Theater Chains Are Refusing to Screen Paranormal Activity: Ghost Dimension

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Theater Chains Are Refusing to Screen Paranormal Activity: Ghost Dimension

No, this is not the latest marketing scheme by the Paranormal Activity folks to get asses in seats -- at least, not overtly.

Although it might not have come anywhere near the success of the original incarnation, last winter's fifth entry in the Paranormal Activity series, The Marked Ones, did manage to gross over $32 million on a modest $5 million budget. With the franchise reeling in an average of $76 million per film, it was all but assured that another entry would be coming out this year.

And next year. And probably the next ten years after that.

But thanks to Paramount's unique release strategy for the upcoming Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, we might see a distinct drop in the franchise's box office numbers, mainly because mega theater chains like Regal and Cinemark are refusing to play it.

The issue, according to The Hollywood Reporter, is that Paramount will be releasing The Ghost Dimension through their VOD service just 17 days after it opens, all but killing the initiative of moviegoers to actually, you know, go to the movies to see it.

Film companies argue that some types of films, such as genre titles like Paranormal Activity, have a short theatrical shelf life, yet are still bound by the 90-day theatrical window set by theater owners. Regal CEO Amy Miles publicly criticized the pact struck between Paramount, AMC and Canada's Cineplex, saying Regal would reserve its screens for traditional releases.

That means Ghost Dimension will only go out in roughly 1,400 North American locations when opening Oct. 23 - compared to 2,883 for the last title and well north of 3,000 theaters for each of the previous three films.

In the case of Paranormal Activity, it turns out that these film companies are right on the money (pun sooo intended) when it comes to the films' shelf life in theaters. The Marked Ones made roughly 75% of its 32 million dollar gross in the first two weekends and was dropped from over 2,000 theaters to just over 500 by the end of the month. Likewise, the last three PA movies did over 50% of their total theatrical revenue on opening weekend, with Paranormal Activity 2 hauling in 48% of its domestic gross during its $40m debut weekend.

That said, it's not that hard to see the theaters line of logic here. With streaming services becoming an ever-popular go-to for film fans, big chains are being forced to scrape every dime they can out of each screening. Reserving a screen for a movie that will be available on demand in two weeks rather than a traditional, 90-day run could cost these chains big money that they can't afford to lose.

Forbes' Scott Mendelson, on the other hand, thinks that the big theater chains might ultimately be shooting themselves in the foot with this protest.

"Horror films like Paranormal Activity 6 are glorified one-weekend wonders anyway, and this release pattern on a more regular basis could actually help theaters and smaller studios," he writes.

"Horror movies in general are not terribly leggy. But instead of keeping the film in theaters even though the demand has dried up weeks ago, you can instead bring in something else new, something else that is either a small-scale horror movie or the kind of independent film that may well have been a mainstream theatrical release a decade or so ago before tent poles took over the multiplexes with their 2D/3D/IMAX/PLF needs."

It's an interesting idea, but something I don't see a lot of major chains picking up on, sadly. The moviegoing experience is shifting more and more toward an actual experience than just a viewing nowadays -- look no further than the evolution (or de-evolution) of the horror genre as proof of this. Paranormal Activity is ironically one of the few modern horror franchises that relies on something resembling subtlety as its selling point (looking at you, Saw), so to think that theaters would start bringing in niche, low-budgeted, and non-marketed genre films to make their money back is unrealistic to say the least.

Which is a shame, really, because there's risk in that strategy, and filmmaking is all about taking risks. At least, it once was.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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If you ask me, big theater chains are going the way of the dinosaur anyways. Much like big box stores (Circuit City, CompUSA, etc), I'd imagine movie theaters are going to be another thing that the the internet simply kills off via the ability to stream from the comfort of your own home.

What would you rather do: spend $30 per person at a movie theater for tickets, drinks, and popcorn to see a movie, or simply wait a few more weeks for it to pop up on NetFlix (or what-have-you) while only paying a small subscription fee, being able to watch all the movies you want, and do so from the comfort of your own home?

Personally, I can be patient. :P

RJ 17:
If you ask me, big theater chains are going the way of the dinosaur anyways. Much like big box stores (Circuit City, CompUSA, etc), I'd imagine movie theaters are going to be another thing that the the internet simply kills off via the ability to stream from the comfort of your own home.

What would you rather do: spend $30 per person at a movie theater for tickets, drinks, and popcorn to see a movie, or simply wait a few more weeks for it to pop up on NetFlix (or what-have-you) while only paying a small subscription fee, being able to watch all the movies you want, and do so from the comfort of your own home?

Personally, I can be patient. :P

i dont really agree. when i go see a movie in theatres, it's not only for the movie, but for the overall experience. fine if you have a 120 inches tv set, but my local movie theatre still have a better sound and image than my home cinema system...

cathou:

RJ 17:
If you ask me, big theater chains are going the way of the dinosaur anyways. Much like big box stores (Circuit City, CompUSA, etc), I'd imagine movie theaters are going to be another thing that the the internet simply kills off via the ability to stream from the comfort of your own home.

