Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Roger Ebert On Why Movie Theatre Revenues Are Falling
December 29, 2011 12:20 PM   Subscribe

"I'll tell you why movie revenue is dropping" SLREP
posted by everichon (238 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Should I take my family to the movies, or pay for health insurance this month?
posted by Brocktoon at 12:24 PM on December 29, 2011 [16 favorites]


My sentiments exactly, my reaction after paying $17.00 dollars last weekend for a non-3d movie was priceless.....I know there's inflation but movie theater tickets seem to be 20X more expensive than anything else...
posted by The1andonly at 12:26 PM on December 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


Because people spent 60 billion dollars on videogames this year.
posted by empath at 12:27 PM on December 29, 2011 [16 favorites]


Because I can spend a few bucks on a BluRay disc and it will look better on my TV than in a theater with a fucking 3D lens projecting a 2D movie.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 12:33 PM on December 29, 2011 [19 favorites]


I've basically taken to having a Google Alert set up for Fandango deals on movie theater tickets -- usually $5 or $6 apiece, compared to the $12 base price -- and buying them whenever possible. Even considering that a few expire (rather, are given to friends right before they expire) I'm still saving money. There's no reason going to the movies should cost as much as seeing three bands play live.

A theater is reportedly opening which will allow and even bless cell phone usage, although that may be an apocryphal story.

I suggest that they open a whole shitload of these across the country. If only to gather all the assholes in a certain area into a single building. Then: blind them with lasers.

Also, this is directly to the New York City Indie Theaters (IFC and Sunshine, I'm talking about you): I live in the ass-end of Brooklyn. I can spit and hit the Wonder Wheel. I want to go see El Topo and Ghostbusters and so on during your midnight movie screenings, but then I won't get home until like 2 AM. I know "10 P.M. movie" doesn't have the same charm to it, but, seriously, come on.
posted by griphus at 12:33 PM on December 29, 2011 [23 favorites]


2011 is the worst year since 1995? That doesn't sound like a steady decline.

And, TBH its felt like there hasn't really been anything of note at the box office this year until the last few weeks - summer was decidedly lacking.
posted by Artw at 12:33 PM on December 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


None of these are new ideas, these exact complaints have existed for a few years now. The notable thing is how no one is doing anything about it. Is it that difficult to make ticket prices more affordable? Offer reasonable snacks?

Can't do anything about the talkers, though. Man do I hate the talkers. The theater by my house has mom screenings, with less-dimmed lights and babies encouraged. Why can't they do that for the talkers?
posted by troika at 12:34 PM on December 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


I haven't stepped foot in a theater in at least eight years. I simply don't feel like I'm missing anything, especially considering the facilities and cost.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:34 PM on December 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


Needs more ushers.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 12:35 PM on December 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


Its possible that 3D has burned out as a gimmick - Hollywood has certainly been doing the best it can to foster knee jerk hate of it.
posted by Artw at 12:35 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


The next fad after 3D: Smell-o-vision. Please, let it be smell-o-vision.
posted by troika at 12:37 PM on December 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


I miss the theatre I used to go to in downtown Concord NH. They had unusual movies I wouldn't have heard of otherwise, and their snack bar served wine and beer and hard cider, and iirc pastries, as well as popcorn and the like. It was a charming place.
posted by joannemerriam at 12:38 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love RE to death, but none of this is new to 2011, or even 2009.
posted by Melismata at 12:38 PM on December 29, 2011


What he said about the theatre experience sucking. You spend enough money to buy a video game or book or case of beer or whatever, and even if the movie's good, all it takes is one jerk texting or answering their phone or live-blogging it with the person sitting next to them to ruin it. The last time I shushed someone at a movie theatre they got angry and made a point of talking more and louder until I got up and moved. Then there are all the ads you have to sit through...
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:38 PM on December 29, 2011 [17 favorites]


Reasons 2 and 3 are huge for me. We only see movies on Sunday matinees anymore ($6 a ticket, very few obnoxious texters), and even then, I think the last movie I saw was the most recent Harry Potter. Plus, really, there's just nothing worth watching that I won't enjoy more at home, six months later.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:39 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love RE to death, but none of this is new to 2011, or even 2009.

It's basically the standard issue Metafilter "I had to go to the Cinema, and it was TERRIBLE" rant, but from someone famous.
posted by Artw at 12:39 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I will not go see Hugo, a highly rated film by an excellent director, 'cause I'm not paying for glasses I've already bought.

Fuck you, Hollywood.

Carmike bargain Tuesdays, where matinees are $5 and 1$ popcorn and drinks? I'm there, even with all the damn commercials. Otherwise, it's Netflix.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:40 PM on December 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd be willing to go more than once or twice a year if not for the horrible rudeness of 60% of the crowd. The obnoxiously loud talking and cell phone screen thing is really a killer for me. Maybe I should try to find a small local theater.

Also, 3D? No. No thank you.
But I would totally pay for smell-o-vision IF guaranteed not to include gross stuff.

posted by Glinn at 12:41 PM on December 29, 2011


Too expensive, screens too small, punters too noisy and inconsiderate, too many ads, rubbish films.

This is why I don't go to the cinema. Like they care.
posted by Decani at 12:43 PM on December 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


...summer was decidedly lacking...

I am slowly coming to terms with the idea that I am the only person on earth who enjoyed Captain America

Also, say what you will about home theater systems, but I have never, ever seen a home theater system compare to a theater. I recently had the privilege of accomplishing one of my life's goals and seeing Woody Allen's Manhattan on the big screen. It was a life-changing experience. Even considering the last reel had some significant wear and tear, the difference was so great as to be almost indescribable. I'm a little biased because it is probably my favorite movie and I'm Really Into Film and all that, but there is no way a home theater system could ever even begin to match what it was like, sitting there with all those people, laughing at the same jokes from ten-foot-tall faces while wrapped in gorgeous black-and-white.
posted by griphus at 12:45 PM on December 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


I miss the theatre I used to go to in downtown Concord NH.

You mean Red River on Main St? I miss it too. What a great place.
posted by gauche at 12:45 PM on December 29, 2011


People always talked and sometimes threw shit or shouted at the screen. Our expectations have changed. When I first started going to movies you could walk in whenever, sit through the movie and stay to watch the beginning. If you didn't like it you left, sometimes the usher let you into a different movie, not like they gave a shit. People sat through the movie 5 times in one day, I did that with ET. I'm not sure what happened but going to the movies is no longer fun, it is fraught with angst now. Be on time to get a seat, everyone seems fucking tense, sit in silence for 2hrs for something that might suck. It just isn't fun.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:46 PM on December 29, 2011 [24 favorites]


Also, this is a rant I've been hearing ever since they came out with VHS and hiked movie prices to *gasp* four dollars. (Not just from Ebert.) It almost feels like "Goddammit, radio stations just aren't what they used to be. They should go back to having big weekly program stars and a full orchestra on the payroll." In other words, it's just not gonna happen, so stop complaining about it.
posted by Melismata at 12:48 PM on December 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


If I consider a movie to be worth seeing on the big screen, 2D or 3D ("Hugo", for example), I'll go to the theater. I saw "Hugo" at Thanksgiving and the glacial temperature in the theater, which didn't improve after I asked the manager to turn the heat up (or on), nearly drove me out.

I'm off to Kendall Square this weekend for "A Dangerous Method." I'm pretty sure I won't be disappointed in any way. I make it to the Kendall about once a year and for the most part stick to the 'burbs.

More and more, I'm sticking with my 22" HDTV to watch new-ish movies, which has yet to disappoint me (low expectations)...
posted by Currer Belfry at 12:49 PM on December 29, 2011


Another thing: volume control. The last time we went to the movies my wife actually screamed when the previews (why the f do they call them trailers?) came on. The sound was so loud it hurt. They turned it down a little when the feature started, but still, why are they punishing us? That was last year and we haven't been back.
posted by charlesminus at 12:49 PM on December 29, 2011 [7 favorites]


I love RE to death, but none of this is new to 2011, or even 2009.

True, but no matter how many times it's been said, it clearly hasn't been quite enough.
posted by Naberius at 12:50 PM on December 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


If I want to hear people coughing and whispering and see their silhouette against the screen when they get up to take a piss, I'll watch a Russian telesync on my tablet while lying in bed, thank you very much.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:50 PM on December 29, 2011 [8 favorites]


I am slowly coming to terms with the idea that I am the only person on earth who enjoyed Captain America

Oh, Captain America was all kinds of great, but there wasn't really a hell of a lot else out there.
posted by Artw at 12:51 PM on December 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


I am slowly coming to terms with the idea that I am the only person on earth who enjoyed Captain America

I enjoyed it. Just not in the theaters. :)
posted by weston at 12:51 PM on December 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


7 of the 10 highest grossing films this year were sequels.
posted by Taft at 12:52 PM on December 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


"Why are they called 'trailers' if they're shown before the movie?" from the Straight Dope.
posted by griphus at 12:52 PM on December 29, 2011


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_in_film#Highest-grossing_films *
posted by Taft at 12:52 PM on December 29, 2011


They invented teh VCR?
posted by infini at 12:52 PM on December 29, 2011


Wow, that really is a pack of garbage isn't it?
posted by Artw at 12:53 PM on December 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


I am slowly coming to terms with the idea that I am the only person on earth who enjoyed Captain America

It wasn't terrible, and I will certainly never say no to buff shirtless Chris Evans, but to me it was really just a 2h long trailer for the Avengers.
posted by elizardbits at 12:53 PM on December 29, 2011


I remember the first time I was in a movie theatre and they played an ad before the trailers; people booed. Now you're forced to sit through five or ten minutes of them, and the only way to get around it is to show up after the official start time and hope you can still get a seat or vote with your dollars and not go at all. The moment the theatre lights dimmed used to be exciting.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:53 PM on December 29, 2011 [8 favorites]


(though I've heard that they innovated and added a PLOT to the new Pirates)
posted by Artw at 12:53 PM on December 29, 2011


The last movie I saw in a theater was The Matrix.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:54 PM on December 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


The next fad after 3D: Smell-o-vision. Please, let it be smell-o-vision.

I'm going to have to take you to task. I want Feel-A-Round. (I'm at work, I can't provide a YouTube link. See Kentucky Fried Movie)

People always talked... Unless you're referencing The Globe in 1602, then they didn't.

I think the problem is television. People forget they're in public, they think they're at home and can talk and get up and down as much as they want instead of trying to respect the other people who have paid money too.
posted by CarlRossi at 12:54 PM on December 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't consider myself old enough to be having a "get off my lawn" rant. I quit going to movies about 7 years ago because I considered it a ripoff. I had one GOML rants the other day with my roommate. He paid $18 a ticket to see some dumb movie with one of his girlfriends at one of the deluxe living-room theaters.

For a matinee. $18 FOR A FUCKING MATINEE?! GET THE FUCK OUT! BACK WHEN I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL IT WAS $3.50 FOR A FIRST RUN MOVIE ON A GODDAMN FRIDAY NIGHT! THAT WAS ONLY 10 YEARS AGO YOU FILTHY ROTTEN SCUMBAGS! FUCK YOU MPAA! GET OFF MY FUCKING LAWN!

- fin.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:55 PM on December 29, 2011 [31 favorites]


I still go to the movies pretty often even though I agree with everything Mr. Ebert said. You just can't replicate the experience of seeing a movie on a big screen. I saw Mission: Impossible 4 last night on an Imax screen and it was totally worth seeing in that kind of venue. I'm currently working on setting up a spare bedroom as a TV/Media room with a big flatscreen (don't know how large yet) and a 5.1 sound system and Blu-Rays will look and sound great but it just won't quite be the same.

That said, I'm still considering purchasing a Taser for the next idiot in front of me who needs to text his bro during the movie.
posted by octothorpe at 12:57 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I feel like a real jerk whenever I admit this, but I don't like seeing movies in the theater. It's really loud, and the flashing lights give me a headache, and I can't pause it if I need to go to the bathroom, and I'd rather have a cup of tea than soda. All things being equal, I'd prefer to see a movie at home, or at a friend's house. So it's not like "movies are too [whatever]." It's more "now I have other options for movie-consumption."
posted by craichead at 12:57 PM on December 29, 2011 [10 favorites]


When it comes to stuff like this, it's not so much "get off my lawn" as it is "let's stay in tonight."
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:57 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dear Movie Theaters,

I will gladly, willingly, sit through up to 30 minutes of pure, uninterrupted ads if you let me tase the talkers/texters.

