We talked about it with Mike Adams, the outgoing president of the University of Georgia. There’s a growing problem with getting people to buy tickets–to movies, to sporting events, but not so much with plays and musicals. There’s a problems getting “butts in seats” at a certain time in a certain place.
The viewing experience in your living room and on your phone or tablet is pretty good and the popcorn and hot dogs don’t cost a house payment to take a family of four for a good time.
But Broadway is different. I was there last week and there were people waiting in line to spend from $87 to $250 to put their “butt in a seat” at a certain time to see a live performance.
So to that end, Steven Spielberg has made shock waves by saying, more or less, there needs to be a new model. Not unlike the days before TV, when movies were released and the re-released for a new audience. Movies are looking to Broadway for a model that works.
Here’s what Spielberg had to say:
Steven Spielberg on Wednesday predicted an “implosion” in the film industry is inevitable, whereby a half dozen or so $250 million movies flop at the box office and alter the industry forever. What comes next — or even before then — will be price variances at movie theaters, where “you’re gonna have to pay $25 for the next Iron Man, you’re probably only going to have to pay $7 to see Lincoln.” He also said that Lincoln came “this close” to being an HBO movie instead of a theatrical release.
George Lucas agreed that massive changes are afoot, including film exhibition morphing somewhat into a Broadway play model, whereby fewer movies are released, they stay in theaters for a year and ticket prices are much higher. His prediction prompted Spielberg to recall that his 1982 film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial stayed in theaters for a year and four months.
Thanks to my friends at LBN-Elert for sending this out. The LBN-Elert is a great blog if you want news and culture. And, if you love Broadway, look for Ken Davenport to comment on this in the next few days.