Monday, September 6, 2010
While I was writing my thesis(es) on standardization, I got quite much acquianted with the term vicious cycle. It was used in connection of dominant designs and how the choices on market actors tend to make one design de facto standard. These are all around from the ratio of your screen to the layout of your keyboard, but the cycle itself has hit my behavior when it comes to movies.
Once there was a time, when going to a cinema was a great experience. You could see the films 5-10 years before they came to television, the effects were great, and the screen was huge. It was back then.
These days, it takes 1-2 years for a movie to premiere in TV. Also, a 42" TV or a projector have a bit undermined the advantage of a theatre. Meanwhile, the incomes movies gain have gone quite much up, and the ticket prices too.
The lifecycle of a movie has got shorter, as effects look fresh only for a limited amount of time. Thus, the money has to be made faster, and thus, once you get a hit, you have to capitalize on it.
Yesterday, I ruined my weekend by watching the title Vampires Suck. The movie itself is horrible, sub par even to a Paris Hilton reality show. Still, I watched through the entire 1 hour and 20 minutes of mental rape that must likely caused me some severe brain damage.
The idea was to make money on the moneymaking vampire-movie series. The same characters were there, the scenery was similar, and the cast perhaps looked alike too. When it came to any added value, the movie rather subtracted it. Made Resident Evil movies look like Oscar laureates.
Did the movies become cheap while trying to reap again on their old harvest? Is it too big a risk to actually make a movie that would have a decent script and at least a bit of a plot? I guess it is. I actually did benefit on the advantages in technology to get this movie in my hands. It was crap, but I did not pay for it - thus I most certainly deserved all the shit that hit the fan, when I pressed the play button. Downloading should be the biggest threat to movies, which do not rely on effects, and which do rely on ticket income. Thus, Spidermans, Avatars and such should not be hit as hard as some smaller studio's plot driven well-scripted work. Then again, gaining access to alternative movies is very hard, as Universal, 20thCF and WB dominate the supply side with their big money flicks with milliondollar advertising budget. And I download it. Then, they produce another piece of shit, and I download that too. I get shit, they are paid shit, and the cycle goes on. In the meanwhile, some alternative studio produces a great movie, which just does not hit the screens. The distributors are too afraid to take the risk of another unknown movie that would be in H33T within hours. Instead, they vote for Spiderm4n or Mission Impossible XVII. And again, I download.
If I would stop downloading, would it mean the movies would become better? After changing to a 512 kbps internet, I hope really that's how it will work out. I don't even know how I ended up downloading movies (wait, perhaps it was that 10 Mbit internet and a scholarship to live with in Finland, where a ticket to cinema used to cost around 10 euros), but with the current ticket prices in Lithuania, I rather buy dvds - or when not available look the titles from the alternative markets. Not sure how it would work out, but perhaps the price for the ticket should be paid afterwards, depending on your conscience (or time spent in theater) - I'd be ready to pay for a good movie and if the movie would suck, I'd just leave the cinemas before the end, and pay for the proportion i saw. That way I think I'd be less choosy on what I will pick in the theathre.
Anyway, the verdict is still that if the movies are like Vampires Suck, noone should be required to pay to see them. That is just a 1,33h commercial for the other movie franchise. However, for The Expendables I am always willing to pay the pennies it takes. Jeez, they'd better take old Stallone/Schwarzenegger action flicks back to the cinema rather than make this vampire-crap.


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