What would you rather do: spend $30 per person at a movie theater for tickets, drinks, and popcorn to see a movie, or simply wait a few more weeks for it to pop up on NetFlix (or what-have-you) while only paying a small subscription fee, being able to watch all the movies you want, and do so from the comfort of your own home?

Personally, I can be patient. :P

i dont really agree. when i go see a movie in theatres, it's not only for the movie, but for the overall experience. fine if you have a 120 inches tv set, but my local movie theatre still have a better sound and image than my home cinema system...

Fair enough. Maybe I'm just too cynical these days, but a trip to the theaters just seems like a big waste of money if you ask me. :P

Edit: .......with that said, I'll happily go if someone else is paying my way. :3

I see a movie in the theatre because I want to see it in the theatre, and not because I want to see it earlier.

Random semi-related experience: My wife likes going to see movies in the theatre. One of our early dates, we went to the theatre, got popcorn and drinks and hot dogs. Spent like $50, thought it was kind of crazy. So, next time we were going to the movie, I suggested we go to a nearby restaurant instead. So... We got some drinks, appetizers, meal, dessert, and added a tip, for over $90, plus the $22 for the movie tickets. Suddenly overpriced hot dogs and popcorn didn't seem so bad to me, lol.

These are the days that most movies don't last long in the theaters anyway. The Walk is already down to a single showing in my local theater.

For me, the biggest thing killing theatres is the cost! The price of a ticket alone is £10 ($15) for 2 hours of film? Then you have the over priced food and drinks ... You have to save up to go.

Maybe you'd get more people going, if they didn't feel ripped off. I know I'd see more movies in the theatres if I didn't have to pay a small fortune every time. Such as, if I have a day free I would strongly consider going but at them prices, I relegate it to movies I know I will love, like the avengers films.

Jesus! 5th movie already?

That honestly did surprise me. Then again, I don't follow movies that are suppose to be "horror" nowadays.

...wait.. what?

So chains refuse to carry a movie that will not conform to the 90 day window because a movie that will be on VOD two weeks after release will cause them to lose out on money when the same movie will almost certainly be dropped from rotation in two weeks anyway?

Did someone just try to troll out the old "piracy = lost sales" argument and make a new variant of it for going to the theater here? You cannot assume the absence of something else will by default mean the presence of a profit for yourself. Economics simply does not work that way.

drkchmst:
These are the days that most movies don't last long in the theaters anyway. The Walk is already down to a single showing in my local theater.

Because its what is known as an "Old biddy film", oldies will be the only ones watching and even then for a film like the walk it wont be many.

Suffraget, Everest, the martian and Legend on the other hand? will be in cinema's a good while yet.

Seems a shame. 90 days is a long time, and I'm really surprised that the movies actually get much revenue during that time. As noted by others, if I'm going to a theater, it's because I want to view it in a theater. I don't think they'd lose much money if it's available 60 days earlier than otherwise. Though it does seem smart to leave it to the smaller chains to experiment.

They might just be screwing themselves over without AMC also joining the boycott. With 1400 screens, I'm sure Paramount will still make a good profit before the the movie even hits the VOD window. The budgets of these films was never huge. (Ye olde Wikipedia lists this film's budget at $10 million. Chump change.)

It's also a horror movie coming out a week before Halloween. People will be a the cinemas for a number of reasons around that time. The majority of ticket sales will be during the first two weeks anyway. Considering from my personal experience working during the premiers of several horror movies, the chains could have still sold oodles of concession items to the average attendee. These usually drop to one or two screens after that two week window, and then lingers and one screen or even one or two showings a day until some other films finally push it out the door at the end of its window.

Now if this was a film that many people wanted to see 2-4 times in the theaters, say an Avengers film, the chains might have some leverage. (The keyword is some, since streaming is getting stronger.). VOD means as many people as possible can watch it in someone's living room for the price of one ticket.

I just can't wait for the next "once a year" horror film to replace this franchise, just like it replaced Saw. I don't ever want to see it, but I am curious what about they'll find to milk next.

cathou:

RJ 17:
If you ask me, big theater chains are going the way of the dinosaur anyways. Much like big box stores (Circuit City, CompUSA, etc), I'd imagine movie theaters are going to be another thing that the the internet simply kills off via the ability to stream from the comfort of your own home.

What would you rather do: spend $30 per person at a movie theater for tickets, drinks, and popcorn to see a movie, or simply wait a few more weeks for it to pop up on NetFlix (or what-have-you) while only paying a small subscription fee, being able to watch all the movies you want, and do so from the comfort of your own home?

Personally, I can be patient. :P

i dont really agree. when i go see a movie in theatres, it's not only for the movie, but for the overall experience. fine if you have a 120 inches tv set, but my local movie theatre still have a better sound and image than my home cinema system...