Sincerely,
Mme. J. Arkham
posted by JoanArkham at 12:58 PM on December 29, 2011 [13 favorites]


I live in River Falls, a very small college town (12k people) and we have a first run theater here that shows new movies for $3. Not matinee, not kids only, adults, and the others are cheaper. Snacks are cheap too. http://fallstheatre.com/now-showing.html

Granted, the theater could use a good renovation, but at those prices, i don't complain. Regular theater prices, with snacks? I tend to skip most there, and wait for bluray.
posted by usagizero at 12:59 PM on December 29, 2011


(though I've heard that they innovated and added a PLOT to the new Pirates)

I prefer this Pirates to the Disney versions. NSFW
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:59 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


The movie I saw last night, the entire crowd appluaded someone getting a well deserved tasering (on screen, mind) - it was actually a rather nice moment of crowd interaction that made me glad to be in a corwded theatre.
posted by Artw at 12:59 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


elizardbits: "It wasn't terrible, and I will certainly never say no to buff shirtless Chris Evans, but to me it was really just a 2h long trailer for the Avengers."

I've started waiting in the theater until after the credits of every movie I see now just to see if Sam Jackson will show up wearing an eye patch.
posted by octothorpe at 12:59 PM on December 29, 2011 [15 favorites]


I saw Drive on the big screen - it was great. But someone else had given me the tickets, and I saw it at a flash theatre that brings me food and wine to watch the movie with.

And yes - texting, talking, the ridiculous cost! Going out to the movies costs at least as much as a DVD or Blu-Ray. Which I can watch again and again, loan out and what-not.
posted by rodgerd at 1:02 PM on December 29, 2011


I've started waiting in the theater until after the credits of every movie I see now just to see if Sam Jackson will show up wearing an eye patch.

Considering the top grossing films of 2011 list, I would pay good money to see an Avengers film starring Harry Potter, Edward Cullen, Optimus Prime, Jack Sparrow and the panda from Kung Fu Panda.
posted by griphus at 1:02 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I almost had a Huge Embarrassing Outburst when there was no Avengers trailer before the new Sherlock.

I had a small embarrassing outburst instead.
posted by elizardbits at 1:03 PM on December 29, 2011


I've started waiting in the theater until after the credits of every movie I see now just to see if Sam Jackson will show up wearing an eye patch.

How awesome would it be if some random movies had him show up at the end and chastise you for waiting to see him in a non-avengers movie? ;) (if i was super rich, i'd pay for them to do that.)
posted by usagizero at 1:04 PM on December 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


I agree with the TV comfort zone assessment, plus: people are paying a bajillion dollars for a ticket, so they think they can do whatever they want. "Sure I can send a text/talk back to the screen/repeat funny lines, I paid for this seat I do what I want." This does not jive with the other half of the audience, "I paid for this seat so I can watch the dang film."
posted by troika at 1:04 PM on December 29, 2011


I almost had a Huge Embarrassing Outburst when there was no Avengers trailer before the new Sherlock.

I was disturbed by the period inauthentic weaponry on display on some Sherlock posters I saw on the wya into the theatre...
posted by Artw at 1:05 PM on December 29, 2011


Yeah, they really seem to expect that people will be excited about the Avengers movie, but when I was buying comic books they were what you bought the weeks there were no new X-Men or Spider-Man titles out. Which isn't to say it won't be good (I liked Captain America alright, too), but they're running out of big name superhero teams. Summer 2014: The Defenders! Summer 2016: West Coast Avengers!
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:06 PM on December 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'll tell you why movie revenue is down, or at least add an item to that list.

Movies don't play long enough. I'm approaching middle age and I have no dependents and I can go see a movie any time I want, and I still find myself saying, "Where the hell did the movie go? It was just playing here." I mean, come on, many movies have financial success after word of mouth reaches the old folks. It was, "Grampa, you should see that On Golden Pond, it's excellent." Which is now, "Honey get up! Move move move! We've got to get to the theater they're playing Another Earth, go go GO!"

"Where is it?"

"It's on video, get to Best Buy, Go Go GO!"

Movie like Beverly Hills Cop made all that money because they were on screens for a friggin' year. That would have helped Austin Powers (The first one) not be a flop. If Austin Powers stayed in theaters for a year, they would have made 2x-4x as much than they did on home video.

When they have a movie like Being Elmo, they should put it on the screen and shuffle Capt. America in and out so more people can see Being Elmo. (Sorry guys, I know you liked it, but it was flawed as all get out.)

Forgive the fast rant, I'm still at work, no time to proofread, if there's something I didn't explain clearly, just read my mind.
posted by CarlRossi at 1:07 PM on December 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


Hmm, that gun is not QUITE as far-out as I'd thought
posted by Artw at 1:07 PM on December 29, 2011


Why aren't there quiet rooms and guffawing rooms? Why not dynamic pricing? Why not beer? The main innovation in theaters recently has been arresting people for using their camera.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 1:08 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Going to see Vertigo in the theater tomorrow night. I absolutely love living in a city that is never wanting for excellent films on the big screen. And if push comes to shove, I don't absolutely have to go to the multiplex to see the blockbuster of NOW because the cheapo matinees at the university-adjacent three-screen place is just down the road.

But yeah, I'll kick your seat for the rest of the show if I see your goddamn cellphone screen in front of me, arthouse blogger or multiplex mom or whatever.
posted by carsonb at 1:09 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'll tell you why movie revenues are going to be dropping, at least in my neck of the woods: Mini-Chewy SweeTarts, which in movie theaters around here have replaced the perfectly awesome regular old SweeTarts.

If I wanted Skittles, I'd buy the damn Skittles they already sell, not SweeTart's market share grab version that aren't as good as either real Skittles or real SweeTarts. *grumble*
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 1:12 PM on December 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


I was disturbed by the period inauthentic weaponry on display on some Sherlock posters I saw on the wya into the theatre...

So did I! Those were, AFAIK, Mausers ca. WW1.
posted by griphus at 1:13 PM on December 29, 2011


The last movie I saw in a theater was The Matrix.

In that case, Pickle, you missed the Lord of the Rings trilogy which, honestly, was worth seeing on the big screen.
posted by The Bellman at 1:13 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


(Okay and apparently I was right.)
posted by griphus at 1:14 PM on December 29, 2011


griphus: I am slowly coming to terms with the idea that I am the only person on earth who enjoyed Captain America

You are not alone.
posted by chavenet at 1:15 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


There are only two theaters I will go to in the Milwaukee area. One is a gorgeously restored 1920s theater that tends to play independent films, and the other has couches, beer, and a bouncer.
posted by desjardins at 1:15 PM on December 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, they really seem to expect that people will be excited about the Avengers movie, but when I was buying comic books they were what you bought the weeks there were no new X-Men or Spider-Man titles out.

My entire knowledge of canon is that there was once an arc wherein the Iron Man suit fell in passionate gay robosexual love with Tony Stark, and that is enough for me.
posted by elizardbits at 1:17 PM on December 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


I went to see Young Adult two weeks ago (excellent movie, btw) and was subjected to TEN MINUTES of commercials between the listed start time of the movie and the beginning of the actual previews. Now, given that I work in advertising, "take your medicine" would be an appropriate response to my complaint. Two points, however:

-Showing TEN MINUTES of ads before the film (on top of the ads that now run non-stop for twenty minutes before the listed start time) dilutes the value of the ad time that we have purchased. If there were only 2-3 long form ads before a film (as there were maybe three years ago), then the ads might still get audience attention. At ten minutes (!) they simply become more background noise, and audience members plan around them (going to get snacks, the bathroom, or just turning up late).

-They showed a spot for one of my clients TWICE! Almost back-to-back as well (there was one other ad in between). This is frustrating to a viewer who is already sitting through (in my opinion) too many ads to begin with, and it is certainly not how we booked that particular spot. Of course, as advertisers we have actual recourse in this situation (which we took, oh yes...), but it shows that not only do the theaters not care about their paying customers (and frankly, I still have issues with showing ads to people who've paid for a ticket, but that ship sailed a long time ago), they can't even be arsed to treat their secondary revenue stream right.

So screw them if they can't bother to stop actively alienating audiences. I like watching films in a theater, but not like this- in fact, the lack of respect that theaters now have for their customers may contribute to the lack of respect many of those customers show for other audience members and the theater environment.

Nevertheless, go see Hugo in 2D if you can't stand 3D. I did, and I didn't feel like I was missing anything. It looked great, and the entire film was marvelous.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:17 PM on December 29, 2011 [7 favorites]


Well, for me, the reason I don't see many movies these days is the lack of movies I want to see.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:20 PM on December 29, 2011 [20 favorites]


He forgot all the ads before movies.
posted by starman at 1:21 PM on December 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well, TheWhiteSkull, I went to a movie last week and got not ten but twenty minutes of ads. Between them and the previews, the movie started half an hour after its listed start time.

Among those twenty minutes of ads, they showed two twice in a row. Jesus Christ.

Utterly fucking ridiculous.
posted by adamdschneider at 1:22 PM on December 29, 2011 [7 favorites]


Would you care to say which ads and at what theater?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:22 PM on December 29, 2011


Metafilter: I have some theories of my own, fueled by what people tell me.
posted by goHermGO at 1:23 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


The movie I saw last night, the entire crowd appluaded someone getting a well deserved tasering (on screen, mind) - it was actually a rather nice moment of crowd interaction that made me glad to be in a corwded theatre.

I'm one of those who gets pretty peeved at talking in movies if it's not a natural reaction to what's going on. As much as a like a quiet watching environment, one of my favorite movie memories was during a Disney movie at a second-run theater. It was full of children, of course, and initially I thought it would dampen my enjoyment of the movie as I anticipated too much noise. It ended up being incredibly enjoyable, though, simply listening to children being children in reaction to funny things that were happening on the screen. A crowd full of adults would maybe get a chuckle, but from the children there were natural outbursts of enjoyment that sent waves through the theater and reminded me what it was like to be a kid at the movies again. That being said, there's a time and a place for making noise at a movie theater, and it should be a natural outflow of the movie going experience.
posted by SpacemanStix at 1:29 PM on December 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


the movie started half an hour after its listed start time

This is the "new normal" and has been for the last 10 years at least up here in Canuckistan.
posted by jkaczor at 1:30 PM on December 29, 2011


And what's the deal with the explosion of production company intros at the beginning of films? I know that Family Guy did a whole bit about this, but it seems to be true: it's no longer exceptional to see 4 or 5 of those stupid things before the actual movie intro begins. Why is this? What has changed? Why do production companies even need advertising? Nobody watching (save for the Hollywood insider types) is ever going to buy any products or services from them, so why must we sit through their inane stupidity?
posted by Rhomboid at 1:30 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I will gladly, willingly, sit through up to 30 minutes of pure, uninterrupted ads if you let me tase the talkers/texters.


Or you could go to the Alamo Drafthouse.
posted by no mind at 1:32 PM on December 29, 2011 [8 favorites]


TheWhiteSkull: thank you for that action.

Rhomboid: I think it's an "I DID THIS LOOK AT ME I'M A PRODUCER!" impulse, similar to that of Leo Bloom wanting to be a producer.
posted by mephron at 1:33 PM on December 29, 2011


Nobody watching (save for the Hollywood insider types) is ever going to buy any products or services from them, so why must we sit through their inane stupidity?

Same reason as opening credits, really: they are the people responsible for the movie and you came to see their movie.
posted by griphus at 1:34 PM on December 29, 2011


I think theater-going has been impacted mostly by the quality of experience you can get at home nowadays. While even a large screen HDTV is not quite the same as a movie screen, it's damn close.

Every other complaint (prices, annoying people, shitty movies) has been true ever since there were theaters to go to, but even in the "old" days of the early 90s you didn't really have a choice.

The average good home experience was a 25" tube with a DVD player or high quality (scoff) VCR attached and a stereo. Now? Well, crystal clear 42" with a DVD player (blu-ray is there, but not really universal) or HD streaming and 5.1 surround sound is bog standard fare.

