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Are too many free pre-advance screenings hurting the overall Film's BO intake?

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Are too many free pre-advance screenings hurting the overall Film's BO intake?

Old 04-25-06, 02:03 PM
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Are too many free pre-advance screenings hurting the overall Film's BO intake?

I know that from the film's from last year - there were multiple pre-release screenings of 'Serenity' 'Rent', 'The Greatest Game Ever Played' - do you think that after awhile if so many people see this movie for free, it ultimately hurts the film box office potential? I thought the Hollywood idea of making movies was to make money, not pander to everyone need to be cheap and see a movie for free and loss money.
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Old 04-25-06, 02:42 PM
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not at all. typically these are very small and only a few theaters per city will have advanced screenings, and only for one screen for one show. they are designed to get people talking about the movie and to generate buzz, and/or gauge audience reaction to test if they need reshoots, etc. 99% of the moviegoing public will still have to see it the regular way. in terms of creeping into profits i think the effect is negligible at best.
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Old 04-25-06, 02:47 PM
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I just thought that with Universal bitching how much they overestimated the 'Serenity' box office appeal, the fact that so much of the series/film's fanbase saw this multiple times before it officially got released, might have been a factor in it's overall lacklustre box office performance.
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Old 04-25-06, 02:50 PM
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No. It's still too few people to make a major difference. The geeks that saw more than one screening of Serenity probably still saw it just as many times in theaters as they would have anyway.
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Old 04-25-06, 02:55 PM
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I'd be curious to know how effective these pre-screenings are at generating buzz. Probably an impossible statistic to find out, but would be interesting.
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Old 04-25-06, 02:55 PM
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Yes, I think so. Early screenings create buzz, but if it's bad buzz, it'll kill its opening weekend fast.
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Old 04-25-06, 02:58 PM
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I belong to a local theater's "movie club" which for the most part consists of getting these advance pre-screening passes throughout the year. As already mentioned, one showing in one theater in several cities is nothing compared to the buzz and word of mouth advertising it generates from potentially everyone who went.
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Old 04-25-06, 04:37 PM
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I'm guilty. I saw Serenity at an advanced screening in May, and did not watch it again until I bought the DVD.
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Old 04-25-06, 05:07 PM
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hey now! I'm a proud Serenity geek.....!!
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Old 04-25-06, 05:35 PM
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I actaully might say that sometimes pre-advance screenings hurt the box office. There was a bunch of screenings for American Dreamz on college campuses and whatnot (there was one in my town a few weeks ago, and I've rarely seen free movie screenings here. I would have gone, but it was playing at the worst theater in town and being the movie snob I am I'd just wait and pay to see it at the good theater). Considering that this film only made four million this weekend, the pre-screenings definitely might have hurt the box office.

Not all the time do pre-screenings harm box office receipts, but sometimes they sure do.
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Old 04-25-06, 05:56 PM
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I know when we would have advance screenings of films, I would see at least 10% of those people back on opening night to check it out again. So unless the film is just really bad I would think these would help get people back when it opens officially.
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Old 04-25-06, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by dcprules
I actaully might say that sometimes pre-advance screenings hurt the box office. There was a bunch of screenings for American Dreamz on college campuses and whatnot (there was one in my town a few weeks ago, and I've rarely seen free movie screenings here. I would have gone, but it was playing at the worst theater in town and being the movie snob I am I'd just wait and pay to see it at the good theater). Considering that this film only made four million this weekend, the pre-screenings definitely might have hurt the box office.

No, being a bad movie hurt it. advance screenings that college campuses do are just to create buzz for a film. If the film is total crap, then of course that buzz is not going to be helpful.

http://www.campuscircle.net/filmscreenings/

Has screenings for many films. Just about any new upcoming film will be screened up to two weeks before release to generate buzz. Silent Hill had those very same pre-screenings and look at what it turned around.

If a film is bad, it being bad is going to hurt its take in. Pre-screenings have very little to no effect on that.

Serenity was one of those things. They had a lot of screenings up front, but I think the case in that situation was that they wanted those browncoats to generate the buzz but they really didn't other than circle jerk themselves in going to see it.

I agree with the second poster. These advance screenings aren't that big and pretty much regulated to only a few markets and even then you have to know something about getting into them to actually get the passes and so forth. They are great at creating buzz when a film deserves it, when it doesn't, you'll have folks spread it around.. either way, it's just to get word out about it.

This is like saying that test marketing films hurts them in the long run. The actions have a purpose.
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Old 04-25-06, 08:20 PM
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1. Regarding the early American Dreamz campus screenings, I went to the one held in Vegas. Not only was it placed in one of the shittiest theaters within the city, the 100-seat theater they placed the film in was barely half full. The sad thing is, the screening got a huge push all over the campus a week prior to it.

2. Everybody I know who saw Serenity during the three advance screenings all ended up seeing it during it's theatrical run (myself included -- twice).

