Theater Chains Are Refusing to Screen Paranormal Activity: Ghost Dimension

JaredJones

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Theater Chains Are Refusing to Screen Paranormal Activity: Ghost Dimension


No, this is not the latest marketing scheme by the Paranormal Activity folks to get asses in seats -- at least, not overtly.

Although it might not have come anywhere near the success of the original incarnation, last winter's fifth entry in the Paranormal Activity series, The Marked Ones, did manage to gross over $32 million on a modest $5 million budget. With the franchise reeling in an average of $76 million per film [http://www.boxofficemojo.com/franchises/chart/?id=paranormalactivity.htm], it was all but assured that another entry would be coming out this year.

And next year. And probably the next ten years after that.

But thanks to Paramount's unique release strategy for the upcoming Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, we might see a distinct drop in the franchise's box office numbers, mainly because mega theater chains like Regal and Cinemark are refusing to play it.

The issue, according to The Hollywood Reporter, is that Paramount will be releasing The Ghost Dimension through their VOD service just 17 days after it opens, all but killing the initiative of moviegoers to actually, you know, go to the movies to see it.

Film companies argue that some types of films, such as genre titles like Paranormal Activity, have a short theatrical shelf life, yet are still bound by the 90-day theatrical window set by theater owners. Regal CEO Amy Miles publicly criticized the pact struck between Paramount, AMC and Canada's Cineplex, saying Regal would reserve its screens for traditional releases.

That means Ghost Dimension will only go out in roughly 1,400 North American locations when opening Oct. 23 - compared to 2,883 for the last title and well north of 3,000 theaters for each of the previous three films.

In the case of Paranormal Activity, it turns out that these film companies are right on the money (pun sooo intended) when it comes to the films' shelf life in theaters. The Marked Ones made roughly 75% of its 32 million dollar gross in the first two weekends and was dropped from over 2,000 theaters to just over 500 by the end of the month. Likewise, the last three PA movies did over 50% of their total theatrical revenue on opening weekend, with Paranormal Activity 2 hauling in 48% of its domestic gross during its $40m debut weekend.

That said, it's not that hard to see the theaters line of logic here. With streaming services becoming an ever-popular go-to for film fans, big chains are being forced to scrape every dime they can out of each screening. Reserving a screen for a movie that will be available on demand in two weeks rather than a traditional, 90-day run could cost these chains big money that they can't afford to lose.

Forbes' Scott Mendelson [http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/paranormal-activity-ghost-dimension-shunned-832289], on the other hand, thinks that the big theater chains might ultimately be shooting themselves in the foot with this protest.

"Horror films like Paranormal Activity 6 are glorified one-weekend wonders anyway, and this release pattern on a more regular basis could actually help theaters and smaller studios," he writes.

"Horror movies in general are not terribly leggy. But instead of keeping the film in theaters even though the demand has dried up weeks ago, you can instead bring in something else new, something else that is either a small-scale horror movie or the kind of independent film that may well have been a mainstream theatrical release a decade or so ago before tent poles took over the multiplexes with their 2D/3D/IMAX/PLF needs."

It's an interesting idea, but something I don't see a lot of major chains picking up on, sadly. The moviegoing experience is shifting more and more toward an actual experience than just a viewing nowadays -- look no further than the evolution (or de-evolution) of the horror genre as proof of this. Paranormal Activity is ironically one of the few modern horror franchises that relies on something resembling subtlety as its selling point (looking at you, Saw), so to think that theaters would start bringing in niche, low-budgeted, and non-marketed genre films to make their money back is unrealistic to say the least.

Which is a shame, really, because there's risk in that strategy, and filmmaking is all about taking risks. At least, it once was.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter [http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/paranormal-activity-ghost-dimension-shunned-832289]

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RJ 17

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Nov 27, 2011
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If you ask me, big theater chains are going the way of the dinosaur anyways. Much like big box stores (Circuit City, CompUSA, etc), I'd imagine movie theaters are going to be another thing that the the internet simply kills off via the ability to stream from the comfort of your own home.

