With Wolves, Braveheart. Movies made with that epic scale in mind is something that I hope will continue.

Thu Jun 30, 2005 6:33 am

The first film I can remember seeing in a theatre was "The Seventh Voyage Of Sinbad" in 1958. I loved that film. I must have seen it 4 times in the Theatre.
I also saw "Psycho" in a theatre. How I got in is still beyond me. I was only 7 years old!! Scared the hell out of me and has left an impression on me for life.
Another early favorite in the theatre was "Journey To The Centre Of The Earth".

jeff R

Thu Jun 30, 2005 2:12 pm

I'm with everybody here so far - there's nothing like seeing a movie for the first time on the big screen. The first movie I saw at the cinema was The Love Bug in 1969 - I was about 3 years old. Been going ever since.

The thing I miss most about the cinema nowadays is the Double Bill. Anyone remember those? You used to get a support movie before the main feature. For example I saw Police Academy (I know!) when it first came out, supported by the Zuckers' Top Secret!. I also remember going to see The Empire Strikes Back and the first Star Wars movie was shown beforehand. Things like that.

Now, sadly, things are different. Most cinemas are priced way too expensive, there is no real passion for the movies exhibited by these large multiplexes - indeed the majority are totally soulless. The staff selling ticket seem hardly able to spell the movie title let alone be interested in it. You go in, watch a couple of adverts and trailers, the movie and that's it. Out. Next showing in 5 minutes. All of this leads to audiences getting sufficiently bored enough to disrupt the movie by constantly getting up and down to go to the loo or get more popcorn throughout the film, kids running up and down the aisles during the movie, mobile phones going off (and being answered) etc etc. It's no wonder people are gravitating towards DVD.

Film studios look at why their movies are underperforming at theatres and they almost seem to have the nerve to blame the audiences for not attending their great masterpieces. Hollywood, and the movie communities in general, need to do alot of soul searching before they will get people to throw away their DVD players (and recorders!) and go to the cinema again.

Thu Jun 30, 2005 3:25 pm

I agree. There is nothing like seeing a movie on the big screen.

Someone mentioned the high ticket prices. In Sweden you'll have to shell out at least $12.00 for a movie.

The main problem, however, is that people find it so difficult to shut the f**k up during the movie. When I watched "Old Boy" a couple of weeks ago, one kid in the front row spent the entire movie drinking and talking to himself, the characters and the people behind him. "This is my favourite movie, I've seen it like three times already", he shouted at one point. He also stood up in his seat practising karate moves at one point! Then, maybe after an hour, he fell asleep. When he woke up, he mumbled "sh*t, I'm wasted! What am I doing here anyway? I'm going home!" and left the theatre.

Last year there was a gang of people talking in cell phones, talking to each other, walking around, shouting, and behaving like they owned the place. After 15 minutes people were leaving the place, demanding their money back. An employee opened the door, threatening to call the cops if this gang didn't leave. Someone replied, "F**k you! You don't tell us what to do! Just give us one more chance and we'll be quiet, ok?" I don't know the end of the story because I left shortly afterwards...

I also hate it when people make too much noise with their snacks!

Apart from this, I love cinemas. :D

Keith Richards, Jr.

Thu Jun 30, 2005 4:23 pm

My hometown, Milford Connecticut, had an old movie theater (the Capitol Theater). My guess is it was built in the 30's. The seats were godawful. You'd walk out of there with a sore tail-bone. But after the Cinema franchises came to the area the Capitol would show movies that the Cinema's wouldn't. Things like Night of the Living Dead, or double features of the Hammer Dracula films. I saw a double bill of Horror of Dracula and Dracula Has Risen From The Grave in '68. When I saw Night of the Living Dead in '68 I kept having to go up to the candy counter when it got too scary (I was 8 at the time). The Capitol would also show older family oriented films like The Yearling or the Richard Greene Robin Hood flicks. They'd have back to school type of matinee's where kids would get a pencil box filled with basic school supplies out in the lobby.

Milford also had one of the first drive-in's in the country (and one of the last to go). It was kind of a rite of passage to sneak into the drive-in.

Sadly, the drive-in was torn down in the late 80's (a multi-cinema complex is now at the site), and the Capitol went sometime in the mid 90's. I think the site is now a parking lot. This is so-called progress.