July 5, 2013

Canadian Theater Chain Offers First 'SuperTicket' for 'Pacific Rim': Will It Become the New Norm?

Remember when we talked about the impending Cinemapocalypse and how George Lucas said that one day you'll be charged $50 to go to the movies? Did that sound sad, but true, but also some time in the distant future? Well, that time is now-- kind of. Canadian theater chain, Cineplex, announced a while back that it will be offering a "SuperTicket", a 2-in-1 theater ticket/digital copy combo, and Guillermo del Toro's sci-fi action flick Pacific Rim is the first film on which they're testing it out.

We knew theaters wouldn't go down without a fight, despite their declining attendance and fading popularity. They've safeguarded themselves time and time again by adding stadium seating, upgrading visuals and sound, and adding more screens to offer a better variety of films. However, many wondered what theaters could do, if anything, this time around to save themselves. But, like Dr. Malcolm says in Jurassic Park, "Life finds a way." Theaters might have found theirs in the SuperTicket.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, when moviegoers buy a SuperTicket at their local Cineplex theater (not so local to those outside Canada,) they will be buying both a theater ticket and a pre-ordered cloud-based UltraViolet digital version of the film. Each ticket costs $19.99 for a movie ticket and a standard definition digital download and $24.99 for high definition. The digital copy of Pacific Rim will be available before the physical copies are, which may move some theater patrons to opt for the more expensive option.

Cineplex isn't the only theater chain to offer such a ticket. Paramount offered the similar "Mega Ticket" as a trial for screenings of World War Z in 5 Regal Cinemas around the US. Those tickets sold for $50 and got you admission to the film, a digital download or stream, custom 3D glasses, a limited-edition official movie poster, and a small popcorn.

I think the difference between the Paramount/Regal Cinemas deal and the Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures/Cineplex deal is that the Mega Ticket is kind of a sideshow attraction, whereas the SuperTicket is something a little more -- legitimate. People may try the Mega Ticket once or twice for their most anticipated films, but it's not set up to be regular option -- especially for those who frequent the theater. The SuperTicket lends itself as a real option for those who know they're going to buy the movie anyway. Why not see the show in a theater, save a few bucks, and get it before the DVD release?

SuperTicket

My guess is that this new "SuperTicket" idea is going to become the new norm, only there won't just be the SuperTicket and Mega Ticket, there will also be the "UltraTicket", "TurboTicket", or maybe even the "SuperMegaUltraTurbotasticTicket". Other theater chains and studios will customize and alter the bundle the way they find is most lucrative and successful -- if they're wise. Joining forces would be in the best interest of theaters, since they are fighting a losing battle against digital distribution. If you can't beat 'em, bundle 'em.

Amidst all the fear of them being in their death throes as digital distribution becomes the new way we experience films, theater chains once again surprise us. In Mickey Goldmill's voice, the film industry says, "You can't win, theaters! Digital distribution will kill you to death! No one wants you if they have digital!" And what do theaters say? "Why not have both?" Troll level: expert.

What do you think about the "SuperTicket"? Do you think bundling theater admittance and digital copies of films will become the new norm?

Link: Canada's Cineplex Offers 'SuperTicket' for 'Pacific Rim' -- The Hollywood Reporter

Your Comment

47 Comments

I like the concept but that price is just not going to fly. With the price we're currently paying we ought get a download anyway.

July 5, 2013 at 12:16PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Grant

All the reason to make people go to the internet to watch our movies-

July 5, 2013 at 12:22PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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William

Am I the only one here who understands that these tickets aren't compulsory and you can just get a normal one? Jeez people, use your heads.

July 6, 2013 at 6:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Tyler

In canada, an IMAX movie costs $20 anyway, so this isn't that unreasonable compared to just a normal ticket.

July 12, 2013 at 11:48AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Kyle

I wonder how many people watch the same movie more than once? I usually just watch a movie once, so a digital download later isn't of much use to me personally, but maybe I'm a minority?

July 5, 2013 at 12:22PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Clayton Arnall

Uh, yes, you are. Particularly on this site.

