Moviegoers Sue Theater Companies Over Commercials

I think this suit is incredibly frivolous. I think the attorneys should be disciplined by the Bar Assn.

BTW cite is http://www.ktvu.com/sh/money/stories/money-199270820030220-070237.html

It seems to be happening all over the place…or world…

http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/01/05/1041566309099.html

I was quite taken aback, considering that it happens in China…(Then again, maybe I am prejudiced against Communists…)

Why the hell should I have to pay to watch commercials? I hope they get every cent they’re asking for.

You don’t have to pay. Don’t sue. Stop going.

It’s called free enterprise.

Pardon me, I meant to say the free market.

We pay for magazines, newspapers and subways, all of which have commercials.

In a civilised society, such as the one I live in, cinemas advertise both the start time of the film, and the start time of the “complete performance”, which includes the trailers, the commercials and the patronising notice telling you to turn off your mobile phone. That way consumers have a choice. You do not get a discount on the ticket price for turning up early enough to watch the commercials, though I suppose there’s nothing to stop you bargaining for one.

Cinemas are not required to advertise both times but they generally do, presumably because their market expects it.

I think it’s pretty damn frivolous, but I hope they win anyway.

If the lawsuit is only regarding the commercials that are shown AFTER the advertised time for the start of the movie, I think they not only have a potential argument, but also I think it is a darn good policy move. I don’t believe the suit is about the commercials BEFORE the movie is set to start, but rather the evil practice of some theaters of showing 10 minutes of commercials that start when the movie is scheduled to start. In that limited case, I’m all for it.

Pre-show commercials- Basis for a lawsuit? Probably not. On the other hand, they irritate me no end and I want them to be pulled from movie theatres. Unfortunately in a free market system where advertisers have the bucks and the audience does not…a class action suit is a pretty efficient way of getting the point across. If advertising revenue partially subsidised ticket sales, I’d be far more inclined to let the invisible hand do it’s thang. Since they do not…Where’s my $75?

If they are suing because of commercials playing after the set start time, what about trailers that play after the set start time?

UDS, when I was in England, movie theatres had reserved seating, so you could purchase in advance, show up late (after the commercials/previews) and still be in a good seat.

In the states, we do not have reserved movie theatre seating, for better or (IMNSHO) for worse. If watching a popular movie, it is in your best interest to get there early to get good seating.

As for the lawsuit, the lawyers and the plaintiffs all deserve a big Dope Slap (both the Click & Clack and the Cecil Adams kind). I’m curious as to the basis for the lawsuit. I’ll check the article later to see if they have more information than I heard on the radio this morning.

Two things:

  1. Just because they irritate you does not mean that a frivolous class action suit is justified.

  2. That said, Hamlet has a point that a sort of breach of contract thing may be involved here, so this may not be frivolous.

  3. Advertising revenue does indeed subsidize ticket prices. Imagine what they would charge you without it.

And by two things I meant three things.

  1. Agreed, my irritation does not necessarily justify a class action suit, I wasn’t proposing that it does. In fact, I think frivolous lawsuits are a far more serious abuse than 3 minutes of advertising. That said, it still sends a far more effective message than a couple of disorganized letters to the theatre management.

  2. To support Hamlet, does the lack of reserved seating combined with advertising after the start time support an argument that there is undue pressure on the audience to be present for it? They are unjustly denied access to fair seating arrangements without the burden of advertising. Equal acces, vive la cinema! Okay, it’s flimsy, but a point lurks in there somewhere…

  3. Indeed, but do the ads shown after start time reduce our ticket prices from existing levels created in the era of exclusively pre-preview advertising? As an aside, I think movie prices are absolutely ridiculous now, and I only regret that I cannot influence the supply and demand for movies by myself and single-handedly reduce production costs…

Trailers are part of the moviegoing experience. Commericals for VW and M&Ms are not. It is getting to the point where we are yelling at the screen after a commercial or two (i had to sit throught 10 when i saw Star Trek opening night. TEN!). I hope they sue the crap out of them. It’s not like they don’t make enough money with $9.75 shows. (and if they don’t, then it is the theaters own fault for being a money losing monstrocity, don’t punish me by forcing me to watch stupid Coke “turbine piston engine that keeps the cokes at a constant 35 degree temperature” commercials)

I agree that this is a silly law-suit. I don’t see how this is different from ads in magazines, newspapers and web-sites. Consumers always have the option to not purchase the product.

The ‘free market’ consists of transactions between willing buyers and willing sellers. That implies that the seller isn’t hiding anything from the buyer about what’s being sold.

My (fortunately) limited experience with ads at the movies is that I would only find out about the ads after I’d paid for my ticket. If they say upfront that they plan to run ads before the movie, then that’s the free market, and I can make a free choice. But otherwise, I can’t, and it’s not.

I wouldn’t have filed the suit myself, but I don’t think it’s completely groundless. This sort of imbalanced situation is what class actions are for: if I swindle a million people out of $2 apiece, not one of them is appreciably hurt, but I’ve become rich by cheating each of them by a trivial amount. This situation isn’t all that different.

Whenever the telemarketers for the local newspaper call me up and as me if I want to subscribe to the paper for $30 a month, I just tell them, the newspaper is on average 60% ads and 40% news, so I will pay you $12 a month, but wait, it wastes my time wading through those ads so you owe me an additional, say, 20%, so thats down to $6 a month, how about it? For some reason,I always get the auditory equivalent of a blank stare.

The lawsuit is totally justified, and while we are at it, let’s sue to get commercials off of TV too. Advertising is a complete waste of time. I have never bought anything because I saw a commercial for it.

Hopefully, this is due to a whooshing, but one can’t always be sure.

Let’s focus on the middle sentence: “Advertising is a complete waste of time.” I suppose that this multibillion dollar industry doesn’t realize their line of work is really a waste of time, and that employing tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of taxpayers serves no useful purpose. Multinational corporations like Disney, Coca-Cola, GE, Proctor & Gamble and Microsoft, all slaves to the bottom-line shareholder profits, would be better off putting the billions (combined) they spend on advertising into the shredder.

Advertising is pervasive. Advertising to many is annoying. But the rhetoric thrown about carelessly (which I’ve been known to do more than a few times myself) is just plain wrong.