And oh boy what an experience. Those 3 girls several rows up front and to the right that have their cellphones on the entire movie so that there is a bright glow glaring out of the corner of your eye. That one [possibly single] mother who brings her infant child to a movie that is NOT family friendly and is rated-R. The people who get into your row during the movie that purchased the largest soda possible at concessions, yet has the bladder the size of a humming bird's and gets up to shuffle in front of you multiple times during the movie. Talkers, texters,and Facebookers!

Drive-in theaters are no longer a thing (sadly).

The theater experience has gone completely down hill since the explosion of cellphones and their ever expanding capabilities to connect to the internet.

Overall people have no respect for social moralities and other people, especially at a movie theater.

In other words, I'd like to say the following: "Hey parents, HIRE A **** BABYSITTER OR STAY AT HOME, BUT LEAVE YOUR SHOUTING, CRYING, AND OBNOXIOUS KID AT HOME!!!" and, "Hey, you! YES, YOU! TURN OFF YOUR ****ING CELLPHONE DURING THE MOVIE! YOU CAN TURN IT ON AFTER THE MOVIE OR JUST GTFO OF THE THEATER WITH THAT ANNOYING, GLOWING, TAPPING THING!!!".

What I took away from this article was; There's 5 of these movies?!

omega 616:
For me, the biggest thing killing theatres is the cost! The price of a ticket alone is £10 ($15) for 2 hours of film? Then you have the over priced food and drinks ... You have to save up to go.

HOLLY MOLLY 15 bucks??1! Thats just plain evil, tickets are worth 5USD in my country.

viranimus:
...wait.. what?

So chains refuse to carry a movie that will not conform to the 90 day window because a movie that will be on VOD two weeks after release will cause them to lose out on money when the same movie will almost certainly be dropped from rotation in two weeks anyway?

Did someone just try to troll out the old "piracy = lost sales" argument and make a new variant of it for going to the theater here? You cannot assume the absence of something else will by default mean the presence of a profit for yourself. Economics simply does not work that way.

They might not loss a lot by refusing (or accepting) this movie, the problem is the precedent they could set if they accept a movie without the 90 days exclusivity.

RJ 17:
If you ask me, big theater chains are going the way of the dinosaur anyways. Much like big box stores (Circuit City, CompUSA, etc), I'd imagine movie theaters are going to be another thing that the the internet simply kills off via the ability to stream from the comfort of your own home.

What would you rather do: spend $30 per person at a movie theater for tickets, drinks, and popcorn to see a movie, or simply wait a few more weeks for it to pop up on NetFlix (or what-have-you) while only paying a small subscription fee, being able to watch all the movies you want, and do so from the comfort of your own home?

Personally, I can be patient. :P

I think that would be a shame, but their business model definitely can't be sustained as is. They make almost no money from the films themselves, that's why food prices go up. I suspect that they'll revolt against the Hollywood system that's bleeding them dry, or fade into obscurity. I think the whole of Hollywood is in for a change. Either way, they'll be with us a while yet. They still provide a unique experience.

Fox12:
I think that would be a shame, but their business model definitely can't be sustained as is. They make almost no money from the films themselves, that's why food prices go up. I suspect that they'll revolt against the Hollywood system that's bleeding them dry, or fade into obscurity. I think the whole of Hollywood is in for a change. Either way, they'll be with us a while yet. They still provide a unique experience.

Going to the movies is definitely a social experience that can't really be replicated anywhere else. That's what will keep it alive for a while longer.

This little boycott is analogous to an injured animal baring its teeth to threaten off potential attackers. The cinema industry will never be the same thanks to DVD and VOD/streaming becoming so strong in the past 10 years. They also have no one but themselves to blame for allowing Hollywood to steamroll them into raising prices so high when theaters still had nothing like VHS or its successors to compete with.

I mean, you could just not screen it because it'll probably be shite....

The boycott would work if theatres showed films for more than a week. Seriously two weeks after it released, all the theatres in my area stopped showing Inside Out. Same with Mad Max and Avengers 2.

I'm fortunate enough to live close by a really amazing theater. I used to feel the same way as a lot of people do about going to the movies being a huge waste of money. Now i go there and i can buy tickets to strictly 18+ theaters($12), so no worries about idiot parents bringing their terrible offspring to disrupt the experience. On top of that every chair is a really nice padded recliner complete with foot rest and a swivel tray. Why a swivel tray? Why that is for the meal that you order from the theater attendants who wait on you during the movie(and insure that people are not disruptive during the movie with phones or yelling). They even serve alcoholic drinks from a separate drink menu. Prices are average for a restaurant, not as overpriced as most movie snack bars for what you get and the quality is pretty decent. I plan on going tomorrow to go see Crimson Peak with my GF. I actually look forward to the experience now, and the whole event will probably run me about $55 to pay for the both of us total. Which is about the same as it costs me when i take her out to a nice restaurant. I love that when you order tickets online you also get to pick your seats in advance as they are all assigned.

But this seems like the only way theaters are going to survive. More of them need to really step up their game the way this theater did.

