I’ve been of the opinion for some time now that, barring a massive sea change on the part of movie theaters, there’s no way they can survive. They’re losing their technical advantage with each passing iteration of home theater equipment and technology. And frankly, the move to 3-D movies isn’t going to cut it either as home versions are released.
The only real advantage the theaters have any more is having the very newest movies and the amorphous “theater experience”. Well, they’ll be down one if the MPAA has its way.
The MPAA is lobbying for approval of some kind of as yet undefined mystery gadget that will allow them to send FIRST RUN FILMS directly to your cable box. The MPAA is convinced that this will put a stop to theater piracy by allowing people to get their hands, for a fee, naturally, on any movie that comes out in a theater anywhere.
On the one hand this is brilliant. The vast majority of theatrical piracy involves “cams”, or movies stolen via the simple expedient of pointing a camera at the screen and taping it. That and location will no longer be a factor–movies released “only in New York and LA” will soon be available anywhere that gets cable, and thanks to satellite providers, that’s pretty much anywhere now.
On the other hand this is idiocy. Who in their right mind will go out, at three dollars a gallon for gas (or more!), drive to a theater, shell out TEN bucks for a ticket, get an eight dollar bucket of popcorn and a drink and watch a movie when they can cut out the drive and slash the cost of the popcorn and drink? Even IF the theaters charge ten bucks for their pay per view movie service, it’ll still cut the price at least in half. Who’d go to the theater ever again? For the “theater experience”? Spare me.
I personally hope this service emerges, though I doubt it ever will.