With that, suddenly the old annoyances because much more significant, because you have a choice not to put up with it anymore. When you didn't have a choice, seeing something on the big screen along with crinkly candy wrapper sounds was it, and better than what you got at home. No longer.
posted by smidgen at 1:36 PM on December 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


they are the people responsible for the movie and you came to see their movie

yeah, but. that's like going to a restaurant and being forced to sit through a half hour diatribe about the head chef's ex-spouse or hear about their workout and how much they can deadlift before you get to eat your dinner.
posted by elizardbits at 1:36 PM on December 29, 2011 [7 favorites]


It's worth noting that while the domestic box office is down this year, the international box office is up (by about 5% or so), and that there were three billion-dollar films this year (Potter, Pirates and Transformers). So Hollywood is probably not completely full of doom and gloom at the moment.
posted by jscalzi at 1:36 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


People always talked and sometimes threw shit or shouted at the screen.

Not in every theater.

I worked at our local cineplex for two summers, and when we were ushers we got to unleash smackdowns on people who did that*. We even had to make patrols of every theater once every fifteen minutes -- walk down the aisle to the front of the room, turn around, and walk back -- to keep an eye on things and maintain a Visible Authoritative Presence. My managers brooked no shit from audience members.


* Okay, the balloon volleyball me and my friends got up to during a screening of PRETTY IN PINK didn't get shitcanned, but me and my friends were the only people in the audience and it was my birthday so the manager turned a blind eye.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:37 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Obviously, this can be a big "what is wrong with movies / let's do Hollywood's job for them" thread. I'll just quickly drop some thoughts of my own on the theaters - I can't speak for the types of movies being made, which is a different deal altogether.

We tend to think of movie theaters as just "movie theaters" and they're obviously not - it's like restaurants. Fast food joints, delis, and sit-down waiter-and-host restaurants.

The theater chains that are REALLY huge, that are essentially 5-10 purchased chains glommed together into a vague brand, i.e. National Amusements, AMC Entertainment, etc. - I'm sorry, these places are no better than a fast-food restaurant. They're lowest common denominator on every level, from employee treatment to quality of projection and maintenance. They may occasionally have a mural on the wall or a logo that implies some sort of theater experience, but they're barely theaters in any sense - more like massive vending machines. It came into sharp focus for me a few years ago when a friend and I were watching a film and the movie cut out 2 minutes into the credits. Like, a CHUNK-sound, then black, then the logo of the theater. Went out to complain, and realized that the manager had nothing - there was no longer a projectionist, and she was the only person in the theater other than the one person selling tickets. Everything else was run from central. Applying any romance to this situation or complaining about the situation is like pointing out that a fast-food place appears to be kind of unpleasant.

I've been to theaters that try to make a full experience, say Cinebarre (which was made by the same guy who did the Alamo Drafthouse) - the whole experience of eating, having the wide seats and the sense of being in a loving location of movie showing, it's vastly superior. I go to places like that for film festivals, and it's just awesome.

For what it's worth, I pretty much only see films in the theater at film festivals - then you get the filmmakers right there afterwards and learn even more about what you just saw, and why.
posted by jscott at 1:39 PM on December 29, 2011 [10 favorites]


I know they have been mentioned here before, but I really enjoy the Alamo Drafthouse model for making a great film-watching experience.

* They mention more than once before the showing that talkers/texters will be asked to leave. They have even gone so far as to publicly humiliate offenders.
* They have a good selection of food and beverages, served to you on tables in front of each seat.
* They promote a variety of events and older films, not just new films.

And, they have been wildly successful. Why this model isn't replicated outside of Austin, TX and the several Alamo franchise theaters there are, I have no idea.
posted by hanoixan at 1:40 PM on December 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


yeah, but. that's like going to a restaurant and being forced to sit through a half hour diatribe about the head chef's ex-spouse or hear about their workout and how much they can deadlift before you get to eat your dinner.

I'm struggling to think of a production company logo that's longer than, say, fifteen seconds. Usually the director will use that time to start the score early and begin setting the mood for the story.

biased because i love production company logos
posted by EmGeeJay at 1:44 PM on December 29, 2011


I get that, but why was it the norm 5-10 years ago for there to be 1 or 2 at most, but today 5 is not uncommon? I just checked two DVD releases, Cowboys and Aliens and Drive. They had 4 and 5 production company trailers, respectively, and in both cases it amounted to approximately 1:25 of animated jingle spam before the movie. And to add insult to injury, those same production companies were then immediately credited again a second time when the actual movie title credits began.
posted by Rhomboid at 1:45 PM on December 29, 2011


Wow, out here in the middle of nowhere we remain untroubled by cheering, talking and mobile phone use and with my membership card a ticket is only £5, plus they serve beer. I love going to the cinema and will happily watch blockbusters, arthouse and plenty in between and would happily go multiple times a week but as with EmpressCallypygos the problem is that the supply of quality films is lacking, its a struggle to find something to watch each month, never mind once a week.
posted by biffa at 1:45 PM on December 29, 2011


Not in every theater.

I guess this varies. But really, it isn't any worse now than it ever was. You can say that people are always pulling out smartphone swith huge bright screens, but that really isn't enough to really ruin the movie is it? Why so serious? How come it used the be fun, and people talking or moving around wasn't that big a deal. We are simply no longer comfortable at the theatre, if you are relaxed and having fun some guy texting is no big deal, if you are tense and on edge it is enough to ruin the whole experience.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:46 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


they can't even be arsed to treat their secondary revenue stream right.

This is what pissed me off the most about 'new tivo'. Much like theater advertising, I recognize the ship has sailed, but if you are going to force me to see pop-up ads every time I pause a show, at least make them relevant. You know exactly what I like, stupid machine, use that info to at least target the advertising.

I miss the art theater in portland that had a sound-proofed room for moms with crying kids. It worked just as well at keep noise out, when otherwise empty.
posted by nomisxid at 1:47 PM on December 29, 2011


Then there are all the ads you have to sit through...

Holy fuck this drives me crazy. If you haven't been to the movies in the last few months you may not be aware that the number of outright commercial product advertisements (not trailers for upcoming movies) has skyrocketed. It's easily 20 minutes of this shit in our area, and all of that after you've been listening to corporate muzak schilling the latest dreck.

It's absolutely crazy when you consider the extreme cost of tickets themselves along with this.
posted by odinsdream at 1:48 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I still go to the movies pretty often even though I agree with everything Mr. Ebert said. You just can't replicate the experience of seeing a movie on a big screen.

Yeah, I still go to the movies... probably once every 2 months. I still enjoy it. I don't mind the trailers, love that it's always freezing. The louder the volume the better. It's the one time I buy a giant coke. Certain movies are simply much better on the big screen, I don't care how great a home theatre system is.

I can't imagine NOT going to the movies, so I'm probably their dream customer. And the one thing that makes me weary of going to even great movies is people talking or on their cell phones. There should be a warning at the beginning that talking or cell phone use will lead to being kicked out, but then an already hurting industry would be kicking out the majority of their current audience.

They need to trust that a better audience will come to movies if they lose their current one, and I don't see that happening anytime soon, other than independent theaters.
posted by justgary at 1:48 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Alamo Drafthouse is already on my "must do" list!

I was disappointed by a local music venue with a famous "no talking" policy though. They didn't enforce it at all the one time I went.
posted by JoanArkham at 1:52 PM on December 29, 2011


I agree with the Empress. Advertise a movie I really want to see, and I'll try to come out for it.

(That, and a babysitter.)
posted by newdaddy at 1:52 PM on December 29, 2011


* They mention more than once before the showing that talkers/texters will be asked to leave. They have even gone so far as to publicly humiliate offenders .

This is something that would make me not go to that Alamo Drafthouse. The thought that I could be marched out of the the theatre for some minor infraction makes me nervous, I would be on edge the whole time that they are monitoring me, waiting for me to slip up.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:54 PM on December 29, 2011


Also, this is a rant I've been hearing ever since they came out with VHS and hiked movie prices to *gasp* four dollars. (Not just from Ebert.) It almost feels like "Goddammit, radio stations just aren't what they used to be. They should go back to having big weekly program stars and a full orchestra on the payroll." In other words, it's just not gonna happen, so stop complaining about it.
Sure, but it's slowly getting worse and worse for theaters, because it keeps getting better and better for home users. When the VCR came out, you had crappy TVs with crappy, low-res video tapes. Now you have huge, HD screens and blue-ray HD sources, or DVDs at 720p. People can get the same experience at home. The only reason to go to the movies is for the social experience of doing so, plus the exclusivity. Feels more like you're "doing a thing" when you go to the movies then when you watch one at home. If there's a film you're really excited about, you have to see it at a theater or wait months.
posted by delmoi at 1:54 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd go to the movies every goddamned weekend here in LA if they had anything like Portland's theater pubs (Laurelhurst and Baghdad, for example). $3 for a movie and you can get served beer and tasty pub food while you watch it. What the hell, LA, is that so hard to do?

Until theaters get it together down here, I'll be watching a 47" screen in my living room streaming all the internet has to offer.
posted by mullingitover at 1:54 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I agree with craichead, plus I'm not particularly interested in paying a bunch of money to watch 15 minutes of ads, thanks anyways.

When I'm in a town with a beer-and-food theater, I love going; if there was one here I'd probably go every week, assuming the movies were even moderately ok. (My standards for movies go way down if you hand me a beer and pizza; if the movie is terrible you just drink faster and the pain is dulled.)

But at home I have a big-ass HD TV, a blu-ray player and a Roku, a comfortable couch, and a pause button for any time I want to check on the cassoulet in the oven or go to the bathroom. And no teenager kicking the back of my seat, spilling his drink on my foot, or answering his cellphone. There's nothing that a crappy corporate theater can offer that is better than this, period.
posted by Forktine at 1:58 PM on December 29, 2011


How come it used the be fun, and people talking or moving around wasn't that big a deal. We are simply no longer comfortable at the theatre, if you are relaxed and having fun some guy texting is no big deal, if you are tense and on edge it is enough to ruin the whole experience.

First of all, they didn't have texting "back in the day." Because they didn't have cell phones "back in the day".

Secondly, I am pretty sure that even if they had texting "back in the day" there would probably be a lot more people annoyed with it than you think, and not just because "they were tense". People don't like things that distract them from movies. There's a reason there's been a real-life sort of trope about "omigod these people sitting behind me in the movies kept talking to each other all the way through and they never shut up and I missed half the movie" for a long time.

It sounds like you assume that we're talking about the sort of group-shared-experience thing, like when the whole theater burst out into spontaneous applause and "you go, girl!" shouts when Eowyn ripped off her helmet and intone "I am no man!" when I saw LOTR; that's not what we mean. We're talking about the people two seats behind you, who you don't know, where everything that happens reminds her of this funny thing her friend Lou-sally did and she just has to tell her boyfriend and oh wait, why does Colin Farrel have that shirt on, honey wouldn't that color shirt look good on you, yes it would too I think it brings out your eyes, oh hey that reminds me did you get the dry cleaning, wait what's her name, wasn't she in the movie we saw last week, you know that movie, it had the ham sandwich in it.....

You CAN'T tell me you'd ever be "relaxed" enough to let that roll throughout an entire movie.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:02 PM on December 29, 2011 [11 favorites]


My entire knowledge of canon is that there was once an arc wherein the Iron Man suit fell in passionate gay robosexual love with Tony Stark, and that is enough for me.

Dear Hollywood: please make this movie and all is forgiven.
posted by emjaybee at 2:14 PM on December 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


The pre-trailer ads have been getting longer for probably a decade now. I remember the first time I saw one, probably in high school or right out of it, I was like what the hell?--I'm pretty sure I just paid more for this ticket than I did at the same theater a year ago, and the year before that, so... And then I booed loudly throughout the remainder of it until my girlfriend elbowed me.

I quit booing ads like five years ago. My wife hates it. We'll only go maybe once or twice a year now.

posted by resurrexit at 2:19 PM on December 29, 2011


Damn I'm not trying to take up an adversarial position that you guys are sticks in the mud. I still don't think texting would ruin anything for me. I've seen thousands of movies and vie never seen anyone have a conversation about dry cleaning and ham sandwiches throughout the movie. Is is a suburbs vs urban area thing? Ive seen people stand up and shot at the screen, people throwing shit, people booing. I honestly don't think people have gotten ruder and more talkative in recent years.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:19 PM on December 29, 2011


Shout at the screen.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:20 PM on December 29, 2011


We probably do a discrete check on texts from the babysitter about once or twice a film, apologies if this has ruined anybodies movie going expererience.
posted by Artw at 2:22 PM on December 29, 2011


Here's another reason why movie revenue is dropping: because 51% of the people who might be going to movies are women, and approximately 99.9% of movies are insulting to women. I will not waste either my money or my time to sit there and be insulted. I just refuse to subject myself to that anymore, even if the film has other merits. And I'm not so special -- gazillions of other women feel this way. When they start making movies that entertain me without insulting me, I will pay to see them. Until then, I'd rather watch paint dry (so many pretty colors!).
posted by Corvid at 2:25 PM on December 29, 2011 [10 favorites]


I remember the first time I was in a movie theatre and they played an ad before the trailers; people booed.