July 5, 2013 at 9:43PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Travis

^ haha, wrong site to say you watch a movie only once. I reckon I have watched the fifth element every time I have been sick enough to stay in bed all day haha.

July 5, 2013 at 10:11PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Hahah same here with the Fifth Element :D

July 6, 2013 at 12:18PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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CSG

I think what he saying is most movies you watch only watch once. no need to buy a ticket. Everyone has select movies that they watch over and over. For me I watch God Father, A clockwork orange, ect. BUT your not going to watch adam sandler film probably even once but if you do watch it once your not going to want to buy the digital copy to go along with it.

July 7, 2013 at 11:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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jack

*facepalm*

July 7, 2013 at 3:25AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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theguythatwatch...

For a familly activity 50$ a pop is high. 200$ to see a movie without add to that 20-30$ for pops and whatnot. No way!
If you can choose for a regular ticket and a super one, maybe.
But, i would much more appreciate to have the option of getting a digial donwload AFTER the movie. Merch or what ever. I go to the theater about once/2 weeks. And what i would like to see is merch. T-shirts, caps, posters etc. and it would make a great publicity for features film. Not sure when Monsters University is out? My kid will spot miles away a t-shirt of another kid that went there...

Lets get something tangible instead of virtual.
Compagnies know anyways that a certain % of digital buyers will never download.

Think about that free muffin you can get at each and everytime you fill a survay online, with the one time code, for mcdonalds....
I simply don't like when compagnies try to make money out of nothing

July 5, 2013 at 12:52PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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I guess you didn't read the article. The $50 was the mega ticket for world war z, and that did include merch. These tickets will be $25 (or $20 if someone wanted standard def for some strange reason).

July 5, 2013 at 9:59PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Travis

Plus if you go with someone, you both get a digital download? Kind of pointless that you both would get one. Best option is to add more package deals and more options to choose from.

July 5, 2013 at 1:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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It's an interesting option for instant access to a Theatrical release. But I'm sure it's just an option for those you want a copy of the movie. If you don't want the movie you pay regular price. Problem is you have to go through the hassle of claiming a refund if you think the movie is crap.

July 5, 2013 at 1:21PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Fumbles

I wonder what the theater/cut share of the total is. (normally, it's 85% or so the first week, then sliding down to as low as 30% but averaging ~ 50/55% of the total US+Canada box office) The studios are obviously participating in this and may be more inclined to package the video rights if a film is expected to bomb.

Speaking of bombs and mega bombs, Spielberg was correct with that prediction. If you add up "Battleship", "Jack the Giant Slayer", "Jack Carter", "Mars needs Moms", "Speed Racer", "Green Lantern" and now with "Lone Ranger" and "Pacific Rim" swerving into that territory, you get a ton of cash tossed down the drain. I would bet a few studio execs are having second thoughts about putting so many of their eggs into such small baskets. Spread the investment around and there could be a lot more smaller projects - with decent screenplays and acting - made.

July 5, 2013 at 1:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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DLD

Don't kid yourself. Everyone of those movies you listed made money. By the time the studio system has run even a box office failure through all the various channels of distribution they are rarely if ever in the red. It also might take a couple of years to recoup their investments but recoup they do. Sadly even After Earth will likely make money and M. Night will continue to get to direct which is a crime in my books.

The point is, even with 'flops' it's in the studios best financial interests to make tent pole movies that make them a Billion or more dollars. If it made financial sense to make more smaller movies they would. A lot of very smart people work for the studios on the financial side and they run cost benefit models all the time. They go where the money is thereby maximizing shareholder profit. It is a lot easier to market and do your P & A's for one large film than it is to get traction for 10 smaller films. (Side note, is it still Prints and Advertising now thats prints are mostly gone and distribution is digital?)

I live in Canada so I might try it out. But for me the bigger question is what if after seeing it in the theatre and it sucks, can I get my extra money back if I decide to decline on the download?

Just my two cents.

July 5, 2013 at 10:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Allan

"John Carter" lost $200M. "The Lone Ranger" might lose $250M after all is said and done ($250M shooting budget + $175M in global marketing costs). Studios can ride out a single flop of even of mega-proportions quite easily but I don't see why a studio exec would not want to spread his risks a little. Or a lot.