What would you rather do: spend $30 per person at a movie theater for tickets, drinks, and popcorn to see a movie, or simply wait a few more weeks for it to pop up on NetFlix (or what-have-you) while only paying a small subscription fee, being able to watch all the movies you want, and do so from the comfort of your own home?

Personally, I can be patient. :p
 

cathou

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Apr 6, 2009
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RJ 17 said:
If you ask me, big theater chains are going the way of the dinosaur anyways. Much like big box stores (Circuit City, CompUSA, etc), I'd imagine movie theaters are going to be another thing that the the internet simply kills off via the ability to stream from the comfort of your own home.

What would you rather do: spend $30 per person at a movie theater for tickets, drinks, and popcorn to see a movie, or simply wait a few more weeks for it to pop up on NetFlix (or what-have-you) while only paying a small subscription fee, being able to watch all the movies you want, and do so from the comfort of your own home?

Personally, I can be patient. :p
i dont really agree. when i go see a movie in theatres, it's not only for the movie, but for the overall experience. fine if you have a 120 inches tv set, but my local movie theatre still have a better sound and image than my home cinema system...
 

RJ 17

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cathou said:
RJ 17 said:
If you ask me, big theater chains are going the way of the dinosaur anyways. Much like big box stores (Circuit City, CompUSA, etc), I'd imagine movie theaters are going to be another thing that the the internet simply kills off via the ability to stream from the comfort of your own home.

What would you rather do: spend $30 per person at a movie theater for tickets, drinks, and popcorn to see a movie, or simply wait a few more weeks for it to pop up on NetFlix (or what-have-you) while only paying a small subscription fee, being able to watch all the movies you want, and do so from the comfort of your own home?

Personally, I can be patient. :p
i dont really agree. when i go see a movie in theatres, it's not only for the movie, but for the overall experience. fine if you have a 120 inches tv set, but my local movie theatre still have a better sound and image than my home cinema system...
Fair enough. Maybe I'm just too cynical these days, but a trip to the theaters just seems like a big waste of money if you ask me. :p

Edit: .......with that said, I'll happily go if someone else is paying my way. :3
 

Pyrian

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I see a movie in the theatre because I want to see it in the theatre, and not because I want to see it earlier.

Random semi-related experience: My wife likes going to see movies in the theatre. One of our early dates, we went to the theatre, got popcorn and drinks and hot dogs. Spent like $50, thought it was kind of crazy. So, next time we were going to the movie, I suggested we go to a nearby restaurant instead. So... We got some drinks, appetizers, meal, dessert, and added a tip, for over $90, plus the $22 for the movie tickets. Suddenly overpriced hot dogs and popcorn didn't seem so bad to me, lol.
 

drkchmst

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These are the days that most movies don't last long in the theaters anyway. The Walk is already down to a single showing in my local theater.
 

omega 616

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For me, the biggest thing killing theatres is the cost! The price of a ticket alone is £10 ($15) for 2 hours of film? Then you have the over priced food and drinks ... You have to save up to go.

Maybe you'd get more people going, if they didn't feel ripped off. I know I'd see more movies in the theatres if I didn't have to pay a small fortune every time. Such as, if I have a day free I would strongly consider going but at them prices, I relegate it to movies I know I will love, like the avengers films.
 

Poetic Nova

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Jesus! 5th movie already?

That honestly did surprise me. Then again, I don't follow movies that are suppose to be "horror" nowadays.
 

viranimus

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...wait.. what?

So chains refuse to carry a movie that will not conform to the 90 day window because a movie that will be on VOD two weeks after release will cause them to lose out on money when the same movie will almost certainly be dropped from rotation in two weeks anyway?

Did someone just try to troll out the old "piracy = lost sales" argument and make a new variant of it for going to the theater here? You cannot assume the absence of something else will by default mean the presence of a profit for yourself. Economics simply does not work that way.
 

