Death of the Dollar Movie

Sure the floor was sticky, the screen torn, and the seats painful, but what do you expect for $1.75? The “dollar movie” hasn’t actually been $1 for a while and even at near double the price it was a bargain. The closure of Cinemark’s Sherman Movies 7 is just one more indicator of the chaos going on in the movie business.

Bargain hunters knew that the Movies 7 would be screening current releases usually just weeks after they opened at the new Cinemark 24 multi-plex at Town Center, and perhaps months before the DVD would appear at the video store. If you didn’t mind the environment you could enjoy a current feature at about 20-percent of the cost of seeing it in the nicer, newer, less-smelly venue.

I first noticed the narrowing time gap between the premier of a new movie at the big movie house, its quiet opening at the dollar movie, release of the DVD, and finally its appearance on one of the premium satellite or cable premium channels with the release of “Sherlock Holmes” starring Robert Downey and Jude Law.

Sherlock Holmes was a movie I wanted to see. I even considered paying full price (gasp!). But before I could make the decision, it was off the screen at the Cinemark 12. It was pushed off the screen so that another film could be put on 4 of the 12 screens. Within a week “Holmes” was on the screen at the dollar movie. Before the week was out I cruised over to Movies 7, paid $1.75 and sat down with eight other bargain hunters for a night at the movies. No matter that there were about 300 empty seats for that performance.

Later that night I saw a commercial on TV announcing the availability of Sherlock Holmes on DVD and Blue-Ray in video store on Monday. The gap from premiere and video store had dramatically narrowed.

Like many of our Texoma Living! readers I have a very nice home theater setup. 60-inch screen, killer sound, comfortable sofa. Still, you can’t beat the movie house experience—the 2-story screen, 200-watts of surround sound, and $8 popcorn—it’s the way films are meant to be seen.