Month: May 2013

SAVE THE CINEMA

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I love the cinema. As a big movie lover, there is no better way of enjoying a good flick than on the big screen with the loud speakers in a room filled with strangers.

However, cinemas are rapidly running out of business and the first argument for many people I’m sure will be Internet Piracy. Yes, this will have an effect on cinema business, but for anyone who likes film, watching a movie recorded by someone on a handheld camera in the cinema is just not worth it, and illegal I must add. Yet this shouldn’t have a huge effect. Only DVD sales will suffer from this and with the recent (although relatively unsuccessful), reintroduction of 3D film in cinemas, piracy should be minimal. As long as you enjoy headaches and having to wear a humiliating pair of glasses to watch a film, you’re doing the cinema industry a huge favour.

Although 3D maybe saving multiplex cinemas for a few more years, they are seriously shooting themselves in the foot and having to price out customers. My latest venture to the pictures cost me nearly £20; £7.50 for the ticket and the rest on the highly overpriced food (which wasn’t popcorn, more on that later) and drink. I don’t blame people who don’t want to risk wasting nearly £20 going to see a film that they may not even enjoy.

The cinema of course has no choice. If business is failing, you up the prices. But perhaps multiplex cinemas need to think of other ways of attracting customers. I’m referring to the simple comfort and quality of my movie going experience. I am now constantly on edge whenever I go to the cinema in case something out of the ordinary occurs. This is due to many previously bad experiences at my local multiplex down the years. I’ve had problems with the projection of the film, sound issues, once my chair broke – I could go on.

The small number of staff in cinemas nowadays also leads to a whole host of issues. I am just about old enough to remember when there would be a member of staff on the door of the screening who would lead you to your seat. Now they cease to exist, and the showing of a big film that attracts large audiences can result in utter chaos. People simply choose where to sit which means the people who paid for those seats now have to look elsewhere for a seat and so on.

The lack of staff can also lead to bad behaviour within the screening as well. People who constantly talk throughout the film or use their phones can be a huge distraction when you’re trying to concentrate on the film. In addition, I will never understand why some of the loudest foods are sold in a cinema. Popcorn in a cinema is of course tradition, but it’s highly aggravating having to hear someone munching, rustling their bag of sweets or slurping on their drink and I’m sure many will agree.

Littering is also a major issue, and not much is done about it anymore. Floors always seem sticky because someone has chosen to spit their gum out or spilt their soft drink and the staff hasn’t properly cleaned it. As a film lover, I will continue to go to the cinema for the sake of watching a good film, but it’s no wonder people distance themselves away from the cinema experience when it is just not a nice place to be.

The lack of business cinemas gain will also effect what they can purchase to screen. Cinemas up and down the country have to show low quality mainstream film in order to evade the risk of losing business. Last month, what potentially could turn out to be one of the biggest films of the year; The Place Beyond the Pines, was not showing at my three local cinemas – GI Joe: Retaliation was…

This may be down to the film industry in general. There are vast amounts of average to poor quality films being made for the less sophisticated movie viewer. There are too many lame blockbusters with all the needless CGI and special effects available. There are too many unromantic, unfunny rom-coms and definitely too many animated movies trying to emulate the success of a Toy Story or a Shrek, and miserably failing. This leaves no room for cinemas to afford showing the real quality films out there and I can almost guarantee they suffer financially as a result.

In contrast, the quality of TV has risen and overtaken the demand of film. TV studios have recently splashed out on production, crews and film quality actors and actresses. And best of all for the audience, TV is free and can be consumed in the comfort of your own home.

So really, it’s no wonder cinemas are struggling. Much of it is out of their own hands, with poor quality of films being produced due to the ever changing demographic of the audience. Leaving less money for the cinema to spend on making their multiplex a nice place to go and watch a film. Fewer people are going to the cinema to spend vast amounts of money to see a film in poor conditions and too right.

In order for cinemas to survive, they need to find a balance of choosing the right films to show their viewers and combine that with a pleasant movie watching experience. Everyone enjoys going to the cinema, but it is rapidly losing the special experience factor of watching a film on the big screen. If cinemas continue to show poor quality movies in poor conditions, customers will continue to be driven away, leaving the future of multiplexes looking very bleak. It would be a disaster to see one of our country’s favourite past times fail and cinemas begin to close.

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