Monday, August 31, 2009

What makes you see a movie?

A writer trying to sell his screenplay is often asked "Who's the target audience for this?" Now, it's easy to hear that question and fly into a rage over how horribly commercialized Hollywood is, with films not seen as art, but commodities designed to sell stale popcorn and salty pretzels. However, all the statement means is, "Who will see this? Who will want to see this? What viewer will this film reach?"

So with that in mind, I want to start off the week asking my readers two questions:

1) What sort of movies do you like to see?


2) What makes you see a movie? Is it the trailer? The stars? The premise? Nudity? Violence? How do you decide what's worth your $12 each weekend?

Bonus question: What helps you determine whether you'll see a movie in the theatre or if you'll wait for Netflix?

I know from my stats that there are a few hundred of you reading this site each day. I'd love to see massive participation and discussion in the comments below. I don't allow anonymous comments, but don't let that be a hindrance.


  1. Simple. I'll go see it if one or more of three things happens:
    1. I love the premise.
    2. I love someone involved in it (director/writer/actor)
    3. Someone I trust recommends it.

    E.g. last couple of trips - went to see The Hurt Locker because I like the director. Went to see Let The Right One In because someone recommended it. I'll go see District 9 next 'cos I love the premise. Only time I might be lazy and not go see something which ticks one of those boxes is if I feel it won't lose anything by being seen on the small screen - e.g. In The Loop - love the makers, but will just wait and buy the DVD.

  2. I'll agree with Nick on the first two points, but I'm a little different in selection. I don't trust many opinions as is, and I tend to watch the occasional actioner just because it will be more effective in the theater (albeit, this small area I've moved to has a theater with the worst acoustics. Doesn't compare to The Bridge in LA. Even if it's the same company). But, typically, I'll spend the money only if it's something I can't wait to watch. Spending $8 at a matinee is killing me.
    Ultimately, this small area has it's benefits, they have a "dollar" theater which is $3 to catch a 2nd run a film, which nowadays only takes about a month. The other downside, I'll never see something like "Moon," as there isn't a theater that will play it.

  3. If I get excited on both an emotional and intellectual level by a trailer ... that makes me want to see it (for example, the trailer for THE LOVELY BONES) ... though I do have a pet peeve about trailers that give the whole movie away ...

    I like many types of movies, from comedies to thrillers ... in particular, I like good action films.

    Now that I'm a father, I go to the movies less often than I used to, and now it's primarily when my friends and family won't stop talking about how great a film is, that's when I'll go see it in the theater ... another pet peeve of mine is the speed with which a film comes out on dvd, if it was longer, the wait between screen and netflix, I'd definitely see more movies ... but it does irk me to pay 12 bucks to see a movie that I can see on netflix in 3 months.

    Just my opinion, of course.

  4. I have been addicted to the cinema for 15 years now, and probably go to a theatre 2-3 times a week, so i pretty much see anything. To be excited about an upcoming film, an interesting trailer or premise will hook me. This weekend at Inglourious Basterds I saw the trailer for "Law Abiding Citizen" and it definately caught my eye.

  5. a. Premise
    b. Writer/Director/Creative Team
    c. General perception of Quality & Care (District 9 vs GI joe)

  6. I'm in the same boat as Nick, Alexander, Joshua James, Global, and PhilCcC. ALL GREAT responces.

    1. What sort of movies do I like to see?

    Romantic comedies ALWAYS garner my eye...
    I like to see movies with an inner message, like "Gran Torino." I don't always have to agree with how that issue is handled, ie. "Million Dollar Baby," but if you give me something of substance, combine that with intillegent thought I'm game, and will make a point to see that movie.

    2. What makes me see a movie?

    A) Premise executed by movie makers I trust.
    B) Buzz by people I trust/respect.
    C) A trailer that brings alive something I normally would have dismissed.
    D) Follow-up performance by an actor/actress who just captured my attention with a breakthrough roll.

    Right now I'm like totally geeking to see "Avatar." Chalk that up to some buzz given by Scott Myers at his "Go Into the Story" blogspot, THEN re-inforce that by the fact its made by James Cameron (someone I respect), who has spent YEARS on this project, then back that even further with an AWESOME trailer. Bitter Script Reader, dude, I'm SOOO there!

    - E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

  7. 1) Action movies, preferably something that looks badass while still carrying a plot.

    2) The trailer combined with reviews. If the trailer has a dude wearing a leather coat carrying a shotgun while walking in slow motion away from a massive explosion, I will most likely see the movie unless the reviews say it's crap.

