Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Dave Williamson Proves Movie Theaters Are Doomed…Doomed!


Some people claim that the Super-Mega-Monster-Plex That Everyone Hates is going to be a huge financial success, despite the fact that the movie industry is dead. "Huzzah!" they say, "Roll out the red carpet for our fiscal messiah!" But, let's just do the math:

According to this article, an incident with a giant octopus in 1949 forced theater operators to give 100% of their ticket revenue to the movie studios for the first two weeks that a movie plays. By my reckoning, that leaves 0% of the revenue for the theater operator.

So, when you subtract the cost of running the projectors, lighting up the marquee, and paying all those good-for-nothing high school kids to dress up in snappy uniforms and shine flashlights on couples necking in the back row, the theater operator actually winds up losing money on the deal.

Even though the studios keep 100% of the ticket revenues for the first two weeks, isn't there were some other way for a theater operator to make money? Possibly. After all somebody, could goes to a movie in the third week, right?

Oh wait!

According to the Interweb Movie Data Base (I.M.D.B.), there were 17,722 movies released last year. By my calculations, that means that approximately 48.5 movies come out each day, which means that there is simply no way anyone would go to a movie more than two weeks after it came out.

In fact, my computations show that about 121.4 minutes are all that separate the opening of one movie from the opening of the next, so it's mathematically impossible to sustain the public's interest in any given film for more than a day, which I estimate to have a total of 1,440 minutes in it.

So…get with it, Alameda! Write to those cigar-chomping fat cats in Hollywood and demand that they make no more than 17.3 movies per year—17 feature films and a cartoon short, perhaps—thus ensuring a minimum of three weeks between each pair of new releases. As I have proved conclusively, this crucial third week between blockbusters is all that stands between fiscal doom and salvation for every theater in Alameda!

Dave Williamson

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