How can movie theaters re-invent themselves for the Netflix generation?

Jubenhimer

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Nov 11, 2018
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Hollywood is in a bit of a crisis right now. Not only are recent films largely consisting of sequels, derivatives, and reboots, mostly for the Chinese market. But Box Office sales have continued to decline more and more as people grow tired of paying for an overpriced ticket to see yet another overly political, overly safe, copy-cat nostalgia dreck. Netflix, and other streaming services have began gaining ground in their original productions from films and TV shows. Allowing people to watch what they want, whenever they want, all at a relatively affordable subscription fee.

That being said, I believe there is still a large market for public entertainment centers like cinemas Going out with friends and have special catering for entertainment with impressive displays and sound, is an experience that simply staying at home can't quite replicate. The problem is that the traditional theater system is simply archaic in an era of binge watching and consumer choice. Here's an idea, what if the movie and entertainment industry can combine the social contact and catering that brick & mortar locations provide, with the consumer freedom and choice that streaming services allow? Think of a public place where you can rent a lounge-like room with Netflix for a small fee. Said room has a large 4k monitor, and comfortable seating. Maybe it could also double as a sort of restaurant as well, selling burgers or salads while you watch. And from there you can watch whatever you want, as much as you want, until you're ready to leave. Anything from movies, to TV shows that you choose.

I feel this would be a better business model than the current movie theater system we have now. It preserves the social elements and high quality catering that current theaters are known for, but also gives the consumer more freedom and value for the price. Spending $10-20 for a room to binge movies in 4k with some restaurant food would sound a lot more appealing to consumers than spending $15 on one ticket to one movie, with the best food available being popcorn and other junk food.
 

JareBear

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I feel like theaters have tried to "evolve" as much as they can. Didn't they try a MoviePass subscription thing that didn't succeed? Or maybe it just didn't do well in my area. Recliner cushioned seats, food and beverage service, reserved seating in advance. I think they are trying.
 
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Sorcerer

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I feel like theaters have tried to "evolve" as much as they can. Didn't they try a MoviePass subscription thing that didn't succeed? Or maybe it just didn't do well in my area. Recliner cushioned seats, food and beverage service, reserved seating in advance. I think they are trying.

You don't even have to reserve a seat in advance anymore. My AMC requires you to pick your seats when you buy the ticket at the box office. It sounds like a good idea but boy does it hold up the line. I wonder how this is dealt with on the weekends and how much trouble does it cause if no one respects the arrangement?
 

#Phonepunk#

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They need to differentiate movies from tv. Prestige TV has taken over everything and now movies and tv shows are all shot the same, by the same directors, starring the same actors, etc no wonder all movies basically feel like Netflix shows.

They need to go back to the craft. Shoot things on film. Use real sets not locations or cgi. Use an original idea not an IP farm. Admittedly all of that is pricey but tbh cheapness kind of explains why we are where we are today.
 
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Durask

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Since home TVs and projectors will continue to improve in quality - bigger and cheaper screens, etc, I do not think that the trend is reversible.
I generally do not go to movies because my home projector setup is at least as good as what I'll get in most movie theatres and the number of movies I want to see so bad that I can't wait for it to be on bluray or streaming is essentially zero.
 

Kadayi

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I don't go to the Cinema all that often tbh (Endgame and John Wick 3 are the next things I'm planning on seeing on the big screen), but fundamentally although I enjoy seeing films as they are intended to be seen for the immersive experience I'm also not necessarily a fan of having to tolerate the shit other people do when you're there. If it's not some asshole in front of you scrolling their phone halfway through, it's kids on a sugar rush ADDing out in the same row or some twats behind you talking throughout. In large part as a consequence, I usually find myself compelled to wait until the zeitgeist has died down and sneak in a weekday viewing whilst the schools are open.

