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How Theaters Make Money

MoviesSlate has an interesting read today on how theaters make their money. If you’re a big fan of simultaneous release, it’s especially useful information. One of the arguments the theater owners make against simultaneous release is the amount of money they’ll lose based on lower ticket sales and lost concessions. It’s interesting to note Slate’s breakdown of the theater revenue stream.

Ars Technica has an interesting wrap up on the Slate piece. I was especially amused by this piece.

The high prices of concessions, we’re told, stems from two factors. First, they say, movie theater employees earn more on average than your man at McDonald’s, so you shouldn’t expect the price to compare with Chez McDo. More importantly, they claim that the movie studios take all of the proceeds from ticket sales, leaving the theaters without a way to make money.

Of course the obvious difference is the quality of service I get at McDonald’s versus the theater. Mickey D’s has to actually cook things. Burgers and Fries are a lot harder to produce than bags of Twizzlers and boxes of Sweetarts. Yet movie theater lines generally move so slowly you need time lapse photography to witness the movement of the line. If theater employees are making more, why are they so much fucking slower?

I found this to be an interesting idea…

The advertising problem is getting so out of control that some communities are turning to the law in order to do something about it. Many people object to published movie “start times” being mere tricks to get people in seats for 10 to 15 minutes of advertising. Many are calling on theaters to publish true start times.

There is nothing worse that getting to a theater at 12:15 for a 2:30 movie; spending 2 hours and 15 minutes waiting for some sloth-like teenager to figure out the popcorn popper, butter machine, coke dispenser, and cash register; getting into my seat; and discovering I know have to sit through 20 minutes of BS ads. I like the sneak previews, but I don’t need to watch Axe body Spray ads, Marine Corps recruiting ads, and such before my film.

If someone is looking for help in launching a “truth in movie times” movement, count me in.

Written by Michael Turk