3. Vegas had barely any Rent advance screenings.
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Old 04-25-06, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Matthew Chmiel
2. Everybody I know who saw Serenity during the three advance screenings all ended up seeing it during it's theatrical run (myself included -- twice).
yet the other side of the coin, is that a number of us, who even though a film might get varied reviews just wind up waiting for the video release - like I did for 'Serenity'.
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Old 04-25-06, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Giles
yet the other side of the coin, is that a number of us, who even though a film might get varied reviews just wind up waiting for the video release - like I did for 'Serenity'.
But any of the varied reviews you read would have come from critics. If you talked to someone who actually went out of their way to see it before it hit theaters probably would have given you a glowing review.

I agree with what Jackskeleton said, a movie is only hurt by being a bad movie, not by advanced screenings. And if you think about it, how many people actually saw the advanced screenings of something like Serenity, which tended to have a lot more screenings than most others out there? I would wager only around a couple thousand.
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Old 04-25-06, 09:49 PM
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I think they are fine, as long as they are screening GOOD movies. If a person disliked a film that he saw for free, why would his friend's pay money to check it out?

Bad news could travel fast, and as someone said, could kill your opening weekend.
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Old 04-26-06, 12:10 AM
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Originally Posted by FinkPish
But any of the varied reviews you read would have come from critics. If you talked to someone who actually went out of their way to see it before it hit theaters probably would have given you a glowing review.

I agree with what Jackskeleton said, a movie is only hurt by being a bad movie, not by advanced screenings. And if you think about it, how many people actually saw the advanced screenings of something like Serenity, which tended to have a lot more screenings than most others out there? I would wager only around a couple thousand.
And not only that the Serenity advance screenings were very limited.

The first batch of screenings were at 10pm in ten cities held in theaters that could only accommodate around 200 people. So that night around 2,000 fans were able to catch the flick.

The second batch of screenings were yet again at 10pm in twenty cities. Yet again, the theaters could only hold around 200 people. So that night around 20,000 fans were able to catch the flick (with most of the 2,000 fans from the previous venture making the trip again).

The third batch of screenings were yet again at 10pm in thirty-five cities. Yet again, the theaters could only hold around 200 people. So that night around 35,000 fans were able to catch the flick (with most of the 20,000 fans being the people who made it the first or second times, or in some cases both).

[I was able to score tickets to all three screenings in Vegas. Go me.]

And a reminder, unlike most advance screenings, one had to pony up the cash to see Serenity months early. Unlike say Rent (which had bad word of mouth).

In the end, the "box office take" for these three screenings came out to more than half a million. Most of went into Universal's pocket regardless. It's not the advance screenings that hurt Serenity, it's the piss poor advertising campaign and the general lack of interest.
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Old 04-26-06, 04:18 AM
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I doubt it. I know someone who thought Serenity was going to go gangbusters because every advance screening was jam packed... but that was just basically preaching to the choir.

Besides, the escalating costs of going to the theater, the crying babies, the cell phone and talking rudeness, and the fact that it'll be on DVD in three months or less has a lot more to do with it.
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Old 04-26-06, 02:56 PM
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no way unless the movie is bad and word of mouuth travels fast before opening day.
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Old 04-26-06, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Legolas
I doubt it. I know someone who thought Serenity was going to go gangbusters because every advance screening was jam packed... but that was just basically preaching to the choir.

Besides, the escalating costs of going to the theater, the crying babies, the cell phone and talking rudeness, and the fact that it'll be on DVD in three months or less has a lot more to do with it.
I think if going to the theater was more of an "interactive" experience than a pain, more people would tend to go. At the way it stands now, the assholes are ruining it for everyone else. Why would I want to have to deal with incompetent parents or a bunch of jerkoff teens when I can wait three-to-four months and catch the film on video?

When I went to the advance screenings of Serenity, there was a sense of energy that was sorely lacking from when it opened (despite the fact that I went and saw it at a midnight screening). The first advance screening ranks as one of the best theatrical experiences I've ever had, despite the cut of the film not even being completely finished yet. The crowd "got" the flick. We were laughing and cheering together, and the moment a major character died, the whole audience ended up on the edge of their seats until the fade to black. I have not had that much fun at a movie theater since opening day of Attack of the Clones. If even half of my theater experiences were like that, it wouldn't be such a hassle to make the trip.
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Old 04-26-06, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Matthew Chmiel

When I went to the advance screenings of Serenity, there was a sense of energy that was sorely lacking from when it opened (despite the fact that I went and saw it at a midnight screening). The first advance screening ranks as one of the best theatrical experiences I've ever had, despite the cut of the film not even being completely finished yet. The crowd "got" the flick. We were laughing and cheering together, and the moment a major character died,
I can't believe they did that, I really liked that character, should watch the series to enjoy that character a little bit more.
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