I took my son and his friend to the movies last week. Ticket price – $29.50. It was right after school, so they were a little hungry. My son ordered a hot dog. His friend a small popcorn. They both got small drinks because the larger sizes frightened them. Concessions – $18.00. My eleven-year-old looked at the receipt, frowned, and uttered, “that’s ridiculous.” And he was right. Especially since it was one of those times I had paid to take a nap (his eleven year old movie choices didn’t interest his father all that much).
It made me want to become a pirate. You know, somebody who buys the latest movie for five bucks on dvd from a guy outside Chuck E. Cheese’s, or uses Limewire to ‘acquire’ a digital copy opening weekend. I’m not saying it’s the right thing to do, but I understand.
I feel like Chris Rock or Sam Kinison, talking about understanding something that I don’t agree with or endorse. In a personal economy that has fewer “extra” dollars to spend on entertainment, this $47.50 for an afternoon was too high a price to pay. And the argument about studios losing money doesn’t mean much to me. I’m not asking studios and movie conglomerates to spend millions making movies. Was Avatar visually amazing and worth the ticket? Yes. Maybe. The same story was told before with Kevin Costner. It was called Dances with Wolves.
Yes, we could not go to the movies. We can wait months for the dvd release on Redbox or Netflix. Yes, we can rent them on iTunes and watch them on the iPad. We already do all of these things. We’ve even managed to get on the list where they call us to see screenings of movies for free before their release in theaters. But I’m more than a little frustrated that taking my kids to the movies costs so much. The ability to see these online, or on dvd from the local eatery, for literally one-tenth the cost begins to be a smart economic decision. Piracy is beginning to look like a legitimate alternative to seeing movies on the big screen.
And that’s one adult and two kids…when it’s the four of us, plus dinner, we have to apply for credit before we go out for the evening. If you don’t see me at the theater next weekend, just assume I’m growing out my beard and looking for an eye patch. Yo ho!