I think in large part the problem is that it feels like Cinemas due to health and safety never turn the lights fully off like they did when you were a kid so people aren't that focussed on what's on the screen and are more inclined to let their attention wander. Whenever I've watched something in 3D it seems rare if ever that anyone is doing anything other than watching because they're a lot more engaged with what's going on on the screen. I could be wrong in this regard, just going off of my experiences.
 
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Susurrus

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Feb 7, 2007
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Hollywood is in a bit of a crisis right now. Not only are recent films largely consisting of sequels, derivatives, and reboots, mostly for the Chinese market. But Box Office sales have continued to decline more and more as people grow tired of paying for an overpriced ticket to see yet another overly political, overly safe, copy-cat nostalgia dreck. Netflix, and other streaming services have began gaining ground in their original productions from films and TV shows. Allowing people to watch what they want, whenever they want, all at a relatively affordable subscription fee.

That being said, I believe there is still a large market for public entertainment centers like cinemas Going out with friends and have special catering for entertainment with impressive displays and sound, is an experience that simply staying at home can't quite replicate. The problem is that the traditional theater system is simply archaic in an era of binge watching and consumer choice. Here's an idea, what if the movie and entertainment industry can combine the social contact and catering that brick & mortar locations provide, with the consumer freedom and choice that streaming services allow? Think of a public place where you can rent a lounge-like room with Netflix for a small fee. Said room has a large 4k monitor, and comfortable seating. Maybe it could also double as a sort of restaurant as well, selling burgers or salads while you watch. And from there you can watch whatever you want, as much as you want, until you're ready to leave. Anything from movies, to TV shows that you choose.

I feel this would be a better business model than the current movie theater system we have now. It preserves the social elements and high quality catering that current theaters are known for, but also gives the consumer more freedom and value for the price. Spending $10-20 for a room to binge movies in 4k with some restaurant food would sound a lot more appealing to consumers than spending $15 on one ticket to one movie, with the best food available being popcorn and other junk food.

I like this. Like a karaoke room but a movie instead.
 

Aurelian

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They need to differentiate movies from tv. Prestige TV has taken over everything and now movies and tv shows are all shot the same, by the same directors, starring the same actors, etc no wonder all movies basically feel like Netflix shows.

They need to go back to the craft. Shoot things on film. Use real sets not locations or cgi. Use an original idea not an IP farm. Admittedly all of that is pricey but tbh cheapness kind of explains why we are where we are today.

I don't think shooting on film would help much. It just adds a slightly different look and makes creative editing harder. I know it's in vogue to go for the analog option (film, vinyl and the like), but digital exists for a good reason: it opens possibilities.
 

haxan7

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There’s an Alamo theater near me that’s pretty cool. They have a full food/drinks menu and they serve you right in the theater while you watch the film.
 

Miku Miku

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Theaters are fine honestly. Better than they've ever been. Comfortable seats, beer and food options. Tons of availability to reserve seats far in advance with no lines.

The real problem is the movies themselves. They're just not that great. The only time I felt like a movie was an "event" enough for me to go to the theater was Avatar, Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, Civil War, Infinity War, and Alita: Battle Angel. And I'm skipping Star Wars IX. I'll go see End Game I guess and I will go see Avatar 2. Most movies are garbage.

And yes, the home availability has made theaters largely irrelevant. When you have an UHD 65 inch screen at home all the time, it's not THAT huge of a difference. You aren't fundamentally changing the movie completely. It's equivalent to arcades, and eventually playing games at home just replaced it, even though arcades were social and fun.
 
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Jubenhimer

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When the whole world is slowly becoming hikikomori, I think it's a tough ask.

People still go out to shop and eat regularly still. But this is a good point. We have to be careful about not leaving brick & mortar locations behind, otherwise we risk creating an anti-social society that never interacts with each-other. That's why I think that traditional B&M places need to look at what online is doing right, and then build on that and provide and experience they can't offer. Best Buy for example has done a great job re-inventing themselves for the Amazon age, showing there's still a market for B&M locations.
 

synchronicity

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People still go out to shop and eat regularly still. But this is a good point. We have to be careful about not leaving brick & mortar locations behind, otherwise we risk creating an anti-social society that never interacts with each-other. That's why I think that traditional B&M places need to look at what online is doing right, and then build on that and provide and experience they can't offer. Best Buy for example has done a great job re-inventing themselves for the Amazon age, showing there's still a market for B&M locations.