I don't go to movies much, but recently caught a flick at the local brew'n'view. No commercials once the lights were down! And beer!! But then someone next to us had her phone ring three different times during the movie.
posted by exogenous at 2:28 PM on December 29, 2011


I like seeing movies in theatres, because when I watch them at home I am distracted by the internet and food and the phone and the cats and all the other distractions (I am reading metafilter while watching a movie right now). And, okay, the ads are annoying, but I really like previews. But the seats aren't comfortable, and they're too cold or too hot, and the food isn't good and they don't like it when you bring your own food, and all that would be okay except they are so expensive, too, so mostly I watch movies at home, half-distracted but cheaper.
posted by jeather at 2:29 PM on December 29, 2011


I get that, but why was it the norm 5-10 years ago for there to be 1 or 2 [production company logos] at most, but today 5 is not uncommon?

Previously, the studios would be the movie financiers, the production company, and usually the distribution (though not quite, after anti-trust, but the distributors generally didn't have "credit", just the money). Starting with Desilu (Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball, yes, that far back), you have production companies taking the weight off and then selling to the networks.

What happened is that in the mid 1990s, as studios are restructuring and things are going to different kinds of crap, the make-movie-speculatively, show-at-sundance, get-studio-distribution model starts rising up (compared to, say, Hook a movie that was put together by the shared agent of Spielberg and Hoffman and Williams) and with that, you get more prominent logos at the beginning, because those production firms are doing the heavy lifting.

Now, the heavy lifting is being shared by multiple production groups, each bringing in cash or talent or other factors, so they're all sharing that beginning logo time.
posted by jscott at 2:29 PM on December 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


I remember the first time I saw ads before a movie - "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and her Lover" at the multiplex on 23rd st. and 7th in Manhattan. The ad was for coke and the entire audience (the room was packed) booed loudly and with gusto.

I don't think any of us ever thought there would be any chance of it changing anything, but it was an honest sentiment.

We have a projector now and kids and... I do love movie theaters though, the Thalia Soho I think is/was my all-time favorite. Here there's a place called the Odeon which is pretty great, the woman who runs it is from Long Island. And there's beer or wine.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:30 PM on December 29, 2011


We probably do a discrete check on texts from the babysitter about once or twice a film, apologies if this has ruined anybodies movie going expererience.

Assumptively you have vibrate available, or hold the phone down to see if anything came in if you don't. I think people are talking about droopy-pants kid or chewing-gum girl sitting in the front rows pulling out HD-quality superphones with 5,000 lumen screens and holding them out the whole time, which is pretty awful.
posted by jscott at 2:31 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


The next fad after 3D: Smell-o-vision. Please, let it be smell-o-vision.

It's already here.
posted by ymgve at 2:36 PM on December 29, 2011


Threads like this are why I'm so glad to have the British Film Institute. If a film is due to start at 6pm, then at 5.55 they'll ring some bells to encourage you to get into the cinema. Then at 6pm the film starts. No ads, nothing. Wonderful. And people are quiet.

Audience participation can have its place, but I'm a fan of the approach of the Incredibly Strange Festival (in New Zealand):

"The audiences for the marathons have been excellent and respectful of their paying brethren around them. So lets keep it up. We want a living room feel to the proceedings, just not the living room of a drunk unfunny loser."
posted by Infinite Jest at 2:36 PM on December 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ive seen people stand up and shot at the screen, people throwing shit, people booing. I honestly don't think people have gotten ruder and more talkative in recent years.

Talking at the movie is one thing, and how it affects the enjoyment depends on the type of movie and how funny the heckler actually is. But talking on a cell phone or texting is anti-social in nature and I don't see how it could be anything but an unwelcome distraction.

The texting thing also bothers some people a lot more than others. I have friends who won't notice it at all. But I have trouble concentrating because the cell phone light is usually brighter than the movie screen (the whole dim 3D lenses probably doesn't help with this either). If cell phones had a manual brightness slider that would help because people with an ounce of empathy could turn it down, but right now they detect they are in the dark and default to being brighter than the sun.
posted by Gary at 2:42 PM on December 29, 2011


people throwing shit

I hope they didn't use their popcorn hand.
posted by biffa at 2:44 PM on December 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


7 of the 10 highest grossing films this year were sequels.

Not merely sequels but sequels I have zero interest in. It really is hell being a middle-aged woman when it comes to Hollywood. As a kid and all the way through my 20's and 30's I was an avid movie goer-- now I see maybe 1 Hollywood movie a year at the cinema (I go more frequently to the art house cinema to see foreign movies.)

Here's another reason why movie revenue is dropping: because 51% of the people who might be going to movies are women, and approximately 99.9% of movies are insulting to women.

My daughter wanted to see Horrible Bosses this summer, so I took her. Christ what a piece of shit. I was fuming. Incredibly sexy female dentist (Jennifer Aniston) spends the movie sexually harassing her nebbishy dental assistant. Riiiiight.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 2:45 PM on December 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


We probably do a discrete check on texts from the babysitter about once or twice a film, apologies if this has ruined anybodies movie going expererience.

Well yes, in that I do notice pretty much EVERY TIME you do this, and that is time when my attention is on you, not the movie.

Assumptively you have vibrate available, or hold the phone down to see if anything came in if you don't. I think people are talking about droopy-pants kid or chewing-gum girl sitting in the front rows pulling out HD-quality superphones with 5,000 lumen screens and holding them out the whole time, which is pretty awful.

If it was out the whole time, at least would be something I could tune out. The periodic nature of these interruptions is precisely what makes them so maddening.
posted by hermitosis at 2:47 PM on December 29, 2011 [8 favorites]


Nthing the Alamo love. It's really not that expensive, at least not compared to some of the prices being quoted here, no texting or talking is allowed, they bring me beer (and cider) and there are NO ADS before the trailers. Not just no ads between start-time and trailers, no ads in the pre-show entertainment. Over the holidays I saw a movie at the Angelika in Dallas with family and dayum that was a lot of ads. I'm reminded of why it's Alamo or maybe Violet Crown or wait for the DVD these days.
posted by immlass at 2:48 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ok I will accept that texting bugs some people a lot more than it does me. Aside from texting and ads not a whole lot has changed. People were always inconsiderate, there were always a lot of shit movies, in adjusted dollars Prices are lower than they were in 1975 (here is a table of ticket prices in CPI adjusted dollars).

So what has changed? We have. We expect more from a moviegoing experience than simply sitting in a box and watching something on a screen, after all we can do that at home. I think the key for theaters will be to provide a value add. If I was rich, I would do a "dinner and movie" place. Tables with relatively good food with something unobtrusive playing, then after desert a movie.

In short, I think the but but but texting! Argument is facile at best. Theatre owners need to examine how American culture has changed in the last 30-40 years.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:54 PM on December 29, 2011


We probably do a discrete check on texts from the babysitter about once or twice a film, apologies if this has ruined anybodies movie going expererience.

Is there a reason vibrate does not work? Or are you literally getting an SMS every 30 mins from your babysitter for no reason?
posted by smidgen at 2:54 PM on December 29, 2011


Here's another reason why movie revenue is dropping: because 51% of the people who might be going to movies are women, and approximately 99.9% of movies are insulting to women

Yet they were buying 55% of movie tickets as of 2009. They also went to more movies per capita and per moviegoer than men thta year. I don't disagree with your point that many movies are insulting to women, but this doesn't seem to be a factor in their declining revenues.
posted by Hoopo at 2:57 PM on December 29, 2011


It really is hell being a middle-aged woman when it comes to Hollywood.

You have Oscar season.
posted by Artw at 3:00 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Audience participation can have its place, but I'm a fan of the approach of the Incredibly Strange Festival (in New Zealand).

That movie marathon was one of the best theater-going experiences of my life. I guess that's what happens when people who really love movies get together?
posted by troika at 3:01 PM on December 29, 2011


(whoops, meant to italizice/link that)
posted by troika at 3:02 PM on December 29, 2011


The big plasma TV and the Blu-Ray player are great, but the item in my home theater that's most responsible for us avoiding the cineplex is the popcorn machine. Since we bought that (five years ago) I bet we've been to fewer than ten movies at the theater. The secret is popping with coconut oil.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:02 PM on December 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm kind of? in the industry, and I go to two theaters, each one for different kinds of movies.

I go to the Arclight uber-theater for features where I'm interested in the technical, presentational or dramatic aspects of a film. Tickets and concessions are expensive, but each seat is THX-approved, there are no annoying commercials (only trailers), and viewing quality is monitored. (The concessions are wonderful, by the way. Real butter on popcorn or handmade caramel corn, and the oft-mocked "sausage baguette.")

When I want to see a stupid fun movie (like Machete or Johnny English 2), I go to the local theater down the street. I sit in the back, far away from others, and text. I groan at bad jokes or storytelling. Tickets and concessions are still just about as expensive as the Arclight, so for fun I try to sneak in as many food items as I can. (My record is three fully-loaded cheeseburgers, four cans of Guinness, and a flask of vodka, thanks to my wife and her friend.)

And I have to say, Johnny English 2 was better than I thought it would be.
posted by infinitewindow at 3:03 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I actually saw two films at the cinema this year (bringing up my average). One was Bad Teacher, to celebrate the end of the school year with my teacher friend (she brought in a flask and had some drinking game rules that disintegrated pretty rapidly into just drinking - don't worry, I don't think anyone else was in the theatre), and then I saw Girl With A Dragon Tattoo last week. There were, I think, 5 trailers. I remember during at least two of them, I thought 'I would like to see this when it's in cinemas'. By the time I walked out at the end, I couldn't remember what the trailers I liked were for (although I know Prometheus was one of the other three) and they're probably not coming out for ten months, so it will probably not even spark recognition by then. (And while GWaDT was super intense and took up a lot of headspace, I've done this before so I don't think that's the explanation. I think I'm just not good at paying attention to things, and tv/cinema ads and trailers and often even features, simply wash across me to be forgotten instantly).
posted by jacalata at 3:07 PM on December 29, 2011


Well, GWaDT *is* 2 1/2 hours long...

(Trailers that I remember are the dumb one about a hole in the ground and Prometheus. I think there was some generic crime/smuggling thing as well)

"sausage baguette."

You mean like the hotdogs they do in Paris? Those are the best hotdogs in the world!
posted by Artw at 3:11 PM on December 29, 2011



You have Oscar season.

Pffffft. I am not fond of Chick Flicks any more than I am fond of Chick Lit. Overly sentimental twaddle does nothing for me. When I think of "Oscar Movies" I think of Titanic-- complete and utter garbage.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:13 PM on December 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, you know, at least you're part of a demographic that is actively targeted. They stopped aiming movies at non-teenage males in the late 70s.
posted by Artw at 3:14 PM on December 29, 2011


Artw: "I am slowly coming to terms with the idea that I am the only person on earth who enjoyed Captain America

Oh, Captain America was all kinds of great, but there wasn't really a hell of a lot else out there.
"

I thought it was great fun, and vastly underrated. Among other things, the Chris Evans shrinking effects were pretty cool, and Hayley Atwell (imdb) hit me smack dab in the "I lust after retro gals" section of my brain.
posted by Samizdata at 3:15 PM on December 29, 2011


Summer 2014: The Defenders! Summer 2016: West Coast Avengers!

Oh, but next would be the Great Lakes Avengers, and for that they'll have to introduce the characters in their own movies beforehand, and that means SQUIRREL GIRL: the MOTION PICTURE, consisting entirely of "after scenes" in which the camera is just catching up with her after she's just defeated some heavy of the Marvel Universe. (Except for Doctor Doom of course. He's getting the full swarm treatment, on the big screen.)
posted by JHarris at 3:16 PM on December 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Texters and talkers, assholes all. We rarely go to the cinema for those reasons, but our local little house place does a good job of bringing down the banhammer on those and similar jerks. Worst texters are bros and their female equivalents, but oddly the worst fucking talkers are late-middle-aged couples.
posted by maxwelton at 3:20 PM on December 29, 2011


Cell phones and texting are not just a problem in movie theatres. I noticed this last year when I went back to school for retraining. Most of the class was made up of nineteen and twenty year olds, and most of them seemed physically unable to ignore or turn off their cell phones, even after multiple warnings from the instructor (if it had been up to me, I would have started taking them away and locking them in my desk until the end of class, but that's just me). It's as if the slightest bit of distraction was enough to send these kids to their portable devices to read and send texts, play games or just about anything besides pay attention to the main event, i.e. the lesson.

