Sunday, July 17, 2005

Tax Included?

Movie tax: A ticket to fixing an inequality
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"I've actually seen two movies in the last month. I paid $6.50 for one I saw alone and $13 for the other movie I saw with a date. Out of 40 or so transactions on my credit card, these two were the only ones that ended in even dollars. In other words, no one was adding on the normal 7 percent sales tax. In fact, there is no sales tax on movie tickets at all.

Essentially, seeing a movie in a theater has a tax advantage that is not shared by Blockbuster or Best Buy. Renting a movie or purchasing a DVD will incur the wrath of the sales tax, while actually going to the theater to see a movie will not."
That's interesting. Did you know that there's no sales tax on movie tickets? At least not in North Carolina. I wonder if it's true everywhere else.

I'd just like to point how sad it is that even with this competitive advantage, theaters are still being dominated by competitors who don't have it.

Comparison Shopping

In a theater near you: the box-office blues
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"The grand total for a family night out could wind up costing as much as a month of cable and Internet access."
A couple of comparisons:

One night out at the movies for a family of 4 = One month of Cable and Internet access
One night out to the movies for a couple = A month worth of dvd rentals via NetFlix

At some point it has to start making more business sense to drop the price of some part of this equation so that people will still want to come. The article also points out that
"As long as there are unmated members of the species," said former Sony Pictures Entertainment President Mel Harris, "people will still go to the movies."
Maybe it should just be cheaper/easier for them. I guess that's what Loew's Click at a Flick is about...

The Human Touch

Wanted: Ushers to shush yakkers
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"So, here's a suggestion for NyBlom and all the other cineplex owners out there: Bring back the usher who does more than just tear tickets and sweep up.

Even more than seats with drink holders, I'd like to see the return of cineplex employees in uniform standing in the theater with a penlight at the ready. Instead of forcing audience members to "shush" a theater yakker, let the usher step in.

There's a much better chance that someone will knock it off when asked by a theater employee, especially one who has the power to eject someone from the show. This doesn't mean we need etiquette Nazis stalking the aisles. But a subtle courtesy patrol would be appreciated. It happens in good restaurants and elegant hotel lobbies. Why not in movie theaters looking to create a special experience"

This is pretty close to an idea that I was recently thinking about (coincidentally, or perhaps not) for use at the Camera theater they refer to. I had just finished reading an article about how they planned to reopen it, but that all of their theaters were suffering.

One of my ideas/suggestions was going to be to not only offer the obligatory anti-cell-phone promotional material at the beginning of the movie, but also to cut a message that encouraged people to introduce themselves to the people they were sitting next to. This might diffuse early hostility and get people to recognize that they were sharing the theater with people that they didn't come with. In addition to that, hopefully it would get people to enjoy one of the principal benefits of coming to the movies at all: A shared experience.

But this is a pretty good idea in it's own right. It's good PR for the theaters to let people know that they're taking care of their own business, and I think it might make the employees jobs more interesting and meaningful (if done correctly). I'm all for having jobs be less about menial specialization and more overall responsibility.

Laziness... and smellovision

Making scents of box-office slump
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"But there were always bad movies. There were always dumb movies. Most movies have always been geared to teens. But our selective memory chooses to remember only the good movies.

Commercials are a serious problem. No argument there.

Cost is important, but DVDs are not cheap, and neither is a home entertainment center.

Young people have been acting rudely in darkened movie theaters since the beginning of time. It's the nature of the beast. Turn the lights down, and teenagers will make noise.

So, if it's not the quality of the movies, the cost of popcorn or the noisy teens, what is it?

It's laziness.

People have gotten very comfortable in their homes, and they need a good reason to leave it."
Another way of putting it all. I thought it at least worth repeating