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    Quote Originally Posted by John Brawley View Post
    I'm not trying tp pick on you, we're having a discussion or even a debate about what cinema means to people. You're seeing it as a personal attack and I'm just debating your OPINION. If you didn't mean to make those statements, or want to argue something different then isn't that why we're here ? My views are also just my opinion. We're both equal here.
    James, I'm only going by your words.
    It isn't so much a personal attack, as I don't see you as the type of persona to hold a grudge so easily. What I see it as is a misinterpreting of my words.

    I am pro-cinema, and pro-movie theater, what I am not excited about, is the trend for expensive theater experiences, and then Nolan saying we have to get all warm and nostalgic to go save a business that is pricing out the lower class. B&B theater chain is not some small town theater in India, it is a big US theater chain. YES, we should continue to find ways to share stories and be community, but NO we don't need to save big heaping over priced corporate shells pretending to be a public service.

    I hope that studios can see the value in making affordable theaters. Currently, very difficult to get people to go to a theater for 'normal' films. In the US, this is partly because of the perceived cost. Dollar theaters I've enjoyed quite a bit.

    I wrote:
    "Movie theaters do not hold that value at this time"
    and you are taking that as if I said they were no longer relevant. It is not the same meaning. You are pushing my negative comments off a cliff, as if I thought cinema was done. It is not.

    Nolan used the B&B theater chain as an example of the kind of theater we should save. From what I can tell, they are a nice enough business, but not one that I am particularly worried about for the fabric of society. And the hubris of Nolan, who represents the Hollywood film maker, is part of the reason movie theaters have to charge so much for popcorn and soda. Because the studios are taking the whole ticket price, and raising ticket prices on top of it, out pacing inflation in the US. Whatever they are involved in, is not the flowery warm fuzzy community he is trying to pass it off as.

    The basic feeling of movie theaters and the feeling we get won't go away anytime soon. And I am not saying that. I am saying whatever Nolan is passing's off as essential and community, is just big business.

    Someone posted an article actually written by Chris Nolan advocating that we remember to support cinema (Theater's in your vernacular) WHEN IT'S SAFE to do so.
    We shouldn't have to remember to support big business. But I will definitely go support film makers and culture in LA when this is all over. But I won't be going to the Mall to support AMC.

    Your first response was your opinion about cinema going, especially during a pandemic, which Nolan wasn't arguing for....
    But he is acting as if the $45 is some past time ritual we need to perpetuate. And I disagree with that. I do respect that spectacle films, like "Inception" and "Interstellar" are a fun option, but I am not going so far as to remember them. They have priced me out.

    I was trying to suggest that there's a bigger picture here about cinema and cinema going generally, not viewed through your 90's-skewed US centric nostalgia for what you think is the glory days of cinema...
    When I was a kid growing up in China, we had cheap theaters. Still, farmers and villagers in the countryside could not afford those yet, back then, but they still had out door projections with a big dusty loud speaker sometimes. We used to also bring mats out to a community basketball court and watch projections as a neighborhood for free. We could bring our own snacks, or get something cheap from the neighborhood shop which was just a hundred meters away. Sometimes they'd be making fried jiaozi. Ah, 90's Americana, am I right?

    Nolan himself answers you in his article...

    "Maybe, like me, you thought you were going to the movies for surround sound, or Goobers, or soda and popcorn, or movie stars. But we weren’t. We were there for each other."JB
    But movie theaters aren't the pinnacle of human interaction, and it certainly doesn't have a monopoly on social interaction for the essential fabric of society.

    The disconnect for me, is Nolan represents the "big money' films. The ones you get your ears blasted. The ones that tug at basic feeling, but never really say anything. The ones you hesitate going to because you went to one last month, and just can't justify spending the money.

    CINEMA will go on. Big Hollywood can scale back without being saved. I'll continue to support local film makers and continue to be. ho hum about Hollywood/Nolan/B&B.