I don't want to pile on with everyone else on ad hominem's comment above, but I do wonder why people need to justify using the cell phone during the movies. If, for instance, you can not trust the babysitter to take care of your kids, I would assume that you wouldn't have left them alone for two hours in the first place. I have also witnessed one case where one man refused to turn off his cell phone in a theatre because, according to the usher, he was a doctor and he had to leave it turned on in case he was buzzed for an emergency (he did agree to take a seat near the rear of the theatre after much heated discussion, but again there's the question: why are you going to a movie theatre if you need to monitor phone calls?)

Cell phones in general seem to play on peoples' worst instincts for distraction, and rather than look at "how American culture has changed in the last 30-40 years" since cell phone usage became commonplace, I think it would be better to look at what cell phones have done to the culture at large, and examine what is being lost in the process.
posted by spoobnooble at 3:21 PM on December 29, 2011 [9 favorites]


And I'm also fourthing? fifthing? the love for the Captain America movie. When they did a 40s theater montage of Cap headlning war bond shows, I knew I wasn't watching an ordinary superhero movie.
posted by JHarris at 3:21 PM on December 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


Would you care to say which ads and at what theater?

Uh, one of the ads was an animated one for Blistex, now that I think about it. I don't even remember what the other one was, it was so forgettable. I just remember being annoyed at being forced to watch it twice in a row. This was at the Carmike theater in Steubenville, OH.
posted by adamdschneider at 3:21 PM on December 29, 2011


In Vancouver I attended the film festivals, thinking it'd be a better experience. At the last VIFF we saw four films and at every one of them some talker had to get shushed. One film had no dialogue, no music for the first 20 minutes so all you could hear was this idiot woman whispering about her trip to France (where the film was set) to her friend. She had to get shushed twice and you could tell she felt oppressed. WTF.

Hell really is other people, and those other people are in the movie theatres. Along with the ads and then $87 small coke and hell no I won't go.
posted by Salmonberry at 3:21 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh man, speaking of trailers we recently saw at the theatre? Here's another why no one is going to movies: Battleship
posted by Hoopo at 3:25 PM on December 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


It ain't Cap if there ain't a Hitler punch...
posted by Artw at 3:25 PM on December 29, 2011


(I probably would have sprung for X Men and Super 8 at the Cinema if not for the whole new baby thing... X Men doesn't seem to have set the world on fire though and when I actually saw Super 8 it was kind of disappointing)
posted by Artw at 3:27 PM on December 29, 2011


If there's a film you're really excited about, you have to see it at a theater or wait months.

...or torrent it now, and deal with none of the crap. And it's free, too! And you can leave your torrent client running overnight and rack up a 4:1 upload ratio, which gives you lots of warm fuzzies about helping out your fellow man.
posted by Mars Saxman at 3:33 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Um, whatevs dude, if you are not a paying customer you are not a part of the conversation.
posted by Artw at 3:34 PM on December 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Worst of metafilter, facile analysys that texting is killing theaters. No amount of banning cell phones will save theaters, mark my words. Theatres cannot survive unless they reexamine their entire reason raison d'etre. As they exist we simply don't need them.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:37 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Damn autocomple making me look like an idiot again, let me do that myself apple.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:41 PM on December 29, 2011


if you are not a paying customer you are not a part of the conversation.

I can't tell if you're being sarcastic, but I think people who torrent movies as opposed to going to theatres need to be part of the conversation if we're trying to understand why people aren't going to theatres.

On the other and, we could sue a couple of them to make an example, and when that doesn't work we can try and shut down the internet.
posted by Hoopo at 3:43 PM on December 29, 2011 [9 favorites]


biased because i love production company logos, me too
posted by Meatbomb at 3:52 PM on December 29, 2011


Ugh, this thread was hard to read. So many people making absolutist statements about theatres as if every movie house in the world were the exact same, and the audience were the exact same, etc. - like a restaurant thread where the conversation bounced between one person's experience of fine dining and someone else's lunch at McDonald's.

Also, as someone not living in the U.S., let alone in Austin, Texas, can I just say that I understand Alamo's policies and appeal. Believe me. I get it. Yes, it sounds very nice, it sounds like a great time. But enough already, hey? I'd like to respectfully suggest that not every movie post on the blue has to contain four or five OMG ALAMO RULEZ type comments.

/sinus headache
posted by stinkycheese at 3:54 PM on December 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


if you are not a paying customer you are not a part of the conversation.

I think that's actually how the music/movie production conversation works, which is why their conversations about 'why is our industry dying' are so useless and unproductive and they will never ever get a fucking clue, because they are refusing input from the people they are trying to analyse. Spot-on mimicry there, ArtW!
posted by jacalata at 3:58 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sorry, but if you are dedicated to doing an end run around a business model then you are not part of that business model, and unlss you can be brought into it (unlikely if you have a pure dedication to getting free shit) you should be ignored. I don't think you should be sued, but you are basically an unhelpful parasite.
posted by Artw at 4:04 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, good. I get to tell one of my favorite movie theater stories.

Years ago, Mrs. Example and I went to see the first Lord of the Rings film. A couple brought in a small child with them and sat near us, which usually is a bad sign--unless we're very lucky, children won't stop talking in that kind of movie because they're bored. This particular kid was very well-behaved, though, and we settled in to enjoy the movie.

The Mines of Moria scene came up to the part where one of the hobbits knocks some armor into a well, causing a godawful racket. There were several moments of very tense silence both on screen and in the audience.

Then this small voice behind us says, "Uh-oh....".

The entire theater burst out laughing because it was just such a perfect moment.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 4:07 PM on December 29, 2011 [15 favorites]


The main problem with the theater to me is the price to hassle ratio. The big screen experience just doesn't compare in the age of cheap giant-screen televisions, and the hassle of going to the theater on time, parking, trying to find a decent seat, forced viewing of commercials...no. Then you figure in the price and it's aww hell NO.

For the hassle it takes to go to a theater, a theater ticket should cost less than the price of a blu-ray rental, because it offers less value.

...or torrent it now, and deal with none of the crap. And it's free, too!

Don't forget that torrents are usually available for stuff before it's even for sale on video. Screeners, god bless the film academy.

I think for everyone under 30, and half the people under 40, this is the reality. Torrenting movies has only been a mainstream thing for maybe the last five years, but it isn't going away. In a decade there will be a whole generation that's grown up on this. Not necessarily the 'doing an end run around the business model,' but the convenience of getting absolutely whatever you want, whenever you want it, for a price (or no price) that you can stomach.

I wish there was a way to short the theater business.
posted by mullingitover at 4:08 PM on December 29, 2011


charlesminus: "Another thing: volume control. The last time we went to the movies my wife actually screamed when the previews (why the f do they call them trailers?) came on. The sound was so loud it hurt. They turned it down a little when the feature started, but still, why are they punishing us? That was last year and we haven't been back."

My experience is usually the opposite. There's only one multiplex I can easily reach, and they always have the volume turned way down. I complained a couple of times, but it didn't help. Watching a movie when you have to strain to hear the dialog (forget about surround sound) is like trying to follow a conversation on the other side of the room: not very immersive.

I'm taking my senior citizen Dad to see War Horse tomorrow, and it's kind of nerve wracking. He's hard of hearing to start with, so we really need the sound to be at normal levels.
posted by Kevin Street at 4:13 PM on December 29, 2011


The reason the music industry can thrive in the digital age is that it can make itself cheap and convenient enough that you might as well pay for it as not pay for it, unless you are extremely cheap about that kind of thing. I have hopes for comics going the same way. I'm not sure that model really works for movies as they are today- it wouldn't seem to apply at all to cinemas for instance.
posted by Artw at 4:13 PM on December 29, 2011


mullingitover: "The main problem with the theater to me is the price to hassle ratio. The big screen experience just doesn't compare in the age of cheap giant-screen televisions, and the hassle of going to the theater on time, parking, trying to find a decent seat, forced viewing of commercials...no. Then you figure in the price and it's aww hell NO.

For the hassle it takes to go to a theater, a theater ticket should cost less than the price of a blu-ray rental, because it offers less value.

...or torrent it now, and deal with none of the crap. And it's free, too!

Don't forget that torrents are usually available for stuff before it's even for sale on video. Screeners, god bless the film academy.

I think for everyone under 30, and half the people under 40, this is the reality. Torrenting movies has only been a mainstream thing for maybe the last five years, but it isn't going away. In a decade there will be a whole generation that's grown up on this. Not necessarily the 'doing an end run around the business model,' but the convenience of getting absolutely whatever you want, whenever you want it, for a price (or no price) that you can stomach.

I wish there was a way to short the theater business.
"

And, best of all, at home, there's no awkward

(if I'm single) "Where are your pants?"
(If I'm not single) "Excuse me, you two (never more than two, le sigh) will have to dress and leave the theatre before we call the police..."

moments.

Not to mention, thanks to torrenting, I get to see all those films I would never see because I don't live in a bustling hub of art, science, and technology and they will never come here. What we have for an art theatre really isn't, in my opinion.

(And, yes, in case no one has looked at my profile yet, you now know where I live. Promiscuous stalkers only please - I need to get temporarily non-single in the worst way...)
posted by Samizdata at 4:18 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


(The sad thing is that I was involved in the whole Avon project very early on, due to my ongoing volunteering for another theatre project, where, before all the fashionable volunteers started driving out the movie geeks that would put on shows like The Wizard of Oz (I spent a whole weekend in a Cowardly Lion costume) with cast members and the 3D Creature from the Black Lagoon (and thanks to me, it was REALLY 3D), but couldn't dedicate the time to the Avon they wanted. Still on noddingly good terms with all of them, though.)
posted by Samizdata at 4:24 PM on December 29, 2011


When I think of 'Oscar Movies' I think of Titanic-- complete and utter garbage.

Complete and utter garbage that's coming to a theater near you--in 3D!--in 2012.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:25 PM on December 29, 2011


nlss you can be brought into it (unlikely if you have a pure dedication to getting free shit) you should be ignored

I'm a little surprised by this. If the approach the movie industry took to increasing it's revenue is to deride and ignore people who are interested in its products but not paying, they are indeed in trouble. I don't even torrent movies, I pay $8 a month for Netflix and get to watch as many movies as I want. If I watch 8 movies, that's a buck a movie, through Netflix, and the movie companies can't be making much on that by comparison to the torrent types. They need to make the experience of going to the movies worthwhile to me if they want me back at the movies. I went to 3 movies this year, which is 3 times as many as in I went in the previous 3 or 4 years. 1 of them I didn't like, and of the other 2 only 1 really benefited from being on a big screen. Not once can I say I enjoyed the theatre experience.

When I was a kid I went all the time, but there's not many movies coming out that could compel me to put on pants and go out to the theatre these days. I'm not sure why you'd write me,or people who downlaod movies for free, off as people who can't be brought back, they're just gong to have to put in more effort and make it desireable. Because I don't owe the movie companies fuck all.
posted by Hoopo at 4:26 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't even torrent movies, I pay $8 a month for Netflix

Right. So you're actually a part of their business model there.

As I say, I'm a big fan of the Apple model where purchasing media is made sufficiently convenient an cheap that the paying audience forgets to drift off into piracy - but lets face it, if you're torrenting in-theatre movies then that is not you.
posted by Artw at 4:34 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


90% of these annoying-people issues could be addressed by reinstating ushers, or else by those of us who are annoyed being willing to stand up and possibly start a fight with the offenders. I promise to cheer you on.

Concessions have been overpriced for a long time, all you need to get around that is a coat and/or large purse. I rather enjoy the challenge, honestly.

The real problem is price. Which is why the seedy second run theater near me, which costs about as much as a standard matinee did when I was a kid, does a roaring trade.
posted by emjaybee at 4:37 PM on December 29, 2011


?CINEMA STUMPER?

Re-arrange the following letters to name the top actress currently playing the Iron Lady of politics on the silver screen of film!

