Seeing a movie in an empty theater

Well, almost empty. Caught the 11AM showing of Jeepers Creepers 2 yesterday, and there were pehaps 6 other people in the place. Now, the movie itself wasn’t all that great (and I didn’t expect anything more than a summer horror flick)–BUT, how nice it was not to hear anyone talking, no cell phones, no fussing or whining children!

Is this the only way one can expect to see a movie on the big screen without all those types of distractions? By that, I mean, go to the first show on a weekday during the school year, and pick a movie like JC2?


Maybe so.

I sometimes go to film series at Webster University in Webster Groves, Missouri even though the “theater” there is in an old chapel, and doesn’t have a slanting floor. The politeness–and silence–of the audience more than made up for seeing the backs of people’s heads along the bottom of the screen.

Generally the crowds at art museums, university film societies, etc. are well-behaved.

There was one time, though, when I went to see the original Diabolique, with Simone Signoret. This was famous as the film where no one would be seated in the last ten minutes of the film. Like a number of other classic films-- B]The Sting**, for instance–if you haven’t seen the last couple of minutes of the movie, you haven’t seen the movie. It is a wonderful movie.

It was with considerable annoyance, then, that I had to listen to two older couples–about seventy–as they began talking loudly and laughing towards the end of the movie, going on about how they didn’t like it. As I walked past them in the lobby later, I overheard one of the men criticizing the “stupid” end of the film. I then realized that they had all been so busy being smart asses that they had missed the twist ending of the film. It would be like going to see Citizen Kane and complaining later that they never explained what “Rosebud” meant.

Twice I have actually been the only person in a theater when a movie played. The first was the film Roxy with Glenn Close. It was not a bad little movie, but it bombed at the box office. The movie was maybe a third over when my eyes had adjusted to the darkness sufficiently to realize I was the only person there. It was a small theater in a big multiplex.

The other movie was at a fairly large theater which generally served as an art house. Years ago John Hughes wrote a very funny story which took up an entire issue of The National Lampoon. When I heard that Robert Altman had directed a film version, I rushed to see it. As I bought my ticket, the cashier said “you do know it’s O.C. and Stiggs that’s playing, don’t you?”.

This is what I get for ignoring reviews. It stunk on ice. I saw it when it had been playing for maybe three days. It was the last screening there.

I got to see Matrix Reloaded with only 6 other people in the theater. 3 of those 6 was my family. Very nice. Of course this was 2 or 3 weeks after it opened, and on a weeknight.

When Star Wars first came out I took a couple of kids to see it on the Fourth of July (IIRC). There were about 6 people in the theatre. That’s the only time I’ve been so lucky.

I’ve had two occurances with empty theatres.

The first was to go see the movie Bean. And afterwards I knew why.

The second was seeing The Blair Witch Project. I was one of the last people to see that movie. It was after all the hype while it was still at the cheap, dollar movies.
In both cases I was the only one there.

I saw “Scream” and I was the only one in the theater. I would’ve been creeped out, but the movie was incredibly stupid.

I went to see Seabiscuit shortly after it opened, for the Saturday 3:30 showing, and discovered it was sold out. There was another showing at 4:00, so I bought a ticket for that, wandered the mall till it was time, and went in…

To find an almost deserted theater. By the time the movie started, the house was still not even a quarter full. Go figure.

It was nice not to have the usual distractions, but at the end of the match race sequence, my audience just clapped. I’ve heard other audiences actually cheered, and it would have been fun to be part of that.

I used to go to movies constantly at off-peak times, but the only time I can recall actually being alone in the theatre was at an early afternoon showing of Bones (Snoop Dogg’s entree into teen horror).

Friday mornings are good, if you live in a neighborhood without seniors. Monday late shows are also good. Still, I dream of becoming such good friend with Brad Pitt that I’m allowed to come and enjoy his private screening room any time. (Jenn need never know.)