July 7, 2013 at 10:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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DLD

How did 'John Carter' loose 200M? It had a production budget of $250M and Grossed $282M. That is before DVD & Blu Ray of $36.35M in the first week of sales which puts the number to $320M (rounded). That is before any sales to Airlines, VOD, Hotels, PayTV, Netfilx etc. Most theatres make very little money from ticket sales which is why your popcorn and pop costs $10 or more, that is where they make their money.

Do I think 'John Carter' was a successful movie, no but it made back most if not all of its investment and continues to recoup costs. Every time you see some bad movie on late night TV, someone is getting a cheque. 'John Carter' will continue to generate revenue for the next decade or more.

Neither you nor I are privy to what the actual costs and revenues involved were but I'm sure the studios play the long game on under performing films.

As for the why not spread the risks here is the math from my point of view, lets look at Winters Bone, Twilight: Eclipse, Toy Story 3, all from 2010

WB - Award winning film much loved by critics.
T:E - Much loved by teenage girls - Giant piece of shit in my opinion.
TS3 - Pixar - need we say anything else

WB - 2M Budget - $14M Box office
T:E - 68M Budget - $700M Box office
TS3 - 200M Budget - 1.06B Box office

Each one of these films is unique, Twilight has a huge built in audience and Toy Story is a family movie. WB is a classic Indie film, well written, well acted, well made. Lets assume each movie spent 1.5x the production budget on marketing.

WB would have made a 450% return on investment. Sounds good but that only amounts to $9M. Good for the investors but wouldn't really work for a large studio and its built in costs.

T:E would have made a 411% return on investment. Not as good as WB but in actual money that amounts to $530M.

TS3 would have made 212% return on invest. No where near as good as WB or T:E but in actual money that works out to $560M.

So even though TS3 had the lowest ROI it made the most money. This is of course on box office alone and quality family fare like Toy Story made way more than $1B with merchandising, DVD/Blu Ray, VOD etc...

Then comes the fact that the big studios are happy to let the indie's fund and produce the movies and then help them distribute by either purchasing them at festivals or working out distribution deals with the producers at markets like AFM. They get a cut, a large cut of box office etc., without the risk of being the first one in with production financing.

As I don't work for a studio I can't say that this is exactly how they think, but it makes sense to me. However using the above math for the top 10 films of that year the ROI is 57% or $3.237B. Now I took the next top films with budgets of $40 million or less and came up with an ROI of 342% but income of only $1.365B. Still really good but this includes a few stellar performers like Paranormal Activity, The Kings Speech and Black Swan which had an ROI of 2360%, 1104% and 1012% respectively which I think we can all assume is abnormal. With out those three the numbers for the next 10 become and ROI of 219% and $942.5M respectively.

So it comes down to whether you prefer percentages or cash. The ROI is certainly better on the smaller films, but the cash income is substantially higher on the big budget tent pole films. I think the studios go for the cash.

All of my Numbers came from Box Office Mojo.

And now I'm done as I have actual things to do that will hopefully generate money as I have overhead to pay.

July 8, 2013 at 5:24PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Allan

Theaters will be around in some form for the foreseeable future. Everybody wants to get out of their house some times (especially young people) and go see a movie with friends or on a date.

I don't see super tickets becoming the sole norm for all movies.

July 5, 2013 at 2:34PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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moebius22

I'll pass on this and use my $50 dollar tickets towards the purchas of SONY's 65" 4k television.
Just seen two at Best Buy: 55" and 65."

Theatre system is dead in my opinion.

July 5, 2013 at 2:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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VinceGOrtho

No dude, wait until they start having HDMI 2.0 in tv's...1.4 right now can't handle 4k 60hz >_>

July 5, 2013 at 2:45PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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john jeffries

Thanks for the heads up! I'll research this.

July 5, 2013 at 4:00PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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VINCEgortho

There is no 4k 60p content so waiting won't get you much. The Sony 4k tvs are exceptional if you are in the market.