Yeah, I just wonder how things are going to develop. It seems there is certainly creep towards an anti-social world. But, things ebb and flow. I agree that public space could benefit from reinvention.
 
Oct 26, 2018
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I don't go to the movies a lot, but the biggest pet peeve is cramped seats. I know there's those VIP rooms where you get better seats for an extra few bucks but not always available.

Also, for crowded movies, you better get a decent spot or else you get whipsawed with those shitty seats at an angle or forced to sit close bending your neck all movie. Problem is I think all theatres are rectangular based. What they should be is slightly circular so the sides can see a bit better and the seats pushed back a bit so the first 5 rows have a good view.
 

Tesseract

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theaters suck, why do i wanna pay all that money and travel all that way for a movie

let movie theaters die, kill them if you have to
 

edomedo

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$20 bucks to see a movie, or $20 bucks to see all the movies I want.... let me see here, what could be the problem? Large screen TVs are getting cheaper, home audio is getting cheaper, the internet is getting cheaper.

Hmm, instead of enjoying the movie in my own home, with the people i want, let me just pay $20 for a ticket to see one movie, sit by a bunch of (sometimes) loud/annoying people, buy ridiculously overpriced popcorn and sodas, hmmm, what could be the problem....... i just can't see it.
 
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ZehDon

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Make better movies.
I think the issue is less that the movies are all somehow terrible now, and its more that the movies that are in the cinema aren't always appealing to me on my schedule. The death of appointment viewing stretched beyond the lounge. I could care less about 75% of movie releases. Actually going to the cinema, paying the price for a ticket - I have to be careful with my time and money, so I have to be selective with the movies that I go and see. A movie needs glowing reviews, or terrific word of mouth, just to get me interested, because of the effort necessary to just go to the cinema, compared to just turning on Netflix. Then it needs to line up with my schedule. So for me, the issue is mostly accessibility and catalogue. If more cinemas screen older films on weekends, I'd actually go more to watch my favourites on the big screen with big sound, for example. That would at least get me in the door more often, to appreciate the cinema, and maybe start going more for new movies. It's just a tough sell in an on demand world.
 

bitbydeath

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They’re pricing themselves out of the market. Reduce the price and they’ll see more people.
 

TimFL

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You don't even have to reserve a seat in advance anymore. My AMC requires you to pick your seats when you buy the ticket at the box office. It sounds like a good idea but boy does it hold up the line. I wonder how this is dealt with on the weekends and how much trouble does it cause if no one respects the arrangement?
That's standard here. Every cinema has you pick the seats here. Having free seating arrangements sounds very archaic to me and it kind of surprised me when I learned it's common in the USA.
That being said, you are right, ticket lines are usually horrible here but every cinema I frequent allows you to buy tickets online and print them out at a printing service inside the cinema.
 

ViceUniverse

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Mar 12, 2019
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Well the answer is to diversify, meaning stay in the theatre business but branch out to other business opportunities. If all you are is the theatre, then you will suffer no matter what you do at the theatre.
 
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TheUsual

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Actually have the movie start at the time it's supposed to. Trailers take up 20~30 minutes then the premier starts. Have the trailers be on during the pre-show when people are shambling in. Who am I kidding? The advertisers and theater management will never let that happen.
 

llien

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Hollywood movies are very expensive.
Not least because stars / directors cost a fortune to hire.

Netflix gets away by (most of the time) not employing that kind of people.

It isn't only about money. I wouldn't go to a cinema to watch a movie even if it was free with free popcorn on top of it, if I had option to stream it at home.

The only way cinema wins is called monopoly, which some also call exclusiveness. They force you to choose between going to the cinema or waiting for several month for disk/stream release.

