July 2, 2006

What's the real reason you don't go to the movies?

Is it that you hate to commit to being off line that long? The paper version of this analysis of demographics and movies has a subtitle: "Teenagers are all online. But the old folks keep going to the movies."


Jim Kenefick said...

I stopped going to the movies because of:

Young people
Old people
loud people
tall people
fat people
ignorant people
cell phone people
talkative people
stupid people
human people

I stopped going for three years. I went to one movie two years ago and it was worse. Maybe I live near a bad theater. It's the only multiplex with digital everything and stadium seating for like 20 miles in any direction. Whatever the problem is...I hate it and refuse to spend a small fortune to be made miserable.

HBO, Netflix, DVDs and Usenet fill the void just fine.

Joseph said...

I LOVE going to the movies. The only reason I don't go more often is the cost (and perhaps to some extent the limited selection available).

Dave said...

The Wall St. Journal's movie critic Joe Morgenstern notes that kids who go to the movies just IM each other on their sidekicks or cell phones, anyway.

I don'thin kthe issue is so much th einability to sit in front of a computer but rather to receive wireless signals.

Jake said...

I stopped going to the movies because of all the reasons JimK listed plus:

Buying the DVD is cheaper when you consider all the costs of going to the movie. Watching the DVD at home gives me a better picture and better sound than the local theater.

Ricardo said...

I concur with JimK, and I'd also add in the high prices of tickets and snacks ($3.25 for a pint of Dasani?), the annoying captive-audience advertisements that start off the show, and the blaring sound levels which often make it a physically "painful" experience. The Times article was interesting, although if it was intended to entice me back into megaplexes, I'm not certain that calling me a "fossil" and "geriatric" was the right way to go about it. My current "theater" is in my living room, and has the best selection of movies (thanks to my own collection, the public library down the street which stocks DVDs, and Blockbuster) in town, an ability to stop the action and go do something else for awhile, and a neverending supply of (almost) free snacks and beverages.

TWM said...

I'm amazed anyone would pay anything for water, much less $3.25 for a pint. If you think movies are a ripoff, the bottled water industry is the king of ripoffs.

But that is getting off topic and I apologize. We only go to see the big blockbusters and we don't do that half as much as we used to.

Superman is a good example. We went, but were disappointed and I doubt we will be going back to see another one this summer.

tiggeril said...

I don't go to movies because:
a) Most recent movies suck.
b) I've seen chimpanzees that were more well-behaved than movie audiences.
c) My sofa at home is more comfy than movie seating, and smells better too.

Jennifer said...

I don't go to movies, but I never really have. So perhaps they don't care about *my* demographic.

I can't sit still and watch a movie without doing something else like painting my toenails, balancing the checkbook, cross stitching, what have you.

Melissa Clouthier said...

My husband I stopped going to movies because:

1. Most movies suck
2. The theaters are nasty
3. The cost is outrageous when you include babysitting.
4. I bought my hubby a cool flat screen that kicks butt and we can watch a movie from the comfort of our bed in heavenly bliss.

However. The Cinemark theaters here have added a theater that does not allow anyone under 18 and offers more off-beat, intelligent movies (mostly). It is clean. Still expensive, but quiet and enjoyable. We have actually made a point of going to see a movie a couple times this year after about three years at home.

Melissa Clouthier said...

Oh, and one more thing:

I am sick to death of movies that assume the following: Americans are idiots, men are idiots, women are idiots, conservatives are idiots. There is such contempt for average people by Hollywood--Crash is a perfect example of nihilistic, elitist drivel--that I simply cannot stand the thought of giving them my hard earned dough. Plus, everytime I hear an actor open his big fat trap about some "important" issue I feel primal urges to smash them like bugs. The best I can do is withold money and hope they die from lack of oxygen.

AFFA said...

DVDs have a pause button.

Joseph said...

Wow. I had no idea how much people don't like the modern movie theater experience. I don't seem to be as sensitive to them as other people here, but even with impolite fellow moviegoers, I find something special in the theater experience that I just don't get from the nicest of home TV systems. The theater offers me much more of an escape from the world I'm used to and lets me experience the movie in a very different and all-encompassing way. I actually find going to the movie theater can be quick and effective way of lifting myself out of a slump.

JSF said...

I stopped going to the movies a while ago because all the plots are the same and they keep on re-treading old TV that I liked and trying to sell them as new.
On another note: I deliver stuff for an ad agency here in Burbank and it seems that only Universal and Disney are open to people visiting (and delivering). Warner Brothers does NOT ALLOW the general public or vendors on their campus, neither does Dreamworks. I've been in Federal Buildings after 9/11, and they have more dealings with the public then Warner Brothers or Dreamworks.

Finn Alexander Kristiansen said...

I love the movies here in Phoenix. They are clean, air conditioned, good sight lines with stadium seating, and you can always sneak in your own snacks, though I don't bother.

And the longer the film, and the more ads and previews, the more I like it. Even wish we had newsreels or cartoons before, as more appetizer is always cool, especially since I am paying $9 for the film alone.

I either try to see a film I really want to see, OR, make sure I am going along with people whose company I enjoy, so one or the other makes for a pleasant outing.

Cost is a factor of course, running about $17 if with guy friends, or $30 if I am picking up the tab with females. Add another $25 if we grab a bite after.

But doing that once or twice a month is not a big deal, and aside from the occasional bad parent bringing a 4 year old into a movie, or a cell accidentally going off, it's not too bad. Ours is an AMC 30 multiplex.

(Then too, I try to avoid Friday and Saturdays between 5pm and 12, when everyone is there, including meandering hormonal teens).

CB said...

I concur with all of the reasons given above, and add that there is [are?] a hundred years' worth of good movies available to watch at home.

Simon said...

My wife and I largely stopped going to movies because we both resent paying more for snacks than for tickets, but more than that, because it is just unbearably loud. For whatever reason, multiplexes really seem to think that they can make up for the deficient quality of their sound system if they crank it up to an ear-bleeding level. I actually had to leave Jarhead because I couldn't stand it any more, it was like being front row at a Metallica gig. When you're cringing at the volume during the dialogue scenes, imagine what the "blowing shit up" scenes are going to be like. There are those who say "if it's too loud, you're too old"; well, I'm 27, and the last time I checked that wasn't so very decrepit, so I say: "no, fuck you, it's too damn loud."

Richard said...

Remember Tom Peters, co-author of "In Search of Excellence"? He has a blog, tompeters.com. One of his points to marketers is that baby boomers will always be the biggest market segment until they die. He calls us boomer-geezers. We way outnumber young adults. I predict a series of articles by young reporters amazed that baby boomers have lives and spend money.

Randy said...


Anonymous said...

You know what James Cameron's solution is? 3-D.

James Cameron is a genius, but like all geniuses he has finally gone mad.

(For the record: His super-duper 3-D sci-fi epic will be a smash.)

I know a lot of people don't think the communal experience of seeing a movie in the dark on a big screen is a big deal, but it is. It will be a sad day when it is gone. And make no mistake: The day is fast approaching.

But maybe I'm just being weepy. I mean, who out there mourns Vaudeville?

Simon Kenton said...

I'm with Dr. Melissa. Too much of a reverence for money to want to line the pockets of people whose contempt I reciprocate. It's not a neat, balanced reciprocation, of course; I don't want money from people who loathe me, but they want mine. I realize this means I am stifling their free speech, and am willing to live with the stigma.

I'd add a couple of other points:

1) it's hard to find reviewers, either in print or among friends, that can be trusted.

2) there's an experience-pollution effect. When you're 20, you can watch Midnight Cowboy and wallow in it. Get enough life experience, and the idea of spending a couple of hours getting artifically depressed by a movie lacks appeal. Spend part of a morning trying to hold life in a heart-attack victim until the ambulance gets there, and it gets harder to suspend belief during movie death scenes.

Atticus said...

I'm cheap.

Wade Garrett said...

In both high school and college I had the good fortune to live down the street from good, single-screen (or later 3-screen) theaters that showed foreign and independent American films. That's how I got into Woody Allen, Ang Lee, the Coen Brothers, etc. I don't go to the multiplex more than a couple of times per year.

I share the other commentors' complaints, but would add one more: the endless advertisements and previews and candy band-animations to which we are subjected before the feature. Really, who has the time to watch that crap? Sometimes, the actual film doesn't start until 20 minutes after the time for which it was scheduled. The worst offenders are the Regal Cinemas, which actually call their pre-feature projections "The Twenty," and advertise it as if it was worth watching in its own right. Be sure to get here on time, so you can catch The Twenty! Ugh, no thank you.

For those commenters who cannot find a reviewer they trust, I suggest The Onion's AV Club. Their critics have discerning taste, finely-tuned BS-detectors, and write tight prose. From time to time a little too snarky, but I'm rarely disappointed by a movie they recommend.

Christy said...

Ah, but I never show up until at least 10 minutes after the start time at my Regals.

I see a fair number of movies. With lunch pals I see the latest romantic comedies the Friday afternoon they open. With more discerning friends I do the Sunday morning brunch at the arthouse downtown where they show movies that haven't opened yet with a discussion afterwards. That crowd is a mixture of college students and folks old enough to be their parents, no in between. And it is a very civilized crowd.