    3) I see a film in the theater for two reasons, generally: it has something I can't get properly on my TV like massive explosions or glorious special effects, or it looks so damn good I have to see it right freaking now.

  8. 1. Initial interest comes from a trailer.
    2. Comes from a online buzz and review (research).
    3. Group influences ("lets all go see a movie!!" "whatevas cleva").

    Bar's charging too much for booze, also effects the willingness to fork over money for a new movie!

  9. I like movies that are pleasant and whimsical and clever. When I go to a movie, I want to feel happy and inspired, I want to laugh and to ponder. I don't like movies that are stressful or upsetting.

    Since my taste is fairly specific, it is usually easy to predict whether or not I'll enjoy a particular movie, based on the premise, the trailer, and the reviews. If I am relatively confident that I'm going to enjoy a movie, I almost always see it in the theater. The only time I intentionally wait for the DVD is when a comedy seems especially lowbrow or generic.

  10. 1) What sort of movies do you like to see?

    Comedies, Foreign films, Horror. The few action movies I see are usually in the dollar theatre because they tend to disappoint/have major plot flaws, but they can still have cool scenes.

    2) What makes you see a movie?

    The trailer is VERY important to me. I like to get a feel of the movie, its cinematography in particular, and trailers also give me an idea of how believable the characters are. I will rarely see a movie without seeing the trailer first, even if all my friends say it's great.
    Stars are important too, but I'm just as likely to NOT see a movie because I can't stand one of the cast members as I am to see one because I like one of the actors.

    I try to see all the movies I'm really interested in (about 5-6 a year) in the theatre, my Netflix queue is reserved for hard to find stuff and TV show discs with episodes I missed.

  11. I'll see most movies with a critics' 4-star rating. Lesser-rated movies I'll see if I like the trailer, or the actress (Zooey -- that means you!), or the genre (I stay away from Supernatural, Slasher, and Female Interest). I like to experience a variety of styles, so I'll watch the odd foreign-language movie at film festivals, the quirkier indie movies, and I also feel obliged to support locally-made (i.e. South African) movies with local stories.

    My split between theatre and DVD is about 50/50. If I see a movie I'm really disappointed with (e.g. Rachel Getting Married), I go off movies and I won't see another movie for a couple of months.

  12. Movies I'm interested in: Those with a story well told. Any genre, cast, crew, budget. I can appreciate a great premise executed well.

    What makes me see a movie: The talent behind it. Word-of-mouth traveling from trusted friends. Favorable reviews (though that can get iffy). I'm of the minority that enjoy seeing a movie wholly unspoiled, so I avoid trailers for the films I'm looking forward that fall into the reasons above (District 9, Dark Knight, Hurt Locker). I walked into those knowing very little and it was a fantastic experience because of it. With other films that I'm unsure about or haven't heard of, the trailer is what sparks my initial interest.

    Netflix vs. Theater: I will fork over money to watch something in the theater if I'm highly anticipating it and cannot wait to watch it, and also because of the fear of being spoiled. You don't want the ending to Inglourious Basterds ruined for you by random teens in Starbucks talking amongst themselves. Netflix rentals are anything that I'm not too enthused about but still am interested in seeing sometime (Julie & Julia right now).

  13. Movies I'm Interested In:

    Smart genre movies (Horror, Scifi, Action-adventure, Thriller).

    What makes me go to the Theater:

    - an excellent premise
    - a great trailer that promises a good time
    - a creative team (writer, director, star) that hasn't disappointed me.

    I see most of my movies on DVD because of my schedule. The movies that I do see at the theater must promise spectacle and an experience I would miss out on at home.

  14. I love the experience of seeing a movie -- any movie -- in a theater, so if I'm going with friends, I'll generally let them decide, and they mostly choose action or romantic comedies. Whatever is getting the most buzz outside of the film community.

    I'll make sure I see most of the Oscar contenders, comedies that are getting great buzz (I would have waited to see the Hangover on DVD, but everyone was raving about it so I saw it in theaters.) I'll go to see an actor, director, or writer whose work I particularly love. And I tend to see movies that would otherwise be ruined for me -- like the Dark Knight. I don't usually go for horror movies.

    If I like a movie, I'll watch it again on DVD. Since there's only limited time, I'll rent any big movies as well. Romantic comedies that don't really need a big screen (for instance, 27 dresses) I'll see on DVD.

    I don't have a favorite genre. If a movie's good, enough people (critics and otherwise) will talk about it, and I'll go.

  15. For me:

    1. Concept
    2. Creatives behind it
    3. Trailer