If you're not AMC (offering luxury/reserved/reclining seating, employees who are taught to bend over backwards for the customers AND offering special event marathons/screenings) then you probably oughta just GTFO. Movies used to be an experience and then when there stopped being a difference between some theaters and watching it at home, outside of the obvious TIME TO RELEASE, people stopped giving a shit and decided waiting would be okay.

3D is hit and miss, some are nauseated by it and others, like me, can't use it either because of the design or prescription of our glasses. Seeing it early isn't appealing for everyone and for some people only apply to certain films or franchises (like the MCU for me) and again, if you're not offering the amenities and deals like AMC does, your fading out of existence is an inevitability.

Netflix didn't go that way and they're a business that managed to announce and immediately cancel a new venture yet they're STILL around... So what does that say about those theater chains refusing to work with it? That they're establishing their integrity or being stubborn?

To me I only go to a place called movie tavern. All thing consider the movie just a side. I like the food and drink. By all said and done it cost about the same for a nice restaurant.

Nailzzz:
I'm fortunate enough to live close by a really amazing theater. I used to feel the same way as a lot of people do about going to the movies being a huge waste of money. Now i go there and i can buy tickets to strictly 18+ theaters($12), so no worries about idiot parents bringing their terrible offspring to disrupt the experience. On top of that every chair is a really nice padded recliner complete with foot rest and a swivel tray. Why a swivel tray? Why that is for the meal that you order from the theater attendants who wait on you during the movie(and insure that people are not disruptive during the movie with phones or yelling). They even serve alcoholic drinks from a separate drink menu. Prices are average for a restaurant, not as overpriced as most movie snack bars for what you get and the quality is pretty decent. I plan on going tomorrow to go see Crimson Peak with my GF. I actually look forward to the experience now, and the whole event will probably run me about $55 to pay for the both of us total. Which is about the same as it costs me when i take her out to a nice restaurant. I love that when you order tickets online you also get to pick your seats in advance as they are all assigned.

But this seems like the only way theaters are going to survive. More of them need to really step up their game the way this theater did.

This all sounds like a luxury experience that the average person won't be willing to pay for, so I have my doubts it would be particularly profitable. I guess it could potentially survive as a niche experience.

Dagra Dai MC. VSO.:
The moment VR becomes something ubiquitous (probably "glasses" type in 10-20 years) it's going to be the end of most theaters. They're just going to be like Blockbuster, totally relevant one day, and then next South Park is making an episode about you. [1]

Dagra Dai MC. VSO.:

Nailzzz:
...

I can imagine that working for a while, but eventually people are going to prefer a restaurant and a VR set at home.

Getting a bit optimistic about VR, aren't we? VR is already rendering people motion sick and it seems the only reliable solution people have found is to use it with motion controls in order to reduce the sensory conflict. This is hard enough with video games, but seemingly unsolvable with non-interactive media like film.
Besides, what exactly is it about VR that's going to kill theatres?
Is it about the film taking up your entire field of view, therefore, reducing the need for a large screen? If so, the obsession with increasingly large screens is kind of stupid. The real advantage of large screens is really only geometric in that it decreases the change in angle when offset from the centre, thereby allowing you to fit more people in front of the screen without distortion for those at the edges. This is only an advantage for the theatre, since it allows them to fit more people into a single screening, but it offers no advantage over a regular screen. The proportion of your field of view that a screen occupies is a function of the viewing plane's size and distance from your position. Realistically, if the screen has the same resolution, then you can just sit closer to the screen and achieve the same effect. The sterioscopy of your eyes isn't great enough to factor into the equation for any but the smallest of screens and closest of distances, so your view point can be taken as an infinitesimal point.
The only reason to have a large screen in your living room, rather than sitting closer, is that it also allows you to fit more people into a viewing. But a regular sized TV should be more than sufficient for a single couch load.
Outside of that, I personally don't really find the prospect of having a screen that takes up my entire field of view to be a pleasurable experience. I kind of like being able to quickly look away from a screen, rather than having to take off a a bulky headset. Not to mention the fact that you no longer have the ability to easily grab objects around you, such as drinks or food. Expect to either make sure to remain conciously aware of your real world surroundings at all time (breaking the entire point of VR), or, expect to have a lot more drink stains in your carpet.

If it's about the 3D effect offered by VR, then theatres already have 3D. Maybe the VR 3D is better (you know, outside of the whole making people sick thing) but we don't have any VR ready films yet, so it's possible that regular 3D will have advanced by then.

I'm not really sure what else there could be that would make VR a theatre killer. I don't doubt that we'll probably see movies trying to cash in on the VR craze, but I can't see it killing theatre, or even becoming the predominant way people view movies in the future.

[1] Which I guess is a kind of relevance, but not the kind they wanted.

Both the cinemas and the guy from Forbes have good points - I'm not actually sure what the right course of action here is. Not everybody's down with streaming. Some people prefer the cinema experience - others have managed to just not hear about it. Primarily old people, obviously, but they're paying customers too.
The more people turn away from cinema to hunch over their laptops to watch Netflix the more expensive cinema is going to get - and I'm pretty sure this constant escalation is just going to end in multiple cinema closures, job losses, et cetera et cetera.

