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Picture This

Showing This Friday: Waterworld
  [vote for,

Yesterday I saw Edge of Darkness starring Mel Gibson. The theater had just 4 people in the room. I bet AMC (where I saw the movie) lost a ton at that time slot. The movie was actually quite mediocre which is how I had time to think of this idea. Theaters would love it if their shows could be filled all the time but for most movies the opening week tends to have the highest occupancy and then it gradually drops off.

Now, I would love to re-watch classics like The Usual Suspects or my favorite Waterworld in the theater but no hall near me would play these oldies. Sure, I could rent a DVD but there isn't a substitute (for me at least) to watching on the silver screen. But I can't blame AMC for not screening Waterworld. They can't risk having no one show up. This is where the social network phenomenon comes in. The AMC website should have a segment called "Viewers Choose" where I can select a movie and if the required occupancy is met AMC can play the movie and make money. There is a site called groupon.com which is a collective bargaining destination where restaurants etc will give out a really awesome discount which can only be used if a set number of people sign up for it. No one gets billed till the minimum number criteria is met. This idea is similar but specifically for movie watching. I have a list of at least 50 favorites I'd gladly pay ticket price for. That's money AMC could be earning. And I'm just 1 person. And I bet there are 50 people in Chicago who would love to watch The Usual Suspects again.

nomadic_wonderer, Feb 19 2010


       You need a feedback mechanism to allow for all the people to say when they can make a showing.   

       I also suspect there might have to be some changes in movie distribution to make this work, right now film copies are returned after. I think digital theatres need to delete the films after a run. This would require either a library or an on demand download.   

       Despite that you would get a [+] if you hadn't mentioned Waterworld.
MechE, Feb 19 2010

       MechE: Two things:   

       1.  There is no doubt AMC will need to coordinate with movie studios.  They could either show a list of older movies they have available or allow people to make a wish list and, based on popularity, purchase/rent those prints.  Studios will enjoy monetizing older prints.   

       2.  Water World, Water World, Water World, Water World.
nomadic_wonderer, Feb 19 2010

       I can raise any number of objections to this one (including the mention of Waterworld) - but it is fundamentally an excellent idea.   

       I soooo miss being able to go to the NFT and see classics.
wagster, Feb 19 2010

       Is celluloid a requirement, or would digital work, as long as it was on a big screen and in the company of an audience? If digital's OK, then I'd think the technical people would have an easy time implementing this. The lawyers would have a slightly harder time working out new kinds of licensing agreements but it still seems just difficult enough to be interesting for a roomfull of smart people -- no more than that. In fact, this is so obviously* a good and feasible idea that I can't understand why it doesn't exist. Do studios, or some other party have an economic disincentive? Is someone simply resistant to change?   

       *obvious once [nomadic_wonderer] pointed it out, I mean.
mouseposture, Feb 20 2010

       [mouseposture] Movie studios are paranoid and obsessively focused on monetizing their current library.  They just don't want to experiment, I guess.  I am sure, however, at some point this idea will go live.  Can't say if it will happen next year or three years from now. PS: digital will work.   

       [21 Quest] The difference between my idea and what Garland Theater is doing is that their strategy is passive, they put out a movie and people come watch.  They may or may not make money.  This idea guarantees the theater/studio will make money because a threshold number has to be reached.  The good news is that if Garland Theater can be profitable (I'm assuming they are) with their model it proves the strategy is a viable business option.
nomadic_wonderer, Feb 20 2010

       The Stanford Theater in Palo Alto used to do this, sort of - you could request your choice of double feature. I saw The Apartment and Some Like It Hot as a double feature there in the late 90's.
hippo, Feb 20 2010


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