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How would you "fix" movies?

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How would you "fix" movies?

Old 06-04-24, 04:08 AM
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Re: How would you "fix" movies?

Originally Posted by Spiderbite
The irony is that people used to lament the days when studios used to make the directors cut their films. Film buffs like me cried "Foul!" and admonished the studios for doing this.

Now when you see the director's/writer's/producer's cuts of a lot of these movies released in the last several decades, the studios made the correct decision, and the movie was better for it. I can't even begin to state how many comments I have seen here or on other movie forums over the years where people say, "Yeah, it was interesting to see the longer version, but I am sticking with the theatrical cut for my future viewings."

Now the filmmakers all seem to have final cut and their egos all get in the way. They do not want to cut anything, and we end up with these overlong messes of movies.

And do not get me wrong. I know there are a lot of movies that suffered due to the studios requesting cuts and there are a lot of movies that are improved without the studios' meddling. But there seem to be more complaints of "unnecessary", "bloated", "plodding", "dull", and even "ridiculous" on most of the extended special uncut versions that we get today. The studios heard us bitching about it years ago, but then went too far the other way. It needs to get back to a nice middle ground which I sincerely doubt will ever happen at this point.

That's a good point I didn't think about it that way. I wonder if that backlash did put more power into the creative side of movie making and that's why movies are longer than they need to be.

But then I remember that I'm cynical for a reason and studios are the ones actually making them longer. Requiring product tie ins and sequel subplots and blah blah blah.
Old 06-04-24, 04:17 AM
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Re: How would you "fix" movies?

Ask Toho how the hell they made G -1 for 16 million and do that.
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Old 06-04-24, 10:59 AM
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Re: How would you "fix" movies?

Originally Posted by kefrank
I'm still struggling to follow you, but I'll just say there are good reasons that no movie theaters have a 1:1 screen.
It seems pretty logical; if an auditorium has a back wall which is 20 feet X 20 feet and a screen which is 20 feet X 20 feet (1:1 ratio) this would allow the audience to view the largest possible image in every aspect ratio whether it's 2.40:1 or 1.33:1. No matter what ratio you choose, the image is always maximizing the full 20 foot width.
Old 06-04-24, 11:49 AM
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Re: How would you "fix" movies?

Originally Posted by tanman
Ask Toho how the hell they made G -1 for 16 million and do that.
Godzilla Minus One was the exception, not the rule. nine times out of ten, if you're letting a VFX supervisor also write and direct in the studio system, you're just going to end up with neat-looking dogshit. And hey, I'm sorry, but Minus One looks good for $16M. It doesn't look good in absolute terms. The Godzilla model is awesome. Its movement is sorely lacking and some shots would be laughed at if they were in something like a Marvel movie.

There's also simply the issue of the business goals of the majors, now that they're all functionally multinational conglomerates. I think The Creator or Civil War are far more relevant to American films, with the same sentiment.

The reality of fixing the movie business in fact belongs in the political section of the forum, because it's a flaw with our systems of government and economics. Trust-busting, salary caps, and tax issues all need to be addressed.

Last edited by IBJoel; 06-04-24 at 11:56 AM.
Old 06-04-24, 11:53 AM
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Re: How would you "fix" movies?

Originally Posted by tanman
Ask Toho how the hell they made G -1 for 16 million and do that.
Oh I'm sure there are a lot of highly paid executives looking to do just that (and Barbie and Oppenheimer) but with less than stellar results, particularly after they take their cut.
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Old 06-04-24, 12:15 PM
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Re: How would you "fix" movies?

Maybe this summer's box office will be a lesson to some since May has been a disaster.












Who am I kidding.
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Old 06-04-24, 01:16 PM
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Re: How would you "fix" movies?

Originally Posted by orangerunner
It seems pretty logical; if an auditorium has a back wall which is 20 feet X 20 feet and a screen which is 20 feet X 20 feet (1:1 ratio) this would allow the audience to view the largest possible image in every aspect ratio whether it's 2.40:1 or 1.33:1. No matter what ratio you choose, the image is always maximizing the full 20 foot width.
Arguing for fixed-width projection regardless of aspect ratio is reasonable, but a 1:1 screen is extremely impractical (and unnecessary for fixed-width projection) for several reasons:
  • Theaters rarely have square dimensions for the screen-side wall - especially existing theaters. And the best theaters should not have square dimensions for acoustic reasons (sound is equally important element to the film experience). To optimize acoustics, theaters should be roughly 1.6 times as wide as they are tall and 2.6 times as deep, with non-parallel walls.
  • The extreme majority of theatrical movies range from 1.85:1 to 2.39:1 leaving a large portion of a 1:1 screen unused. It really makes no sense to optimize a (non-IMAX) movie theater screen for something significantly taller than 1:85:1.
  • Leaving a large portion of a white projection screen unused presents visual issues in a dark theater. The unused portion really needs to be masked off with dark material and masking at different heights across the whole screen is much less practical than masking at the sides.
  • Filling a 1:1 screen completely or even mostly (if you had content that would fill it) would present sight-line issues in almost every theater as well as likely requiring a uniquely optimized projector position different from what most theaters have.
Old 06-04-24, 03:46 PM
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Re: How would you "fix" movies?

Lengthen the window between theatrical and streaming/physical distribution to no less than 6 months *after* the movie has left the theater (don't tie it to the first presentation date, but the *last* nationwide presentation date).

Coupled with that longer window, lengthen the time a movie *stays* in the theater. Movies once played for 2-4 weeks, some much longer. Those long times between theatrical and TV showings helped keep the better movies in the theaters longer. Some movies didn't develop "legs" until in the 2nd or 3rd week. Give them a chance (same for TV series) before pulling the plug.

Lower prices (just a bit - at least tie them to inflation so you're not charging more just because it cost more to make).

Give the local theaters more of the box office take to encourage them to reduce/eliminate all the worthless commercials before a movie starts (yes, I know with "reserved seating" you can control that yourself to a large degree but it shouldn't be necessary).

Reduce concession prices - yes, they've *always* been high and I know that's where many theaters make most of their money. But gouging is gouging and people will get tired of it and just stop going because of it.

Fix the horrid "sound mixing" in the majority of movies these days. I want to hear the dialog without straining and *don't* want my ear drums blown out when the loud stuff comes up. Basically reduce the dynamic range to something more reasonable.

Get actors who can actually act. I know that's hard these days but...

Get writers who know how to tell a story well, without bloat, and don't get in their way.

Dump most of the CGI in favor of more practical effects and real sets. CGI no longer impresses anyone as it's expected. Practical effects take work to pull off properly.

I'm sure I have a few more but that's all I can think of at the moment.

Old 06-04-24, 03:50 PM
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Re: How would you "fix" movies?

Originally Posted by BobO'Link
Reduce concession prices - yes, they've *always* been high and I know that's where many theaters make most of their money. But gouging is gouging and people will get tired of it and just stop going because of it.
Frustrated audiences should then keep coming, but simply stop buying concessions. It's been years (decades?) since I actually bought concessions in a theater. If someone can't go two hours without eating, they may have other issues.
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Old 06-04-24, 03:51 PM
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Re: How would you "fix" movies?

I honestly don't remember, but did movies stay in the theaters for a month no matter what even if it was bombing? I'd think theaters make those decisions similar to how they did back then, if it's playing to mainly empty theaters they make room for a new movie (or reduce screens or whatever)?

I'll do my part today. Kids are off, Tuesdays are discount days and we're going to Garfield and spending the money we saved on tickets on popcorn and whatever else.
Old 06-04-24, 06:58 PM
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Re: How would you "fix" movies?

Originally Posted by orangerunner
It seems pretty logical; if an auditorium has a back wall which is 20 feet X 20 feet and a screen which is 20 feet X 20 feet (1:1 ratio) this would allow the audience to view the largest possible image in every aspect ratio whether it's 2.40:1 or 1.33:1. No matter what ratio you choose, the image is always maximizing the full 20 foot width.
But movie theaters are supposed to have constant height, not width. That's the entire reason 2:35 exists in the first place. Back in the day, they adjusted the aspect ratio by side panels, or sometimes curtains. Once the trailers ended, the panels would adjust for the aspect ratio of the film, but the picture always filled the screen from top to bottom. If a theater is just going to show me a letterboxed image on a glorified TV, I can watch that at home. And will.
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Old 06-04-24, 08:19 PM
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Re: How would you "fix" movies?

Originally Posted by ntnon
There are literally thousands of names in the credits of major movies. If we assume that everybody there gets paid basically-nothing and there are no other costs, budgets will still be immense.
I had to laugh at this, as it is essentially the same as "line item billing" for utilities. That charge was always there, it just wasn't broken out.

Those people and those costs were always there. They just weren't included in the credits until recent modern times. Sure, some of the jobs are new (all the digital VFX stuff), but caterers, executives, secretaries, and assistants to the regional manager didn't used to get credits.
Old 06-04-24, 08:21 PM
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Re: How would you "fix" movies?