I won't lie, I quite like the cinema. I like it for the same reason I watch Netflix on a 72" screen with 3D surround sound. You gotta feel what you're watching. Mad Max won't be nearly so good to watch even on the aforementioned TV as it was in the cinema - that was a movie explicitly designed to be spectacular. I mean, I don't think I'd ever go see a comedy or a drama in the cinema...there doesn't seem to be a lot of point...but the cinematic experience certainly has its place.

On top of that, there's the whole 'getting out of the house' experience. I could sit at home and watch films and quietly become one with my clothing and furniture, but I'm a pretty social creature so I'm gonna get bored of the film really quickly. I like to go out to do things and to have other people around, and, well, as much as I despise the ridiculous price tags attached to going to the cinema, I really don't want to see that industry murdered by an equally amoral competitor.

Dagra Dai MC. VSO.:

Nailzzz:
I'm fortunate enough to live close by a really amazing theater. I used to feel the same way as a lot of people do about going to the movies being a huge waste of money. Now i go there and i can buy tickets to strictly 18+ theaters($12), so no worries about idiot parents bringing their terrible offspring to disrupt the experience. On top of that every chair is a really nice padded recliner complete with foot rest and a swivel tray. Why a swivel tray? Why that is for the meal that you order from the theater attendants who wait on you during the movie(and insure that people are not disruptive during the movie with phones or yelling). They even serve alcoholic drinks from a separate drink menu. Prices are average for a restaurant, not as overpriced as most movie snack bars for what you get and the quality is pretty decent. I plan on going tomorrow to go see Crimson Peak with my GF. I actually look forward to the experience now, and the whole event will probably run me about $55 to pay for the both of us total. Which is about the same as it costs me when i take her out to a nice restaurant. I love that when you order tickets online you also get to pick your seats in advance as they are all assigned.

But this seems like the only way theaters are going to survive. More of them need to really step up their game the way this theater did.

I can imagine that working for a while, but eventually people are going to prefer a restaurant and a VR set at home.

VR is itself not going to really be much more than a gimmick just as it was in the 90's. One of the biggest problems with VR being a big part of people's gaming experiences is that most people want to come home after work and relax when they game. Cant really do that with an additional weight on ones head that obscures ones vision from grabbing the drink next to keyboard without likely knocking it over.

FirstNameLastName:

Nailzzz:
I'm fortunate enough to live close by a really amazing theater. I used to feel the same way as a lot of people do about going to the movies being a huge waste of money. Now i go there and i can buy tickets to strictly 18+ theaters($12), so no worries about idiot parents bringing their terrible offspring to disrupt the experience. On top of that every chair is a really nice padded recliner complete with foot rest and a swivel tray. Why a swivel tray? Why that is for the meal that you order from the theater attendants who wait on you during the movie(and insure that people are not disruptive during the movie with phones or yelling). They even serve alcoholic drinks from a separate drink menu. Prices are average for a restaurant, not as overpriced as most movie snack bars for what you get and the quality is pretty decent. I plan on going tomorrow to go see Crimson Peak with my GF. I actually look forward to the experience now, and the whole event will probably run me about $55 to pay for the both of us total. Which is about the same as it costs me when i take her out to a nice restaurant. I love that when you order tickets online you also get to pick your seats in advance as they are all assigned.

But this seems like the only way theaters are going to survive. More of them need to really step up their game the way this theater did.

This all sounds like a luxury experience that the average person won't be willing to pay for, so I have my doubts it would be particularly profitable. I guess it could potentially survive as a niche experience.

Perhaps, but I have yet to see their parking lot empty. In fact my only gripe is trying to find parking when we go. It probably would be cheaper if we didn't get desert as well.

Dagra Dai MC. VSO.:

FirstNameLastName:

Nailzzz:
I'm fortunate enough to live close by a really amazing theater. I used to feel the same way as a lot of people do about going to the movies being a huge waste of money. Now i go there and i can buy tickets to strictly 18+ theaters($12), so no worries about idiot parents bringing their terrible offspring to disrupt the experience. On top of that every chair is a really nice padded recliner complete with foot rest and a swivel tray. Why a swivel tray? Why that is for the meal that you order from the theater attendants who wait on you during the movie(and insure that people are not disruptive during the movie with phones or yelling). They even serve alcoholic drinks from a separate drink menu. Prices are average for a restaurant, not as overpriced as most movie snack bars for what you get and the quality is pretty decent. I plan on going tomorrow to go see Crimson Peak with my GF. I actually look forward to the experience now, and the whole event will probably run me about $55 to pay for the both of us total. Which is about the same as it costs me when i take her out to a nice restaurant. I love that when you order tickets online you also get to pick your seats in advance as they are all assigned.

But this seems like the only way theaters are going to survive. More of them need to really step up their game the way this theater did.

This all sounds like a luxury experience that the average person won't be willing to pay for, so I have my doubts it would be particularly profitable. I guess it could potentially survive as a niche experience.

