Running in the theater is still prohibited
March 8, 2017 9:52 AM   Subscribe

People aren't going to the movies enough? The Cinepolis theater chain has a solution: Why not put playgrounds in the theater?

Jezebel's Drew Magary weighs in.
posted by Mchelly (48 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Playgrounds were staples in drive-in theaters.

Everything old is new again.
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:55 AM on March 8, 2017 [5 favorites]


Hahahahahahaha! Hell no!
posted by Splunge at 9:56 AM on March 8, 2017 [7 favorites]


I guess it's an equal and opposite solution to putting a bar in.
posted by Artw at 9:58 AM on March 8, 2017 [13 favorites]


Playgrounds at drive-ins are one thing; playgrounds inside one of today's multiplexes is something else. Right off the bat, my first question is: do they keep the lights up throughout the movie, or do they keep the kids off the playground while the theater is dark? Otherwise, I can only imagine the falling/injury hazards. Also, do they have extra ushers permanently manning that theater, to prevent running and generally-rowdy behavior, as well as contain the kids to that one theater so they aren't running all over the building? (And if you think the parents will police their own kids, you're living in a fantasy world.) Finally, does that theater have extra sound-proofing, to keep the joy and happiness from leaking into other theaters?
posted by easily confused at 10:03 AM on March 8, 2017 [10 favorites]


Make movies I actually want to see is my suggestion.
posted by cj_ at 10:04 AM on March 8, 2017 [14 favorites]


It's not a new thing, there are already theaters here in New York (and I'm sure elsewhere) that have times set aside specifically for families with young children. This is just making that more elaborate, and it's a good idea.
posted by Sangermaine at 10:04 AM on March 8, 2017 [3 favorites]


How about bumper cars, then we can pretend we're at a drive-in.
posted by jonmc at 10:05 AM on March 8, 2017 [5 favorites]


Seriously, though. I haven't been to a movie since I walked out of Iron Man and got a refund because of a couple of monster brats running up and down the aisle screaming. As I get older I get easier to annoy. I am perfectly happy to wait for the Blu Ray.

This is anathema to me.
posted by Splunge at 10:08 AM on March 8, 2017 [7 favorites]


Do they have a barred customers list I can send my photo too, just in case I'm ever in the area and wander in?
posted by biffa at 10:11 AM on March 8, 2017 [2 favorites]


I think you're misunderstanding, Splunge. These are theaters specifically set aside for families with children. You wouldn't be with them, not unless you chose to be. If anything it should help with the problem you describe by (in theory) drawing those families away from the regular theaters.
posted by Sangermaine at 10:11 AM on March 8, 2017 [7 favorites]


I would pay extra to go to theaters where kids weren't allowed. My wife and I almost celebrated when we saw a sign at a theater that said "No one under 16 allowed", until we saw the "without adult supervision" part.
posted by Badgermann at 10:11 AM on March 8, 2017 [10 favorites]


Seems like it would be dangerous to put a playground in a big, loud dark room where parents are going to be watching a movie, but I don't have kids, so maybe this will end up being more popular than it is potentially-dangerous.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:14 AM on March 8, 2017 [1 favorite]


I would pay extra to go to theaters where kids weren't allowed. My wife and I almost celebrated when we saw a sign at a theater that said "No one under 16 allowed", until we saw the "without adult supervision" part.

I would, too, appreciate this. In fact, I only really go to movies on Monday nights where there's assigned seating. If they started doing this I could go more often.
posted by Talez at 10:17 AM on March 8, 2017 [1 favorite]


How hard would it be to have IKEA-like child care at the movie theater? With the number of families in a giant multiplex on a Friday night, it would be possible to get a pretty good economy of scale. And with RFID wrist bands, you could check that the kids are picked up within X minutes of their parents' movie ending for safety.
posted by miyabo at 10:17 AM on March 8, 2017 [8 favorites]


I would pay extra to go to theaters where kids weren't allowed.

Combined with in-theatre booze this is where America's dumb drinking age laws actually turn useful.
posted by Artw at 10:18 AM on March 8, 2017 [2 favorites]


I think you're misunderstanding,

No, I get it. I was just kind of explaining my initial visceral horror. I understand the concept. while I still think it's a bad idea. This quote from the Jezebel piece pretty much sums it up.

