Baloney Sandwiches at Prime Rib Prices
So maybe I'm just hungry, but I got to thinking about how things would be different if the movie business were like the restaurant business.
You go into a restaurant, you look at the menu, and you have to make choices. Generally, the better the meal, the more you have to pay for it.
$29.95 for some prime rib? Yum! Or, hey, the baloney sandwich is just $4.50! Might be worth it.
I think it should be the same way for movies.
So this is my plan. It will never, ever be adopted, because it makes too much sense (to everyone but the movie studios, who would hate it). But here it is:
The price of a movie should be determined by how good the movie is.
Here's one way to do it. Let's make a law, that to determine the price of a ticket to an individual movie, you go to Rotten Tomatoes, and see what percentage of all the nation's critics actually liked it. Then you multiply that number by 10 cents.
So 95% of the critics like Wallace and Gromit? It'll cost you $9.50 to get in. North Country will cost you $7.20. Dreamer $6.40.
But you can see Elizabethtown for $3.00. Doom will only cost you $2.00. The Fog will be a bargain-basement $1.10.
The effect of this would be obvious. Movie studios would need to do everything they can to make sure their movies are as good as possible, to maximize their profits. Movie theaters would be motivated only to book good movies, because even a sell-out on a $1.10 showing of The Fog wouldn't make much money.
Plus audiences would be constantly reminded of the value of the movies they are deciding to see; it's hard to ignore the reviews of Domino when you learn you can get it at thrift store prices.
Is this idea crazy? Probably. Because audiences should be effectively accomplishing this by themselves. It works with DVDs, where you can find all sorts of crap for $5.99, but you pay more for the good movies.
Yet as it exists now, movie theaters are like the kind of non-existant restaurant in which every entree, from Prime Rib to Lobster to Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches, costs exactly the same. So you would think that the customers would be ordering the best food exclusively.
Nope. Doom and The Fog cost the same as the good movies. And people are choosing to see them anyway.
So what's the incentive for the studios, when the baloney sandwiches are flying off the shelves, while the surf 'n' turf is ignored?
$9.60 for Goodnight and Good Luck. $1.90 for Two For The Money.
Works for me.