C'MON HOLLYWOOD: Get Your Hands Outta My Wallet!
The other day, I decided to catch THE MECHANIC, which I missed reviewing when I was away at Sundance. Arrow gave it a 7/10, and that sounded about right to me for a Jason Statham flick, so I gave it a look. Sure enough, Arrow was right, 7/10 was the perfect rating for THE MECHANIC. But this column is not to bitch about THE MECHANIC or how it might have been better, but rather how much I paid to see the damn thing.
By working at JoBlo.com, Iím mostly spoiled in regards to seeing new movies. Iím usually invited to either press screenings or sneak previews, and I rarely have to pay to see a new big film. That said, before I worked here, I used to regularly pay to see AT LEAST a movie a week. Iím what you would call a heavy filmgoer. What can I say, I love movies. Back then, seeing a film in the evening cost around 10 bucks.
Oh, how times have changedÖ
I decided to hit up a Monday matinee for THE MECHANIC, figuring Iíd be paying around eight bucks to see it. Ha! When I got there, I discovered I had two options. I could either see THE MECHANIC in 35MM for the already outrageous $12.50, or I could spring for something called AVX, which I was told means itís a digital copy. That option: $15.50.
What the hell?
Taking a look at the prices, I was just happy it wasnít in 3D, as that would have cost me $17.50. And IMAX? $19.50. So, if I took a date to IMAX, Iíd be paying forty bucks, just for the tickets not counting the insane snack prices. What is going on here? If I wanted to see it with Rumble seats, that would have been an 8 dollar premium. If I went to see something like the latest HARRY POTTER, alone, in IMAX, and sat in a rumble seat, it would have cost me $27.50, which is more than it would cost to buy the Blu-ray once it comes out.
I suppose these new AVX or ETX or whatever you want to call it scams are to compensate for declining revenues thanks to piracy, or the home theater revolution, but youíll never get people back in the theaters by charging this much to see a movie. The fact that ETX is nothing more than a digital copy really burns me up. Digital projection is actually cheaper for the studios than film, as they donít have to make prints anymore. Instead, they can actually send the digital files via high speed servers over the net.
Now Iím sorry, but thereís no way THE MECHANIC was worth $12.50, much less $15.50. Very few films are worth that kind of cash. I donít mind paying a premium to see something like INCEPTION, CAPTAIN AMERICA, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL, or the new 007 movie. Other than that, I donít know what would really be worth spending over twenty bucks on. Heck, even the slickest blockbuster, like IRON MAN 2 is hardly LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, and doesnít really lose all that much if watching it in HD at home.
Of course, thereís also the notion that seeing a film in cinemas is a dying trend, with studios already experimenting with VOD. I really hope that doesn't catch on, as I enjoy watching a film in theaters. I enjoy the communal aspect of watching a film in theaters (provided people turn their bloody phones off, and canít refrain from texting). People already donít get out enough, and the last thing any film-obsessed person needs is yet another reason to stay home.
However, if Hollywood wants us back in the theaters, they need to cut down on the ticket prices, but quick! I would have happily spent 8 or nine bucks to watch Jason Statham kick ass for ninety minutes. $15.50? No way!