Exhibitors Herald (Dec 1921 - Mar 1922)

Record Details:

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MARTIN J. QUIGLEY Publisher & Editor * ISSUE OF * March 25, 1922 Longer Exhibition Life By MARTIN J. QUIGLEY AMONG the many and great economic probleins affecting this industry which cry for solution there is none which offers hope of greater reward than the one concerned with prolonging the exhibition life of meritorious productions. We have heard much of the numerous economic wastes accredited to the motion picture industry. The existing scheme of distribution has been held up as a thing of much evil which must be corrected. Every operation of production has come in for severe criticism, coupled with pointed declarations that expense and waste must be curtailed and money saved. These and many other things in connection with the industry which do need reform have been given much consideration and under the stress of recent months various important economies have been introduced, yet, we declare, that the greatest economic waste to be found anywhere in the motion picture business continues on and not a hand is being raised to put a stop to it. THE comparatively brief exhibition life of meritorious pictures and every other abstract economic question affecting the industry must be considered in the light of the fact that the various branches of the business comprise a single commercial unit and that a wasteful practice which exists in any branch of the industry is an evil with respect to the whole business and. similarly, an economic adjustment which saves money for one branch of the business is, in the long run, a general benefit. Allowing only for certain limited exceptions it may be said that every good motion picture is a prospect for exhibition in every community in America. Only rarely is it found that a really good motion picture does not receive practically the same reception in one community as in another. In reality the tastes of the public vary but little and as far as the general rule is concerned it may be accepted that a successful picture in New England is also a successful picture in Florida and Texas. There are absolutely no grounds for assuming that the industry must be concerned with a specialized product, made to order with obvious geographical, racial and other distinctions. A good picture, one which contains the fundamental requisites of an interesting and appealing entertainment subject, remains a promising exhibition prospect for the vast majority of theatres, regardless of character or location, until it has been shown. It is, however, a fact that the number of theatres played by any except the sensationally successful pictures is alarmingly small. For this lamentable situation the distributor is largely to blame. He has neglected to so organize his business that a picture, even though comparatively old, will continue to receive the attention of his selling force. And when the owner of a picture will placidly forget its existence it follows in the natural order that the theatremen will do the same. * * * THE economic necessities of the film business * at this time render the need of action on this matter greater than ever before. Thousands of theatres stand in need of and must receive relief from the scale of prices established when the public was buying more entertainment and when it was able to pay more for it than can be expected under existing financial conditions. On the other hand, the producer and distributor as well as the exhibitor are suffering from existing conditions. Production costs have been curtailed but not materially. Distribution costs have been lowered only with respect to limiting personnel. Hence, the hope for every branch of the business is to be found in the introduction of some big economic advance and if the obvious means at hand will be utilized by prolonging the exhibition life of good pictures this can be accomplished readily and certainly. On the shelves of the distributors there are hundreds of proven box office attractions which are producing nothing for the owners but if they are again gotten into circulation they will mean satisfactory product for thousands of theatres at materially less rentals than inferior new pictures and they will become revivified as revenue-producing assets for their owners.