Originally Posted by orangerunner
If a theatre chooses to mask both sides of the 20 foot screen with the curtains by, say 3 feet, for 1.85:1 presentation and then moves the curtains right to the edge exposing the whole 20 feet of screen width for a 2.35:1 presentation, then yes, the audience feels they are seeing a larger, wider image.
Again, laughing at this because one of my first thoughts (for theaters) is "bring back the curtains." I remember having to place a piece of metallic tape on our films to cue the automation to open the curtains (and even have to open them by hand a few times). When the curtains opened, you knew the magic was about to happen. It helped make watching a movie an event.
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Old 06-04-24, 08:30 PM
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Re: How would you "fix" movies?

Originally Posted by fujishig
I honestly don't remember, but did movies stay in the theaters for a month no matter what even if it was bombing? I'd think theaters make those decisions similar to how they did back then, if it's playing to mainly empty theaters they make room for a new movie (or reduce screens or whatever)?
Back when I worked in theaters . . .

I started in a one-screen old Vaudeville house in a small town. Most of our movies stayed one week, with big hits getting held over for a second week.

Then I went to work in a 5-screen theater. In my several years there, our longest holdover was 6 weeks until Titanic came out. It ran for 6 MONTHS. It's no wonder I hate that movie. Most movies were 3-4 week run.

That was back in the days when you had to move a physical print though. In this digital age, I find it offensive how fast stuff comes and goes and the few options that we get.

In Springfield, we have 20 screens between two theaters (both AMC . . . AMC sucks): one 12-screen and one 8-screen. It is extremely rare that the 8-screen doesn't have the exact same things playing on the 12-screen. An hour north of us, AMC has an 18-screen theater that runs all kinds of stuff that we will never get here. Why? Why are we wasting screens on duplications when you could be running something that might bring people in? The 8-screen has slightly lower prices, but it is not a discount theater or an arthouse theater or anything like that. It is just redundant repetition of duplication.
Old 06-04-24, 08:41 PM
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Re: How would you "fix" movies?

As for "fixing movies," you have to identify what we are talking about. Are we talking about theaters, movie studios, or the quality of the productions?

I think most of the salient points have been brought up.

Theaters need to bring the value proposition back to movie goers. That means lowering prices, restoring service, and offering a variety of products.

Studios need to reinvest in movie-goers. That means not continuing to devalue product for streaming (going back to longer windows); offering physical media to bring back alternate revenue streams; leaving product in theaters longer (play the long game); and (here is my radical suggestion) bring back theatrical experiences such as re-releasing older films and playing double-features when sequels come out (why was Fury Road not re-released on IMAX before Furiosa released . . . especially when we are needing product on screens?).

Productions . . . I don't have any great insight here. Control costs, yes. Bring back art over investments, yes. I don't think contraction of the industry is a good thing. Sure, I get the statement about "not everybody needs to make a movie" but those alternative and smaller outlets served niche markets. The contraction we are seeing is those outlets being bought up and maintained, but with less creative output since there are fewer "heads" controlling everything while demanding more profits. Contraction was not the answer and has been a huge part of the problem.
Old 06-04-24, 10:06 PM
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Re: How would you "fix" movies?

Originally Posted by BobO'Link
Lower prices (just a bit - at least tie them to inflation so you're not charging more just because it cost more to make).
High prices always seem to be a contentious issue with moviegoers and yet the prices are comparatively lower than 34 years ago.

I have an old ticket stub for "Goodfellas" in 1990 with a Saturday evening admission price of $7.25. The adult minimum wage in 1990 was $5.00/hour in Vancouver, BC.

Using minimum wage/purchasing power figures as a relative cost barometer, movies are actually cheaper today. The dollar figures will vary from place to place of course, but the current minimum wage in the Vancouver, BC area is $17.40/hour which would make the mathematical equivalent price of a current movie ticket at $25.23. In 2024, I believe tickets are still well-under $20 for an evening weekend show.

Of course in 1990 we had a lot fewer cheap movie-watching options compared to what we have today such as $15/month Netflix, $4 DVDs etc.

Last edited by orangerunner; 06-04-24 at 11:11 PM.
Old 06-04-24, 10:23 PM
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Re: How would you "fix" movies?

Make more movies for adults and bring back the comedies.

Nobody makes comedies anymore and you are lucky if you get 2 or 3 theatrical comedies.
Old 06-04-24, 10:25 PM
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Re: How would you "fix" movies?

Originally Posted by JeffTheAlpaca
Make more movies for adults and bring back the comedies.

