Monday, October 31, 2011

Ticket Prices: the equalizers of film

The price of tickets for all films is exactly the same. This is one of the things that is unusual about Hollywood films. No matter the amount of production, or marketing money put in, the price is still the same at theaters. If ticket prices were more on a scale for what films cost to make (i.e. more expensive films = more expensive tickets and vice versa) or perhaps on how much the exhibitor paid to obtain the films, popular movies would completely change. For example, if this were the case lesser known films would be more popular since they would be cheaper to see. While films that generally cost more would probably try to cut down their budgets in order to compete with lesser films. In a system where ticket prices are exactly the same price, there is a level playing field. The only decision is which films people want to see and that is created by accessibility and marketing. A film gets seen that is actually showing in theaters, that is the first step: access to a film. The second is more complicated. Because it is a level playing field, and movie making is an expensive risk, films are advertised and marketed as much as possible. There are trailers, web advertisements, billboards, interviews, posters, merchandise and more. All of these things create a buzz that must not only get people to make the choice to go see a particular film in theaters but also create revenue after the film is done. The more a marketing team is able to spread the word in as many different facets of the media as possible, the better the film will do, and therefore make it more likely to be seen in theaters. So with ticket prices being the same for all films, it just comes down to which has the buzz and is marketed better.

A good example of this process was with Disney/Pixar's Cars 2. This is a sequel, thereby creating a franchise out of the Cars series, which also makes it a more likely choice for audiences to see. Before Cars 2 came out, Toys R Us, Walmart, and the Disney Stores all had toys, clothing, and other merchandise with the film. This created a buzz for the film as audiences saw returning characters and new characters. With Disney's global mobility, the film was also able to be heavily marketed outside the United States as well. All of these marketing techniques created a success story for Cars 2 when it finally came out in theaters.

No comments:

Post a Comment