July 6, 2013 at 2:48AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Greg egan

theaters arent all about resolution/screen size - eventually your significant other/husband/wife/kids are going to complain that you never leave the living room. thats where the movie theater comes in :-)

July 11, 2013 at 10:48PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Evan

I'm all for this idea. I like the option to add on the digital download to the cost of watching the film for say an extra $5. So ideal situation is this:
Go to Cineplex.com or iPad/Google Play app> Buy one regular ticket to Elysium for the girlfriend(or Pacific Rimjob or whatever)> Select an option to add the digital copy to my iTunes collection for an extra $5 (available slightly before DVD release) and if it's refundable after you see the movie then that's even better as some of these movies inevitably will be worth watching only once.
This scenario with the UltraViolet format seems useful only if you're constantly connected to the internet, but if there were some sort of in-app content download for offline watching on planes, roadtrips, dungeons etc, I would not be against it.

July 5, 2013 at 2:42PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Matt

oops, forgot to mention buying a physical ticket for myself, but you get the idea

July 5, 2013 at 2:44PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Matt

I think the last time I physically got into my car and drove to a theater to watch a film was in december for the Hobbit. 90% of my film consumption now is in my living room via netflix on my big sexy tv. And I think my usage patterns speak for most of america. theaters are dying

July 5, 2013 at 2:43PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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john jeffries

Why watch movies in theatres when they look a lot better in the privacy of my home?
Watching Pacific Rim in theatres is like seeing half the movie. Whats intended is on the bluRay.

July 5, 2013 at 3:57PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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VINCEgortho

not to mention being able to pause to use the restroom

July 5, 2013 at 4:53PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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john jeffries

I disagree with you but only because I am completely spoiled- We have an extremely nice movie theater that has an IMAX. I go when there's barely a crowd and get to see new movies in an IMAX theater almost to myself. I get to experience movies in that way in crowds less than 20 people 90% of the time when I go, I am a lucky one.

July 6, 2013 at 11:54AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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I see two movies a week theatrically and rarely watch movies at home. The cinema experience is still king for me.

July 5, 2013 at 11:43PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Stu Mannion

When the story telling gets better and there are more challenging innovative films, ill go twice a week.
Maybe HBO should release season premieres and finales theatrically. Cable is where good writing is at: not Hollowood.

July 6, 2013 at 10:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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vinceGortho

Here's the thing. The actual thing I love about the cinema is the LACK of control I have over. It's a powerful, visceral experience that you have to submit to. That is something you can't get from any home theater system.

July 5, 2013 at 4:15PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Grant

When they start releasing powerful and visceral movies ill go more than twice a year. Lol.

July 5, 2013 at 7:02PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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vinceGortho

From what I am reading here, the theater chains will have to up the ante - for $50, a moviegoer asks for a T-shirt, a coffee mug, a Star Wars light saber, a Wookie doll, a behind-the-scenes photo album/DVD, a lap dance from Melissa McCarthy, et cetera, et cetera. FWIW, when I was in the electronics biz and there was some sort of a co-promotion going on, T-shirts and posters were given away in droves. Right now, the movie studios rely on their co-promoters (fast food chains, mostly) to distribute these types of items. Inventory issues aside - a mail-in voucher may be needed for some of the items - giving an actual theater patron all these free-be's as a gesture of gratitude for coming in could be the way to go.

July 5, 2013 at 5:13PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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DLD

I don't think this will fly well. I put 10 bucks on a friend's ticket that paid $19.00 bucks.......my wife, 2 kids, mother in law, and brother watch the download for free. The price is one thing, but CONTENT is still king. The demise of the movie is more about the quality, than the experience. A great movie doesn't have to cost 100 milllion dollarrs! Good acting, good story can be had on the cheap! Long live indies!!!!

July 5, 2013 at 5:22PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Terry Mickie

Oh man, but Ultraviolet sucks.

July 5, 2013 at 7:29PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Julian

I don't think they will work, i actually wrote a blog Post about how it would be like buying the movie on faith and wont work.