If Netflix manages to produce content rendering Hollywood movies irrelevant (which I doubt could happen any time soon), well, RIP Hollywood, I didn't particularly like you anyhow.
 
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oagboghi2

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I watched Triple Frontier last night on netflix and that was a better movie than any other thing currently playing, except maybe US. There just isn't a lot of reasons to leave the house when their is so much good content at home.
 
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iconmasterX

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I don't go often, but I still enjoy the experience of an audience that's really into the film. Laughing, cheering, applauding at the end.

That's the kind of fun I want to have at a theater and can't reproduce at home.

(Theaters like the Alamo Drafthouse are too restrictive about talking, IMO. They make everyone afraid to make any noise at all. Of course, patrons having audible conversations about things beside the film is distracting; but that doesn't mean any audience reaction has to be quashed.)
 

mcjmetroid

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Hollywood is in a bit of a crisis right now. Not only are recent films largely consisting of sequels, derivatives, and reboots, mostly for the Chinese market. .

Netflix has the advantage here. How successful do you think a movie like Birdbox would have been in theatres? People watched it because they heard it was good and technically they didn't have to spend any money on it if they had a Netflix subscription. I think this will lead to more original movies and is very healthy for the industry.
True there are some stinkers on Netflix but all the ones I've seen are fairly original and not based on anything else.

Another issue is that the movies that do well at the cinema tend always tended to be HIGH special effects movies. You want to see those movies in the best quality possible so you'll pay for it.

Unfortunately originality is severely lacking in the high budget action genre for the past 20 years.
 

GermanZepp

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How to improve Movie theaters experience?
Put XXX rated movies and some glory holes
Jokes aside, for me i would like to see themed cycles like, a month of old horror/bizarre movies with a pre party with drinks. Asian movies, European movies. Independent film weekends. I don't know if get that kind of movies is possible though.
 
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megamerican

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I watched Triple Frontier last night on netflix and that was a better movie than any other thing currently playing, except maybe US. There just isn't a lot of reasons to leave the house when their is so much good content at home.

Yeah this is why I don't care if movie theaters survive. I enjoyed Triple Frontier, Buster Skruggs, Polar, The Apostle etc etc much more than my theater going experiences over the last year or so. Also, I think most of those would not have performed well in theaters.

There was a movie theater close by that was like $6.00 a ticket and no reserve seating that showed first run movies, and it was so easy and convenient I'd see stuff I wasn't that into if I was bored. Now they've converted to recliners / reserved seating / raised prices and I've virtually stopped going. Half the times the movies are sold out or you can't sit together, and I'm not looking to plan seeing the Mule weeks in advance.
 

petran79

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How to improve Movie theaters experience?
Put XXX rated movies and some glory holes
Jokes aside, for me i would like to see themed cycles like, a month of old horror/bizarre movies with a pre party with drinks. Asian movies, European movies. Independent film weekends. I don't know if get that kind of movies is possible though.


I have to go to some niche cinemas for this and only in big cities like London. I go there during Christmas mostly. Where I live now there are only mainstream cinemas left. Prince Charles is such cinema in London and it was the one I frequented the most. All the films I watched this Christmas I'll never forget (Robocop 1, Pinocchio, Land before time, the Good the Bad and the Ugly, When Marnie was there, Tale of Princess Kaguya, The Beauty and the Beast (Jean Cocteau version)). It also showed new movies of course.
Unfortunately when it showed Land Before Time, audience were filled with adults. Only a couple had an infant 1-2 years old that cried, just to remind us that there is a kid available. This was a golden opportunity for parents to bring their kids. In Pinnochio there were few kids though.

Children and adults alike would like to see the old classic Disney, Don Bluth and Ghibili movies, Sergio Leone Westerns, Hollywood classics, old French and German cinema, Louis Bunuel, Soviet cinema, Eastern European cinema, Akira Kurosawa's opus or even classic movies like Robocop 1, Rocky 1, Terminator 1 and 2 etc

There is a whole treasure trove for cinemas yet they shove it aside in favor of new movies that will be forgotten in a few weeks.
 