    The 90's was not the pinnacle of movie theater experience to me. I would imagine that pre television was the best time to see a film. What the 90's represent to me, and I say this, because I lived in three different countries in the 90's, that before the internet, and before large wide screen TV's, there was only one place to get mass media and hifi in one communal space. Since then, we can get mass media and culture on the fly in near real time on our phones. When a movie comes out, they don't feel like fresh culture, they were shot two years ago sometimes - Not to mention generic as possible. So, as far as a cultural thing, movies' prominence has been reduced. I DID NOT SAY THEY WERE NO LONGER RELEVANT. that is just how you reworded me.

    Movie theaters and big international studios are doing fine too. Theater attendance is dropping, but ticket prices are up. So, they are squeezing out the best profit, without worrying about out pricing the less affluent or less interested people. When I used to go watch movies in China, the main theater was roughly 8yuan, and drinks were 1 or 2 yuan. Now tickets can cost over 100yuan and drinks will be 10 or more. In the mid 2000's a few new theaters popped up. When many people were making 1500RMB, these theaters were beginning to charge 80 or more RMB for a ticket. Theaters are depressing places in large shopping malls, and you go in and get bombarded with a speaker system whether you want it or not. Then you watch a movie that is appealing to as many people as possible, so it is as generic as possible, and instead of coming out relaxed, I feel agitated.

    When I spent a few months in India, I actually never went to the theater. I did watch a local talent show, with people singing. that was nice. But driving through the cities, I could tell that India probably has one of the more diverse theater experiences.

    In the town I was staying, we only had electricity a few hours a day, so, that may have been one reason we didn't go to a theater there. Somehow they still had community... weird.

    Money from movie theater sales globally is going more and more to big International movie studios or corps. Movies are becoming more generic to appeal to wider more vague audiences. This to me represents a bit of a bad thing for cinema. Means that true culture and community has to go somewhere else. Very few people go see local film maker's work. Very few people watch art films. majority of theater houses are just corporate business halls, peddling digital content and popcorn at gourmet prices, and then saying they are essential to community... no thank you. I like theaters, but I don't like what they've become. Why go to Starbucks for $7 burnt coffee when I can get amazing coffee at the local place near my home? Pay high prices where they are more warranted. And if the local coffee shop is charging $7 for a coffee and then asking me to save them, should I say they are essential, or should I say change? Coffee shops and Cafes are essential, but is overpriced burnt coffee? I would not be quick to save Starbucks or Pete's, even though they have a lot of Cafe's. But I will frequent smaller businesses nearby as long as they are within my budget and taste. Movie theaters in major cities have become like overpriced sugary coffee to me. A glimmer of what they are supposed to be, satisfying some primal desire for being social and comforted or excited. But ultimately commercializing society and community.
    Last edited by James0b57; 04-07-2020 at 03:37 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fboonzaier View Post
    It comes from years of music concerts!...I remember when Talking Heads broke up going to see David Byrne touring solo, and the sound was mixed to perfection!...really the way you would do in your own living room with the ultimate system except there's the band on stage to electrify the audience. It's always just a question of how any evevent is "curated" for want of a better term!
    Wow! Would have loved to have experienced that!

    Went to a rock show with a friend at the Fonda, and the room was too small for that volume. I should have walked out. Was disorienting. Had to shoved napkins in my ears and put my hands over them. The sound was bouncing around all warped and standing waves overlapping each other. SOmeimtes physically painful. Have been more selective ever since. Probably lost some frequencies in that one. haha

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    Senior Member
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    Dec 2010
    West of the Pecos
    Post 31 is some of the best stuff I've seen you write James. That is so well thought out. I usually get droopy eyelids from long posts and skip them, but that was really good.

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    FWIW, if one had the coin, one could get a better experience at home than in the movie theaters, at least, as far back as 1990. A top sound processor with a 4-channel Dolby ProLogic chip (the lowest priced were receivers at under $1K), a front projector with a separate screen, a Farodja upscale processor (it doubled the resolution to 480p and ran at $3,000 and up, IIIRC), an 11" laser disc player and you could throw some nice soirees in your Holmby Hills mansion for under $15,000 (which was a new car price back then). Or, if one really had the desire to spend big, a Barco projector had the Faroudja chip built in but ran around $15,000 by itself. And, naturally, many a Hollywood star had a real movie theater at home, with a professional film projector. All then one needed was a professional film projectionist to run the system. And, naturally, the film reels themselves.