[hijack]Ted Mann and Todd Carroll (F4 for either name) created O.C. and Stiggs.The National Lampoon has a great deal of the wonder and magic online .[/hijack]

Mondays are the best day to work at the theatre-barely anybody comes. Friday matinees often start off slow, but any day during the week is good unless the theatre you go to has some sort of special to attract people during the week (mine let’s people get containers that they bring in filled up with popcorn for 55 cents). After I got off work one night I saw Dark Blue with Curt Russel. It was a good movie, but people didn’t see it and thus I was the only one in the theatre. There was also one day when I was working as an usher and (as usual) no one was in Gigli and so I went in and sat for 10 minutes at a time. It was mainly to rest and get away from people, seeing as it was an awful movie.

Friend of mine and I went to see Bram Stoker’s Dracula on opening night, but it was sold out. We didn’t want to go home without a movie, so we went to Under Seige with Steven Seagal instead. We were the only two in the theater. Had the best time making fun of the movie, MST3K style.

I went to see The Adventures of Baron Munchausen in a fit of self-pity after a bad scene with a boyfriend. Everyone else on the planet was apparently at the Seattle Film festival showings elsewhere in the neighborhood. I realized no one else was going to be there and by the time credits started to roll, I decided to let go and have a real good Holly-Hunter-in-Broadcast-News-style cry… and then the movie started and it was funny and I felt lots better.

Yay for very silly people who go travelling in balloons made of underwear! Yay for Terry Gilliam! Yay for empty theaters, too. But I saw Earth Girls are Easy a few weeks later in the very same theater, and it was packed, and it was great.

So no, I have no real point… what?

Saw The Mummy in a shopping center theater on really dreary and chilly weekday. I think Star Wars Episode 1 had just come out. I was the only person in the theater.

I found it oddly creepy. I usually arrive early and go to the front. I never looked behind me until 1/2 through the movie and realised it was an empty theater.

My thought “This is how horror movies start…”

The first time I saw Chicago it was December, and I saw it at the Ziegfeld in NYC where it had premiered. It was so crowded we bought tickets around noon and even then my boyfriend and I couldn’t sit together.

When I saw it again, in May, there were three other people at the Sutton with me. On a Friday night. And the Sutton’s depressing enough already.

I saw Moonstruck when it was first run in an otherwise unoccupied theater at 7:00 on a weekday.

A long time ago I went to see Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown. As the movie was about to start(and I was still the only person in the theater) one of the employees came in and asked me if they had to run the show for just one person.

I said “Yes”. If I had first been offered my money back, or a ticket to another show, or if the person asking had used a politer tone of voice, I probably would have said “No”. So they showed the film, and a couple of minutes into it two more people came in.

This happened three to me, and I think it was because of the theater. It was a very nice Regal (before the company began buying everything in the area), but at least 12 of the 16 screens always had kiddy movies. If you needed to see Spy Kids 15 times a day, this was the place.

Anyway, that’s why I think that this particular theater was always empty. A friend and I say Bicentenial Man there by ourselves, and Any Given Sunday had perhaps 6 people in the room half an hour in, and I’m sure that two of them were workers in the theater.

The other time was a Wednesday at 11:00 am, and I saw The Score in an empty theater - aside from one other person, who sat directly behind me. I kept expecting to get mugged during the credits.

Oh, and my mother tells me that we went to see An American Tail in en empty theater, which was okay because my brother and I could go tearing around the aisles withoug worrying about bothering other people.

I often go to the movies midweek during the day. My favourite cinema is the Reading complex at Auburn which is on a main road not at a shopping centre and has poor patronage considering the standard of the cinemas. Often I see films with less than 10 people but have not yet seen one alone. When I saw Way of the Gun there was 1 other viewer who was gone when the movie ended but I don’t know when he walked out.

The projectionist at one local complex told me he sometimes runs films during the day to empty cinemas. They just show it regardless of whether any tickets are sold.

When I saw Mom and Dad Save the World I was the only person in the theater. Ten minutes after the movie started, I realized why I was the only person there.

I sat thru it anyway.