Mark's Post (read here)
Mark recently wrote about the whole "why do theaters suck" (his was actually, "What business are theaters in?") debate that has been waged between theater owners (who blame Hollywood) and Hollywood (who blames theater owners).
Where MC is right.
First, the release window is irrelevant. Theaters can survive just fine without it. DVD's don't cannibalize theater any more than being able to grill my own steak cannibalizes the steakhouse business.
Second, theater owners SHOULD be able to deliver better experiences than you or I can at home (even on the best home theater). Going to the movie is much less about movie exhibition factors (sound, picture quality, stadium seating), and much more about non-movie factors (environment, architecture, people, music, mood, products for sale and the way they are sold, the energy/buzz, and other "experience-contributors" that all work together to create the experience people pay for.
Theaters aren't in the "movie biz" any more than the Dallas Mavs are in the basketball biz. They are both in the "what do you want to do tonight" biz--the business of creating and delivering a rich, entertaining experience. When you go to a Mavs game, you see some great basketball. You see it in a context of an experience that is IMPOSSIBLE to duplicate. I have a 100" projection DLP theater in my game-room. The players look freakin real--and real sweaty. But it is nothing compared to showing up at AA Center and being a part of the Mavs experience.
The theater experience for a 16 year old needs to be different than for a 35 year old--or for a 55 year old. Enough said...I totally agree.
Some differences and opportunities.
$40.00 in lost revenues
Landmark (MC owned and the focus of this blog entry) is certainly doing a lot of things right. One of my favorite nights out is to go eat at La Duni and then see something at either Angelika or Magnolia (a Landmark theater). With three kids under 6, I don't get to do this every weekend, but when I can, I do. When we go out, we usually have free babysitting (family) but sometimes we have to pay a sitter. That extra planning, coordinating times, pickups, dropoffs, and then paying the $40 bucks or so for the ability to leave the kids at home and see a movie is a big opportunity for theater owners. Current theater revenues per patron are about $9 bucks--even if 10% of patrons brought that extra $40 it would turn that $9 into $13 bucks.
(More later on, why a multiplex should be more of a "multi-zoned, multi-product, multi-tenant, radically-different-people-flow, multiplex.")