    The big difference from then is that the cost of high quality home theater system has dwindled down to almost negligible levels. A decent 60" TV for $600, a Blu Ray player for $300, some powered speakers for $150 and you're already at the "cinema" level. And, for double the price, you've not only exceeded it, you have leftover cash for peanuts and crackerjacks, so you won't care if you ever went back.

    So, yes, the movie theaters are dead at their current form, with the major chains probably being taken over in the very near future by the likes of Netflix and Disney and Amazon and Peacock. After doing so, the streamers could premier their major releases to the eager fans, with the rest calmly waiting for them to appear online a month later. Subsequently, the theaters will be used for other purposes as well.

    On the other hand, the sheer quantity of content will be so humongous and cost of delivery so zero, movie theaters could easily show a show or film only once per day. The whole day.

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    Nov 2004
    Chicago, USA
    Christopher Nolan was not arguing necessarily for the preservation of the theatrical exhibition industry in its exact current economic/business model. He was arguing for the need to support the industry so it can continue, period. Of course we've been seeing for many years that the current model is not sustainable. There's no question that for economic reasons it must evolve in order to survive. The point is not that we should support the theaters in order to keep being able to pay more than $100 for a family of four to have an outing at the cinema. The point is that we want to make sure that after this pandemic is over, we will not have lost entirely the opportunity to see movies communally on the large screen. The model will change in some way; it must change. But we want it to change, not disappear altogether. (Well, it does seem like some in this thread don't care if theaters disappear...)

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    Quote Originally Posted by KMR View Post
    What you don't get at home is the communal experience that you get when watching a film in a theater.
    That's what keeps me away from a theater more than anything. Nothing ruins a movie for me like the audience. If I can find a showing that's nearly empty, that's what I'll do.

    These days, with my home theater system, it's usually technically better at home than it is in the theater. Smaller. But better.

    I can't tell you how many times I've watched a movie in the theater over the last 6-10 years and thought I can't wait to see it at home, where the screen will be brighter, the colors will be brighter, and the sound much less muddy.


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    Senior Member nutmegger's Avatar
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    Jan 2013
    Southern New England
    Looks like AMC Theaters may be getting ready to fold. They are the 800 lb gorilla in my area. Fortunately, I have two independent theaters in nearby towns that I attend occasionally.

    My recent experiences at AMC have not been positive. Between people chatting thru out the movie or looking at their cell phones more than the theater screen is why I prefer the independent theaters. I find the audience at the independent theaters to be "movie people".
    Last edited by nutmegger; 04-12-2020 at 11:13 AM.

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    Back in the summer of 1978, soccer wasn't as popular in the US as it is now. There was a fledgling NASL, whi drew huge crowds in New York, with Pele, Chinaglia and Beckenbauer, but struggled in other places. The 1978 World Cup - held in Argentina, won by Argentina - was broadcast live on a prehistoric pay-per-view system. One had to go to a specially equipped movie theater to view live matches. Forty two years later, one doesn't need a satellite dish anymore for that purpose and movie theaters will subsequently be used for all sorts of live events. Including movies.

    PS. In 1982, PBS made a major investment and the World Cup - held in Spain, won by Italy - was broadcast on its stations with the host of "Soccer made in Germany" Toby Charles. Matches were not shown live but, since this was before the internet, finding scores was difficult until the next day's papers anyway and the broadcasts felt "live", even as they were edited from 90+ minutes to ~ 52 in order to fit into the allotted time window. Once again, it felt "live" until the knockout, single elimination, rounds began to go into the overtime. It was especially egregious during the West Germany-France semifinal, which had not only the 30 min overtime, but the subsequent penalty kicks. PBS basically cut off the regulation time action. These days, whoever carried the WC, basically spends the whole day in and out of the studio and the stadiums. Fox carried WC'2018 from Russia and was horrible. I watched matches in Spanish on Telemundo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DLD View Post
    FWIW, if one had the coin, one could get a better experience at home than in the movie theaters, at least, as far back as 1990.
    I think I'll have to disagree with you there.

