Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A Movie A Day...Might Keep The Box Office In Play?

Apparently nobody wanted to go out to the movies this weekend. In terms of money, it was the worst weekend in 16 years! This probably has to do with the fact that the movies released recently were, as I heard two local radio hosts put it, flicks no one had even heard of before.

At an average of $12 - $18 a pop at my local theaters, most people will probably want to buy tickets for something they were actually excited about seeing. These higher costs would lead less and less people to casually stop by the theaters and just go see whatever is playing. If these rates continue to decrease, movie chains will probably look to anything to help boost crowds coming to hang in front of their screens.

One company might have an idea of how to rectify the issue.

About a year ago I looked into a subscription service that could inspire more people to get off their couch and out into the movie theaters. This company, MoviePass, promises that for just a flat rate per month, you can have access to a ticket to one movie in the theater per day.

Such an opportunity instantly got my motor running, specifically because it feeds my two dearest passions – going to see movies in the theater and a good deal. However, there were two big catches - back then, the price was $40 a month and you would have to commit to a full year up front, not just paying at a month by month basis.

Even though the cost could easily be covered by just seeing one movie a week over a month, the year long commitment felt too much like moving in with a dude you just met. You really aren't confident about how this whole thing is going to work out and it would be better to have an easy out.

It became even more clear that this company should be avoided after reading endless criticisms about the company's less than stellar (aka garbage - allegedly) app that has to be used to purchase tickets.

Cut to last week and MoviePass made a big announcement that instantly led to their service being flooded with new members. It was reported that they are lowering their price to $9.95 per month - a price that  matches every other entertainment service that America has made essential in their lives. 

For some reason anything under $10 seems to be basically free. Something that's $11.99 at Target takes about an hour of extra thought before it ends up in my cart, but something that is merely $2 less seems like a no brainier. No question I will be buying that $9.99 clearance kitschy elephant tape dispenser. Do I even use tape? I mean, probably!

Of course my brain starts trying to work out how MoviePass can possibly make money with such a large drop in their pricing. One possibility is banking on laziness. Many people will sign up just for the cheap cost and then not use it. But for every careless person there will be an uber subscriber (aka me) who will take on this hot deal and utilize it to the max.

Odds are there could be a month where I would go to a movie every day just because I could! Check out that Emojii movie? Why not - bring it on! I basically already paid for it anyway!

In reality, I'm rooting for MoviePass to help revive a culture of people spending their nights out at the theater just seeing whatever is out there playing instead of glued to Netflix all the time. Watching movies and television at home is great and all, but it leads to distracted viewing with people wandering back and forth and pausing to take snack breaks.

Ultimately nothing compares to the completely immersive experience of going out to the movies. You can laugh with strangers and let go, crying unabashedly in the darkness. Sometimes you might even make new friends with other audience members. [Oh - is that just me?] Then everyone leaves once the lights come up, buzzing with either great or horrible stances on what you all just witnessed.

Sure, sometimes there will be that dude down the aisle texting for 15 minutes on his huge bright phone. Yet, giving him the side eye is all part of the experience. Interacting with others might be a lost art in the future, but hey, let's keep real life human interplay, both positive and negative, going for as long as we can. 

While championing the success of the movie theaters might not be for the masses, it should definitely be taken on by those who are brave. Try to at least partially fight off some of the advancements easing you towards never leaving your house. There is a whole world out there...for now.

Hopefully MoviePass can help hold the torch for this entertainment tradition, because, boy, oh boy, these institutions seem like they need all the help they can get.

Until next time. 

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