By Vance Seeley
“Movies ain’t as good as they used to be,” is an all too common refrain. To these people I would say “ain’t’ isn’t a word” and let them know they’re only half-true.
You see, it’s not movies that aren’t as good as they used to be, it’s movie theaters–though after seeing Torque I might revise that statement. Let’s face it, theaters are not as good as they once were.
First, there is the obvious problem of ticket prices. For those of you blissfully unaware, the current price of a movie tickets is $13.50. There are countries with a GNP smaller than $13.50. There was a time when one did not have to sell a liver in order to see a movie. It was only a decade ago that ticket prices were less than $7. Inflation must have hit theaters extra hard.
Let’s take a look at what it costs a theater to serve food:
Price to pay employee: minimum wage
Price for $4 priced popcorn: 25 cents
Price to see you cry when you see how much your food costs: priceless
High prices aren’t the only thing damaging the theater going experience. It’s gotten to the point where one must pack a small lunch in order to get through the ads and previews that preceed every movie. Previews aren’t really that bad, the main problem is the advertisements.
These aren’t your simple 30-seconds-and-the-pain-is-over ads. No, these are a different, much, much longer breed. You can’t just change the channel, you need to grind your teeth and endure creepy, skinny people lusting over Calvin Klein cologne.
If you go to several movies you’ll also quickly realize there is not a lot of variety in the ads. I’m almost at the point where have a physical twitch whenever I hear “zoom, zoom.” Perhaps the worst part of it all is realizing how much you paid for the right to view them.
Theaters will often defend themselves by saying these prices are necessary to remain profitable. I’m not even going to pretend I know much about the budget of movie theaters but I do know some things. One such thing is that in some places, such as Manitoba, the cost of ticket is much less than it is here. Or maybe minimum wage is just higher here.