Thursday, July 14, 2005

THE MOVIE SLUMP

Here's yet another article on the slump at the movie box offices this year.

The article speculates that really, no one knows the real reason. I think it's a combination of a lot of things: too many retreads, watching DVDs at home a better option for a lot of people right now, nobody has any money, the movies are lousy, too many people stuck in their offices, etc. I thought another reason might be that there's a big anti-celebrity mood out there right now. Everyone hates Brad and Angelina for what they did to stab Jen in the back, supposedly, and everyone thinks Tom Cruise is a crazy Scientologist and that his love for Katie Holmes is a big act. But then people rushed to see Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and War of the Worlds, so that theory may be up in smoke. So I guess there really is no reason why the box office stinks, overall.

They also complain that going to movies is no fun anymore. You have to stand in huge lineups to pay a fortune to see a movie, and the concessions cost an absolute fortune. It's something like $3.50 for a soft drink! And not even a large soft drink! Then when you get in there you have to watch 20 minutes of commercials. Not just the cool movie trailers: real ads like the crummy ones you see on TV. Well, if you wanted to see ads you could just as well have stayed at home and watched TV!

I went to War of the Worlds the other night and had to endure 20 minutes of advertising for everyone from cosmetics companies like Maybelline to Russell Oliver buying your jewellery, while waiting in vain for the movie to start. And the movie ended up being depressing and miserable, the aliens coming in to zap and kill everyone. Nice, uplifting evening. At least the air conditioning worked.

I just think they've got to find a way to make going to movies a fun experience again. Maybe they could bring back the old-style classic theatre look, or something like that. Hey, it worked for baseball in recent years with the classic stadium designs. And they need better movies to show on the screens because the present crop is garbage. The big movie this week, The Fantastic Four, got two thumbs down from Ebert and Roeper, and the Dukes of Hazzard promises to be equally inane. So I think this summer is a writeoff.

I will say though: I saw the trailer for King Kong, and from the trailer it looks spectacular. It really looks terrific. I have a feeling that movie is going to be huge, but it isn't going to be at theatres until December. King Kong may be the ape that saves the movie industry.

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