Luffytubby

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Throughout the 90s and 2000s Hollywood rode on special effects and CGI. You'd see a movie and think to yourself "the script sucked, but it looked amazing". When HBO revolutionized TV in the early 2000s, people discovered how much more gripping good character writing was. And TV Shows with their episodic form has the potential to grow their characters a lot better than a movie can do.

Hollywood is not a good place for storytelling. It probably never was, but as the internet refocused hollywood celeb onto other non-celebs ("influencers") the star power of actors and actresses has been diminished. These were the two big factors that Hollywood banked on to go see the latest movies.

And I think it's great. I think it's natural for people to wake up and say - This latest garbage with Chris Patt / Jennifer Lawrence is not really doing anything for me. We crave good stories. Maybe the diminishment of Hollywood, will compel more people to read? I hope that more people will take video games with shitty stories to task as well. We need better stories in games.
 

Nymphae

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I read an article a while back about Apple trying to develop some tech that would make theatres a dead zone for phones. I want that to happen. It wasn't that long ago that cell phones that could be a bright annoyance in theatres didn't even exist, so don't give me this shit about I need it for an emergency. You can exist off the grid for 2 fucking hours. It is used by morons to check facebook and texts during lulls in a movie. Pay attention or get the fuck out, it's not just you in the theatre.
 

manfestival

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I find theaters are still doing fine. Unfortunately their whole deal is concessions and the prices are still climbing to counteract any possibility of losses or to increase them gains.
Based off of boxofficemojo and the usual reports. It seems like the movie going industry is doing just fine.
 

MC Safety

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My local theater would be great except it's banned all backpacks. It's near a mall and you can't even bring in shopping bags.

If you're not going to be respectful of your clientele, I'm not going to visit. And letting people in with bags is the most simple thing you can do to be accommodating.

(Note: This rule does not apply to mommies, who roll in with strollers and rucksacks filled with what-have-you. Nor does it seem to apply to gigantic purses or backpacks of any sized carried in by girls/women.)
 

Kenpachii

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Even if i got a free ticket i wouldn't go.

Can't be bothered to:

1) Waste time traveling
2) Pay money for food / drinks or sit there for 2 hours with nothing
3) pay 20 bucks for to see movie once
4) Having to deal with crappy seats i can't move out off and walk around if i want too
5) Have to deal with noisy people and eating people around me
6) super loud music that blows my eardrums out
7) paying for parking space
8) Wait on a specific time to see a movie

Cinema's are like physical games, outdated to its core.

The only reason why it still exist is probably because of dating.
 
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Ailynn

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One of our local Regal theaters is adding a 4DX cinema, which features motion seats, wind, and water/mist. Possibly scents as well...like some of those rides at theme parks have.

I'll most likely be watching Avatar 2 there...as I'm assuming if anyone will do this technology justice, it will be James Cameron with his Avatar series.

 
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Susurrus

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One of our local Regal theaters is adding a 4DX cinema, which features motion seats, wind, and water/mist. Possibly scents as well...like some of those rides at theme parks have.

I'll most likely be watching Avatar 2 there...as I'm assuming if anyone will do this technology justice, it will be James Cameron with his Avatar series.


During my year in Korea in 2010, 4D was starting to come around. I really liked it, and you're right, it would draw me in. The theater in the Yongsan mall only had one screen, so I took whatever they had for the first, which was whatever Narnia movie was out at the time, but then later went and saw the new (at the time) Tron movie. I really enjoyed the experience. But being Korea, the tickets were cheap (about 12,000 won/$11) so that helped, too. Highly doubt it'll be the case in the US.

I always did wonder why I never saw this elsewhere, but figured the ticket prices would be too high for the average moviegoer may not make it worth it, when standard tickets in a lot of countries are already pretty high.
 
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