Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Hollywood hurting?

Tammy Bruce gives her opinion why movie theater box office receipts are down here.

While left-wing preachiness in movies certainly does keep many viewers away from the theater, I suspect it's the competition movies face with other mediums as a major factor for fewer folks going to the show.

Prior to television, movies were the main supplier of popular viewing entertainment. Even with television, movies still held their own for some time, mostly from habit by the movie going public. However, once cable television came on the scene, more people in more places had more viewing choices right in their own homes. Beginning in the late 1970's, cable was being installed in nearly every city, town, or village in the country. During this same time period, cable programming began to expand with cable only content like ESPN, superstations like WTBS, and premium channels like HBO. Of course, satellite TV has continued this trend. Nowadays, most homes have dozens, of not hundreds, of channels of programming to choose from.

Add to this the new mediums of VHS and DVD, and people can watch uncut, uninterrupted movies in their homes for a lot less than a night out at the cineplex. Many people own wide screen or projection TV's these days too, creating a more movie-like home viewing experience.

People will throng to the theater to see larger-than-life stories on the larger-than-life big screen of the theater. But most movies don't qualify as larger-than-life. Ordinary dramas, comedies (romantic or otherwise), melodramas, and most thrillers are nothing special on the big screen, and whatever viewing pleasure they provide is not lost when viewed on the smaller screen.

A review of the biggest box office draws over the last several years bears this out. The LOTR movies, the Potter movies, Gladiator, Seabiscuit, Star Wars, Spiderman, among others, are all larger-than-life spectacles. While they are still enjoyable on TV, there's no substitute for seeing these movies on the big screen of the theater.

In short, people go the movies to be entertained. Most don't want to be preached to when they buy their movie ticket. Movies that are not much different from ordinary TV fare will do smaller box office than those that thrill us in ways TV viewing can't. Everyone better get used to it.


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