Buizel91

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drkchmst said:
These are the days that most movies don't last long in the theaters anyway. The Walk is already down to a single showing in my local theater.
Because its what is known as an "Old biddy film", oldies will be the only ones watching and even then for a film like the walk it wont be many.

Suffraget, Everest, the martian and Legend on the other hand? will be in cinema's a good while yet.
 

Xeorm

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Seems a shame. 90 days is a long time, and I'm really surprised that the movies actually get much revenue during that time. As noted by others, if I'm going to a theater, it's because I want to view it in a theater. I don't think they'd lose much money if it's available 60 days earlier than otherwise. Though it does seem smart to leave it to the smaller chains to experiment.
 

Hairless Mammoth

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They might just be screwing themselves over without AMC also joining the boycott. With 1400 screens, I'm sure Paramount will still make a good profit before the the movie even hits the VOD window. The budgets of these films was never huge. (Ye olde Wikipedia lists this film's budget at $10 million. Chump change.)

It's also a horror movie coming out a week before Halloween. People will be a the cinemas for a number of reasons around that time. The majority of ticket sales will be during the first two weeks anyway. Considering from my personal experience working during the premiers of several horror movies, the chains could have still sold oodles of concession items to the average attendee. These usually drop to one or two screens after that two week window, and then lingers and one screen or even one or two showings a day until some other films finally push it out the door at the end of its window.

Now if this was a film that many people wanted to see 2-4 times in the theaters, say an Avengers film, the chains might have some leverage. (The keyword is some, since streaming is getting stronger.). VOD means as many people as possible can watch it in someone's living room for the price of one ticket.

I just can't wait for the next "once a year" horror film to replace this franchise, just like it replaced Saw. I don't ever want to see it, but I am curious what about they'll find to milk next.
 

Deathfish15

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cathou said:
RJ 17 said:
If you ask me, big theater chains are going the way of the dinosaur anyways. Much like big box stores (Circuit City, CompUSA, etc), I'd imagine movie theaters are going to be another thing that the the internet simply kills off via the ability to stream from the comfort of your own home.

What would you rather do: spend $30 per person at a movie theater for tickets, drinks, and popcorn to see a movie, or simply wait a few more weeks for it to pop up on NetFlix (or what-have-you) while only paying a small subscription fee, being able to watch all the movies you want, and do so from the comfort of your own home?

Personally, I can be patient. :p
i dont really agree. when i go see a movie in theatres, it's not only for the movie, but for the overall experience. fine if you have a 120 inches tv set, but my local movie theatre still have a better sound and image than my home cinema system...

And oh boy what an experience. Those 3 girls several rows up front and to the right that have their cellphones on the entire movie so that there is a bright glow glaring out of the corner of your eye. That one [possibly single] mother who brings her infant child to a movie that is NOT family friendly and is rated-R. The people who get into your row during the movie that purchased the largest soda possible at concessions, yet has the bladder the size of a humming bird's and gets up to shuffle in front of you multiple times during the movie. Talkers, texters,and Facebookers!

Drive-in theaters are no longer a thing (sadly).

The theater experience has gone completely down hill since the explosion of cellphones and their ever expanding capabilities to connect to the internet.

Overall people have no respect for social moralities and other people, especially at a movie theater.

In other words, I'd like to say the following: "Hey parents, HIRE A **** BABYSITTER OR STAY AT HOME, BUT LEAVE YOUR SHOUTING, CRYING, AND OBNOXIOUS KID AT HOME!!!" and, "Hey, you! YES, YOU! TURN OFF YOUR ****ING CELLPHONE DURING THE MOVIE! YOU CAN TURN IT ON AFTER THE MOVIE OR JUST GTFO OF THE THEATER WITH THAT ANNOYING, GLOWING, TAPPING THING!!!".
 

