Pitting Movie Theatres

The Arclight is the only place I’ll go to the movies anymore. And it’s at least an hour’s drive, in good traffic, so I don’t get down there much (last time was for Serenity). At least it gives me an excuse to go down to the city and visit friends there.

At home, I have a projector, a wall, and surround sound; I don’t need to go to a sticky theather with social retards to see movies.

What finally made me swear off theaters alltogether was when the local theater I last went to turned up the house lights and had people out cleaning as soon as the credits started. I complained, and asked them to please turn the lights off and stop standing in front of me because I wanted to see the movie. After asking politely no fewer than three people for about 4/5 of the length of the credits, I spoke to the manager. He said that they needed to clean because they were “on a tight schedule.” I suggested that they could show fewer advertisements before the movie.

And, hey, I was the only one left in there. Obviously it’s not worth showing fewer ads to serve just one customer. But it made me think. I know there are other people like me, who stay through the credits and see who did what. I used to see them in the theaters, but lately there have been fewer and fewer of us. I had assumed that people just stopped doing it, but I’m betting that they still do it, just on their couches at home.

I don’t mind commercials; they’re a hell of a lot more interesting than the ‘movie trivia’ they show like what kind of lip gloss Britney Spears wore or when Tom Hanks’ birthday is. I would gladly pay $5-10 less for another 15 minutes of commercials, adn it’s not even my money. (Of course, someday I’m going to go on an actual date, and then it will be my money.)


I have always loved going to the movies but I used to be more than a little annoyed when the theater was not much bigger than my garage and the screen not much bigger than our TV. When I am compelled to spend money to see something on the big screen - I’d like it to be on a big screen.

And, being a short woman, let me just say for the record that stadium seating this the best thing since the wheel and sliced bread together.

My view on these points:

  1. Screaming kids. Hey, you go to a Saturday matinee of an animated film, some childlike exuberance is expected. Friday 10PM R film? No. Kinda like "Chuck E Cheese? a lot of noise is to be expected. $50+ a head steakhouse? Not acceptable.

  2. Cell Phones. Too many people do NOT shut them off. The FCC should allow it IF POSTED. Those of us who shut our phones off can patronize these establishments.

  3. Overcrowding - Sorry, I MISS the huge screen moviehouses. Ah, the old Astor Plaza, I hardly knew ye…

  4. Commercials. Hey, post the time the movie starts. That’s all. If the feature starts at 8:30, post that in the schedules. Want to start commercials at 8:00? Fine. I don’t care. I also don’t care if the people talk during commercials. Just do not tell me the movie is at 8:30 and not start the film until 8:50.

  5. Price. I understand the first couple of weeks the studios get almost the whole ticket price. Well, whoever gets it, they may end up cutting their own throats. Patrons know $10. They don’t care who gets it, they just care what they pay.

  6. Films. Yes, there is a lot of films out there - as in the slimy stuff on top of stagnant ponds. Like others, I go to films that benefit from big screens and effects. I also think my last was Serenity. Quality film, BTW.

I used to see 25-35 movies per year at the theater. No longer. I haven’t seen a theatical movie since last summer, mainly for the reasons listed in the OP. Having Netflix isn’t increasing my chances of going anytime soon.

Ha ha!

I am pretty tall and would always sit scooched all the way untill my rear hanged over the seat out of fear I was ruining the film for the folks behind me.

One thing I learned from one of my friends who works at a movie theater (this made me aghast):

Even if the movie is fantastic, a movie theater will only show it for about 2-3 weeks, tops, if it is rated R. Explain to me why V for Vendetta gets about 2-3 weeks, while Ice Age 2 gets a month or more! Grrahh!

(Fixed coding–Veb)

I go to far fewer movies these days than I used to, but when I go, my schedule makes it really nice for me. I can go to matinees in the middle of the week, which means I pay half price and sit in an empty theater blissfully free of assholes and kids. It also means I can show up 20 minutes late, miss all the ads and previews, and still get a great seat. A friend dragged me to an evening show on a Saturday a while back, and I was practically claustrophobic with all those people there.

I enjoy going when its almost empty. What gets me is the prices of popcorn and soda’s.
And the fact that the butter flavored oil they put on the popcorn drips on your clothes, and doesn’t even taste good!

I attribute this problem to lousy sound engineering in the filmmaking process. I see movies at home where I have complete control over the sound, and I’ll be damned if I can make out half the dialogue. But move to a shooting, car-chase, exhuberent moment, and I’m blasted out of my chair. Drives me insane, I tell ya.

  1. I don’t go to movies people bring kids to.

  2. I do hate cell phones, but they’re not common enough at the theaters I go to to keep me away.

  3. I don’t see this as a problem. Part of the enjoyment of going to a movie is seeing it with a crowd of people.

  4. The theaters I go to 90% of the time don’t run commercials. They don’t really bug me when they do. It’s not like they’re stopping the movie 15 minutes in to run them.

  5. If you don’t think it’s worth it, don’t go. I don’t think it’s too expensive for the enjoyment I get.

  6. Well, that’s your fault for not being discriminating enough.

Personally, I love going to the movies. There’s a theater in Baltimore I go to if I even REMOTELY want to see what they’re showing because I like going so much. The other major theater in B-more is also excellent.

There is no better experience for $8 than watching a good comedy or horror in a theater filled with 900 people. Or seeing Star Wars with 900 other geeks who clapped and cheered when R2D2 came back to the big screen in The Phantom Menace.

Certainly home theater has come a long way, but I still don’t think anyone’s HT can match the experience of seeing and hearing a movie on the big screen.