Some movies must be seen on the big screen. I mentioned in the rewatchable movies comments that watching Some Like it Hot was a totally different experience big screen. Who knows what else would be? And I made a point of seeing the LoTR trilogy at an old fashioned really big screen movie house.

I do go in spurts, however. After seeing every movie up for a major award for the 2005 Oscars, I didn't want to see another movie for months. I felt overwhelmed by the movies "everyone should see," to quote Ebert, as opposed by the movies I'd actually enjoy seeing.
Are movies made for the kind of people who make their children build houses for humanity every vacation and feed the poor every holiday and wouldn't dream of going to Disney World instead? Not that there is anything wrong with that.

And, demographicly, I am a woman a of a certain age.

Unknown said...

I don't go to the movies.

I guess I'm not old then. Thank God.

Rohan said...

I'm not entirely sure the article is saying that young people are not going to movies, though that seems to be what most of the responders are saying, and what the subtitle implies.

Rather, it is saying that people do not stop going to the theatre as they age.

After all, the population is not made up solely of young people. Why would you expect the movie audience to be only young people?

Tibore said...

Ms. (Ha! Echos of the previous thread!) Seidelman's comment was merely a throwaway line in the analysis of why aren't there any "senior" targeted films. So I don't know if I'd put too much stock into a fear of being offline too long as a reason for not going to films, whether teenaged or adult. Most "addicts" I know can easily walk away from their connection for hours or days at a time.

At any rate, back to the topic: I can make a list like jimk has about why I don't go to movies all that often anymore, except mine'd be way longer than his. But, anything I'd list would be tolerable if there was something special up on that screen. Which made me realize something: I don't go to movies much nowadays because they're simply not all that special anymore. I remember when the original Star Wars came out, and that was a huge deal. It was an event; it was special. Same with Jaws two years previous. Same with many other films I won't bother listing. The point is that there's simply no reason to trudge to the theater anymore, save for those special occasions. Who cares about seeing, say for example, Sideways in the theater? What about that movie demands a big screen, immersive sound system, and a huge audience to appreciate it with? It may be a good, even great movie (I haven't seen it myself yet), but what about that particular flick lends itself to the big screen? I bet I'd like or hate it regardless of whether I'd see it in the theaters or on my own home system.

And that holds true for so many films nowadays. It's the crazy circuses that absolutely need a big screen to be truly appreciated - Return of the Sith comes to mind; so do any of the superhero movies (Spiderman, X-Men, the upcoming Superman, etc.). I love those films, as I love smaller, quieter, less spectacular films like City of God, Kieslowski's Three Colors Trilogy, Boondock Saints (okay, that one's not so quiet :) ), Gun Shy, yadda yadda, but which of those films need such a grand experience to be appreciated? None of them, really. Darth Vader is so spectacularly effective in the grandeur of the big screen with a huge audience reacting to him, but Oliver Platt doesn't need that much acreage to get his Gun Shy character Fulvio Nesstra across. It's just fine on DVD. And I don't need dozens of people around to appreciate the effect.

So why don't I get out to movies much anymore? Well, bottom line is that there's not a whole lot of reason to anymore. Many work fine on the small screen at home. And few nowadays are so special you need 200 other viewers around you to really enjoy it.

Eli Blake said...

I've always loved movies.

When I was a kid, my parents (who were the last ones on our block to get anything) had one grainy, black and white TV (and don't even think about cable so it had three channels.) Then they spent most of the time watching the news whenever it was on, so I got to enjoy going to movies because the picture was better, and it was in color.

Richard said...

I stopped going to movies because they don’t make movies for a 44-year-old, white, heterosexual male like me anymore. They just plain quit doing them. End of story.

Thorley Winston said...

I wouldn’t say that I’ve entirely quit going to the movies. The last movie I saw in the theater was “V for Vendetta” and the last one before that was “The Return of the King.” The reason that I don’t see more movies is:

1) Cost. Tickets are about $7 plus concessions plus the cost of gasoline. I have a rather nice DVD collection and my local public library has many movies that I can check out for free (well actually I’ve already paid for them with my tax dollars). I don’t even rent movies anymore because I’ve gotten so good at finding bargains for gently used items.

2) Convenience. I can watch a movie at home at any hour of the day or night based on my own personal schedule rather than having to work my schedule around when a theater decides to show it. Also my living room is quite a bit more comfortable than any theater I’ve been in plus my refrigerator and pantry offer a much better selection of snacks.

3) Selection. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that all of the new movies are terrible but I’ve found it increasingly difficult to find something interesting to watch. Many of the plots seem dumb or if there is one that I am interested in seeing, it’s usually gone in a couple of weeks before I can make plans to see it.