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It Just Keeps on Growing

It Just Keeps on Growing

Though there may be no finer or nobler pastime than reviewing those films that may or may not exist, or those better left unseen, I’d like to draw your attention to some boring shit: theater consolidation.

After Regal gobbled up UA, Edwards, and the remnants of Hoyts a few years ago, I suppose this latest was only a matter of time. Though “analysts” referenced in the article describe this as “as a show of faith in moviegoing,” it’s certainly not a show of faith in moviegoers as this merger will most likely result in more theatre closures and a more centralized control over programming. That AMC is, in general, much less friendly circuit-wide to “specialized” films is cause for serious concern, though it remains to be seen how much of Loews’ film buying staff will make the transition to this new behemoth.

The reason for this: Continued sagging revenues. It seems Hollywood’s having its worst run since the 1980s. But as usual, the NY Times frames the crux of the issue without even realizing it:

“I do not go to a theater,” said Gail Cornelius, a 27-year-old Internet analyst waiting outside the AMC Empire 25 on West 42nd Street. “I follow the movie.”

The problem is, that the principal suppliers for these major chains (Hollywood studios) are providing fewer and fewer movies worth following. The same thing is happening in the recording industry–why pay for disposable crap when you can download it and throw it out (or wait for it to arrive at Blockbuster or On-Demand)?

The only upside might come for the Landmarks and more established indie theatres, though not without additional costs. When Loews engagements play a major role in the success of a larger “indie” film like Lost in Translation, the theatres who stick their necks out for tougher fare get hurt. But if they’re now able to fill screens with Sofia Coppola, where does that leave Tsai Ming-liang?

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