Dagra Dai MC. VSO.:
The moment VR becomes something ubiquitous (probably "glasses" type in 10-20 years) it's going to be the end of most theaters. They're just going to be like Blockbuster, totally relevant one day, and then next South Park is making an episode about you. [1]

Dagra Dai MC. VSO.:

I can imagine that working for a while, but eventually people are going to prefer a restaurant and a VR set at home.

Getting a bit optimistic about VR, aren't we? VR is already rendering people motion sick and it seems the only reliable solution people have found is to use it with motion controls in order to reduce the sensory conflict. This is hard enough with video games, but seemingly unsolvable with non-interactive media like film.
Besides, what exactly is it about VR that's going to kill theatres?
Is it about the film taking up your entire field of view, therefore, reducing the need for a large screen? If so, the obsession with increasingly large screens is kind of stupid. The real advantage of large screens is really only geometric in that it decreases the change in angle when offset from the centre, thereby allowing you to fit more people in front of the screen without distortion for those at the edges. This is only an advantage for the theatre, since it allows them to fit more people into a single screening, but it offers no advantage over a regular screen. The proportion of your field of view that a screen occupies is a function of the viewing plane's size and distance from your position. Realistically, if the screen has the same resolution, then you can just sit closer to the screen and achieve the same effect. The sterioscopy of your eyes isn't great enough to factor into the equation for any but the smallest of screens and closest of distances, so your view point can be taken as an infinitesimal point.
The only reason to have a large screen in your living room, rather than sitting closer, is that it also allows you to fit more people into a viewing. But a regular sized TV should be more than sufficient for a single couch load.
Outside of that, I personally don't really find the prospect of having a screen that takes up my entire field of view to be a pleasurable experience. I kind of like being able to quickly look away from a screen, rather than having to take off a a bulky headset. Not to mention the fact that you no longer have the ability to easily grab objects around you, such as drinks or food. Expect to either make sure to remain conciously aware of your real world surroundings at all time (breaking the entire point of VR), or, expect to have a lot more drink stains in your carpet.

If it's about the 3D effect offered by VR, then theatres already have 3D. Maybe the VR 3D is better (you know, outside of the whole making people sick thing) but we don't have any VR ready films yet, so it's possible that regular 3D will have advanced by then.

I'm not really sure what else there could be that would make VR a theatre killer. I don't doubt that we'll probably see movies trying to cash in on the VR craze, but I can't see it killing theatre, or even becoming the predominant way people view movies in the future.

If anything I'm trying to be conservative about the future of VR. The motion sickness issue is already being tackled in several ways, and increasingly appears to be an artifact of some early design choices. There's is very little doubt that VR wich includes at least hand and head tracking in-game, takes care of it. There's also no indication that VR makes people likely to be motion sick in the absence of motion, and sitting a in a theater and only motion your head isn't a problem that I've ever heard of.

Various design choices certainly exacerbate the problem, no doubt about that, but it's far from the problem's source. You simply can't remove sensory conflict through software alone. The ways in which motion sickness is being combated often involve full body motion controls, or similar ideas that don't involve people just sitting there with the device strapped to their head.
While it's not often talked about, people can get motion sick from pretty much any form of sensory conflict, yes, even regular films and games, especially when they take up a large portion of one's field of view. It doesn't matter how many pixels they throw at it, it doesn't matter how high the refresh rate is, or how well the game is designed for it, if there's visual motion without force then people will get sick. How many? That does depend largely on how well the game is designed for it.

And with that said, I don't trust developers to make games that don't make people hurl. At the moment it seems it's too much to ask that developers ship us a product that doesn't crash before the menu, how can I trust them to remain conscious of VR motion sickness? We still get games that don't even have a FoV slider, even though that is a well know contributer to motion sickness. We still get games that have unskippable and/or unpausable cut-scenes, even though this pisses people off on repeated play-throughs. We still get games that have poor controller support on PC, even though that's been around for ages now. And non-rebindable keys. Not to mention shitty mobile ports that haven't been properly adapted to controller/mouse and keyboard. Developers continually do shit that is well established to be a faux pas at this point, and are too lazy to provide some of the most basic functions that can only ever enhance the experience. Unless VR becomes the way to play games in the future, then expect to see it's adoption hampered by nausea inducing VR-ports that do the bare minimum to justify their existence.

Again, this is mostly about games, since that's really where VR has any real shot, but keep in mind that film has somewhat similar problems in that certain conventions have to be followed. Not all games, and not all films, make people motion sick to the same degree. Some films are worse for it than others, an example being found footage movies. All that camera movement is far more nauseating than a film with a mostly static camera. I'm pretty sure large scale action-movies like transformers with their confusing action and movement are also a known nausea machine. Point being, there are certain ways that a film has to be shot in order to reduce the risk of motion sickness. And, as with anything, these conventions will only be followed if there is a financial reason to do so.
Another problem that VR for films has is its lack of head movement. This is, as I've heard, a major source of confusion and disorientation in games; points where the camera suddenly cannot move. It's confusing to the brain to move your head yet your vision remains the same, which I'll admit is more or a problem for games due to the cycling between these states of control likely exacerbating the problem. Yet, with film, head movement isn't really possible unless they start rendering 3D films in real time and treat them like video game scenes. This isn't really a problem in regular film, since I can move my head and the room around me changes. If I move my head even the smallest bit, then I can still see the difference. With VR there isn't really any way to fix this, other than redundantly simulating being in a theatre to allow such changes in vision. It just seems unlikely that this problem with VR films is even solvable.

