In my previous post I presented the conclusion that the American Drive-in will save the movie going experience globally. I stand by that conclusion, but let me refresh the factors that lead me to that conclusion;
1. Day and date is coming and coming very fast
2. The economic paradigm of the movie studios is about to change because of the European anti-trust suit. They will see far less income from Europe.
3. The anti-trust investigation that surrounds Regal and AMC will lead to a weakening off the chains lobbying position and ability to affect change
4. The Studios romance with China and India will lead to disappointment as cross culture and business differences will prove to be major stumbling blocks to expansion
5. The Over The Top technologies such as Netflix will create market inertias that will be hard to resist, given the vacuum of income …the studios will race to these new technologies in the hope of appeasing their Wall Street analysts.
6. In the end the studios will have to admit that in reality they are just adjuncts to larger cable TV operations. The viewership for cable is eroding rapidly
Couple all the above with the fact we are in election season folks and nothing is going to get in the way of the politicians and the lucrative MPAA lobbying bucks, plus MPAA president Chris Dodd is really good at twisting arms on both sides of the aisle for the benefit of the studios.
Okay back to the drive-in.
Movie going foundations is not in new releases. The foundation is based upon pebble in the pond release patterns. The established distribution pattern had movies being released in the downtown theatres and then ever so slowing making their way to the suburban and rural theatres. Movie going prior to the rise of the multiplex was in experienced based movie going. This is coming back and coming back big time.
In the United Kingdom the largest growth in movie theatres is for urban and suburban regional open air cinemas or drive-ins. They focus of the experience and more importantly they focus on community. Most of the films they show are over 10-15 years old…..and guess what folks they are packing them in. They are abandoning the multiplex
That trend is making its way to North American
I had a great conversation with one of the founders of UDITOA , During the conversations he waxed longingly about how well he did when he was able to show a steady stream of B Movies at the drive-in. He made more money and had a much higher attendance. Of course Lew Wasserman and his cash grab after the release of Jaws eradicated more measured and organic forms of distribution and gave rise to the multiplex.
A lot of people are predicting the demise of movie going. I do not agree with it. I think we will see the demise of the multiplex environment, the eventual failure of luxury theatres (people will realize they can make chicken fingers at home), the demise again of 3D and of course the failure to launch of 4D. This will cause memories to arise of a simpler time. A time when seeing a movie under the soft breeze of a night sky was pretty darned close to perfection. A time when the ability to talk about a movie really topped off a night on the town. A time when community was far more important than CGI and spectacle. A time when when all of America went to the movies.
We will see the demise of corporatism and we will see the re-emergence of small business values. A theatre manager will walk downtown, whip out a couple of tickets and that will mean something.
The drive-in will lead this if they;
1. Move away from new releases
2. Look seriously at alternative content
3. Develop distinct schedules and retro programs
4. Engage local businesses to sponsor screenings in exchange for advertising
5. Diversify and enlarge a concession approach
There is going to be a giant searching for experience by the Millennials and Generation Z. They will look at the drive-in and if they are found worthy, a new and dynamic audience will have emerged.
And in the process you will have saved movie going………