    I worked in a facility that had both carbon arc projectors and Xenon projectors, and a bunch of video projectors as well as the line doubling equipment... I also used to also make "kines" the old fashioned way,of transferring video back to film and we used a lot of that line doubling technology.

    No way would a "home" cinema be as good in 1990 (the beginning of THX and DTS) or even 2000. Firstly, you're stuck with an SD source at best (even laser disk) and even with a line doubling no electronic screen or projector was matching a good film print on a good projector.

    Digital cinema starts rolling out in 2000 ish, but it's still "only" a 2K source. I remember seeing Red Planet at the El Capitan where they were trialing digital projectors. The IMAX TCL across the road is probably one of my favourite cinemas. They have a double IMAX projector and any 2D session on that screen looks fantastic.

    I've also seen some of the trial SANSUNG cinema sized LED cinema walls in their trials and they're kind of promising too.

    Cinemas haven't done themselves any favours though. Kodak used to say that a projector screen should have a peak white reflectance of 16 fl when open gate (no film). Even in those days, cinemas would run Xenon lamps under voltage and way past their operating life so they didn't have to replace them.

    Distributors would often make up films out of multiple prints and rolls. It wasn't unusual in Australia to have 2 of the rolls from a print be on Fuji Print stock and the others would be Kodak. You'd get wild colour changes on reel changes.

    These days, yes, it's getting possible to match a WELL SETUP cinema.

    I think you guys either aren't complaining enough or aren't patronising the right cinemas.

    I find Arclight in LA for example are usually pretty good at policing their cinemas for people doing interrupting stuff. I always ask someone to put their phone away in the cinema if I see it happening. It used to happen a lot more in Atlanta at the AMC for sure. But there was also a good independent cinema that didn't have the issue.

    It's a cultural thing I think. The cinema has to care about showmanship. Some do. Some don't. I always complain if I get a bad experience.

    Alamo draft house in Texas are really good too. They have a zero tolerance policy. You talk and they kick you out. Simple.

    John Brawley ACS
    Los Angeles
    I also have a blog

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    A typical high end 4:3 70" home theater projector/screen combo was ~ 4000 square inches.

    A 60 ft wide 2.4/1 movie theater screen is about 3,000,000.

    So, even expanding the screen to 10,000 inches gives you an approximate 300/1 ratio. Enhanced/Improved SD was 720x480 or 345,000 pixels. Film, even in pristine early prints, was ~ 6.5 million to 15, depending on the source (65mm being better than 35mm). That makes the best pixels per square inch ratio somewhere from 7/1 to 15/1 in favor of the high end home theater. Naturally, it all depended where you sat or reclined but it was very unlikely you could recline in a crowded movie theater.

    Additionally, the laser disc had much less wear and tear with usage. We ran the "Empire of the Sun" and "Top Gun" on a continuous loop back then and the quality never changed after hundreds of plays.

    Audio was also superior at home for the basic reason that a professional installer would calibrate it to the owner's demand. The high end audio had very good subwoofers going back to the early 80's at the very least (I recall Velodyne 12" being a popular $2,195 model).

    And, since I did occasionally venture out to the movie theaters then, I can tell that, not only the high end home theater was better, most customers were shocked at how much better it was. Otherwise, very few of them would spend $5,000-$30,000 on it.

    PS. That Samsung LED video wall is in the $1.5M to $3M range, depending on a number of panels. Which is why there are few of them around. At this point, they're better suited to shows/expos, where they are rented for a few days and then disassembled. A much superior solution to home theater is projector stacking or projector blending but it's become mostly superfluous due to the lasers and 4K.

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