All Of The Above
It's been fun speculating about the box office slump - almost as much fun as watching the record industry collapse under its own weight. But I'm going to have to find another subject to write about, because Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle has summed up the entire situation.
With particular delight I recommend Mr. LaSalle's "Reason 6: Going to the Movies on a Saturday Night Has Become a Fairly Hideous, Repulsive Experience":
Art houses and repertory houses are exempt from this observation. Those theaters preserve the moviegoing experience as a fun, rewarding collective activity. But to spend Saturday night going to see a major release at a multiplex can be more stressful than going to work the first Monday after vacation.
It costs $10 for a ticket and almost another 10 for something at the concession stand, and you have to wait in line to buy both. To get a decent seat, you have to get there 20 minutes before the show starts, and once it starts, you have to sit through seven or eight trailers, then advertisements for TV shows and then commercials.
By now, 50 minutes have gone by and you haven't seen anything. Finally, the movie comes on, and it's lousy. It ends, and you get banged around to the exit and then have the fun of fighting with your fellow patrons to get out of the parking lot. And half of them are so jacked up by caffeine and screen violence that they think they're Vin Diesel.