Nobody makes comedies anymore and you are lucky if you get 2 or 3 theatrical comedies.
What can you make fun of today that won't offend someone? Studios are not going to want to bother with the headaches.
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Old 06-04-24, 10:28 PM
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Re: How would you "fix" movies?

Originally Posted by Eddie W
But movie theaters are supposed to have constant height, not width. That's the entire reason 2:35 exists in the first place. Back in the day, they adjusted the aspect ratio by side panels, or sometimes curtains. Once the trailers ended, the panels would adjust for the aspect ratio of the film, but the picture always filled the screen from top to bottom. If a theater is just going to show me a letterboxed image on a glorified TV, I can watch that at home. And will.
The perfect screen is a mirage when you're dealing with different aspect ratios just like you never have the perfect HDTV at home for the various ratios. There is always a compromise.

With my 1:1 (20 feet X 20 feet) screen ratio example, you could watch "Casablanca" (1.37:1 ratio) and project it correctly with a 14.5 foot tall image. If you have a Marvel film shot in 2.40:1, you'll have a 8.1 foot tall image. Both movies will be 20 feet across. If you want the Marvel film to be 14.5 feet tall too, then you'll need a wider screen.

Neither presentation is right or wrong. Again, every space has parameters you have to work within and compromises are part-and-parcel with that.

Then there is the brightness of the projector, distance of the projector, lens of the projector and on and on...

Last edited by orangerunner; 06-04-24 at 11:01 PM.
Old 06-05-24, 07:09 AM
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Re: How would you "fix" movies?

Originally Posted by orangerunner
The perfect screen is a mirage when you're dealing with different aspect ratios just like you never have the perfect HDTV at home for the various ratios. There is always a compromise.

With my 1:1 (20 feet X 20 feet) screen ratio example, you could watch "Casablanca" (1.37:1 ratio) and project it correctly with a 14.5 foot tall image. If you have a Marvel film shot in 2.40:1, you'll have a 8.1 foot tall image. Both movies will be 20 feet across. If you want the Marvel film to be 14.5 feet tall too, then you'll need a wider screen.

Neither presentation is right or wrong. Again, every space has parameters you have to work within and compromises are part-and-parcel with that.

Then there is the brightness of the projector, distance of the projector, lens of the projector and on and on...
But you seem to have been arguing that maximizing image height is the only factor that matters...despite the many other factors brought up in this discussion as well as the prevailing evidence that zero movie theaters do it the way you're suggesting.
Old 06-05-24, 07:54 AM
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Re: How would you "fix" movies?

Originally Posted by JeffTheAlpaca
Make more movies for adults and bring back the comedies.

Nobody makes comedies anymore and you are lucky if you get 2 or 3 theatrical comedies.
But a lot of comedies seem to fail because people... just wait for streaming.
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Old 06-05-24, 11:02 AM
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Re: How would you "fix" movies?

Originally Posted by kefrank
But you seem to have been arguing that maximizing image height is the only factor that matters...despite the many other factors brought up in this discussion as well as the prevailing evidence that zero movie theaters do it the way you're suggesting.
Here's a shot from my local stadium-seat megaplex which might be their IMAX screen. You're right, this probably isn't the norm but it appears more square-ish than wide.



Old 06-05-24, 12:27 PM
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Re: How would you "fix" movies?

Originally Posted by orangerunner
Here's a shot from my local stadium-seat megaplex which might be their IMAX screen. You're right, this probably isn't the norm but it appears more square-ish than wide.


Yes, legacy (film) IMAX theaters have a 1:43:1 screen and digital IMAX theaters have a 1.9:1 screen. Neither is particularly close to 1:1 and all of my comments have denoted that I'm talking about non-IMAX theaters.
Old 06-05-24, 10:07 PM
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Re: How would you "fix" movies?

While I enjoy geeking out on a good flat and scope presentation discussion, and know first hand that they're doing it incredibly lazily now all in the name of "automation", it's NOT the reason people are staying away from the cinemas. That's for damn sure.
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Old 06-08-24, 05:30 PM
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Re: How would you "fix" movies?

Originally Posted by Spiderbite
Get a fucking editor. Every movie doesn't have to be 2.5+ hour epic.
It's interesting as I was watching the old Siskel & Ebert review of "Born on the Fourth of July" from 1989 and apparently at the request of Universal Pictures, Oliver Stone had to deliver a cut no longer than 135 minutes.

Here was a big budget Oscar contending bio-epic with the biggest movie star in the world and studio demanded nothing more than 135 minutes. I guess Oliver Stone was able to eventually negotiate and release a 145 minute cut. Yet less than fifteen years later, every bubble-gum tent-pole action film seemed to have a 140-180 minute run-time.
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