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3 Current Box Office Trends
by Christopher Stone

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Today, Movies Have Wings, not legs.

Today, Movies Have "Wings," not "legs."
As the holiday ditty, DECK THE HALLS puts it, "Fast away, the old year passes." And so it does. A scant 11 days after this pillar publishes, we'll be singing AULD LANGE SYNE again.

Anticipating the time for my final epistle of the rapidly waning year, I decided not to look back, nor to gaze too far ahead. Instead, I'm focusing on three current box office trends. One of the trends bodes ill for Match-Flickers; the others look to create a more accessible and interesting box office.

SIZE MATTERS

In the Box office "Bigger Is Better Department": Imax and AMC Entertainment have partnered to open 100 Imax theaters, thereby doubling the number of larger format 3-D venues in the U.S., and fueling the momentum of the motion picture industry's expanding interest in Imax 3D.

In addition to building the bigger screens, the industry is already planning some productions to sate our hunger for IMAX 3D product. Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson will produce and direct a trilogy of 3-D movies based upon Tintin, the Belgian comic book hero. Furthermore, Dream Works Animation recently revealed its plans to distribute several upcoming motion pictures in the IMAX 3-D format, among them, SHREK
AMC: There Is A Difference and It's IMAX

AMC: There Is A Difference and It's IMAX
GOES FORTH. Not to be outdone, TITANIC helmer James Cameron announced that his upcoming AVATAR will be released in IMAX 3-D.

IMAX and AMC have specific, if different, reasons for partnering. AMC wants to counter an industry-wide attendance slump while mining more box office gold from existing auditoriums. IMAX tickets cost more than tickets for regular films, and so the converted auditorium should result in greater revenue for AMC.

For its part, IMAX has been battling for years to expand into mainstream movies theaters from its origins in history and science museums. The partnership with AMC will go a long way to help IMAX achieve its mainstream goal. The IMAX 3D proliferation means nothing but good news fpr MatchFlickers who like their movies Supersized.


IN, OUT, LET'S GET CRACKING....

At the box office, movies no longer have "legs," the term for staying power; they have "wings." They fly off of theater screens as if they had "wings" - as well as Mercury's fleet feet. That can apply to successful flicks, and not just to the D.O.A box office turkeys.

Many of us are aware that Hollywood realizes more profit from DVD sales than from the box office. But the box
Just Phone In Your Ticket Order

Just Phone In Your Ticket Order
office is still an important channel of distribution, and it shouldn't be given short shrift.

Match-Flickers shouldn't be forced to see a movie in a substandard venue just because they couldn't attend a first or second week screening. This trend seemingly benefits no one.

JUST PHONE IT IN

Most Match Flickers are familiar with MovieTickets.com, if for no other reason than we must sit through the company's seemingly endless, cutesy-pie on-screen ads before seeing the Feature Presentation for which we paid.

MovieTickets.com allows us to purchase box office tickets online, in advance, thereby avoiding the disappointment of a sold-out screening when we actually arrive at the physical box office.

A newer, trendier service, Mobile Box Office (mbo.com) is making MovieTickets look like antiquated 20th Century residue.

With Mobile Box Office, you simply go to www.mbo.com from your mobile phone. You select your flick and start time. You purchase your tickets with a credit card. You receive your tickets via text message. At the theater, you simply present the barcode for the attendant to scan.

This is one trend that every Match Flicker with a credit card can start enjoying today.

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The Business of Show
Every other Friday

Does advertising, public taste, or overindulged stars determine a movie's box office fate? Christoper Stone explores what's going on behind the box office.


Other Columns
Other columns by Christopher Stone:

The Cautionary Box-Office

Box-Office Holiday Season Heads Up. Part Two

Box-Office Holiday Season Heads Up, Part 1

Quality Is Independent

Oh, the Horror!

All Columns


Christopher Stone
Christopher Stone is the author of the international best seller Re-Creating Your Self. With Mary Sheldon, he co-authored three highly successful hardcover books of guided meditations.

He is a member of the Writers Guild of America, West.


Contact
If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Christopher Stone by clicking here.


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