Revisiting the Theater

I’m going back to the Mark Cuban post that pointed me to the Ordinary Gentlemen film. The thing that brought me back was the comments. The sentiment is virtually universal — movie theaters suck donkey balls.

  • They cost too much for tickets
  • They cost too much for food and drinks
  • The food and drinks suck
  • The movies suck
  • The projection of the movies suck
  • The other people suck

So I’ll deal with these. The ticket cost? “Cost” is a concept of how much value you gain minus how much aggravation you have to put up with. This point depends really on all the rest of the points. If the movie was good, and it was projected well, you wouldn’t think that it cost so much. In fact, you might even think it was a value. If the food was good, and not the same thing that you could pick up at an A&W stand or Albertsons for half the price, you wouldn’t say that it cost too much.

The other points are harder to address. The food and drinks sucking comes from poor service. Poor service permeates the movie theater industry, but you get what you pay for. The only way to get better service is to get better employees, and better employees cost. How much would more would you pay to go to the “good” theater? (Personally, I would pay $18 a ticket for a quality theater to see a quality movie, but I think I am the exception.) The projection sucking is the same problem — a good projectionist is likely to be good at lots of other things that pay more money; can you keep him in that job? I would certainly pay more to go to a theater that I know will project the film right. I just can’t find one.

I think that there are places that have the right concept. Movie Tavern is a place here in DFW that would be fantastic if it wasn’t a hell of a drive for me. They have the waitresses and beer and all the other stuff that people want when they are watching a movie. The prices on the food are reasonable, compared to a restaurant. I go there pretty regularly to watch WWE PPVs. There is one thing that they are missing, and I think you can address another issue and this one at once…

Booths. Big, plush half circle booths, like they used to have in swank nightclubs. Art deco style booths. Think about it. You will have your table, to put your pizza and beer. You don’t have an arm between you and your sweetie. If it has a tall back, you have some degree of privacy from the people beside you, and the people behind you. (If some kid stands up in front of you to gawk at you, you can throw popcorn at him.) Not only will this give you visual privacy, but it will dampen out the talking too. That doesn’t mean that the theater should get lax — but it means that you don’t have to deal with the whisperers. This can also help the cost issue — you can put in some booths, in whatever mix you are willing to risk, and price them a booth at a time. Sure, you are going to get the family that wants to cram mom, dad, grandma and six kids into it — but would you get them there if you didn’t have that deal? More importantly, you are going to get people like me, who would buy a whole booth for two or three people at a premium, to subsidize those.

That’s my big idea. Booths. Movie Tavern already has the food and drink angle covered. There really isn’t anything that we can do about the movies sucking. Movies have become too expensive to make, and no studio is willing to take a chance on a movie that might not make a ton of money (like one that is good.) The only way to change that is to stop going to the major hyped releases, and make that a losing strategy… but it looks like we are already doing that. Face it — Hollywood suits are fucking stupid. Fact of life.

39 Comments

  1. Jenn says:

    That’s actually not a bad idea.

    I’m not sure if I’m too keen on the beer part. I guess that stems from a few of my friends that I know would over-due it and just get loud and irritating.

    As for the projection, I think we have some good theaters out here. I really don’t mind paying the money for them. Even moreso when the movie I’ve just watched was a good one. The arm rests come up now and you can snuggle up to your sweetie. The chairs rock, but not so much that if the person in front of you was rocking that you even notice. The isle’s aren’t ridiculously small. And if you have kids that want to fall asleep, they can lay across the seats. Of course, given the theater isn’t packed. The sound quality is great now. I love it.

    As for the food, I’m with you. It’s far too expensive and the quality blows. 95% of the time, I just don’t buy it. Though, they’re starting to have ice cream that I hit up now and then.

    But again, I think the booth thing is actually pretty cool. So would you pay more to sit in these booths?

  2. Jenn says:

    What I meant was, should the theater’s charge more than a general ticket for these booths?

  3. PusBoy says:

    Not bad ideas at all. There’s a place in Chicago (can’t remember what it’s called), but essentially, it’s a sports bar that shows movies. They sell beer, you can smoke, and you can have typical bar food, while sitting at a table or a booth watching a flick.

    My brain is hating me for not letting me remember what the hell it’s called. “Brew and View” “Flicks and Cheesesticks” or something inane.

    Coo place.

  4. HMT says:

    Movie theaters suck as far as your ability to have a hot chick reaching down your pants the whole time.

  5. Phelps says:

    I was thinking something along the lines of maybe $50 for the booth. That’s a steep premium for 2 or 3 people, but a discount for eight (a full booth.) And let’s face it, if you have eight people crammed into that booth, it is eight teenagers, and they are going to spend a small fortune on food and really need to be segregated into a booth anyways before the rest of the theater rises up and slays them. That, and it makes it easy to throw the whole group out when they get out of line.

  6. Phelps says:

    And HMT, that doesn’t seem to be a problem in the theater I go to. I was wondering if I was going to have to find an usher for cleanup one time.

  7. Mexigogue says:

    Movies wouldn’t have have to suck if they were geared around an excellent script and professional type acting.

