Soon the Rich Will Own Gaming and Going to the Movies Completely

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You might have heard recently that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg lamented that the blockbuster was killing the movie industry, which is funny because they, you know, invented it. The two elder auteurs correctly pointed out that films seem to either be made for $1 million or $250 million, with the "middle class" of features slowly disappearing. Studios need that Avengers money to stay afloat, and just can't afford to work the middle because the middle rarely pays off overseas.

Lucas said, "We're talking Lincoln and Red Tails - we barely got them into theaters. You're talking about Steven Spielberg and George Lucas can't get their movie into a theater... The pathway to get into theaters is really getting smaller and smaller."

Let's set aside the fact that these two men, who I freely admit are responsible for some of my favorite moviegoing experiences, are sad because they're starting to get pushed out the way they themselves pushed less explodey films out over the last 30 years. I don't expect those on high to consider those down below, which makes it a pleasant surprise when it does occur.

Lucas and Spielberg predict that going to the movies will become a luxury experience akin to going to a play. Instead of paying $9 for a ticket to all movies, Avatar 2 or whatever will cost $25. Meanwhile you'll pay, say $7 for a flick like Lincoln when you go out.

But killing vampires with an ax is totes worth another $4
Now, the thought of there being some kind of marketplace that determines how much a movie ticket is actually is sort of appealing. I might go to the movies more if I could see, say, Kings of Summer, for $5 instead of dropping full price for a flick that was made for a fraction of Michael Bay's firework budget. The hopeful capitalist in me ponders studios choosing to price film competitively, instead of this one-size-fits-all approach we have now. After all, you don't pay the same price for Cher tickets as you do to see the Legendary Pink Dots.

The reality, though, is that nothing of the kind will happen because the studios have the cinemas over the same barrel they've been using for years. Studios take an absolute obscene amount of the profits from the theaters. Why do you think popcorn is so expensive, and the staff is poorly trained and rude, and that they're all nondescript and faceless now? Because for the first three weeks or so, otherwise known as the period when they make money, the studios take up to 95 percent of the profits.

They're not letting that go any time soon, and so movie theaters won't have any incentive to show those cheaper films at all. That's why you see places like Alamo Drafthouse showing old films or things like classic Doctor Who episodes opposite first run films as well as serving alcohol. They have to rely on established properties to ensure butts in the seats, Even Alamo supplemented showings of Kings of Summer by making it a double feature with Stand by Me.

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Lea Brice Hougland
Lea Brice Hougland

I just went to a movie for $6 a ticket at 10:25am. You just have to get a little pickier about the times you go if you want to save money.

Jack Henderson
Jack Henderson

Yay for Alamo Drafthouse! I sure miss the West Oaks spot.

Kim Carter
Kim Carter

I think, this will open up a venue for independent movies, like at YouTube

Tally Calvert
Tally Calvert

well, if they don`t get better who cares! The 3d is enough to make me never want to go again. What a rip-off.


The triple-A franchise business model is exactly why so many video game companies are going under lately. The new Tomb Raider sold something like over 3 and a half million units, yet Square Enix considered its sales a disappointment. These huge franchises cost so many millions of dollars to create, that companies expect each title to put up the sales numbers of a Call of Duty game, which I find safe to say is quite an anomaly

What I think is interesting, is that video games are also splitting into a "$1 million or $250 million" industry as well. Indie games are very much on the rise lately, I hear people talking about games like Bastion or the Walking Dead the same way they would about a franchise like Halo. The difference is those games cost $25 vs $60. If you think back, I remember the Playstation 1 catalog having  a more level playing field, with most games being a "middle tier" that I think has mostly vanished in favor of creating fewer but higher budget games.

Hopefully the enthusiasm for indie games continues to grow, because that is the only way we will have alternatives to every game ending up some big production military shooter.

MadMac topcommenter

Daaaayyyyyyyyuuumm, Mr. F! You're killing it today. Everything you posted is target locked. Side note, I haven't been to the cinemega since 2007-ish. "The 300," was so appauling (with 2 Ps) I got up to leave and the Mrs. said uh-un, fat boy, we dropped $30 for the tickets and snacks, we're watching this turkey all the way through. 

When Walter Mosley made his appearance at Murder by the Book last month, he acknowledged "Devil in a Blue Dress," only made it's budget at the box office yet has been emensely profittable since then. Still, he can't get a sequel made because of the fear studios have in a $25-30 million budget.

I miss the big scree/sound/experience but not enough to justify the price for the product. Again, good stuff, Mr. F. 

JefWithOneF topcommenter

@matthew.schwabby The solution? Let the Call of Duty people have the assets of every game produced from now on to make their own version along side the regular version. Call of Duty: Tomb Raider. Call of Duty: The Last of Us. Call of Duty: Final Fantasy XV. The Call of Duty fans would be happy. The original game makes another several million dollars, and scene. 

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