AMC Theaters Bucks Against Near-Term VoD Releases

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Can't say it's surprising, but theater owners are getting ready for a battle when it comes to Video-on-Demand. For years now, movie theaters, movie makers, and DVD resellers have been growing increasingly wary over VoD. Why? Because the window of time between a cinema release and a VoD release has been shrinking, and all the while, movie ticket prices have been skyrocketing. It's nothing to spend over $15 per movie ticket in a major city these days, which is comical when you think that these tickets were far, far cheaper just a decade ago. What's changed? Technology, and instead of embracing it, movie theaters have pumped up ticket prices, kept popcorn prices laughably high, and resisted the move to digital distribution.

We really think it's a silly fight to pick. The advent of Hulu and video-on-demand is proof that viewing habits are changing, and getting bitter about it won't help to win the war. At this point, it's either adapt or be killed, but AMC Theaters in particular isn't ready to bend over. Recently, there have been reports that select movies will hit VoD systems two months after their theatrical release, albeit for a whopping $30. With places like Netflix and Redbox providing far cheaper rates for waiting just a bit longer, we doubt too many consumers would jump at that option. But even still, AMC thinks that people will, and that it could up-end the movie industry. They have just issued a vicious press release suggesting that these scenarios could threaten the health of their business.

It's hard to say how this will all shake out. It's likely that movie theaters want a larger revenue split from movies that hit VoD sooner, and they'll also want to know which movies are on the 60-day release schedule for scheduling purposes in their cinemas. The argument is that movie theaters are investing millions in IMAX, 3D and digital projection systems, only to be undercut by quick-release VoD purchased at home. You know what we say? Tough. Give the content to the people, and let them determine how they prefer to watch. If they aren't willing to wait 2 months, let 'em hit the cinemas. Maybe we're off base, but this just feels like whining to us.

AMC Theatres®: Company Statement Regarding Premium Video-On-Demand

We at AMC feel movie theatres are a critically important business to many parties: the 200+ million guests we host year after year who choose to view films on the large screen; the communities of which our theatres are an integral part; the artists who create the movies we show; and ultimately the entertainment industry for which our theatres generate the highest quality source of revenue.

We believe the theatrical experience has a bright future, and we are aggressively investing to prepare for it. We are in the midst of a multi-year, multi-million dollar rollout of digital projection and 3D, IMAX and our own proprietary ETX format. We are also introducing a new guest rewards program, better-for-you items, enhanced food and beverage offerings, dine-in theatre options and alternative, engaging programming for our guests to enjoy in our comfortable, state-of-the-art auditoriums. All activities we are currently engaged in have common goals - to increase attendance at our theatres and maintain the health of our industry.

The p-VoD world as currently defined threatens that health. As such, we have notified studios of our expectations regarding economic arrangements on movies that go p-VoD. It is not wise to discuss details in the press, and Company policy precludes it, but as these windows shrink and threaten our industry's future, it is only logical to expect AMC to adapt its economic model.

The future is bright, even as it promises to be different, and we look forward to the success that lies ahead for all parties.
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wil2200 replied on Mon, Apr 11 2011 8:24 AM

They must really hate me since I haven't been to the theater in years and I don't ise vod either...actually movies lately has been suckier than sucky

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I love going to the theater to see a heart pounding movie in IMAX but it certainly hurts the pocket so I only get to go to maybe 6 movies a year. The funny thing is I heard that movie theater profits are at the highest they have ever been. So why complain...

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jonation replied on Mon, Apr 11 2011 11:21 AM

main stream movies suck. prices suck. environment sucks- for most large theaters. What happens when a company delivers a poor product with poor service at a ridiculous price, and then refuses to get current? - they go bankrupt. As they should.

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AKwyn replied on Mon, Apr 11 2011 4:51 PM

What happens when a company delivers a poor product with poor service at a ridiculous price, and then refuses to get current? - they go bankrupt. As they should.

