....LMB: "In a World... With TV Commercials on Movie Screens..."....

February 21, 2003

Okay, very minor issue, but one that should make all movie-goers happy.

Ads Before Movies Prompt Lawsuit


An English teacher in Chicago has filed a class action lawsuit against Loews theaters, claiming that saying "the movie starts at 3pm" and then showing 10 minutes of advertisements (excluding the movie previews) before the film starts is a "deceptive business practice."

Is this a frivolous lawsuit? Probably. But I hope she wins.

Posted by Jake at 12:19 AM

I don't think this is a 'minor' issue at all! I'll be damned if I'm going to pay $7 and upwards to watch a stupid coke commercial. I can watch the good ole TV for that crap.

They've been posting two 'start' times in Paris theatres for at least 12 years (probably more, but that's when I was living there). One for the start of the commercials/previews, then the real movie start time. Brilliant.

Go English Chicago teacher!

Posted by: lrc at February 21, 2003 09:54 AM

Yeah, movie ads suck, especially since a patron is paying for admission unlike TV commercials (which suck too) but sponsor the programs. So on principle, the lawsuit is a statement or perhaps even a joke to promote awareness of the incessant and ubiquitous advertisements.

The thing to remember though is that movie theaters only make most of their money off concession sales -- the mega-plexes also have arcades, candy machines, etc.). Movie studios and distributors get all the profits from ticket sales. So are the exhibitors desperate or greedy? There's the issue of the Great American Media Consolidation and how it affects theater chains.

Does this mean that more moviegoers are just paying for admission and not paying for the overpriced junk food? I'm one of those cheapskates, though I prefer to think of myself as a non-sucker.

One solution is to picket the concession stands with signs like "No $5 popcorn for me, suckers." Ironically, a successful boycott and loss of concession revenue may mean more ads.

So to refer to a SIMPSONS episode, don't boycott, it's evil...(zombified voice) You told us to boycott, you told us it was good...

Posted by: Eric at February 21, 2003 10:16 AM

Actually, I think the movie distributors and the theaters split the profits of the tickets and the concessions. At least that's how it was a few years back.

Posted by: Jake at February 21, 2003 10:20 AM

I guess I have to check into that. It seemed to me that movie theaters made most of their revenue from concession items while most of the ticket profits went to distributors. Perhaps if varies?

Posted by: Eric at February 21, 2003 04:38 PM

Not trivial at all. Seeing ads on TV is only fair. We don't pay for TV. That doesn't extend to the movie theaters where we now have to pay $9 and up to see car commercials. I hope she wins.

Posted by: at February 21, 2003 05:58 PM

for what it's worth:

movie theatres get a 30/70 split on ticket sales for the first two weeks of a feature, with the lion's share going to the studio. after the first two weeks are up, the ratio flip-flops, but, as expected, the studios pull every dollar of advertising, so no more billboards, no more tv ads, etc.

if you wanna stop the ads, though, slash the seats. carve 'fuck your ads' in with a razor blade. how many 200-dollar seat repairs can they stand?

personally, i don't mind the cheesy slide-show ads before movie time. you know, the ads for bob's hair salon, and gina's grill, etc. i don't see why they can't do just as well supporting local businesses, which i wouldn't find nearly as offensive.

Posted by: jeremy at February 24, 2003 09:35 AM

Then the solution is simple if one has enough discipline. Don't go to the theaters at all! Most studio movies are shit anyway.

Posted by: Eric at February 24, 2003 10:02 AM

ya burn thoes movie adds ..die die die!11 muhahahhahahh just rent the dvd when it comes out.. and burn movies!!!!

Posted by: Brion at October 7, 2003 09:35 AM



Posted by: Brion at October 7, 2003 09:37 AM

We sould really get some congressmen or senators involved in stopping T.V. Commercials in movie theaters.Really,if I wanted to see T.V. Commercials,I'd stay at home.Yeah,yeah,I know,stay at home then,That's easy when you don't have a wife or girl friend who wants to see the latest moronic movies out.If they insist on bombarding us with T.V.Commercials then the should lower the prices of movie tickets.$9.50 a piece is rediculous.There should be a cap on all that stale food that they sell too,come on $14 for two sodas,popcorn and a piece of candy.

Posted by: Vincent at January 2, 2004 12:01 PM

can i be an actress? whats the #

Posted by: loren at January 9, 2004 05:48 PM

I have been doing a research paper on the subject of the commercials before the movies, and have found some interesting information. The studios can receive up to 90 or 95% of all revenue from the sale of movie tickets for the first one to two weeks that the movie is out, and then it goes down from there. It looks like the most that the actual movie theaters get is 30% and that is when the movie has been out for a while and is no longer getting as many people in to see it. As upset as I have been in the past about the commercials before the movies and the high prices of pop and popcorn, I have realized that these are necessary. If they were to get rid of the commercials before the movies, the admission price would skyrocket. The same for the high concession prices, if they lowered them they would either have to raise the admission or sell more ads. It's a lose lose situation.

Posted by: Jessica at June 16, 2004 06:24 PM
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November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

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