This does not make it easier to take my kid to the movies. How am I supposed to focus on anything if I have to constantly peek to the side to make sure my kid didn’t hang himself in the netting, or get in a fight with some other asshole’s brat? There comes a point where you have to make so many accommodations to children out of the house that you never should have left it to begin with, and this is one such instance.

Movie theaters are for watching movies. Not exercising children.
posted by Splunge at 10:21 AM on March 8, 2017 [11 favorites]


It's bad enough the floors are already sticky with spilled soda and melted chocolate, now we'll also have to contend with tiny chipped molar shards and random puddles of kindergartener blood?
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:21 AM on March 8, 2017 [6 favorites]


MOM! DAD! LOOK AT ME! MOOOOOMMMMMM!!!!!
posted by JoeZydeco at 10:25 AM on March 8, 2017 [6 favorites]


Are there really enough family-friendly releases to justify this? I don't care how fun the playground equipment is, once John Wick starts getting busy the kids aren't going to give a damn about the slide.
posted by vverse23 at 10:27 AM on March 8, 2017 [3 favorites]


You would be amazed at some of the stuff people are willing to bring very young kids to.
posted by Artw at 10:32 AM on March 8, 2017 [1 favorite]


Artw: I've been a theater projectionist for over thirty years now.... no, I would not be surprised at all; I've seen parents bring multiple toddlers to an 11:30PM showing of Silence of the Lambs, and then get offended when other patrons asked them to get their kids to stop screaming in terror.
posted by easily confused at 10:36 AM on March 8, 2017 [9 favorites]


I try not to be a *that* parent, but it's a thing I get super Judgemental over - it's a non-obligatory recreational activity and you;re choosing to ruin it for everyone around you whilst traumatising your kid? What the fuck? Do you enjoy that?

(On the other hand people who get pissy about kids in planes and non-fine dining situations can fuck off.)
posted by Artw at 10:41 AM on March 8, 2017 [9 favorites]


This is half of a good idea. The right way to do this is to treat it like a nursery at a church. You bring your kids, deposit them with a couple of baby sitters in the back, and then they keep an eye on your kids while you enjoy the movie.

Ooh, and hand out something like those little vibrating coasters you get at restaurants, so that if your attention is needed (your kid is throwing a tantrum or is hurt or whatever) you can be summoned without disturbing the other theatergoers.
posted by JDHarper at 10:49 AM on March 8, 2017 [6 favorites]


I am perfectly happy to wait for the Blu Ray.

I think this is the main thing business people are missing when it comes to analyzing diminishing returns on cinema. I mean, I've grown up with rented VHS tapes (and a few store-bought) and taped broadcasts, most of them pan-and-scan. These days you can see a FHD/4K movie on a much larger (and cheaper) TV most people had back in the day plugged in to a decent sound hi-fi system and get a fairly decent experience, which you couldn't then, and all this at the reach of a remote control sitting on their arse on the sofa.

One could watch a movie without paying through the nose for refreshments, while keeping an eye on the brats and hit pause if they are acting up or someone needs to go to the toilet. Paying $3 extra for putting them in a Fisher Price Al-Qaeda boot camp is supposed to compete with that?
Convenience usually beats most things (except money) when it comes to consuming media. This is why late shows are not aimed at people who can't sleep, but people who wake up and watch youtube 5-10min clips on their commute or during breakfast/lunch/whatever, why MP3s beat physical formats (until streaming came along), why Netflix became "a thing" and so on. I don't think this is more convenient.
posted by lmfsilva at 10:50 AM on March 8, 2017 [1 favorite]


As a new little odd attraction to add variety, this is fine. As a solution to a problem, it makes me scream.

What do I want? I want a day care at the movies so I can go to the movies in the first place when I have very little kids and no movie is appropriate, and I want a day care for them when they are big enough to go to some movies but I'd like to see something adult.

I also want a drive-in for what it is, and playgrounds there are part of that culture, hence I'm fine with this as a new bit of variety for theaters. I also think that some kids have conditions that make sitting still horrid, and this may make sense for those families.