Y L M R E
R T E E S P

posted by Spatch at 4:39 PM on December 29, 2011 [9 favorites]


Ive seen people stand up and shot at the screen, people throwing shit, people booing. I honestly don't think people have gotten ruder and more talkative in recent years.

I got the impression, though, that you didn't think that shooting at the screen or throwing shit was a problem. That's where I'm raising an eyebrow. I'm also not really clear on what you meant when you said "talking during a film" when you say it wouldn't bother you.

I've never seen anyone have a conversation about dry cleaning and ham sandwiches throughout the movie. Is is a suburbs vs urban area thing?

....Dude, I was just coming up with an example. I didn't mean that you may have literally heard someone talking about dry cleaning, I was just coming up with an extreme example of someone sitting behind you who would NOT. SHUT. UP. But no, it's not a suburbs-vs-urban thing, and it hasn't been every time I went to a movie -- it was the exception rather than the rule -- but when it happened, it bugged the snot out of me, just as I am figuring it'd bug the snot out of you too. That's why I was so puzzled by your assertion that "movies were a lot more relaxed, people could talk and it was all cool", as I gathered your claim was.

I think your definition of "talking during a movie" is a lot different than MY definition. That's all I mean.

The Mines of Moria scene came up to the part where one of the hobbits knocks some armor into a well, causing a godawful racket. There were several moments of very tense silence both on screen and in the audience. Then this small voice behind us says, "Uh-oh....". The entire theater burst out laughing because it was just such a perfect moment.

My family tells a similar story about the whole family going out to see Bridge On The River Kwai -- during the climactic scene at the bridge, as the train approaches the bridge, my five-year-old uncle Peter crowed out in the silent theater: "it's too late noooo-oooow!" and made everyone crack up.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:41 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


God that thing looks like a Comic Strip Presents movie...
posted by Artw at 4:41 PM on December 29, 2011


I stopped going to theaters because of ths simple fact: When I lived in Florida, two of my friends worked for AMC Theaters and I saw EVERY SINGLE MOVIE THAT CAME OUT FOR THREE YEARS WITHOUT PAYING. And that was in 1988. I've been inside a theater maybe five times since and, yes I hate people in public. My blood pressure is still high from those yakky assholes at WATCHMEN.

(Oh and when I lived in L.A. I went to the "Rock On Film" month-long event at the Wiltern with a like-minded boisterous yet respectful rock-film-loving crowd. Apples vs. Oranges compared to the usual weekend multiplex goers.)
posted by Ron Thanagar at 4:42 PM on December 29, 2011


!CINEMA STUMPER!

MERYL STREEP
posted by Spatch at 4:44 PM on December 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


Other than Nthing the Alamo Drafthouse love (last movie I went to in a "theater" was a Holy Grail quote-along at one of the Houston locations), the best theater experience I've ever had was 3-4 years ago when my wife and I were visiting my home town and the area where I grew up. She REALLY REALLY wanted to see the Sex and the City movie. We looked up the new theater in the small town (~10K people?) where I went to college and headed over.

It ended up being a relatively tiny screen (compared to a MegaSuperCineplex that'd you see in a big town), maybe ten couples total scattered around the seats that were enough to hold probably ten times that many people.. Before the movie started, an actual PERSON came out and politely asked everybody to turn their phones to vibrate or turn them off, and ended with "Thanks, enjoy the show!".

Amy was amazed. I said "Welcome to one of the things I miss about small towns."
posted by mrbill at 4:49 PM on December 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


I am so glad to have the Alamo Drafthouse here. It is expensive, the food is hit or miss but the beer selection is good and the service usually excellent. But even on a meh night they are heads above a normal movie theater. I mean, I watched Melancholia with a root beer float (with Maine Root) and cheesy pasta and veggies. None of those things, movie nor food, are obtainable in a standard theater.

And they played the actual super awkward Nazi comment he made before the movie. You can see Kristen Dunst practically willing herself to disappear from her seat next to him.
posted by slow graffiti at 4:50 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I stopped going to the movies when they started showing ads at the beginning of a film I had already paid to see. All else is extraneous.
posted by moonbiter at 4:51 PM on December 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


unlikely if you have a pure dedication to getting free shit

I have a pure dedication to avoiding hassle, especially when it comes to an experience intended for entertainment. I use bittorrent because it offers the best fun/hassle ratio.

There are many hassles involved in seeing a movie in a theater, all of which have been described by others in this thread, but the hassle which is largely responsible for driving me away from theater-going is without a doubt the introduction of pre-roll advertising. I paid for the goddamn show, didn't I? So why, o theater-owner, are you double-dipping by forcing me to watch these fucking ads too? If you want to show the ads, you'd better give me the movie for free! And then I just won't go, because why would I deal with that? Fuck ads.
posted by Mars Saxman at 4:53 PM on December 29, 2011


At least you can hear the ads. And they're usually bright and cheerful, unlike many modern movies.
posted by Kevin Street at 4:54 PM on December 29, 2011


Right. So you're actually a part of their business model there.

Absolutely, no argument there. But if revenues are dropping, they will need to look into ways to get more money from people both like myself who's paying next to nothing as well as torrent-downloaders who currently pay nothing. We like movies. We are exactly who they need to get to open their wallets. I'm sure there are people who will watch pirated movies exclusively, but I think most will probably pay for at least one theatre ticket or on-demand rental every now and then.

Sad thing is, I was just thinking to myself that if they re-released some of my favorite big-budget special effects movies, with no alterations or improvements whatsoever, and put them in the theatres again? I would probably go. The original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Ghostbusters. Bladerunner. Hell, the original SIndiana Jones or tar Wars Trilogy, unmolested.
posted by Hoopo at 4:54 PM on December 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd like to respectfully suggest that not every movie post on the blue has to contain four or five OMG ALAMO RULEZ type comments.

When we discuss what gets people to go to the movies, the fact that the Alamo has a set of policies that encourage people like me who had otherwise quit going to the movie theater to show up and lay out for tickets on a regular basis is a highly relevant point. The Alamo fills an otherwise underserved market niche: movie theaters with attention to detail (they're also serious about film quality, sound, and projection details) and no ads or other distractions. The food and beer are honestly secondary for me compared to the no ads and no distractions like talking/texting.
posted by immlass at 4:56 PM on December 29, 2011


Sindiana Jones? Tar Wars? These both sound vaguely intriguing for different reasons.
posted by Hoopo at 4:58 PM on December 29, 2011 [9 favorites]


Sad thing is, I was just thinking to myself that if they re-released some of my favorite big-budget special effects movies, with no alterations or improvements whatsoever, and put them in the theatres again? I would probably go. The original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Ghostbusters. Bladerunner. Hell, the original Indiana Jones or Star Wars Trilogy, unmolested.

Throw in a few cartoons before the movie, and I'll be first in line for a membership card. Especially if they throw out those stupid brain teasers Spatch mentioned upthread, and turn down the volume on those pre-show commercials (if you can't ditch them altogether, that is... oh yes, I am a dreamer, aren't I?)
posted by spoobnooble at 5:01 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I got the impression, though, that you didn't think that shooting at the screen or throwing shit was a problem. That's where I'm raising an eyebrow. I'm also not really clear on what you meant when you said "talking during a film" when you say it wouldn't bother you.

I'm not trying to say talking during the movie is awesome or justify texting. I've personally never been to a movie and had someone talk or text so much that it made me swear off the theatre.

I think talking (not to the extent of your example, with someone having an unrelated conversation behind me but typical whooping and cheering and some chattering) and texting are minor annoyances, something you could take in stride if the entire experience was not so frustrating

People always talked, movies always sucked, it was always expensive. The industry did well for many many years despite talking and rowdy kids. So for new annoyances we are left with texting and ads. If they banned cell phones outright, threw anyone out of the theater who talked, and got rid of ads would it be enough to save theaters? I personally don't think so. As someone pointed out upthread it simply isn't worth the hassle. As it stands the theatre industry is unsupportable.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:01 PM on December 29, 2011


7 of the 10 highest grossing films this year were sequels.

People regularly complain about the lack of Hollywood originality today, as opposed to the golden age ten years ago when eight of the top ten were sequels, remakes or adaptations. Or twenty years ago when seven were sequels or remakes or adaptations.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:04 PM on December 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


When we discuss what gets people to go to the movies, the fact that the Alamo has a set of policies that encourage people like me who had otherwise quit going to the movie theater to show up and lay out for tickets on a regular basis is a highly relevant point.

Sure. And, like I said:

I understand Alamo's policies and appeal. Believe me. I get it.

My (very minor) quibble is with that relevant point being made over and over and over again until it really just starts to seem like people are chiming in to score cool points and say "I've been there too".
posted by stinkycheese at 5:06 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


stinkycheese: "My (very minor) quibble is with that relevant point being made over and over and over again until it really just starts to seem like people are chiming in to score cool points and say "I've been there too"."

So, once again MeFi reminds me how much I apparently suck...
posted by Samizdata at 5:10 PM on December 29, 2011


There is one new 3-D film which sounds like it's worth it:

Pina: Wim Wenders shows why 3-D should be taken seriously.
posted by homunculus at 5:12 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


My (very minor) quibble is with that relevant point being made over and over and over again until it really just starts to seem like people are chiming in to score cool points and say "I've been there too".

I don't think you comprehend how awesome beer is.

Seriously though, I'd still rather watch at home. More comfortable seating, better food, can drink lots of beer. (even at Alamo you would have to worry about driving home)
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:16 PM on December 29, 2011


Throw in a few cartoons before the movie, and I'll be first in line for a membership card. Especially if they throw out those stupid brain teasers Spatch mentioned upthread, and turn down the volume on those pre-show commercials (if you can't ditch them altogether, that is... oh yes, I am a dreamer, aren't I?)

I am not sure if you are being ironic or if perhaps you have moved since you posted your location on your profile page, but you do know that -- save for the cartoons -- there are about eleven movie theatres in your city that do this, right?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:17 PM on December 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sorry, richchet biscuit, I was making a general statement. Geez, since when do people on the Internet expect me to do research? (I'm gonna get a dressing-down for this li'l burst of sarcasm, aren't I? In 3... 2... 1...)

But anyway, I've been to a few of these places you linked to over the past year, and I have almost never seen anything beyond movie trailers before showtime. But that does beat ads for Dentyne and word puzzles where the answer is "Dustin Hoffman" or "Avatar". In any case, I'll bookmark these links for future reference.
posted by spoobnooble at 5:24 PM on December 29, 2011


Disclaimer: I love movies and I love going to theaters. I'll probably be the last customer they ever have.

It seems clear that if movie theaters expect to survive, they need to expand beyond the 70's era "one size fits all" experience which doesn't seem to make anyone happy these days. There's already been some talk of the Alamo Drafthouse, but that is not the only "enhanced" experience available. There is also the small-but-growing chain of Studio Movie Grill theaters in Texas, the Sundance Cinemas chain (in multiple states), as well as small one-offs such as the ArcLight in Los Angeles. There's also historic theaters which provide a unique, old-timey experience such as the Stanford in Palo Alto or the Castro in San Francisco. All of these choices give audiences something more than the standard mall multiplex, and represent the likely solid future for the outside-the-home movie going experience, which I doubt will ever really go away.

As always, the industry has to adapt to survive, and some venues will do so while others won't. A few cinema chains have gone defunct already even as far back as the 1990s (see General Cinemas and United Artists) because they didn't adapt well to changing expectations of the time such as stadium seating. It looks like the time has come for another round of game-changing. My prediction is that "enhanced" experiences like the ones I listed above will be the big winners, while venues that attempt to cling to business as usual (particularly through simply cutting costs to the bone) will die out.
posted by Potsy at 5:26 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


it really just starts to seem like people are chiming in to score cool points

Nah, we just all love the hell out of the Alamo because it's such a fantastic place to see movies compared to most other movie theaters (cf the Angelika in Dallas, where I went on Monday). In fact, the current Austin thing is "how sucky it is that the Alamo does mainstream fare now instead of just special events, arthouse flicks, and documentaries". That's part of the constant Austin thing about how Austin was better x years ago before whatever thing was so great was co-opted by The Man, run out by the Westlake yuppies, or whatever.