True, but then again the only products are movies and the only service I can remember is at the ticket stand and the food concession stand.

I've been to many movie theaters and it's been an alright experience for me. I understand how VOD could be threat to movie theaters but nothing will ever defeat the experience of watching a movie in a movie theater packed with thousands of people. I mean when you're just watching it at home on your couch, it just ain't the same.


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HHGrrl replied on Mon, Apr 11 2011 7:39 PM

Times change. Businesses have to change too if they want to be successful. I say let consumers speak with their money.

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LBowen replied on Mon, Apr 11 2011 8:08 PM

Having worked at a movie theater I can attest that they will be in business for a long time as a place not only to enjoy cinema but where young kids feel free from parents to curse and act ill-mannered.

There were numerous times where customers would get upset because I followed the I.D. check policy my theater had.  It was difficult at first with people yelling at me but I learned to put on my "Trollface" and then things just got funnier for me,  I don't miss the job but I do miss the free movies :(

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realneil replied on Mon, Apr 11 2011 10:07 PM

The outrageous prices of food and snacks at movie houses has been a sore point with me for years. It's just a money grab and a terrible idea, because I now have no sympathy for the greedy pigs.

The price to see a movie and sit in filthy seats with sticky floors is out of line, and has been for years.

We really don't need them around anymore, and we save a lot of money when we shun them.

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Specjre replied on Tue, Apr 12 2011 10:55 AM

I don't have any issues with the quality in my area. The theaters I go to are always nice and very clean. I went to a movie over the weekend and paid $8.75 per ticket I believe and I got a box of whoppers and bottle of water for myself which was about $7.00. I am considering just waiting for movies to come out on video at these prices I could buy the blu-rays. This article only reinforces the thought that I should stop going to the theaters.

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I love the theatre experience, there is nothing like it. Sure, its convenient to have a movie on demand on yoour own screen, with your home theatre (if you have that is). but going to the theatre, for the biggest blockbuster of the year, is more than just watching the movie....its an experience. I honestly don't want the theatre to die, sure its priced badly, but its been apart of our culture for cant die, it shouldn't die.

great child hood memories were made at the theatre, i'd hate to see it die..........besides, isn't it better to get that first kiss with your girlfriend at the theatre? its classic!!!!!!

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deadmanet replied on Wed, Apr 13 2011 3:05 AM

I for one do enjoy seeing certain movies on the big screen, but the cost in this economy is just getting too outragous. I haven't seen a movie in a theater in over a year. Mainly due to cost, usually uncomfortable seats.

And for someone who has a really busy schedule, having to plan a visit to see a movie, just doesn't usually fit in. VOD has been a lifesaver for me personally. While I do miss the experience of the big screen and awesome sounds, it's just not worth it to me anymore when I can get almost the same level of experience at home for a lot cheaper, and all I have to do is wait a while.

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rrplay replied on Fri, Apr 15 2011 10:28 AM

I actually went to my local AMC show yesterday afternoon to see The Lincoln Lawyer with some passes that I received from Sparkle Computers from a previous giveaway. It was quite a while since i had been to the theater to see anything.Fortunately that movie was playing and I had enjoyed reading the book last year.The actual passes were good for any day any time which was great.Thanks Sparkle !

Like many have mentioned seeing a movie on the big screen is a great experience  and some films should really be seen only on the big screen.just a lot of pretty cra*p*y ones made.This film was worth seeing even if paid full price which would have been about 7.50 or in my case 5.00 since it was before 6 PM in a theater that's take's pride in being clean with good comfy seats ,concave screen and great sound.Sure this is one film that can be thoroughly enjoyed on the home screen.but is was not for the tickets i had received i doubt that i would have actually thought or heard of anything out right now that I would consider a must see.however the preview for Thor look like it may be suitable for the big screen and at a bout 5.00 before 6PM and 7.50 after weekend a bit higher i may go.

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