But most of all, I want parents that go to the movies with their kids, presumably to an age appropriate movie, to experience it with them, and this does not seem to encourage that goal. I want the kids to appreciate that they are in public, at a movie, and there to watch the movie, not run around. If they want to run around, we should leave and go someplace else. I believe that parents can make movies just fine for kids to sit through if they plan the adventure - pick the right movie, get the kids interested in seeing it, make sure they go to the bathroom, be ready to answer, quietly, questions, and probably most of all, do some home training. It's perfectly fun to watch a movie with a kid at home and teach them to pay attention, not fly off the walls. If you show them how to enjoy the movies deeply, they get sucked in, not bored. My fondest memories are in part from watching movies. They impacted me profoundly as a kid. I'm glad I was trusted and taught to actually care what was on the screen.

I just can't support this if it is the solution it pretends to be. I don't want a solution for figuring out at a young age that cinema is something worth paying attention to over monkey bars. That quote - “You might actually get more parents to come and bring their kids. Even in the greatest movies, kids get restless and bored." ugh...yeah, well, if the kid is restless and bored, help them, don't send them to the playground so you can ignore them.
posted by Muddler at 10:56 AM on March 8, 2017 [13 favorites]


This would make me less likely to go to the movies (or at least theatres with playgrounds) - and I have kids.
posted by piyushnz at 11:02 AM on March 8, 2017 [1 favorite]


I largely gave up on chain movie theaters in 2000 when I saw The Cell in a theater with an extremely traumatized toddler in the audience. People kept getting up and telling them to leave, and some even got an usher, but the child wasn't wailing in the ten seconds they'd poke their heads in, so they didn't do a damned thing about it.

I honestly don't even know whether the movie was any good, really, but hearing that poor frightened little baby throughout made the experience pretty disturbing.

I've just recently gone back a couple of times to some classic movie showings and to see Moonlight, and it's been OK so far, but most of the time, when I go see a movie, I make a pretty miserable drive to the film society theater. It's got smaller screens than the big chain movie houses, but the people there seem a little more interested in shutting up and watching the movie. I don't think I've seen a movie with a kid in the audience there in maybe ten years.

There are still a few buttheads, but they're few and far between, like that gross couple who came in late, had a loud food picnic, and practically made out in my lap during Lost Highway. And the occasional doofus who thinks it's OK to talk over anything that's not English dialog. But the latter always get shut down.
posted by ernielundquist at 11:02 AM on March 8, 2017 [2 favorites]


But most of all, I want parents that go to the movies with their kids, presumably to an age appropriate movie, to experience it with them, and this does not seem to encourage that goal.

Is there any other way you want me to raise my children that makes not the smallest fraction of a dent in your life?

Seriously, people, why the hate? No kid is as loud as the explosions in the latest Transformers movie or the soundtrack to a Fast & Furious movie, so they're not going to leak into your theaters any more than those do. These playgrounds won't cause any more screaming and running around in the public areas of multiplexes than there already is.

Don't like it? Don't go to it. It's not for you. See a movie in any other place that shows movies.
posted by Etrigan at 11:04 AM on March 8, 2017


You bring your kids, deposit them with a couple of baby sitters in the back, and then they keep an eye on your kids while you enjoy the movie.

I've heard rumors to the effect that you can get these "baby-sitters" to come to your home and watch the kids there while you go out to a movie that may or may not hold your children's attention.

Yes, it does cost money, but hiring enough certified child care workers to make sure there are always enough on site (because you never know how many or how few customers are going to come on a given day or night, or what the needs and requirements of the individual children who happen to show up will be) is absolutely going to raise the price of your ticket.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:26 AM on March 8, 2017 [3 favorites]


I can't speak to how much more a ticket would cost, but I'm guessing a huge part of the appeal of onsite kid care is the convenience of not having to fuss around finding an available sitter and the ability to make the spontaneous decision to see a movie instead of planning days or weeks ahead.
posted by lalex at 11:37 AM on March 8, 2017 [1 favorite]


Seconding latex.

When I can actually book the reliable adult babysitter in my neighborhood, I'm out $40 or $50 by the end of movie night.