VR faces an uphill battle in that everything has to be adapted to suit it, which is unlikely to happen until VR becomes truly ubiquitous, which is unlikely to happen until everything is adapted correctly, which is unlikely to happen until VR becomes truly ubiquitous, which is unlikely to happen until everything is adapted correctly, which is unlikely to happen until VR becomes truly ubiquitous, which is unlikely to happen until everything is adapted correctly, which is unlikely to happen until VR becomes truly ubiquitous, which is unlikely to happen until everything is adapted correctly, which is -- you get the point. At the moment VR has the benefit of optimistic ignorance; many people dream of playing games in VR, but may reconsider once the novelty wears off and inconvenience is all that's left. A large scale adoption early on could cause the public to write it off due to its many problems, impeding its future and slowing the solving of said problems.

All in all, I have my doubts that the discomfort of VR will be solved anytime soon, and its adoption looks more limited than many would like to think.

You seem to be mixing the challenges of making games in VR, and something much simpler. VR has some huge benefits over theaters beyond 3D too. We're already using our phones like television, and there's just no way that we're not going to have good AR and VR before we have good portable holographic displays and that sort of thing. Some good VR/AR glasses can take the screen out of the equation entirely.

Imagine a phone that doesn't have a screen, just a really sturdy touchpad over the entire surface. The actual "phone" can be really thin, really light, and doesn't have to produce any light or support a display. Instead, your VR/AR glasses make it look to you like there's a screen, however large. Maybe it'll be a watch you wear, that your glasses track. The fact is that we're moving to highly portable, wearable computing. We are not however, moving towards highly portable, wearable screens nearly as quickly. We're not seemingly making vast breakthroughs in power storage either, so how to save power?

Use RGB lasers to pain "glasses" with moving images, until you master the tech to pain the retinas directly (who knows how long that might take). It's a lot less power intensive in theory than a screen, and why do we want a screen anyway? Think about, VR/AR with that kind of tech is the future, but even with pure VR goggles that use an actual screen, you have options. For the first time in a long time, a lot of different technologies are coming (or have come) to maturity around the same time. Most of all, the ability to use computers to brute force previously difficult problems is becoming increasingly inexpensive.

Add it all together, along with a world in which basically everyone is a cellular phone (and therefore eventually smartphone) customers, and VR/AR is inevitable. It explains the massive investment in it, because the first company that really breaks it, makes glasses you can wear all of the time and that do AR/VR? They're going to make Microsoft look piddling.

TL;DR Movement is an issue with VR games. Games have always been more challenging than movies, or simple displays. They will be what becomes ubiquitous first, with gamers pushing the technical and design envelope.

I actually somewhat agree with you on AR, despite my views on VR. AR glasses that effectively project a screen over some of your vision, but not all, could likely have great utility and convenience. But I still disagree with VR as the future of games or film, since there are so many fundamental problems with it that can't be solved just by enhancing the technology.

[1] Which I guess is a kind of relevance, but not the kind they wanted.

drkchmst:
These are the days that most movies don't last long in the theaters anyway. The Walk is already down to a single showing in my local theater.

The Walk isn't doing that well, in terms of box office though. Here in Toronto, there were theatres (including a couple of really major ones) still showing Mad Max: Fury Road, past its release on Blu-ray. I went to see it about 2 weeks before that, and it was still quite packed. It really depends on the movie.

Kyogissun:
If you're not AMC (offering luxury/reserved/reclining seating, employees who are taught to bend over backwards for the customers AND offering special event marathons/screenings) then you probably oughta just GTFO. Movies used to be an experience and then when there stopped being a difference between some theaters and watching it at home, outside of the obvious TIME TO RELEASE, people stopped giving a shit and decided waiting would be okay.

3D is hit and miss, some are nauseated by it and others, like me, can't use it either because of the design or prescription of our glasses. Seeing it early isn't appealing for everyone and for some people only apply to certain films or franchises (like the MCU for me) and again, if you're not offering the amenities and deals like AMC does, your fading out of existence is an inevitability.

Netflix didn't go that way and they're a business that managed to announce and immediately cancel a new venture yet they're STILL around... So what does that say about those theater chains refusing to work with it? That they're establishing their integrity or being stubborn?

i dont know, it's maybe a regional thing, but people speaking on their phone is very rare here, and they are usually promptly warned by other people or cinema employees. here we have special screening for parents with babies (and thrust me, it was such a delivrance after 2 weeks stuck in the house, sleeping only a few hours at a time between two baby feeding, to go see jamesbond in a movie theatre where the sound is toned down, the lights only dimmed down not closed, and full of babies so if ours start crying, nobody cares).

and we still have drive-in too. only a few, but they are fairly popular...

