Stop blaming piracy!
Today I took my son to the cinema to see the new Spiderman movie (it was good, better than the Raimi attempts, mechanical web shooters FTW) Anyway thats not what this post is about. Before the movie started there was a condescending anti piracy clip shown before the trailers. You’ve probably seen it but the general gist is that it shows movie goers fading away in their seats and ends by imploring the viewer not to do something that would jeopardise that cinema going experience...piracy.
Here’s what I take issue with. The overall experience of going to the cinema is crap nowadays. Whilst the actual content you are watching is usually adequate, the overall experience leaves a lot to be desired. Here are a few flaws…
There’s not really much to say here as it really just boils down to maths. When you take into account the other points I’ll make though you’ll see why. 1 Adult and 1 Child at my local cinema is nearly £20. That's apparently a lot cheaper than a lot of cinemas and doesn’t include travel costs (it all adds up) The cinemas themselves make very little (if any) profit on the actual movies. That goes to Hollywood. Cinema’s make their profits in the food and adverts but the food prices are astronomical. A regular sized Hot Dog and Coke was £7 in the cinema I was in today, A much bigger hotdog and roughly the same size coke is £1.50 in CostCo (cooked I should add). Also, cinema popcorn is almost flavourless, gets cooked in massive quantities and is stored in plastic bags and reheated the next day if it doesn’t get used.
I have never felt truly comfortable in a standard cinema seat. "Gold Class" at Vue cinemas gets pretty close but never a normal cinema seat. They don’t move, they have hard arms that you have to fight over with the people next to you and they also have those big plastic circles at the end that are only usually any use for one particular size of drink the cinema sells, useless for contraband you've smuggled in. I’m not just physically uncomfortable, I am mentally uncomfortable as well. Those seats rarely get any sort of deep cleaning (if at all). Imagine just how many people have farted in those seats? If someone asked you to sit in a seat that they had been getting as many people as they can to deliberately fart in for the last 10 years, you would think you were a nutcase but at the cinema you pay for the privilege! Also, a few years ago I did security in a cinema here in Edinburgh at weekends over the summer for some extra cash and believe me, farting is at the more acceptable end of the scale when it comes to stuff that happens in those seats!
I don’t know really how to articulate this other than if I was able to, I would turn the volume down. Which leads me to my next point
You can’t pause, rewind, adjust volume etc. Now granted, your phone shouldn’t be interrupting the movie in a cinema anyway but if you mishear something or need to re-watch a crucial scene, you can’t and things like that have potential to spoil the whole movie.
You’re not alone at the cinema. You can’t talk to your friends, you feel guilty if you make any noise in fact. There is always the chance you’ll end up next to a talker, sat behind someone who’s tall, someone who walks in front of you, or even the aforementioned farters!
I don’t know how to fix these issues and I’m not claiming to, I also wasn’t ignorant to them before but all of those things puts me off going. The movie bigwigs like to blame piracy but maybe its not just piracy? Maybe people just don’t want to pay through the nose and have a crap experience just to see the latest movies? If the same movies were made available soon after release, maybe more people would buy them to watch at home? I know I would probably actually pay a little more to legally watch The Dark Knight Rises at home without waiting 6 months than I would having to go to the cinema again. I know a lot of people enjoy the “big screen experience” and those people can still go to the cinema.
Maybe I’m just a fussy lazy sod who wants everything given to me on a silver platter, maybe I’m a few years behind everyone else in realising this but I’m willing to bet I am part of a growing number of people and whilst I don’t agree with piracy, nor do I think there is any justification for it, I can see why more people are looking for an alternative, I just wonder how long it will take until the movie moguls realise it and give us one?