What's new

How MPAA (under the guise of 'piracy') has killed moviegoing

Juanky

Guest
Hi Declan,

My girlfriend and I are writers here in Toronto and I thought I'd share this, as if you needed evidence that privacy abuses are out of hand, here's our completely insane experience with the MPAA from last night.

OMGMPAA1984WTF?

I wonder what kind of dystopian cyberpunk future we live in when you are physically searched before entering a movie theatre.

Last night (November 3rd), my girlfriend brought me along to see a screening of Derailed at the Paramount theatre in Toronto, which she had to review for a magazine she works for. The lineup for the screening was unusually long, as I think they also fill seats at press screenngs with radio call-in winners, who in hindsight, might have accepted such poor treatment in exchange for the ostensible privilege of paying for $30 worth of parking and fast food at a free $13 movie.

Anyway, the line was moving slowly because they were asking customers to raise their arms so that they could be electronically frisked with a metal detector, and women's purses were being searched by uniformed security guards. Try to remember that this is Toronto, Canada we're talking about here, not New York, Tel Aviv or London.

People who submitted to the search (everyone from what I could tell) had their cellphones taken from them and checked at a table set up in front of the theatre and they were given a ticket to reclaim it when they left.

I was having none of this, and checked the back of my ticket stub to ensure that there was no mention of being required to submit to a search listed as a condition of sale. As my girlfriend and I made it to the front of the line, the guard looked at me and asked me to raise my arms for the search. I politely declined saying "No, thank you", and proceeded to the ticket taker. I could hear him calling "Sir! Sir!" behind me, but even though I slowed my pace in case he was really going to do something about it, as I had expected, I wasn't stopped.

The ticket taker took my ticket and I waited for my girlfriend just inside the gate, as her purse was being subjected to a thorough going through by one of the guards.

Since she was there for work, and her deadline was that night, she was not ready to risk not seeing the movie. Her 150 words won't have room for what happened next.

Her phone was taken from her and put in a sealed plastic bag with a claim ticket, and she joined me where I was waiting, past the gate, and we walked into the theatre together.

To add further insult to the debacle at the gate, near the exits at stage right and left were two uniformed security guards at each door, all four with video cameras scanning the crowd and making themselves very conspicuous.

This was not just a bit of pre-show MPAA theatre, they stood there for the entirity of the movie, red LED's glowing, scanning the crowd to remind us that we were under close surviellence and our actions were being recorded.

If you have sat in a chair in a dark room watching disturbing scenes unfold in front of you, while four uniformed people with video cameras stand in front of your, silently recording your reactions, you might be reminded of scenarios from a Clockwork Orange, Brazil, 1984, Videodrome, and strangely, that 90's relic: SFW.

Security guards regularly use handheld video cameras to harrass and intimidate people, particularly during political rallies and protests, as the guards know that the cameras carry with them a clear implication of future retribution against those being recorded. The cameras are quite literally, a threat.

(The threat is that if you do not behave as the camera holder asks, the recording of your actions will be used to persecute or discrace you.)

Upon leaving the theatre, my girlfriend and I had to stop at the security desk to claim her phone, which involved them searching through a pile of bagged cellphones for the correct one. We took another moment to turn the phone on and wait for signal in the threatre to validate that we in fact had the correct phone.

My girlfriend had said that if she hadn't already agreed to her deadline, she would have made a point of walking out of the screening and giving the PR person a talking to. I did not confront the camera wielding guards in the theatre because she was my host she had a job to do.

Only people who think they have done something wrong, or deserve to be searched, submit to that kind of authority, which is why guards get away with it, and the rest of us continue to be subjected to it and it becomes "normal".

Anyway, apparently this is Alliance Atlantis' idea of how to treat an audience, then I for one can certainly live without seeing any of their films, and we will be skipping movies at the Paramount theatre. I also know that at least one reviewer will also be seeing her movies elsewhere too.

I would also say that this is further evidence that movie studios are losing revenue because of the increasingly poor movie-going experience and general low-quality of the movies they are making, as after this, I can certainly undertstand why someone would prefer to watch a movie on their 14 inch screen than suffer the indignity of a multiplex.
Link
 

Hotcorner

Muckdog
Moderator
Joined
Aug 22, 2002
Messages
21,691
Reaction score
11
Yeah I got searched going into an early screening of "300", & they wouldn't allow cellphones in.
 

Passion

Muckdog
Joined
May 6, 2004
Messages
21,939
Reaction score
0
People who talk during a film, try to impress the group they are with by yelling stuff out, and those that eat loudly or disgustingly have wrecked going to movies for me.

I can't go before 10-1030 pm anymore.

Those liberal artsy theatres that play the independent films are much more enjoyable to go to.
 

MVPosey

Muckdog
Joined
Oct 21, 2003
Messages
5,549
Reaction score
0
don't blame the MPAA, blame the thieves who go in there with hidden cameras.
 

Juanky

Guest
If people have figured out a way to get movies for free instead of paying for it, then logic tells you that you have to find a new way of getting it to them which they'll pay for or you make the movie experience great enough where people will pay the price for it.

Pretty simple stuff here. People will only pay for what they receive. When the movie theater experience price starts overstepping the value of what it should cost, the consumer will find a way to counteract that until the price is back in line with what it should cost. Kindergarten level economics.
 

MVPosey

Muckdog
Joined
Oct 21, 2003
Messages
5,549
Reaction score
0
If people have figured out a way to get movies for free instead of paying for it, then logic tells you that you have to find a new way of getting it to them which they'll pay for or you make the movie experience great enough where people will pay the price for it.

Pretty simple stuff here. People will only pay for what they receive. When the movie theater experience price starts overstepping the value of what it should cost, the consumer will find a way to counteract that until the price is back in line with what it should cost. Kindergarten level economics.
So let's suppose there's an item that you want, and the store that sells it grossly overcharges...does that excuse you for shoplifting that item?
 

Juanky

Guest
I don't buy clothes, so that's an irrelevant example to me.

Ever gone to a baseball game, paid $5, and then sat in $40 seats?
 

FutureGM

Muckdog
Joined
Jul 6, 2003
Messages
10,845
Reaction score
5
I agree that the MPAA is just hurting itself when they do these kinds of things.

The funniest thing is, who even wants to see a movie like Derailed? I doubt there is a huge demand for pirated copies...
 

Flying_Mollusk

Muckdog
Joined
Nov 14, 2003
Messages
5,230
Reaction score
0
Does movie piracy even affect sales? I've always agreed with the argument that parallels the one made when the industry resisted video rentals companies. People will go to a theatre even if a movie is available on an alternate format. This is especially true in light of the bad quality of downloaded movies.
 

OldSand

Muckdog
Joined
Jun 20, 2004
Messages
2,462
Reaction score
0
Does movie piracy even affect sales? I've always agreed with the argument that parallels the one made when the industry resisted video rentals companies. People will go to a theatre even if a movie is available on an alternate format. This is especially true in light of the bad quality of downloaded movies.

And you can't have a night out with friends or a date in front of your computer.
 

Juanky

Guest
Exactly.

But you can stop going to the movies when it's not entertaining anymore. The piracy is a symptom in both the fields of music and motion pictures, not the problem.
 

Juanky

Guest
Yeah, that's just the shift in technology. Same thing happened with VCR -> DVD.

I heard on the radio a bit back that there's a study out there saying that the movie industry would increase its profits by about 16% if they released DVDs much closer to the movie's release date in the theaters. I don't have much specifics on it, though.
 

yankeefan21

Muckdog
Joined
Jan 3, 2003
Messages
3,058
Reaction score
0
I heard on the radio a bit back that there's a study out there saying that the movie industry would increase its profits by about 16% if they released DVDs much closer to the movie's release date in the theaters. I don't have much specifics on it, though.
Yeah, I read that same article. Basically, the article accuses superb home theater systems as being the death of movie theaters. I'll see if I can find the article again but they basically stated that, unless movie theaters start trying to do something new [like dinner in the theater], they will be done in less than a decade. Their argument was that people have large high definition screens in their living room with Dolby digital surround sound and comfy couches and recliners - why would we want to have to deal with sticky floors, uncomfortable seats, crowds, lines, cell phones, people talking.... when we can have a BETTER experience at home? Plus, you don't have to pay $10 for a bag of microwave popcorn.

Studios are now considering options such as straight-to-dvd in order to meet the emerging demand.

Update: here's one article on the subject - http://www.cdfreaks.com/news/Will-straight...ie-theater.html
 

Juanky

Guest
I'm in the same camp as you as far as owning rather than borrowing. However, I think piracy is a byproduct of a lack of quality rather than a wave of the future.
 

EricWiener

Muckdog
Joined
Oct 19, 2003
Messages
4,700
Reaction score
1
Anyone else see that it is a complaint against the MPAA from Canada?
 

Top Bottom