Friday, January 27, 2006

Movies and how people screw everything up

I just read an article on AlterNet (http://www.alternet.org/mediaculture/31379/) about how Steven Soderbergh is releasing his new movie "Bubble" in theaters, then showing it days later on HDNET, and then releasing it on DVD only days after that. Why? Because he wants to beat movie piraters at their game.

Beating movie piraters is something I'm all for. With sticks and such. Too many people work too hard to have people steal their work. And I'm not talking about the Steven Spielbergs and the Jerry Bruckheimers of the industry that have more money than the world. I'm talking about those long lists of people in the credits most people bail out on. My husband and I stay for them after every movie we see in the theater. Everyone deserves some recognition.

But back to Soderbergh's new brain scheme. It's not helping matters. Here's the deal. People are not going to movies because they can't afford them. In little Davenport, Iowa, and little Moline, Illinois, movies cost $9 for an adult ticket. A few years ago I visited a friend in Minnesota, and we saw a movie at the Mall of America, the biggest tourist-trap shopping extravaganza in the Midwest. At that time, the movies there cost the same amount at the movies in my much smaller hometown. How disgusting is that?

Why are movie ticket costs so high? Is it the evil movie theaters? Partially. But you can't totally blame them. When it costs $50 million dollars for a movie to be made (and a lower budget one, at that), someone has to pay through the nose for it for the investors to get their money back. "King Kong" didn't do nearly as well at the box office as predicted, not because no one wanted to see it. I'm betting it's because people really didn't have the spare cash. I know a bunch of my friends didn't. One of my good friends loves movies. But times are tight, and movies are now low on his priority list (Thanks, George W., for your tremendous presidenting skills).

So, are people pirating movies because they are broke? Probably some are. Others like the thrill of "getting to see something first." Or of doing something bad but not "really" bad. I know someone in his early 20s who thinks he's awesome because he can get a hold of some movies before they are even released. Why? Who cares? Why would anyone want to watch a crappy bootleg copy of a film on a computer screen or TV? Just to say they did? Whatever. Sounds like a loser who needs to get a girlfriend or boyfriend to me.

Anyway, this article made me want to vent. If people in Hollywood want to make changes that are really going to matter, don't dumb yourself down. Don't lower yourself to the lowest perceived common denomenator. It's insulting. Step up and take real action. The fact that Soderbergh only spent $1.7 million on making this film (which is still, yikes, a lot of money to a poor sot like me) is much more impressive. Keep it real, Steven. And that goes for all filmmakers.

1 comment:

Ericka said...

Hey, Minda,
I know for me, the "I can wait for Netflix" excuse generally sums up why I don't rush out and see every movie that comes out. Maybe I'm just getting crotchety in my old age (30), but I just hate battling teenagers and lack of potty breaks of movie-theater-going. Why not just rent and enjoy the comfort of your own bed and the pause button?