n. hoop·la fac·tor|
degree of entertainment attained irrespective of critical worth
Cinema Advertising - it's only a few minutes before the film starts...As I entered the cinema for the recent Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, I was nervous. Nervous about the movie - I suspected it may be crap, and I was right. Nervous also about the running time of 140 minutes. It was a seven o'clock session, I reasoned, so it had to finish around nine twenty then, right? Plenty of time to get home, review it, and get to bed before I turned into a pumpkin. What I hadn't counted on were the ads. There were so many of them. Five trailers and untold numbers of ads for carwashes, hair products, all sorts of things. The ads went about twenty minutes all up. The film started at twenty past seven, and finished at a quarter to ten!
I hate cinema advertising. It's always 'special' ads that don't make our tv screens, and often a lot of effort has gone into their production. Still, I resent their presence. One of the main attractions of the cinema is getting a full-force experience of the film, instead of the watered down version we get on tv on Sunday nights, due to the presence of ads. They're not shown throughout the feature, like on tv, but still, I paid money to see this film, not a whole bunch of ads.
In Australia, we now pay up to AUD$15.80 for a film. The highest price in 1994 was $11.50. That is an increase of 38% in highest ticket price in just ten years, and there has been a similar increase in average ticket price in the same period. What can justify the use of such advertising prior to the feature, when ticket prices are skyrocketing?
Concomitant with the increase in ticket prices is the rise in box office takings. The gross box office in 2004 was $907.2 million. Almost a billion dollars spent on tickets! The 1994 figure was $476.4 million. Thus, the rise in total box office in the last ten years is 90%. (See Below).
So, with rising ticket costs, and rising box office totals, why do the cinema chains think they can get away with then slugging us another cost - the cost of our time watching ads that make money for them. If they advertise a session starting at 7pm, it should start at 7pm. I don't actually mind too much the use of trailers for upcoming films, as they are at least movie related, and are a time-honoured way of settling in and getting in the mindset. But ads for carwashes? How dare you invade my movie sanctuary??
I have heard rumours of a cinema chain in the UK that is starting sessions on time, with good results. Similarly here, where my favourite cinema, the Sun Theatre in Yarraville, usually shows one trailer only, and no ads, prior to starting within one or two minutes of advertised. That's service. That keeps me coming back.
It is endemic to the point that most people wouldn't be at all worried about turning up for their film ten minutes late - they know the ads will still be on, and they're not going to miss a thing. Were cinema chains to stop doing so, they'd have thousands of angry patrons asking why on earth the movie started at the advertised time! This is an absurd situation.
The time has come, a groundswell of support must rise up and tell these money-hungry corporations that we won't take it anymore. How? Support your local independent cinema, which undoubtedly has better customer service and likely a better range of films, as well as less ads. If the masses leave the multiplexes, they will have to listen.
NB. Box Office data from here and here, applicable to Australia only.
home :: review archive :: coming soon
|All original site content is copyright © 2004-2012 the authors of hoopla.nu. All rights reserved.|
Posters/images copyright © their original owners. Original illustrations © Tineke