The theater could literally double the price of the ticket for add-on childcare and I'd gladly pay it.
posted by JoeZydeco at 11:46 AM on March 8, 2017 [3 favorites]


When my kid was small, hell yes I'd do this. I ate so many crappy mcdonald's burgers because they had an indoor playground and I could look at my phone for 10-15 blessed minutes.

If it was a movie theater, I would honestly probably take a little doze, so dumb/family movies would be fine. The advantage to not doing Netflix? Other kids. My kid is an only so we have always had to take more effort to help him socialize.

Also getting out of the damn house and seeing other people. Which any parent of a small child will tell you, is what you crave.

I feel guilty paying a babysitter less than 10/hour; this means we didn't use many babysitters when he was small.

I do wonder about liability issues, but then, McDonald's seems to manage.
posted by emjaybee at 11:53 AM on March 8, 2017 [1 favorite]


Seeing the family in front of me drop $105 on snacks and tickets for four kind of hinted to me that theatres just aren't cheap entertainment anymore.
posted by kanata at 11:54 AM on March 8, 2017


I would rather have more "sensory matinees" where the movie isn't as loud and the lights are slightly on, so kids who are sensitive to dark and loud don't get scared, and it's okay for kids to make noise during them because they're kid-centric matinees and intended for kids with various developmental issues so if your kid just likes to jump up and down and narrate everything that happens on screen for the entire movie, THAT IS ALSO OKAY. Several theaters around here have them once a month, but they're almost always during the school day and they're all the same movie, it's very aggravating.

Intermissions in kid movies is a great idea, though. I can't remember the last time my children went 90 minutes without needing to pee.

I would 100% make use of a theater day-care where I could drop my kids off and go see a grown-up movie (maybe at one of the late afternoon matinees where they're not packed theaters yet and they could stand to have more attendees?).

I could also do with more mommy matinees where it's okay to bring an infant in arms because I still have not seen La La Land. :)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:55 AM on March 8, 2017 [7 favorites]


Are there really enough family-friendly releases to justify this?

Seems to me if the movie was family-friendly, the kids should be happy sitting and watching it, and not running to a playground. If not, stay home until you have adequate control over their precious asses so they can sit and watch.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:11 PM on March 8, 2017 [5 favorites]


If it was a movie theater, I would honestly probably take a little doze, so dumb/family movies would be fine.

You would nap while your children play on a playground with other children in a dark theater?
posted by Splunge at 12:15 PM on March 8, 2017


I have 2 young kids. No way would I pay to take them to a movie that they weren't interested enough in to sit and watch. Sheesh.
posted by fimbulvetr at 12:17 PM on March 8, 2017 [4 favorites]


Don't like it? Don't go to it. It's not for you.

This, exactly. When my kids were little, I was bored shitless much of the time. I remember waking up in the morning dreading how I was going to get through all the hours of the day. I know plenty of parents cherish these early years where they can, I don't know, make organic play-doh out of kale with their kids or some such crap, but I was not one of them. A place like this, that would let me sit in the dark and keep the little hellions out of traffic and amused, would have been a wonderful option now and then.
posted by bibliowench at 1:10 PM on March 8, 2017 [2 favorites]


I really thought this was going to be a drop-off childcare thing. That would be amazing. They had that at my local (chain!) grocery store growing up, which was fantastic, and as mentioned above they also have it at Ikea.

This particular setup makes zero sense to me - seems like the worst of both worlds.

(Also, wow, I don't and may never have kids but I think they should be allowed to exist in public, geez! I thought "children should be seen and not heard" was a Victorian relic!)
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:23 PM on March 8, 2017 [2 favorites]


You would nap while your children play on a playground with other children in a dark theater?

I started to respond with a reasoned but irritated defense of my ability to safely parent a very young child thank you very MUCH but then realized my kid has survived successfully to age 11 and therefore I don't have to.
posted by emjaybee at 2:28 PM on March 8, 2017 [1 favorite]


Don't like it? Don't go to it. It's not for you.

Yeah, as someone with no kids, I think one of the weirder and more unpleasant aspects of American culture is how everyone has strong opinions about anything to do with children.

