I read this article in the LA Times about the next big thing in cinema, 4-D. It’s a neat look at what is next, so go read it.
If you know me, you know I live and breathe cinema, mostly because I work in video and film. But the history of cinema in this nation really began at a time when the majority of people were in bread lines because of the stock market crash that the banksters caused in 1929. The cinema was a place where people could escape the grinding poverty of everyday life, and the big movie houses of the day knew this, and tailored their films and the business to allow Joe and Jane Everyman to afford their films. Those days are long gone.
It seems that ticket prices to movies in this country, like everything else, have gone up at a pace much faster than income has. In fact, as you probably know, income has stagnated and even fallen in some instances during the last 30 years. With the revamp of 3-D, and the larger IMAX screens, moviegoers have the best experience they have ever had, but that comes at a price. Instead of using gimmicks to get you into the theater, the movie chains are also using it to milk people of their hard earned money.
According to the NY Daily News, “Back in 1933, the average price of a movie ticket was a quarter. Of course, everything’s more expensive in New York, so Friday’s opening screening of the Mae West-Cary Grant classic “I’m No Angel,” paired with vintage trailers and cartoons, will set you back a grand total of – ready? – 35 cents.” And compare that to the average daily wage of $4, and you get 1/16th of your daily wages to go see a film. Not a bad deal, huh?
Now, think about this in terms of minimum wage. Most people on minimum wage don’t work a full 40 hours, and make about $8/hour (some states have higher, so let’s round up the federal minimum), and a basic ticket price nowadays is $10. Thats a normal silver screen, maybe a digital projector, maybe not. No 3-D, no IMAX. Even if you work an eight-hour day, you work more for that ticket now than you would have in 1933!
Then IMAX adds a couple bucks, 3-D adds a couple bucks (a 3-D IMAX film is $16!), then this new innovation, 4-D, wants to add $8 more – $24 for a two-hour experience, and that’s not including any food or drinks, or if you are in a city that makes you pay for parking. Can you imagine a high school student trying to take their date to “Prometheus” 4-D? $48, and they are still hungry or thirsty.
The banksters took our homes, our jobs, our self esteem, and now have taken away our cinema. If there was a better time to boycott this industry, this would be it. Let’s take our country back, and our cinema.
By the way, this is also a good time to check out your local independent theaters. If you don’t have one, lobby your city to get one!
Photo: Raymond Shobe // CC 2.0