miscellaneous commentary

What’s Good vs. What Gets Butts in the Seats

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Today I lament yet again on the current state of cinema offerings. In the Family may be one of the best-reviewed film of 2012, but sadly it isn’t selling a lot of tickets at movie theaters:

Film director Patrick Wang made two huge mistakes with his debut movie, “In the Family,” which screened for four days last month at the Fox Event Center in downtown Redlands.

First, in the film’s entire two hours and 49 minutes of running time, not a single explosion occurs, and, second, not a single person gets shot. Instead, people resolve their conflicts by talking, and that’s apparently a tough sell in today’s world of mega-hit, multi-screen blockbusters.

Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, only 12 other people were there that night to see Wang’s powerful film and talk to the director, while opening night there were only six, and the other two nights the theater was empty.

Meanwhile, over at the Krikorian, they’re “packin’ ’em in,” with many of their movies based on either comic books or video games, which I call IQ-17 films. These are the movies which do have all those scenes of mayhem, explosions and multiple people getting blown away on a fairly regular basis […]

I then asked Thurman a question I’ve been wondering about for some time. Why it is that these mega-theater complexes, with 15-plus screens, don’t devote at least one of their theaters to “art” and foreign films? He told me that it all comes down to money at the concession stands.

“People who go to those films don’t buy popcorn and other junk food,” he answered with a sigh and a shrug. “And that’s where they make most of their money.”

It should be noted though that audiences are not complete suckers, as Boxofficemojo recently pointed out in their end-of-summer review:

Rock of Ages, That’s My Boy and The Watch: Tom Cruise and Adam Sandler are two of the biggest box office draws of the past two decades, and Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn are no slouches either. The fact that their three Summer 2012 movies earned less combined than Magic Mike indicates that star power really doesn’t go that far if your movie looks terrible.

Summer 2012 offered three movies I enjoyed: The Avengers, Prometheus and Moonrise Kindgom. I acknowledge the first two were an adaptation and a prequel, respectively, the types of movies I usually try to ignore. In these two rare cases, I’m glad I didn’t.





Written by camcarlson

September 16, 2012 at 2:24 PM

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