The author of the Jezebel piece thinks it wouldn't be a good deal for her and her kids. That's fine, but there's no reason the theater shouldn't at least try the experiment. I don't like candy with peanut butter, and I don't think IMAX is generally worth the price bump, but I don't think movie theaters offering those things is some kind of scam.

This actually sounds great to me for an outing with a bunch of children of slightly different ages or temperaments, like a birthday party or day camp trip. Some kids can play on the playground, some can watch the movie, some can do a little of both.
posted by smelendez at 2:41 PM on March 8, 2017 [1 favorite]


emjaybee, I am an old man with, no doubt, antiquated ways. While my surprise was genuine, I did not mean to paint you as a bad parent. I might have better not posted at all. I apologize for irritating and insulting you.
posted by Splunge at 3:25 PM on March 8, 2017 [1 favorite]


This particular setup makes zero sense to me - seems like the worst of both worlds.

It looks like a wannabe-clever peice of concept art from some dumb Dragon's Den/Shark Tank type competition.
posted by Artw at 3:59 PM on March 8, 2017


I would pay extra to go to theaters where kids weren't allowed. My wife and I almost celebrated when we saw a sign at a theater that said "No one under 16 allowed", until we saw the "without adult supervision" part.

Around here, the combined brewpubs/theaters are the go-to for this, though I assume some are licensed as restaurants rather than bars and so can admit children. Give me a couple of beers, and my tolerance for noisy children will go way up, anyway.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:40 PM on March 8, 2017 [1 favorite]


I loved the matinees for new parents when my kids were infants. A bit of lighting, lower sound, diaper change tables in the theatre and often free snacks. It was fantastic. Your kid would cry and you could stand at the side of the theatre and bounce away and nobody cared.

Now my kids are older and I have one who sits quietly and obeys all theatre etiquette and another one who is incapable of sitting still. If we go to the theatre (an infrequent occurance I assure you) it requires planning. Our last venture was to Rogue One. We went on Xmas eve morning, first AM showing and sat at the back of the almost empty theatre on the aisle. Our strategic timing and placement meant that we were near no one my kid could kick in the back. Kid could fidget, stand up at the back of the theatre, stretch legs out, chew on straws and bother no one but me and sibling. Kid really, really, really wanted to see the movie and so did I otherwise we would not go.

If there was a theatre like this available near us where we could not ruin everyone else's experience we'd spend more money at the theatre. Also, if I understood the article correctly the kids play for 15 minutes before the film, during the intermission and for 15 minutes at the end of the film so there's no kids playing in the dark. Though I'd totally let my almost middle-school aged kids do that. I used to love playing hide and seek in the dark at that age.

I live in Montreal if you want to avoid me. Though like I said, we rarely take the kids to the theatre because of reasons.
posted by Cuke at 8:14 PM on March 8, 2017


Our local theatre does free kid movies in the summer a couple mornings a week. Stuff like Minions that is a few years old but still popular. It's full of very young kids who are just learning to sit still, but it's wonderful since nobody paid to go so there is no guilt or frustration if your kid throws a fit and you need to leave early. We've taken my 3 year old to a bunch of paid movies ever since then since we became confident that he can behave well for 90 minutes. That said, even though my son is an angel in the theatre, if there was a playground available then I have no doubt it would all go to shit. Hell, as a child I blew off friggin Back to the Future to play on the drive-in playground; what a waste.
posted by gatorae at 8:45 PM on March 8, 2017 [2 favorites]


No way could I get anywhere near this. I just saw Trainspotting 2 and some drunky drunkersons in the first row wouldn't shut up. I thought for a good few seconds about my chances of getting away with garroting them. Luckily, my fellow patrons agreed with me and we murdered them in cold blood and hid the bodies in the popcorn vat.

I take my daughter to kids movies and I expect noise. I go with my wife to the 21+ bar-in-theater cinema and it is blissful.
posted by Kafkaesque at 3:25 PM on March 9, 2017


MetaFilter: tiny chipped molar shards and random puddles of kindergartener blood.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 7:40 AM on March 10, 2017 [1 favorite]


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