Seems reasonable enough, though. If the studio is planning on dropping it to VOD only a couple weeks after it premieres to maximize the relevance of the movies there, there is little reason for the theaters to play ball...

A bit of trivia knowledge for those here that think the "big evil cinema chains" are just being backward. Movie theaters don't make a lot of money out of the movies (their primary source of revenue are concession food stands). On the first week, everything that the cinema gets is 10% of the money received by tickets sold (the other 90% goes to the distributor, which splits it with the studio if they are different entities in percentages that get renegotiated in a case by case basis). On the second week, the number gets increased to 20%; 30% on the third week, and so on until it tops at 50/50 about two months after the opening weekend.

So, it is on the best interest of theaters that a movie stays on for as long as possible. Balancing that with changing movies often enough to make its movie listings interesting for the public is quite a juggling act.

RJ 17:
If you ask me, big theater chains are going the way of the dinosaur anyways. Much like big box stores (Circuit City, CompUSA, etc), I'd imagine movie theaters are going to be another thing that the the internet simply kills off via the ability to stream from the comfort of your own home.

What would you rather do: spend $30 per person at a movie theater for tickets, drinks, and popcorn to see a movie, or simply wait a few more weeks for it to pop up on NetFlix (or what-have-you) while only paying a small subscription fee, being able to watch all the movies you want, and do so from the comfort of your own home?

Personally, I can be patient. :P

I don't waste my time with all of the extra stuff at theaters. I'd rather just go and pay my $5.75 per person and save me a good deal of money.

Could someone explain to me what this 90-day window is? Swedish here. Not an expert on American movie theatres.

I'd like to point out that they aren't actually refusing anything. They have no obligation to show those movies, they're choosing not to because it isn't profitable.

Queen Michael:
Could someone explain to me what this 90-day window is? Swedish here. Not an expert on American movie theatres.

Basically, most movie studios sign an agreement with the theater chains that say that they won't put the movie out in any competing format (Blu-ray, VoD, TV, etc...) until 90 days after the theatrical premier. This works fine for most movies, it gives enough of an impetus for people to see it in the opening week in the theater, yet still gives people who don't want to go to a theater a reasonable timeframe for access.

The problem is that it does NOT work for a movie like Paranormal Activity. The interest window in the movie is too small, if you time the theater release for October, 90 days later is in January, and very few people are going to be looking for Halloween themed movies in Jan. This agreement really screws over that type of movie, which is why they don't want to do it. From the viewpoint of the theater though, why should they risk losing money dedicating one of their screens to a film that everyone is just going to watch on VoD anyway?

The truth of the matter is that it would be better for everyone if Paranormal Activity went straight to VoD/Blu-Ray. The only reason they /don't/ is because of the public perception that movies only do that when they're not good enough to make it to a theater. They have to have some form of theatrical release just to avoid the stigma of being a 'made-for-TV' movie.

RJ 17:
If you ask me, big theater chains are going the way of the dinosaur anyways. Much like big box stores (Circuit City, CompUSA, etc), I'd imagine movie theaters are going to be another thing that the the internet simply kills off via the ability to stream from the comfort of your own home.

What would you rather do: spend $30 per person at a movie theater for tickets, drinks, and popcorn to see a movie, or simply wait a few more weeks for it to pop up on NetFlix (or what-have-you) while only paying a small subscription fee, being able to watch all the movies you want, and do so from the comfort of your own home?

Personally, I can be patient. :P

I'm going to pick on you about this cause you're first, when people talk about the price of going to an event and include all the extra over priced concession crap... why not just go to enjoy the event and not spend $10 on a bucket of popcorn worth maybe 25 cents? This is typically where theaters make their money, but to borrow a term from the mobile game industry you're basically being the whales. Or actually it's probably closer to the big box store like Best Buy strategy of 'packaging the deal', where the big ticket item you came in to buy has a low margin and they make money by dumping all sorts of over priced extras on you.

I'm sure theatres have done their math homework, and determined the way to make the most money off cheap items like popcorn and fountain pop is to charge as much as they can get away with. If cost is enough of a concern that you need to complain about it then just don't be in that group that buys it anyways.

As for theaters, this isn't exactly a new problem and unlike the rental store I don't think they're going away anytime soon. Blockbuster went out of business because digital subscriptions made it much more convenient & cheaper than going to their store for a rental. 'Going out to a movie' is still something people just like to do as a social thing, and our living rooms haven't been able to replace the big screen.

Also keep in mind that theaters have to make their money on the concession because Hollywood takes pretty much all the ticket money. They do it because they can, but I'd imagine that if it ever came down to it rather than losing the movie theaters outright Hollywood could put theaters back in the black in a second by easing up on their cut.

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