Monday, July 29, 2013

A Start at Fixing the Film Industry as a Consumer

Many people realize that the mainstream film industry pumps out a lot of terrible movies.  A lot of that comes from the top, but ultimately, I blame the consumers.  They are the ones who have truly made the current model viable.  What can the average movie theater goer do to fix the system, presuming they even want to?  I've come up with a basic, albeit imperfect, system of consumer punishment and reward.  Individuals can do this, but hopefully large groups will try these things and make an impact.

First is the punishment side.  How many times have you been to a movie and ended up hating it?  When you've paid to see a movie you hate, you uphold a bad system.  I suppose you could ask for your money back, but it's tacky to do that with any frequency, especially if you did sit through the entire thing.  One method I would recommend is to check out any movie on Rotten Tomatoes (described in this post) before you go see it.  Universally boycott everything with a rating of below 70%.  I tend to like movies with an 85% rating and up, but 70% is a little more inclusive.  Even just try this out for one summer movie season.  Granted, it's not perfect.  Rotten Tomatoes isn't God.  It is generally good, though, and would be more than a half-step in the right direction.  Christians have been boycotting movies for years based on attacks on our faith and those have mostly succeeded, often because the movie was dumb in general so it was met with a mix of apathy and outrage.  Why can't people boycott on aesthetic grounds?  At the very least, ignore the hype, which is mostly based off of advertising and media campaigns.  Give a movie two weeks and some word of mouth before you go see it.  Summer 2013 has proved that blockbusters can flop and box office projections are not inevitable.

Secondly comes the reward side.  If you see a movie and like it, go back and see it again.  See every movie you like three times.  This encourages a movie theater to play similar things and the studios to put out similar things.  You're not just throwing away money at an overrated cause.  You did enjoy it, after all.  I've heard of people who never watch a movie twice, but to me personally, re-watch value is perhaps the surest sign of greatness.

The film industry is a tough giant to push, and ultimately, most movie lovers and viewers don't work within it, but as with any industry, the free market is a democracy of consumer choices so there is always some power in the hands of the individual consumer.  Embrace your power!

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