  8. I’m not big on the beer idea only ‘because the Emagine Theatre in Novi, MI sold beer. I used to go all the time and I would miss half of the movie out in the lobby getting more beer or pi$$ing. Jenn You can snuggle up to me anytime! mmmm Jenn

  9. jenn says:

    “$50” When I first read that, I thought “that’s way too much.” But if it was a “full booth” it’d actually be cheaper than what we pay per person now. I’m liking this idea more and more.

    I usually don’t hang out with so many people at once, or at least I try not to because of everyone crying about what they want to see or where they want to go. Anyhow, I think it would be worth it and fun too. With the good movies of course.

    Still don’t think I like the beer idea, though. But if your reason is ’cause you missed half the movie, maybe the ushers could double as waiters and make some tips.

    As for hot girls and their hands down your pants, that reminded me of when I saw this girl on the dance floor with some guys hands down her pants. I was like, “WHOAH!” So, I’m thinking it shouldn’t be too difficult at a theater. I won’t be finding out.

    UNLV, snuggling’s fun. 😉

  10. Phelps says:

    I’ve been at the Movie Tavern, both before and after they put in waitresses. No problem with the crowd drinking, and it is definately better with waitresses. (Although I’ve watched more wrestling on PPV there, and there are lots of intermissions in wrestling.)

  11. HMT says:

    Jenn’s going to the movies with me!

    UNLV, don’t make me get in a Zack/Slater territorial battle with you!

    Phelps, clean up eh? just make her swallow next time

    SNAP!

  12. Phelps says:

    I wasn’t talking about me, I’m talking about them.

    Of course, it would be funny if I jumped up at the right time in the middle of the movie and started shouting at them, “SWALLOW IT! SWALLOW! SWALLOW THAT HOT SALTY MAN SNOT YOU SLUT!” I bet they would throw all three of us out.

  13. Listen here Mr. HMT, Jenn is going to the movies with me. She is all mine and you know it! If we were to get into a Zac/Slater battle, just remember that I am Zac and you are Screech.Jenn is mine mine mine mine……….

  14. Jenn says:

    Well, if I’m watching some PPV stuff, of course I want a beer! I’m all for it in that case.

    Phelps, let’s be partners and open up this damn theater already. I have that one friend that’s on welfare. We both know she could use a job. And like I said, she always applies for waitressing jobs. See, we alreaday have our first usher/waitress. We’ll name it “The Everlasting Jenn.” 😉

    HMT (I like TB better) and UNLV, you guys are silly. You got me over here all blushing ‘n stuff. No fighting necessary, I can watch two movies! (God, now I’m a whore. Boo.)

  15. Phelps says:

    I’m not sinking any revenue in an industry driven by the insane movie distribution chain. Also, I absolutely would not hire your friend to rake my yard (as I thought I made clear in the other thread.)

    And I want a movie too. And that doesn’t make you a whore, just a slut. And sluts are OK.

  16. Jenn says:

    Okay, but only if you promise that means I’m not a whore.

  17. Mexigogue says:

    HAHAHHAHHAHA!!

    Jenn’s friend:Are you saying ‘I’m sorry but you’re not qualified to rake my yard?

    Phelps: I don’t recall saying ‘I’m sorry’

  18. Phelps says:

    Now get off my property before I shoot your ass!

  19. Jenn says:

    No broken promises, please.

    Phelps, don’t shoot her!

  20. Jenn says:

    Mexit, that was hilarious!

    If she ever reads this, she’s gonna hate me. So you guys better be my new friends, damnit.

  21. Phelps says:

    As long as she’s moving, I’m not shooting.

  22. Phelps says:

    And you act like she can read.

  23. Jenn says:

    HAHAHA! She can read. No really, she can. (Shut up, Jenn.)

    What movie are we watching?

  24. Phelps says:

    Pi. Or maybe Blow.

  25. Jenn says:

    I’ve seen Blow. And I have no idea what PI is. Dare I ask?

  26. Jenn says:

    It’s a good thing I fucked those html tags all up, too. That’s what I get for trying to be cool.

  27. Mexigogue says:

    We’ll be your friends. But you have to go to the Yarmouth Clam Festival with us.

  28. Jenn says:

    Um….I don’t know about all that. It sounds fishy.

  29. Mexigogue says:

    Hot soapy washcloth!

  30. Jenn says:

    Hahaha!

  31. Phelps says:

    If she don’t wash it you don’t eat it!

  32. Jenn says:

    I didn’t say I was fishy, punkass. I said IT sounds fishy. In reference to the festival. Because I don’t know what it is. BOO!

  33. Phelps says:

    I was talking about clams. I’m not eating no dirty bottomfeeding clam. Get your mind out of the gutter.

  34. Jenn says:

    I’m done with tags. I suck.

  35. Phelps says:

    Yo slash was on the wrong side. I’ll go fix them.

    Heh. Slash.

  36. Jenn says:

    Aww, thank you. And I want to try just because.

    Slash

  37. Jenn says:

    Wait, I didn’t type any words after. So I’m trying again. Thanks again, for fixing those. Now I look smart.

  38. Jenn says:

    YAY! You learned me how! X&O’s

    I’m spamming your comments, too. Sorry, yo.