I don’t expect pindrop silence in a theater either. I have no qualms about leaning over to Mr. K and whispering something to him. I get pissed when people talk loudly to the screen though.

One thing I forgot to mention is Netflix. I’ve been using them for almost a year and its the best value around. They kind of screw you over if you like to rent lots of movies though…you basically get the lowest priority for new movies and shows. I’ve heard that the movie industry wants to start releasing DVDs even earlier but, naturally, the theatres don’t like the idea. Just reinforces my theory that many people don’t like going anymore because of the many reasons listed above.

Some great points too…if I don’t like the overcrowding I can go to off-hours shows and so forth. But I remember a different time when the theatre experience was something I looked forward to. So now I just have to convince the wife that we need a large flat panel TV and hi-def DVD player… :wink:

Part of the problem is that Hollywood’s movie screening bargains means that the studios make all of their money in the first few weeks, while the theater makes theirs after that. So Hollywood only has incentive to make brief, explosive movies that fade away. And the theaters cut their losses is the movie isn’t cutting it, and dumps the film ASAP.

If DVD’s start to come ou at the same time as the movie, it may end the theaters, more or less. If you can buy the film for 2-3 times the price of an evening show, who sees the show?

I almost never go to movies because of the maneuvering and money involved, but when I DO go, it’s because I want to be in a really dark room with a REALLY big screen (we have a 27" television, for chrissake - a 7’ screen would still be huge to me) and a giant sound system watching a movie with at least 30 other people who are also going to enjoy the movie.* I want to watch it and know we’re not going to have to pause it for the phone or a bathroom break or “just a second while I make popcorn.” I don’t want the sound of the next door neighbor honking his damned horn at 9:30pm to mar the sound. I want to have a Movie-Going Experience.

No home theater system I’ve ever seen has offfered me that. I don’t go just to see the movie. I go for the whole environment.

I agree completely that theaters should start biting the bullet and putting an usher in each theater, and give them the authority to hush theatergoers, quietly ask them to turn off their cell phones, and throw the unruly shitheads out. I think that would take care of 80% of the problems. I seem to recall ushers in each theater when I was 9 or 10 - 1979-80.

  • Even if I see a complete DOG, I will find something to enjoy about it because, damnit, I paid for it.

Oh man, I kinda lost it on another cinema-horror thread, I’d better keep the head a bit more here…

Basically, I went to the cinema 58 times in 2003, 54 times in 2004 and 35 times in 2005. Four months into 2006, and I’ve been to the cinema three times.

And it’s for all the reasons above.

The movies are… meh. Remake. Sequel. Remake. “Comedy”. Nothing just grabs me. Nothings original. Nothing screams “See Me!”. The big-budget movies I watch on DVD; I’ve got a fairly good set-up at home. Then, the more intellegent films, I dont really need to see on a big screen, I feel.

The noise of audience members really has got to me. I’m a fairly, eh, easily upset type… The slightest noise six rows away just lights my fuse. it never annoyed THAT much before, but lately, I just cant handle it. I go beserk, and run straight out for the manager the second I see a cell phone glow. This is the sort of stress I was told to avoid.

A trip to the cinema costs 8 euro here… Heck, I can rent the DVD for four. And Hardship (T.M.) can watch it too. A saving of 12 euro, not counting driving to the cinema, popcorn, drinks…

Basically, if I saw a movie in the cinema that I liked, I’d end up buying the DVD, watching it WHEN i like, how I like. I dont mind the pause button problem… I used to hate running out of a screening to piss, coming back to find everyones jaw on the floor at some revelation that I missed. Pause button equals perfect kidneys in later life.

It’s a pity, as the cinema used to be such a beloved pastime… now, I schedule trips based on when the crowds will be smallest, and go to movies that will have the least amount of teenagers. I used to go anytime at all. Now, I just cant be bothered.

Yup! Another good time to go. Church time. Try 10 or 11am movies on Sunday.

Not so good in a bigger city, but small towns? Before I moved back home from my 9 month exile in the Bible Belt Buckle of texas, my mom and I used to go on Sunday mornings. We were usually the only ones there.

The company I used to work for (too many at my new company) used to go to the movies on Friday afternoons at about 1 or 2. Since it was a work day for most people, we’d pretty much have the theatre to ourselves. And get in for matinee prices.

I agree. Most movies these days are utter crap.

Here in San Diego (well, a bit south of the city proper) there’s a drive-in theater where you can see two movies for a total of $5 per person. Great for dates, especially for raunchy dates, but just great in general when you don’t want to pay out your arse to see a movie. The snacks aren’t too expensive, either, and there are Mexican snacks and drinks in the concession stand–the latter is more a geography thing than anything else, of course, but it’s not something you’d see in an AMC no matter where it is.

Easy. I worked at a theater last summer. It was the worst job I’ve ever had, and the management was heinous.

Its hard to enjoy a movie now without noticing all the garbage and whatnot that some poor kid is gonna have to clean up after these slobs leave. And don’t get me started on theater sanitation…

Now, I have Netflix.

Yeah those bastards are digging their own graves. Higher ticket prices, extremely high drink & popcorn prices, COMMERCIALS before the movie! WTF?

I like going to the movies, I think watching a movie in a theatre is generally better than at home. I don’t normally have trouble with the crowd’s behavior in my area either. But it’s just a huge expense these days, especially if you try and treat 2 or 3 other people. And the commercials really piss me off, I hate sitting there like sheep watching Coke commercials (start your blog at mycoke.com, oooooh! I’ll go do that right now.) START THE FUCKING MOVIE ALREADY!