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  • Andrew Pritzker, Qikfinger Films

Hey Kid, Like Movies?…Got 3 Bucks?


On September 3, 2022, national theater chains and independent cinemas will offer movie tickets for $3.00, an incredibly enticing offer over a hot Labor Day Weekend. The question is why? Theater viewership is down. Covid is a plausible explanation that led many traditional moviegoers to become more familiar with VOD streaming and subscription services. Flat screens, sound bars, 5.1 Dolby in your living room, what was the point of returning to the theaters when a variety of new and classic releases were only a click away?

Affordable tech may be one of the contributing factors of audience fall off but content and economics are intricately entwined. The motion picture industry is a business employing many artists but it is most definitely a profit driven business.

In 2007, during a long bitter strike by the WGA against the studios, a new profit equation became solidified. Studios would bankroll big tent pole movies and almost nothing else. For a film costing 100 million to produce, the studios would invest an additional 300 million to market their product. They created productions they considered too big to fail.

Gone we’re studio financed art films, dramas, romance, horror, westerns, and bio pics. Plot was deemed less important than spectacle. It was spectacle that filled theater seats, the more spectacular the better.

A viewing public hungry for emotional content, intriguing characters and plot twists turned to streaming services. Netflix, Amazon, and Apple are original content producers of small meaningful films that win Oscars and acclaim. Watching streaming content is not free. Streaming media is a profit driven businesses requiring a growing base of subscribers eager to pay for the sort of content big studios no longer provide. Original independent productions have found their buying audience at home.

On National $3.00 Movie Day, people will have a wonderful opportunity to take in a big tent movie before summer's end. It’s a chance to reconnect with the theater going experience. Big Studios and movie theaters will consider the promotion a success if it reignites an excitement for the cinematic experience. The question still remains, at the regular price of $10-$12 a ticket, will a homebound audience return to the theaters for more?

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