Monday, March 29, 2010

The Avatar Effect

Okay this is a post of outrage.

As recently pointed out to me by my habit of watching Today while getting ready for work, movie theaters have sneakily hiked their prices more and more for 3-D movie showing, which are now all the rage due to the outrageous success of Avatar. On top of that was the unexpected success of Alice in Wonderland which also broke box office records. How bad are the prices you ask?

Well the news anchor pointed out with a slight green look of disgust on his face that a family of four will have to pay about $100 including any refreshments that is, to see movie in 3-D.


This does not make sense to me; maybe I think the movies should be more accessible especially in a time of economic crisis where a two hour movie is the only vacation way too many families can afford. What makes even less sense, is Hollywood is not the one demanding the price hikes. They are happy, movie goers are at an all time high, they like the numbers they are seeing. So why is this necessary? The Today show doesn’t think this necessary; they attacked this price hike like white on rice.

But you know what bothers me most of all about this back stabbing price hike? This is going to make new movies as bad as new books.

I have long been disgusted with the price of a new hardcover book, long disgusted with the whole publishing industry as a matter of fact. This is why I am happily working at a used bookstore. Sure I would love to be one of those writers who makes so much money of their work they live in a Scottish castle, but as a reader, my heart is with the Book Barn, where I can purchase an 8 dollar paperback for a buck and a $25 hardcover for $4 or $5 bucks. There is something even more satisfying than that. Its having a family come in and walk away with a stack of books knowing this place has provided them a way they can live off their budget and not get raped by Borders or Barnes and Nobles. I have helped teachers stock their classroom libraries, knowing they have to stock their classroom out of their own pocket.

So yeah, something like a movie ticket price hike fuels my outrage all around for the price this country tries to place on its entertainment. Books and movies are meant to entertain, to help you laugh or cry or just forget the world is in rough shape for five minutes. They are meant to be a source of wonder, of learning, of seeing worlds in a new perspective. It disgusts me businesses feel it’s necessary to make these precious items more and more unattainable.

Yet, Borders has the gall to complain about Walmart offering books at a cheaper price then they do. Gee, golly whiz, that sure sounds hard to do. And yet not a peep about BJ’s doing the same thing… riiiight. Still, on a lighter note, I have to say it is deeply satisfying to know places like the Book Barn exist, and continue to thrive despite having no form of advertising other than word of mouth. Okay so I don’t have the “at my fingertips” selection that the big boys have, but working in a used bookstore, (which also sells $4 DVDs I might add) has taught me good things come to those who wait. So I shall wait out this absurd price increase in entertainment, firmly holed up in my used book store.

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