Ylla

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omega 616 said:
For me, the biggest thing killing theatres is the cost! The price of a ticket alone is £10 ($15) for 2 hours of film? Then you have the over priced food and drinks ... You have to save up to go.
HOLLY MOLLY 15 bucks??1! Thats just plain evil, tickets are worth 5USD in my country.


viranimus said:
...wait.. what?

So chains refuse to carry a movie that will not conform to the 90 day window because a movie that will be on VOD two weeks after release will cause them to lose out on money when the same movie will almost certainly be dropped from rotation in two weeks anyway?

Did someone just try to troll out the old "piracy = lost sales" argument and make a new variant of it for going to the theater here? You cannot assume the absence of something else will by default mean the presence of a profit for yourself. Economics simply does not work that way.
They might not loss a lot by refusing (or accepting) this movie, the problem is the precedent they could set if they accept a movie without the 90 days exclusivity.
 

Fox12

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Jun 6, 2013
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RJ 17 said:
If you ask me, big theater chains are going the way of the dinosaur anyways. Much like big box stores (Circuit City, CompUSA, etc), I'd imagine movie theaters are going to be another thing that the the internet simply kills off via the ability to stream from the comfort of your own home.

What would you rather do: spend $30 per person at a movie theater for tickets, drinks, and popcorn to see a movie, or simply wait a few more weeks for it to pop up on NetFlix (or what-have-you) while only paying a small subscription fee, being able to watch all the movies you want, and do so from the comfort of your own home?

Personally, I can be patient. :p
I think that would be a shame, but their business model definitely can't be sustained as is. They make almost no money from the films themselves, that's why food prices go up. I suspect that they'll revolt against the Hollywood system that's bleeding them dry, or fade into obscurity. I think the whole of Hollywood is in for a change. Either way, they'll be with us a while yet. They still provide a unique experience.
 

Hairless Mammoth

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Fox12 said:
I think that would be a shame, but their business model definitely can't be sustained as is. They make almost no money from the films themselves, that's why food prices go up. I suspect that they'll revolt against the Hollywood system that's bleeding them dry, or fade into obscurity. I think the whole of Hollywood is in for a change. Either way, they'll be with us a while yet. They still provide a unique experience.
Going to the movies is definitely a social experience that can't really be replicated anywhere else. That's what will keep it alive for a while longer.

This little boycott is analogous to an injured animal baring its teeth to threaten off potential attackers. The cinema industry will never be the same thanks to DVD and VOD/streaming becoming so strong in the past 10 years. They also have no one but themselves to blame for allowing Hollywood to steamroll them into raising prices so high when theaters still had nothing like VHS or its successors to compete with.
 

RaikuFA

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The boycott would work if theatres showed films for more than a week. Seriously two weeks after it released, all the theatres in my area stopped showing Inside Out. Same with Mad Max and Avengers 2.
 

Nailzzz

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I'm fortunate enough to live close by a really amazing theater. I used to feel the same way as a lot of people do about going to the movies being a huge waste of money. Now i go there and i can buy tickets to strictly 18+ theaters($12), so no worries about idiot parents bringing their terrible offspring to disrupt the experience. On top of that every chair is a really nice padded recliner complete with foot rest and a swivel tray. Why a swivel tray? Why that is for the meal that you order from the theater attendants who wait on you during the movie(and insure that people are not disruptive during the movie with phones or yelling). They even serve alcoholic drinks from a separate drink menu. Prices are average for a restaurant, not as overpriced as most movie snack bars for what you get and the quality is pretty decent. I plan on going tomorrow to go see Crimson Peak with my GF. I actually look forward to the experience now, and the whole event will probably run me about $55 to pay for the both of us total. Which is about the same as it costs me when i take her out to a nice restaurant. I love that when you order tickets online you also get to pick your seats in advance as they are all assigned.

But this seems like the only way theaters are going to survive. More of them need to really step up their game the way this theater did.