(Also I don't think the blue thinks of the Alamo as cool, to the extent that the blue collectively has an opinion. After the thread about the drunk voicemail bitchout that went viral on youtube, I'm pretty sure Metafilter has a large contingent that thinks the Alamo has a stick up its rear for precisely the reasons I love it. Cf the "texting can't bug you as much as you say" discussion in this very thread.)
posted by immlass at 5:31 PM on December 29, 2011


If I can speak, critic to critic, to Ebert: This is crap criticism. You have used a vague date point (revenue is down) to justify a tirade about your own personal irritations at the theater, with nothing to back it up except that you personally are irritated. You didn't survey other audience members. You didn't speak with industry professionals. And it's fine if you are irritated by these things, but own your irritation as your own, and don't try to pass it off as a consensus irritation that's costing theaters money.

Besides, you're wrong: Revenues are not down in a significant, and it's not because of skyrocketing ticket prices. Last year was was, in fact, a record-breaking year in terms of film revenue. This year is only slightly below the mark, and won't beat last year, but stands a good chance of rallying into "striking distance" of last year's numbers.

Also, as much as I appreciate the fine programming the Alamo does, their policies on public behavior are obnoxious. If my complaint about people who, say, text when they are in a movie is that they have apparently mistaken the theater for their living room, I think the Alamo errs in precisely the same way in the opposite direction. Seeing a movie is a communal experience, and there is likely to be an aspect of the audience becoming part of the show, to some extent (I tend to prefer theaters where audiences talk back at the movies). If you want to experience of sitting rapturously in silence, unencumbered by the fact of other humans, stay at home and watch the movie on your television. Otherwise, people are going to make noise, and as long as it is in response to the film, let them.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:39 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sorry, richchet biscuit, I was making a general statement. Geez, since when do people on the Internet expect me to do research?

I just thought you might be unaware of the riches around you. As well, if google movie listings are to be trusted, you have a choice of the better part of a hundred different movies on local screens this evening, to suit tastes ranging from Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol to Penny Serenade to Antz to My Week With Marilyn to Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy to Shame.

In my city, 45 minutes away, there are a whole twelve movies, running the gamut from Alvin and the Chipmunks 3 to The Adventures of Tintin 3D to Sherlock Holmes 2. If I want to see a movie that is not aimed at the family market (i.e. not rated G or PG) I have exactly one movie at my disposal: a remake of a popular Swedish film I saw a couple of years ago. Rejoice.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:45 PM on December 29, 2011


Rejoice I shall, Ricochet. Though I'd still pony up for a movie theatre that showed pre-show cartoons on a regular basis. Just because, and stuff.
posted by spoobnooble at 6:00 PM on December 29, 2011


And what's the deal with the explosion of production company intros at the beginning of films? I know that Family Guy did a whole bit about this, but it seems to be true: it's no longer exceptional to see 4 or 5 of those stupid things before the actual movie intro begins.

Somebody is not old enough to remember nearly all of the movie credits coming before the movie. Just the stars, director, producer and production company? There, there. *pats head*
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:12 PM on December 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hoopo: "Sad thing is, I was just thinking to myself that if they re-released some of my favorite big-budget special effects movies, with no alterations or improvements whatsoever, and put them in the theatres again? I would probably go. The original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Ghostbusters. Bladerunner."

They did a limited screenings of Ghostbusters this past Halloween. None of the shows were in my state, but better than nothing.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 6:15 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Then this small voice behind us says, "Uh-oh....".

I think I have probably mentioned this in a past cinema thread BUT: my high school film class went to see the Very Arty Edward II, which begins with a fairly intense scene of gay mansex. In the brief silence that followed, a small child's voice squeaked out "DADDY, I DON'T THINK THIS IS ROCK-A-DOODLE" and there is nothing else I remember from that day aside from wild, hysterical, pants-wetting laughter.
posted by elizardbits at 6:25 PM on December 29, 2011 [31 favorites]


ricochet biscuit: "In my city, 45 minutes away, there are a whole twelve movies, running the gamut from Alvin and the Chipmunks 3 to The Adventures of Tintin 3D to Sherlock Holmes 2. If I want to see a movie that is not aimed at the family market (i.e. not rated G or PG) I have exactly one movie at my disposal: a remake of a popular Swedish film I saw a couple of years ago. Rejoice."

9 unique films here, with both Carmike cinemas overlapping repeated movies. ONE of which is R and a remake of a foreign film (ya'all know of what I speak). I am, however, factoring 2D and 3D versions of the same movie as one movie. Yes, I have more than one option to spend an extra fiver on for a dim picture.
posted by Samizdata at 6:27 PM on December 29, 2011


I was threatened and followed out of the theater by a terrifying woman with a toddler when I went to see the last Harry Potter movie. She thought the woman with me had been the one that called her white trash after she noisily came in during the final twenty minutes and got in a shouting match with her neighbors, "You're lucky I'm on papers!" Let's see netflix replace that!
posted by villanelles at dawn at 6:29 PM on December 29, 2011


The movies will be fine. It's Hollywood that's in trouble.
posted by Bobby Bittman at 6:36 PM on December 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


The problem with Hollywood is the stars that are being created today. What I'd like to see are smart, confident people who can play both drama and comedy.

I have a theory that as the current crop of male stars is so weak, the females have to be made equally weak to balance that out.

I also think Hollywood needs to market itself. I want to see more movies about the glamor and wonder of Hollywood (not that it exists, its just a thrilling thing to see pictured).
posted by niccolo at 6:46 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sorry, but if you are dedicated to doing an end run around a business model then you are not part of that business model, and unlss you can be brought into it...

Y'know, changing your business model is also an option.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:04 PM on December 29, 2011


On Alamo's no-tolerance policy on texters/talkers, Ad hominem says

The thought that I could be marched out of the the theatre for some minor infraction makes me nervous, I would be on edge the whole time that they are monitoring me, waiting for me to slip up.

Huh? Like... if you ACCIDENTALLY take out your phone and start texting feverishly on it? If you suddenly realize that you've been having a discussion about the future of the Euro with your movie date?
posted by Saxon Kane at 7:07 PM on December 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hollywood should cut it out with the stereoscopy already. James Cameron put that crap into too many theaters, and that sure as hell isn't helping to keep ticket prices down. All its doing is creating a different class of films that specifically attract theaters who want a return on their investment; and that, in turn, is causing more films to be filmed in 3D and other films to be post-converted (to which I can contest, is a really painful process); and, all to often, the "3D experience" doesn't add a goddamn thing to the value of film itself (and may in fact prevent viewers from becoming immersed in the story by drawing undue attention to the medium).

And then we end up with things like Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience, which is just an insult to cinema.



...or maybe I'm just bitter because I have a glass eye. Whatever.
posted by bxyldy at 7:09 PM on December 29, 2011


With all this texting, making-out, pantlessless, food eating and implied drugtaking, I'm surprised nobody's mentioned the shut-in nirvana that is the drive in. Cheap! Trunkfulls of home-brought crap! Lawn chairs! Down with the man! One can always any fix any perceived projection issues with ongoing application of tequila straight from the bottle.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 7:29 PM on December 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't understand what happened to Drive-Ins. We used to have one near me when I was a kid, the one time I convinced the parents to take me we couldn't get in because the line was miles long.

So of course it went out of business.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:45 PM on December 29, 2011


God, I miss drive ins.

Back in California, there was a local one. Not only was this a source of much late night drunken Nuclear War/Annihilation gaming as well as...ummm...drunken screen climbing, but we would often take a whole load of us in my ex-girlfriend GMC Jimmy, complete with grocery store run, beers, hibachi, and the little, low to the ground folding chairs to exile people to, should Samizdata and the aforementioned ex-girlfriend decide to get steamy in the back of the aforementioned Jimmy.

On the nights when it was just the male members of our little cabal, in my buddy Jeff's car, there was the verbal slapfight to determine which of the surplus riders (the drive in only allowed 4 to a care) would be that night's Trunk Boy. As I was most often the liquor provider/booze mule, I almost always avoided such an...ummmm....honor.

Speaking of booze and movie going, I remember going to see Rocky Horror with some of that cabal in a (I hesitate to use the term) proper sit-down theatre with...counts under his breath while rolling eyes skyward....10 flask sized bottles of Kamikazes. That was the most hilarious and relaxing Rocky show EVER!
posted by Samizdata at 7:55 PM on December 29, 2011


I don't understand what happened to Drive-Ins

Maybe they just couldn't adapt to the "sell tickets at/below cost; make money on concessions" model that theater-type theaters use?
posted by hattifattener at 8:07 PM on December 29, 2011


I don't understand what happened to Drive-Ins

They haven't gone anywhere in my part of the world. When I was a kid, not far from where I live now, there were three. Now there is one, but it has grown to three screens. The whole family went to look at Captain America last summer, but by craning our necks over our right or left shoulders and retuning the radio, we could just as easily have followed Harry Potter or Horrible Bosses.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:19 PM on December 29, 2011


The biggest things, for me, are the cell phone talkers and the texters. They are ruining everything. My fiancee and I went to the ballet the other day. Our tickets were, like, $75 each. And we still had to listen to people talking through the whole thing, and play with their fucking cell phones. And when we have the nerve to ask them to cut it out, they act like we're the ones being rude.

This happens at the movies, at plays, at the opera, at the ballet. And it doesn't seem to matter whether we're in the cheap seats or if we've splurged on the really expensive ones. Boorish behaviour knows no bounds.

The next fad after 3D: Smell-o-vision.

I actually saw a trailer for a movie that had this a few months back. At first, I thought it was a joke, but apparently it was for real. I forget what the movie was, unfortunately.
posted by asnider at 8:29 PM on December 29, 2011


I even had to stop going to the symphony here in town because the moronic texting and chattering people show up there, too. If there were places like Alamo here I would be a fervent partisan. As it is I'm a dreadful SHHHHH person, which I acknowledge is also annoying but at least makes it clear to the chatterers that not everyone is delighted to hear their inane commentary.
posted by winna at 8:31 PM on December 29, 2011


Surely, this could all be solved by installing something that will block cellular signals in all theatres, concert halls, and cinemas. Forget having a zero tolerance policy, just make their phones non-functional while they are within the theatre.
posted by asnider at 8:36 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it sounds good, but there are such things as emergencies.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:46 PM on December 29, 2011


The solution I always wanted to see, asnider, was a micro-base-station in theaters to which phones would register. Calls to the phones would then ring through to the theater, who would send an usher to get you if important, like if you were an on-call doctor or something. (Obviously a somewhat fantastical solution, both in terms of labor cost and cell-phone regulatory hurdles, but…) The base station could ideally indicate to the phone that it was in a theater so the phone would know to be quiet, as well. </crazy dreaming>
posted by hattifattener at 8:47 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am fine with 3D, smell-o-vision and cell phone talkers but don't like feeling that sensation where my soul is being sucked right out of my chest.
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:50 PM on December 29, 2011


Please elaborate on the soul sucking.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:52 PM on December 29, 2011


Yeah, it sounds good, but there are such things as emergencies.

Yeah, and we managed to deal with them before cell phones existed. People will be fine for a couple of hours without instant connectivity.
posted by asnider at 8:54 PM on December 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


Friends with Benefits.
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:56 PM on December 29, 2011


But I would totally pay for smell-o-vision IF guaranteed not to include gross stuff.

Would it not be an opportunity for people to pass gas because, as always, people appreciate their own...

I rather enjoy the theatre experience but the price is dear and after having seen a few bad movies for too much money I seldom go. In 2011 I saw Moneyball (worth it), Captain America (not worth it, not horrible but still I can't recommend it), Thor (complete waste of money), Black Swan (ok), Adjustment Bureau (worth it). Most of the good films I watched this year I watched at home.
posted by juiceCake at 9:02 PM on December 29, 2011


kirkaracha: "When I think of 'Oscar Movies' I think of Titanic-- complete and utter garbage.

Complete and utter garbage that's coming to a theater near you--in 3D!--in 2012.
"

And it was NOT complete and utter garbage. My mom and one of my little sisters were in it as extras. Without them, complete and utter. With them, just plain.
posted by Samizdata at 9:05 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I'll tell you why movie revenue is dropping"

...two chicks at the same time, man.


They didn't really have to market well or have anything good to put on the screen (Adam Sandler's career as a f'rinstnce), when people had other options. And back in the day, people used to take other options. Playing board games. Making music. Doing other communal activities back when we had more communities.
With the economy and all the other goofiness, I think more and more people are going to go that route.
I haven't seen anything I've GOT to see on a big screen in a while. A few movies a year maybe. On top of that, I haven't watched too many mainstream films. Less each year it seems.

