Often on the weekend I reflect on the state of the movie business and ponder various path’s that will help this great industry right itself. Many of us this weekend celebrated a Resurrection, an event that no matter what faith or lack of a faith you bring into play changed the world forever. The central character of this weekend, Jesus Christ, is at the very least a profoundly revolutionary player on the world stage. A life that forever changed the world of ours.
Declarations aside, I wanted to shine a light on the miracle that are movies and humbly suggest a path towards a possible Resurrection from the slow death being imposed on the industry by lackluster leadership of the studios. The studios are a in a state of confusion due to the fact that they simply serve too many masters. The same can be said for the major theatrical chains.
The most direct relationship with the movie going public is you, the independent theatre operator,.
If you are a drive-in operator or owner look into a mirror. That is the image of the best hope and best chance that the movies have to re-gain their proper place in American culture. You are the last of the great tradition of independent showman and last hope for a re-emergence of that much needed slice of Americana, the American Independent Movie Theatre.
The movies were the first medium of entertainment and cultural information to be controlled by men who did not share the ethnic or religious backgrounds of the traditionally cultural elites. Movies from the start were a revolution. Movies were a medium promoted my men who wanted a way to show fellow immigrants the new and wondrous country they had wandered into. The movies began interpreting history, legacy, faith, honor and patriotism to the new emerging nation.
Immigrants landed at Ellis Island in droves and then found themselves planted in the nickel seats of a early movie palace being shown the wonders that are contained in America. It was a time of innocence, a time of great passion and a time when viewers via the movies fell in love with their adopted country. Movies made American and shined a light in the loneliness of the immigrant experience. We are still very much a nation of immigrants. Unfortunately cynicism has descended on America and it has to be cast off. This is still a nation of great joy.
This week I attended a conference where I meet with hundreds of small towns who are seeking to re-invent themselves. Towns whose cores have been ripped apart by large box stores and multiplexes, towns that are seeking to re-ignite of what is great about a small town Saturday night. These towns are natural partnership for growing the drive-in experience. Market studies have shown that we only have 20% of the drive-ins that the America market wants and over 300% of the hard tops it needs.
The American public is hungry for the drive-in experience. The markets needs more of you.
This summer I would propose that drive-in operators think of declaring to the world during on specific weekend, that we are independent, we are small business at its best and we are the torch bearers of a great American tradition. Show a classic drive-in movie and show the world that the heart of American movies still beat strong on a hundred foot screen in the middle of a field on a sweet summer’s night.
That is the Resurrection that the movies industry desperately needs.