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This reminds me of the parable about doing something because that's the way it has always been done...

The new bride is making her first big dinner for her husband and tries her hand at her mother's roast recipe, cutting off the ends of the roast the way her mother always did. Hubby thinks the meat is delicious, but says, "Why do you cut off the ends — that's the best part!" She answers, "That's the way my mother always made it."

The next week, they go to the mother's house and the son-in-law asks her why she cut off the ends of her roast. Her reply "that's the only way it would fit in my pan!"

There are definitely complex deals between the movie houses, the retailers and everyone else, but a lot of it is done because that's the way it has always been done.

The moviegoing experience is not what it used to be (long lines, struggling to get in/out of the parking lot of these giant multiplexes, fighting for good seats, too many previews, food is too expensive, people talking during movies, cell phones) and the home entertainment experience has improved so much that lots of people have veritable theaters in their homes.

In my perfect world, I would like to see shorter 1st runs (or the price of seeing the first runs goes down the longer it is in theaters), variable pricing of movies, so you aren't paying $10 to see a movie that cost $2 million to make, more 2nd run theaters (usually smaller theaters) where ticket prices are lower and they serve food and beer like the Parkway Theater in Oakland [http://www.picturepubpizza.com/ where they even have baby brigade on Monday nights for new parents], and shorter dvd (vod, etc) release cycles.

I miss the movie going experience, but it is just too expensive to be aggravated.


I do not recall ever liking the theater experience. Well, maybe twice, but that's all. My recollections are the same as today's complaints: Crowded, sticky, noisy, stinky, overpriced tickets and food, too frequently poor film or audio quality. Why bother when I can watch at home?


HD can't compete with theaters for overall quality. Film has much more resolution than HDTV (like 20-30 megapixels -vs- 2). Also, DVD is always compressed. Uncompressed HDTV would require ~10 Gigs a minute. Meaning, ordinary DVDs could hold about 48 seconds, and BluRay/HD-DVD could hold like 3-5 minutes using dual layer discs. Consider the compression required to make that fit a 90-180 minute movie. Compression always creates artifacts. And these formats all use very lossy compression. The real breakthrough would be holographic storage with uncompressed HD video.


I love the theater experience. There are some movies that are just better on the big screen. The opening night of LOTR: Return of the King was incredible with people in costume and cheering and clapping. My kids say they will never forget it just like I won't forget opening night of Star Wars when I was a kid.

That doesn't mean it couldn't improve. Prices are too high for what you get: theaters in general aren't pleasant to look at, dirty, and have expensive food that's very low quality.

Going to the theater to see a movie is like going to a sporting event. Sure you could stay home and watch it on TV, but there's nothing like seeing the whole big thing in person. I just wish theaters took the whole "experience" thing as seriously as sporting venues do.


I will admit, dancing the time warp by yourself and throwing meatloaf doesn't have quite the same impact in a home theater.

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