Is there a way to have a whole movie theatre just for me and my date?

Sure. Serve her a high sulphur lunch of cauliflower with a garlic Béarnaise sauce, and rather than a dinner before the show, treat her to maltitol based chocolates. What could be more romantic?

If you time it right, her oh so stinky farts and sharts should clear out the audience while the advertisements are rolling, leaving you two love-birds in your own private theatre by the time the feature film starts. Just remember for the two of you to move a few seats over every ten or fifteen minutes or so, so that she does not get stuck to her seat as she dries.

My company was involved with a major movie and they bought up a whole bunch of screens during the day for showings for employees. We got 3d glasses, popcorn and soda also. Since it was before the movie officially opened, I’m sure the theater did very well.

If you are willing to go to a midweek matinee of a show that’s in its second or third week, you might be able to work out a deal with the manager: buy more tickets than he or she would be likely to sell (maybe 20?), and get an exclusive.

Pretty much what I was thinking. Wait until the very end of a run for a movie, then offer the theater that you’ll buy a few extra tickets (and popcorn, etc) for the chance to have the theater to yourself. Those shows are almost always nearly empty anyway. I would think they’d consider the offer, at least.

Now if you’re looking to get the theater to yourself for opening night of a movie…well, that’s going to get more expensive.

Funny you should say that. I actually did have the theatre to myself when I saw The Lone Ranger.

I’ve rented a whole theatre several times, for political events.

One was for a viewing party of the Obama-McCain debate. We couldn’t get inside the theatre until 6:55 when the 5pm show got out, and we absolutely had to be out before the 9pm movie.

But at 6:55 about 12 people walked out of the theatre, while we had several hundred lined up around the block waiting to see the debate. Every seat was filled, and we had standing people in back.

The theatre concession did a smashing business – twice the manager had to run to the basement to get extra supplies. A worker told me we used up their entire weeks’ supply of popcorn. They were quite pleased. Four years later, they called us up at the next election, inviting us to do it again – and offering a lower rent than they had charge 4 years earlier.

I suppose you could buy up all the tickets, but that would cost much more than simply arranging to rent the whole theatre. And they could even project your proposal as text across the big screen!

For our third date we only had a Tuesday available to both of us. It was a bad time for new movies (mid-winter). Our only choice was The Dilemma. It didn’t matter that it was a bad movie. We were literally the only ones in the theater. It must have gone well, we are still together.

This explains the profit distribution pretty well. Basically for the first couple of weeks the box office take is a loss for the theater. They only make money off the concessions. After a few weeks if the movie is still there they make some profit off of it.

I’m sure if the theater management has any sort of business sense they will jump at the chance of opening up another revenue stream for a theater rental. As long as it doesn’t cut into their main business.

Might not even have to be a small-town theater. A friend and I skipped school once to go to the Mall of America and got a whole theater to ourselves for a matinee of “Reality Bites”.

I just realized I have absolutely no memory of what that movie was about.

Quite by accident, my date and I had the entire theater (well, the entire section of the multiplex) to ourselves back in 2005. It was a matinee showing of Corpse Bride. I guess the best thing to do if you don’t want to purchase all the tickets for one showing is to prepare by observing what screening times are usually empty and if the theater is contracted to show a film regardless of the number of customers.

Both the projectionists I knew worked with old style multiple-reel projectors in small theatres. And that was only 5 years ago… Single-reel went into multiplexes, so that one projectionist could run multiple screens. And TV of course. Remember how you used to be able to predict the ad breaks by watching for the end-of-reel warning?

Once upon a time, many years ago, my wife (then girlfriend) and I went to see a movie – I think it was Benny and Joon – and before the show started, a young man appeared on the big screen, apologized to the audience for the interruption, and proposed to his girlfriend. The house lights came up, the projector stopped, their families and friends paraded into the theatre, and she accepted. They all left to a standing ovation.

That was something to see. I hope they’ve been living happily ever after.

The twin-projector theater was a dying breed when I was in the field in 1990 and is all but gone today. I remember going to the nearby Prince 3 on Route 1 in the Princeton area in order to swap films occasionally, and the old guy there would show me around his ancient projection booth, telling me tales of stuff like how when they showed “Oklahoma!” they had to change the projector gearing in order to get the feed rate correct (and a quick Google search tells me the old guy wasn’t pulling my leg. It was filmed in the Todd-AO process at 30 fps).

In contrast, the theater where I worked was a typical multiplex with 9 screens, and it was a breeze to run all 9 by myself. That was one of the most enjoyable jobs I have ever had.

The Prince 3 was torn down in the 90s. There’s a Pep Boys where it stood.

And those reel change dots… That’s one of my favorite “can’t un-see it once you see it” things to tell people.

One of the guys I new at university had worked, straight out of school, carrying the reels (possibly porn?) between small downtown theatres. They’d get one copy of the film, start it in one theatre, then, as soon as the first reel was free, walk it over to the next theatre, pick up another reel to take on to the next theatre. Running two or three films in sequence, using one copy simultanously for three locations.

Used to be more walking jobs in the city.

I wonder if the film company knew that their single copy was being shown at 3 theater locations?