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My Two Cents on 'The 2wenty'

3 Jan, 2006 By: Stephanie Prange

Studio greed may be coming back to haunt the business. A few years back, several theater chains went through some rough times and consolidated. Many consolidated under the Regal banner and, like others, proceeded to run ads before films because just showing the feature wasn't bringing in the bucks. The studios had been taking such a big cut that the theater chains were turning to ancillary businesses — ridiculously expensive popcorn, business meetings on the big screen and ads — to make a profit.

When customers complained, Regal revamped its ads into The 2wenty, which was supposed to be more entertaining, interspersing ads among more-interesting “advertainment.”

Recently, I went to the theater with the whole family to see The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It was a crowded screening and we had to enter the theater, with a postage-stamp-sized screen, early. By the time the feature actually started — after “The 2wenty” — I was ready to go home. It was torture. The so-called extra content between the ads was minimal, and the ads themselves were pervasive.

I remember when TV was free. We watched commercials because TV was FREE. Now, we are subjected to commercials on cable, for which we pay an exorbitant subscription price, and in theaters, for which we pay a hefty ticket price.

Is it any wonder those seeking entertainment are looking elsewhere?

If the studios really want to get people back into theaters, they'll need to give theater owners an incentive NOT to run ads before the feature. I know I'm committing heresy here, but perhaps they should give them a little more of a cut of the movie proceeds — and thereby offer a better experience for the theatergoer.

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