As many of you may know, Hollywood is in the midst of the biggest decline in revenue since they started to track such a stat. Simply put, box office revenues are down sharply from the same time last year, and this trend has continued for several weeks. There was one week where it did not decline, but it continued the following week. In fact, had hits like Episode III and Batman Begins not arrived, the slump would have been at epic levels.
Many credit the decline of quality films and rising prices as the reason behind the slump. Other site the popularity of DVDs as another factor.
I did some research and found that with the increase of HD TV and Home Theater Systems combined with the affordable pricing of DVDs many people simply prefer to stay home.
As one person told me, why should I pay $8-$10 for a ticket, pay another $11.00-$15.00 for popcorn and snacks and have to fit my schedule to watch a start time? He said I would rather wait six months and own the movie for $15-$20 as it is a much better investment than going to a theater.
It is hard to find fault with this, especially when a person has a HDTV and Home Theater system and can get picture and sound quality equal to or better than what they can at a cinema.
So what is to be done? Many say if Hollywood wants people to go to the theaters, they need to make better films. Since the majority of a film’s profits are now made from non-theatrical sources of revenue, this does not seem to be the solution.
This is not the first time theaters have slumped, during the rise of Color Television, the Box office did decline greatly, and creations such as Cinemascope and the Blaxploitation films arose to offer viewers something they could not get at home.
While there is no easy fix to the slump, perhaps Hollywood needs to take a look at the past, to ensure a brighter box office future.
1.) Bring Back Double Features. One of the highlights of my youth was being able to see two films for the price of one. What is wrong with taking the approach that is still used at drive-ins by increasing attendance by pairing a new film with a second run film? Added attendance, added revenue.
2.) Bring back the serials, Newsreels, and nostalgia. It worked back in the day, and if done right could work again. In an era of quick cutting short attention spans, why not do a news of the week segment, and bring back the cliff hanger serials of old, where a theater would show the next chapter each week.
3.) Less rigid attendance policies. In some countries, if you arrive late to a film, you are allowed to sit in the subsequent show and watch what you had missed.
4.) 3D. I know it is not new, but current releases such as Spy Kids 3D and Shark Boy and Lava Girl show that the format can work. With the Star Wars films coming in a 3D format, perhaps this is the time to make 3D part of the big Summer Spectacle and offer viewers something they cannot get at home.
5.) Treat the audience with respect. Stop giving us mindless films that are all FX. I love FX as much as the next person, but a little story and some interesting characters now and then would enhance any film.
I would appreciate your thoughts, join in the Talk Back below.
Gareth appears courtesy of SKNR.net.