On The Five last week, the panel was discussing their reasons for why they thought this summer had so many box office bombs. One posited it was the incredibly high teen unemployment rate. Perhaps. Kids do like to go to the movies.
Another thought perhaps all the action scenes were overdone --- as in you see one explosion, you've seen them all. Yeah, could see that, having seen the last Die Hard movie.
But here's another take on there are so many movie flops this summer: It costs a ton to go to the movies. Movies plus concessions = cost prohibitive for many Americans.
I'll quantify this with the fact that we rarely go to the movies. It's a special treat and when we go, it is generally one that we have been anticipating a long time. It has to be one that would be visually and auditorily superior to be seen at a theater. We aren't casual movie goers. The movie theater is 35 miles away from home, so... it's a chore to get there on top of the cost.
So, our last movie was Star Trek: Into the Darkness in May. Here's how it broke down....
Movie tickets for four (a matinee, too, if you can believe it): $19.50 and that included using two free Regal tickets I had gotten previously (which, actually only took $9 off the price of a ticket and we had to cover the rest. "Free" indeed!)
Concessions: $18.50 (which consisted of two drinks for us all to share and one bucket of popcorn).
So basically $40. It would have cost more had I not had those "free" tickets.
Now, what we truly are is streamers. Netflix is awesome and hitting up the Redbox fills in most gaps. Star Trek: Into the Darkness will be released to Redbox on September 10.
We watched the movie on May 26. According to the IMDB site info for this movie, the movie brought in the bulk of its gross within about two months, with the biggest chunk being within the first few weeks of release. It's pretty hard to find in a theater now. The nearest theater still showing this movie is 3 hours away.
So where is this point going? Here it is: Why spend $40 on tickets and concessions when Redbox will have the movie about 3 months later for $1.50 (if you have a Blu-Ray)? Redbox's site says it will be available on September 10.
Smart consumers have figured out that going to the movies is very expensive, even going to a matinee, which is typically cheaper. Sure, you can eat first before you go in, but its verboten to bring your own $1.59 bottle of soda because they expect you to shell out $6 for a glass chock full of mostly ice and a little bit of soda. $10 for a tub of popcorn? Yes, they have you right where they want you. It sure felt like highway robbery at the concession stand.
It's not that the movies are so bad that no one wants to see them. Au Contraire! I would love to see the Lone Ranger flick and probably a few others. But rather than spend all that money to sit trapped in a theater that sells only expensive concessions in inhuman sizes rather than a modest portion at a more modest price, I will wait the studios out. I know that within a few months I'll likely be able to rent the "summer flop" at the Redbox infinitely cheaper than I could watch it in a theater. Patience is a virtue and it could potentially save you a ton of money in entertainment costs in a tough economy.
What's your take? Weigh in on this topic in the comments below.