I also wrote about the new system i think will develop here: http://www.danieljfilms.com/2013/07/05/what-will-happen-to-theaters-in-t...

I hope it's okay to post links to my own blog :) I love nofilmschool, and would hate to encroach

July 5, 2013 at 7:56PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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I think theaters have allowed themselves to be bullied by the studios to pay higher royalties driving ticket prices through the roof. Movies are more profitable but attendance is declining... On a Wednesday night I can go see a baseball game for the same price as a 3D movie and concessions are the same price. If theaters DROPPED prices Mon-Thur and concession prices by half they'd be able to sell twice as much.

July 5, 2013 at 8:29PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Josh

1 tickets x $2 = $2
2 tickets x $1 = $2

Math is a strange thing.

July 5, 2013 at 9:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Tyler

I like how they said a small popcorn is included. Don't give them too much for 50 bucks. :P

July 5, 2013 at 8:31PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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George

I'll buy! its awesome movie to experience both in cinema theater and home digital viewing. But i am only investing to this film due to my respect to Director Guillermo del Toro, and this film looks amazing.

July 6, 2013 at 6:05AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Wait... someone actually uses UV-copies? I thought they were like UMD... oh, well... not quite as useless as UMD, but really... I have never seen anyone use UV or used them myself. I even scoff when I buy a bluray and it proudly exclaims "includes UV-copy"... totally superflous.

Now, if this could be a bit like kick-starter and I actually get a real limited edition BluRay or something, I might consider it. But the distributors will probably have to realize that even that won't sell if the movie it's attached to is lackluster... but again... 50 bucks per ticket? There's only a handful of filmmakers that I would pay to see their films for that sum. And a few of them are dead already...

No, if given the option, I'll probably stick with the normal prices.

July 7, 2013 at 6:51AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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$25 I can fathom but $50? lol no.

July 11, 2013 at 9:47PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Batty

i bought the pacific rim ultra avx superticket here in canada to test drive the offering- ticket was $35.58CDN after taxes. (to address some commenters' misconceptions - i bought two ultra avx tickets online for my friend and i to see the movie - mine was super but his was normal ticket.) saw the movie last night and really enjoyed it. a couple minor points stopped me short of loving it but otherwise i thought GDT delivered and then some on an awesome rock 'em sock 'em giant monster movie- some REALLY gorgeous framed anime/graphic novel style shots scattered throughout, very funny, mostly solid acting and some exciting and surprisingly coherent fight scenes. funny thing after the movie was watching the cineplex theatre staff try to figure out - and fail- how to redeem the download voucher as instructed on the concession voucher printed off with my scan & print tickets. four levels of staff - junior concession, senior concession, service desk and then finally manager - couldn't figure out how to give me the download voucher as the concession voucher clearly indicated they should do. appeared to boil down to discrepancy between download voucher price excluding tax whereas the concession voucher showed the tax (that i'd already paid). i was more amused than annoyed and will give them a couple days to get it sorted out and go back for the download voucher. (the concession voucher indicates valid for 10 days to redeem.) i'm new to ultraviolet but have tested itunes and google play movies to varied degrees of satisfaction. so far watching google play Despicable Me in HD via HDMI from my smartphone to TV was the surprising winner in ease of use for me (i'm not an apple fanboy but don't doubt itunes/apple tv prolly foolproof winner too.) cheers

July 14, 2013 at 12:07PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Notta Member

There's one aspect of this super ticket stuff that hasn't been mentioned and can't be ignored. This isn't necessarily "the future of movies"...etc... Most people won't want to buy a movie that they haven't even seen yet. This is a ploy to exploit nerds personalities against them for commercial gain.

Comic book companies learned 10-15 years ago that if you release the same comic book with 3 different covers, every ODC/Aspbergers/autistic spectrum fanboy is gonna run out and buy em all. And buy a 4th copy so that you can actually read it because the other three and in Mylar bags for safe keeping!

It gives fanboys some sort of cred to be in line for the first day...etc...and you know this kind of movie is gonna sell these deluxe ticket packages.

July 23, 2013 at 3:07PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Daniel Mimura

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October 26, 2013 at 8:49AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM