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Thanks again for the information, Shawn. I wonder when digital projection will take hold. I found one article on the subject. It doesn't seem to promise an overnight transformation.
Costs will go down once digital projection becomes the norm. Film prints cost way too much to make and transport. They come in 2-4 big, heavy metal cases and via special delivery. HD digital projection will mean it all comes on a disc.
And variety isn't very profitable in the movie biz. Art films fall at the end of the Long Tail, and only work to turn a profit when you have a large-enough pool to draw the audience from.
Bootleggers get their copies from two sources - leaked DVDs and from people who film the movie in the theater. A lot of bootlegs are actually from people using hand-held video cameras in a theater.
Thanks, JustBeachy, for correcting my typo and suggesting a couple of other theaters to try.
And, Shawn, thanks for the Theater Biz 101. I wonder whether the cost of the prints will go down based on technological advances. All of those folks watching bootleg copies for free online have found a way to lower the costs. It would seem in the theater's best interest to get the greatest-possible variety of movies so that they could sell more of those high-priced concessions. Isn't it time for the old business model of movies to change?
It's not up to the theater which movies get played and which don't - it's up to the distribution company for the movie (how many prints go out) and the companies running the theaters (where those prints go).
As of Jan. 4, Slumdog Millionaire was only playing on 612 screens. Victoria just isn't a big enough market to warrant a film in that kind of release getting played here. If it starts to make a lot of money - especially now that's it's winning awards - we might get to see it here.
That's what happened with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. It finally came to Victoria after the Oscars.
Prints are very expensive, and they don't like to make extras to send out to places that aren't going to have a big enough audience to justify the cost. If Victoria were to get Slumdog or The Wrestler, chances are we would get one passed down from Houston or Austin after the movie left one of their theaters.
When you go see a blockbuster in an almost vacant theater, it's because those movies recoup the cost of the prints in the first weekend or two. The theater company and the distributor will keep it in Victoria because there's nothing else to put in the theater worth the cost. To them, producing an extra print of an art film to send out here is more expensive than keeping a month-old blockbuster in the theater.
As for what the individual theater profits off of - it's not the movies, it's the concessions. The money the theater itself makes off of the ticket sales is minimal. That's why you pay $4 for a bag of M&Ms.;
Chris - that's the Regal ARBOR Cinema. The Alamo Drafthouse and the Dobie Theater, both in Austin, also show independent films. I recommend any of them!
I've heard people talking about downloading current movies for free and watching them. I'm assuming this is illegal, although this article offers some roundabout technical explanation of how it's OK to do this. What's been your experience in the quality of these movies? Any worries about getting caught doing this?
Anyone else have other suggestions for seeing movies out of the mainstream? My Facebook friend, Maggie, said she and her hubby make a day of it and go to Austin or Houston. They go to Landmark River Oaks Theatre, 2009 West Gray Street, Houston, or Regal Habor Cinema, 9828 Great Hills Trail, Austin, TX, 78759 , (800)3263264.
How about anyone else? Where do you go?
And would one screen out of 12 in Victoria actually work if it were devoted to such films?