Anecdotal, but for an insomniac who consumes media like it's going out of style, it's a powerful data point. And there's only so much I can mine out of the past. Been on a 'film noir' kick. D.O.A., The Sniper, etc. But not all of that is good either. So yeah, as Ebert says, foreign films, indies. Not a lot of predictably good work from literature. Comics still pack well and can act as disposable ballast, but even there, quality is all over the map even from the same quarters (this is ok, this is brilliant! this sucks. this sucks. this sucks. this is ok. etc).

It's a real crapshoot with film too. I think the prices are sort of a hedge. Because who wants to walk out on something you just blew a wad to see? (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was Good! I tell you!)

Occasionally that works out. I liked Black Swan in retrospect a lot more than I did watching it. Fridge Entire Movie thing I guess. Man, that was boring and predictable.... hnh... was well executed tho... kinda sexy....and I see where he was going with the... hey, that was pretty good....

So Hollywood seems to be gaming the consensual experience thing where audiences want to like it by upping the antie and relying on effects and other controllable (i.e. non-artistic) things to make it ok to like what you paid for.

But going to the movies lately is a lot like buying a lottery ticket. Once in a while I'll buy one. I know the odds of winning, but I'll buy one because I don't mind spending the money. But I never check the numbers, because I don't like wasting the time.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:10 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Disclaimer: I love movies and I love going to theaters. I'll probably be the last customer they ever have...There's also historic theaters which provide a unique, old-timey experience such as the Stanford in Palo Alto or the Castro in San Francisco.

Potsy, I'll be the second to last customer--the SF Bay Area is a film lover's fortress. To wit:

All Double-Feature Drive-in movie theater where I once snuck in inside my brother's car trunk? Check.

A dedicated silent film theater/museum? Check.

An Academic institution for obscure rarities and themed presentations? Check.

Seeing the Mummy at the 500 seat auditorium at the Egyptian art deco Grand Lake Theater? Check.

Local movie theater chain (10 movie card for $60) split evenly between art movies and mainstream fare with a doughnut shop in the lobby? Check.

I know that I am really, really spoiled, but this stuff just can't be found in my living room.
posted by JDC8 at 12:15 AM on December 30, 2011


JDC8: "All Double-Feature Drive-in movie theater where I once snuck in inside my brother's car trunk? Check."

Trunk boy!
posted by Samizdata at 12:50 AM on December 30, 2011


When I lived near a $2/movie discount theatre, I was there all the time. Spent more there in a month than I did in $10+ theatres in a year. And they ran films for adults.

Why should it cost more than a DVD I can rent and watch several times to explore all aspects of the film? If the discount house popcorns had been $1, I could have spent more in two weeks.

Obvious prediction: the survivors will "get it".
posted by Twang at 1:18 AM on December 30, 2011


The UK just banned battery farming. I'm not sure if this actually means movie theaters will have to close but in my dreams it does.
posted by srboisvert at 4:26 AM on December 30, 2011


I went to the 10:25PM showing of The Artist earlier, arrived at the theater at around 10:33, bought my ticket, went to the john, walked into the theater just as the f8ilm began to roll. There were three other people in the theater; that movie was pretty much screened for me. Really good movie, btw; can't recommend it highly enough, so much fun, so much beauty. Oh, and this one really ought to be seen on a big screen.

Anyways. I have flexible time so I can go to a theater when I know that no one else is going to be there; that's pretty damned important to me. Also, I go to either The Arbor which shows many art-house / indie / interesting movies, and that keeps the riff-raff out; they're much more prone to want to see a movie with exploding helicopters in it.

And I live in Austin, and we have four (4) Alamo drafthouse movie theaters, and they are dead serious about shutting up and watching the damn movie. I love it.

Plus I've been known to be vocal if some fuck is continually talking or texting or kicking the back of my seat, I'm not shy about asking them to stop please.

Last, my time is pretty much my own, it doesn't matter what time I go to movies, so tonights 10:25 movie was just fine; I jusst look for one I pretty much know is going to be screened for me. Plus I'm 57 nowadays, and get the senior discount so again, whatever time movie works out, hey, I'm all about it.

If I didn't have those thiing going for me I'd never go to movies. As it is now, I show up late at a time when no one else is going to be there, pay my half price, bring in my own damn diet coke inside my jacket pocket, set my ass down, stretch my legs out, then sit back and enjoy the movie.
posted by dancestoblue at 4:52 AM on December 30, 2011


Smedleyman: "It's a real crapshoot with film too. I think the prices are sort of a hedge. Because who wants to walk out on something you just blew a wad to see?"

Here in Texas there is a little-known law which allows you to walk out of a film within the first fifteen minutes if it's a dog; I've never had anyone give me money back but rather a credit toward a future movie. I haven't utilized that in a decade, I hope it's still set up that way.
posted by dancestoblue at 5:00 AM on December 30, 2011


Surely video on demand is mostly to blame? In the UK if you have cable, satellite or an internet-enabled TV you can basically rent any recent film for about £3.50 and play it on your whacking 42" HD TV. I'm guessing it's the same in the US.

It means films have largely lost their 'eventness' and specialness for me. The only reason I go to the cinema is to have a relatively sociable night out that doesn't involve drinking.
posted by Summer at 5:05 AM on December 30, 2011


I generally watch a lot of movies in India and Singapore; been to movies where fans had made the theater pause a run when the lead actor would make an entrance in the movie, offered a haarati to the projection, and then generally dance when the hero is dancing or bashing up the baddies. That's how your Rajnikanth or Chiranjeevi movies typically roll; being in India, Singapore or Malaysia doesn't make an iota of a difference.

I've refused to watch movies in London so far for a very simple reason: shit is exhorbitant out there. Watched two movies elsewhere in UK in those movie-chain places, Vue and Virgin's cinema offering, and the experience was shoddy to say the least: 30 minutes of ads, no assigned seating and so on. Give me an exuberant theater-going crowd any day.
posted by the cydonian at 5:11 AM on December 30, 2011


And I live in Austin, and we have four (4) Alamo drafthouse movie theaters, and they are dead serious about shutting up and watching the damn movie. I love it.

That sounds like heaven. I do miss Portland for the McMenamins theaters, but there's nothing like seeing a great film in a theater for the immersive experience. Any distractions like texting are only going to detract from it. I admit to being a big fan of MST3K, and there's definitely a time and place for talking back at the screen, but not all films are suited for that kind of treatment. Thank the celluloid gods there are places to see films where that is verboten. It's almost impossible to get away from it otherwise, so those who like it or who aren't bothered by it can go to almost any other theater.

I haven't been to a theater in so long I had no idea people were paying $18 and putting up with 20 minutes of ads before the film. I'd be walking at 10 minutes and demanding my money back. I'm getting older, but I'm not that old. In the last couple decades the price has quadrupled, and they expect people to sit through 20 minutes of ads for the price of a ticket? I love the whole theater experience and am kind of a film geek, but this is not something I want at all and doesn't sound worthwhile to put up with the expense and hassle.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:18 AM on December 30, 2011


I generally watch a lot of movies in India and Singapore; been to movies where fans had made the theater pause a run when the lead actor would make an entrance in the movie, offered a haarati to the projection, and then generally dance when the hero is dancing or bashing up the baddies.

OTOH, that sounds pretty excellent.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:20 AM on December 30, 2011


why the f do they call them trailers?

They used to be shown at the end of movies, after the credits, hence "trailers". Someone thought it would be a good idea to show the ads when people were actually still in the theater, hence their current location in the movie lineup.
posted by Evilspork at 8:13 AM on December 30, 2011


The UK just banned battery farming.

I didn't know what this was, so I looked it up. I was picturing fields of 9-volts.
posted by desjardins at 9:33 AM on December 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Re-arrange the following letters to name the top actress currently playing the Iron Lady of politics on the silver screen of film!

Y L M R E
R T E E S P


lermy peters
posted by Greg Nog at 10:08 AM on December 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


What? It's obviously Academy Award-winning actress L. Myre Pester. She was amazing in Merchant-Ivory's How Tall Is That Mountain? as well as the sequel How Low Is That Valley?
posted by griphus at 10:12 AM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


The UK just banned battery farming.

I didn't know what this was, so I looked it up. I was picturing fields of 9-volts.


I didn't know either, so I also looked it up, and now I'm wondering what the hell poultry farming has to do with movie theatres.
posted by asnider at 11:45 AM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Presumably because the customers are packed into an intolerable environment? Or the ticket-takers plan to kill and eat us?
posted by desjardins at 11:48 AM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Artw: The movie I saw last night, the entire crowd appluaded

I saw War Games in the base theater on Loring AFB. You should have heard the deafening cheer that went up when the first strike hit. The crowd there was also pretty vocally appreciative of parts of Red Dawn too, if I remember correctly.

These days though it mostly seems like people are talking amongst themselves rather than reacting to anything onscreen, though I don't really go to the movies too often anymore.
posted by Hal Mumkin at 1:00 PM on December 30, 2011


uncleozzy: "Plus, really, there's just nothing worth watching that I won't enjoy more at home, six months later."

Plus, really, there's just nothing worth watching that I won't enjoy more at home, six months later, with no clothes on.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 1:10 PM on December 30, 2011


I stopped going to the movies when they started showing ads at the beginning of a film I had already paid to see. All else is extraneous.

They've been doing this longer than I've been alive. You may as well give up phones because of answering machines, y'know?

I work in a job which means I have to see every TV ad for every film release (well, near enough - they don't tend to advertise Iranian arthouse flicks during Corrie) plus I live in London, where even a mid-week ticket at a suburban cinema will cost about $13. On the plus side, we have the Prince Charles Cinema which is like the grown-up version of a university film society, and I ought to get a membership so that I can go more often.
posted by mippy at 2:17 PM on December 30, 2011


Anyway, my viewing of The Truman Show was ruined when a group of tweens compared shoes during one of the most emotional scenes in the film, so it's hardly a new thing. I also saw The Blair Witch Project in the US (it hadn't been hyped up in the UK to the extent it had there, and it was a good few months before anyone had really heard of it here) and that too was ruined by people wolf-whistling at the screen for no real reason.
posted by mippy at 2:21 PM on December 30, 2011


I think I've been annoyed by my fellow cinema-goers once, maybe twice, in the last decade.
posted by Artw at 2:31 PM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


The theater in my hometown shows a whole slew of ads before the movie, but only two trailers. Two! I've been there twice in the past two weeks and it's been the same each time. If you're going to show me a whole bunch of ads before the movie, at least also show me the ads I find entertaining.
posted by Gordafarin at 6:25 PM on December 30, 2011


The theater in my hometown shows a whole slew of ads before the movie, but only two trailers.

This is because theaters actually see cash for ads they show. They don't get paid to show trailers, though showing them will theoretically draw people back to see the films they advertise. But you can see why the ads would be higher-priority.

Also, Roger Ebert may have his theories based on "what people tell me"—but he should get out more in his own city. I hesitate to link to them since I'm tangentially and directly connected with many of them, but I can think of almost a dozen cinemas and film series in Chicago with incredibly diverse programming between them (from mainstream features—usually a little behind schedule, but still—to new art house to repertory 'classics' and nonclassics) that sell tickets for $10 or (in some cases much) less. Some of them are housed in vintage 'movie palaces'. Many of them shush talkers. Some even have reasonable concessions prices (some even sell beer).

Critiquing the status quo of theatrical exhibition outside of Chicago is well and good, but doing so while ignoring the lively cinematic mileu he lives in the middle of doesn't help his cause....
posted by bubukaba at 10:31 PM on December 30, 2011


It's a bit of a dead horse at this point, but yes, those fricking ads. The last few times I've been to the movies, I'm pissed off by the time the trailers start - and that used to be a fun, anticipatory part of going to the movies! After 10 minutes of trailers I don't even want to watch the movie I came to see anymore.

Bully for everyone who has an art cinema nearby, but not everyone lives in a hip major city.
posted by usonian at 8:29 AM on December 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


They can show ads before movies for the next 4000 years, it'll still suck.
posted by stinkycheese at 5:45 PM on December 31, 2011


Yeah, it sounds good, but there are such things as emergencies.

Yeah, and we managed to deal with them before cell phones existed.


Bike helmets too. But still, I'd rather not jam wireless signals for doctors.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:24 PM on January 2, 2012


The new "Mission: Impossible" film has made ten times more money than smaller films like "Young Adult." If greater demand is supposed to move prices, why does a ticket to each movie cost the same?
posted by Artw at 3:48 PM on January 3, 2012


« Older MIT today announced the launch of an online learni...  |  In which we discuss a history ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments