The Dark Knight vs. The Couch Potato

23 Jun 2005|Added Value

My last blog talked about the entertainment industry—specifically theatre and cinema owners—worrying about the potential simultaneous release of films on DVD and in theatres, and how they are not recognizing an opportunity to innovate the movie-going experience.

Last week “Batman Begins” grossed $47 million at the box office but still couldn’t pull Hollywood out of its worst slump in 20 years. Even blockbusters aren’t enough.

So what is?

I took an informal poll of Cheskin employees, asking if new movies were made available in theatres and for rent or purchase on DVD at the same time, would you still go to see movies at the theatre?

The answer was NOT a resounding “yes.”

59% said “no” or “maybe,” citing the annoying lines, the high prices of tickets and food, dirty floors, noisy theatergoers etc. They prefer their own environments at home where they are in control, eat the food they like, be comfortable, and pay less overall. (An AP-AOL poll announced just after our informal one—I swear—showed similar findings: ¾ of US adults prefer watching movies at home).

Cheskinites who did say they’d keep going to the multiplex mainly talked about certain movies for which the cinema is part of the experience, especially special-effects thrillers and blockbusters which benefit from the big screen. A few mention the “shared experience” with other moviegoers with common interests.

So why couldn’t Batman overcome the industry slump?

Maybe showing blockbusters isn’t enough. Maybe focusing on that experience, the thing that makes it worth it to schlep out to the theatre and brave the lines and high prices, and something you can’t create at home.

What if the theatres turned waiting areas into a “bat-cave,” or created tie-in sweepstakes to win the old TV-series on DVD (which might appeal to the non-comics obsessed potential fans out there).

The possibilities are probably endless for any movie. The AP-POLL also showed that the at-home and theatre channels can complement one another—people who rent or buy DVDs actually go to the movies more often, not less. We just need to give them more of a reason to go.

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