Waiting in lines

I just read this pit thread and was completely flabbergasted by the OP. Probably not for the same reason as everyone else, though. It was this line:

People will actually leave home at 4:00 for a 7:30 movie? I can’t even imagine doing this. Sometimes I’ll buy a ticket in advance, go have dinner, and then wait at the theater for 15 or 20 minutes until the movie starts. If there’s a really exciting movie that’s not showing here, I might drive an hour to see it in the nearest large city, but I simply can’t conceive of a movie I’d stand in line 2 hours for.

Is that kind of time commitment acceptable for you when you want to see a movie?

Not me. I refuse to stand in line very long for just about anything. I think the longest I’ve stood in line lately was 1 hour to see Kevin Smith at ComicCon.

I think the most I’ve stood in line was over an hour, just to get tickets. Fortunately in Korea we have assigned seating. (The movie in question was the second Matrix movie.) We got in line at around 7am to watch the 8am screening, but by the time it was 8am we were only halfway through. Ironically the tickets for the 8am one never sold out, but the ones for the next screening were long gone by the time we got to the booth. And I didn’t even like the stupid movie.

I think we also stood in line for about 40 minutes when Charlie and the Chocolate Factory opened in theaters. This was for seats (in an Edinburgh cinema).

There are very few things I’d wait 2 hours for.

I once drove from Glens Falls, NY to Boston MA to see Lawrence of Arabia at the Coolidge Corners theater. (Link added in a shameless desire to perpetuate the viewing of films in a desireable environment, even though I don’t get there any more).I suppose if you’re willing to spend 8 hours round trip driving to see a 3 and 3/4 hour movie youve pretty much admitted that you’d be willing to stand in line for quite a while for the right movie.

I saw Lawrence at the Coolidge Corner; I wonder if we were at the same show. Was that about 7 or 8 years ago? I can’t remember if it ran multiple nights or just one.

About 10 minutes is my limit. If the theater is going to be so crowded that the line is longer than that, I’d rather wait and see it later.

i once variously stood, sat, crouched, kneeled, stood, crouched, stood, kneeled, stood, kneeled, stood, remained standing, leaned, lent, stood, kneeled, & stood in a line for over 23 hours only to find myself within the first half-dozen…

… of people who were too late for tickets to a tragically hip show.

For a normal movie, no I’d never wait that long. But I thought that pit thread was about [what she thought would be] a free preview screening. Those are usually overbooked so if you show up 20 min before showtime odds are there will be no more seats.

I have waited for hours at a time for rush tickets to a few Broadway shows however. But in that case I end up paying $20 for seats that normally cost $110-$135 and are usually front row.

Since it’s possible that some people will only click on that link to read the OP and not the rest of the thread, I would like those people to know that I did change my mind about the “not paying for Warner Brothers movies” bit once I had cooled off. It also turned out that I wasn’t so far off to hope that it would be a free sneak preview showing of I Am Legend at the IMAX with the 6- minute Dark Knight footage in front, because there have and are screenings of exactly that. I’m going to one myself tonight.

As Eyebrows 0f Doom surmised, sneak previews are very different from regular movie showings. The studios do overbook to try and insure a full theater. To pull some example figures out of my backside, say the sneak will be in a theater that has 200 seats. The studio will give out 1000 passes! That’s just a guess, but they do everything they can to overbook. If it’s a movie that no one’s heard of, the theater might still be half empty, but for any movie that has any kind of buzz, such as now right as Awards season is starting, it’s going to be 100% full.

I’ve been late to two recent screenings. The first was a freebie of I’m Not There by Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven). I got in line 45 minutes in advance and the line was incredible! Only half the people who were there got in. Luckily, it wasn’t a complete loss. Everyone left in line got a free pass to a really good film called The Orphanage. A few days later there was a screening of Lions For Lambs, and again I got in line late, even though it was an hour before the screening, and the theater was full long before I got anywhere near the front. I lucked out again though, because there was a free screening of August Rush happening at the same time, and that theater wasn’t full, so they allowed everyone left in line to go to the August Rush screening.

I ended up paying to go see I’m Not There and Lions For Lambs after they opened anyway, so it worked out, because I might not have otherwise gone to see The Orpahange and August Rush, both of which I liked (especially The Orpahange, which was made even cooler because the director and the screenwriter were there to answer questions after the movie). Still, I was kicking myself. In both cases it happened that I had gone to the theater earlier, but instead of waiting in line, I went to see other movies. I picked earlier showings so I would have time to get back down to the lobby and in line for the sneaks, but in both cases I didn’t allow enough time. That taught me to be there earlier, and to not go see a movie prior to the sneak.

The I Am Legend screening tonight is going to be massively overbooked and very popular, because not only is it a Will Smith action movie, it’s actually getting amazing reviews too, so yeah, I’m going to be there at least 2 1/2 hours early (and at least I’ll know for sure this time that I’ll be seeing more than a 6-minute preview of a Batman movie).

I never mind waiting in line as long as I have something to read.

Usually we don’t have to get to a movie theater for a paid screening early. We sit up front, which is most people’s last choice, so it’s rare that we can’t get exactly the seats we want. We did get to the theater 4 hours early for Trilogy Tuesday* though, because we wanted very specific seats not up front (center, right behind the railing of the stadium section…which we wanted so that if we had to go to the bathroom or whatever during the all-day marathon, we wouldn’t have to climb over other people, we could just climb over the railing).

bob_loblaw, sorry to hear about your trials. I’ve done that for a concert, sat out all night first to buy tickets for a show that ended up selling out within minutes, then sat out all night the night before the show itself, because it was general admission and I wanted to be up front, but at least I did get tickets and get in. I’m too old for that crap now. I’d only do it now for a Kate Bush concert, which means I’ll never have to do it since she never tours.

  • Trilogy Tuesday, for those who aren’t Lord of the Rings geeks, was a showing of the extended version of Fellowship of the Ring, followed by a showing of the extended version of The Two Towers, which was then followed by the first showing ever of Return of the King. Yes, we loved every second of it!

No. I usually go to the matinée. If I think it still might be busy and I want to see it, I’ll go early and take a book. Since I love to read it all works out. But I won’t stand in line. I’ll wait a week and see it, or wait for DVD.

Wow, that is tragic.

How’s your hip after all that standing?


I think it was close to five years ago in the late winter/early spring.

I thought the reviews sounded amazing too (which were quoted in the commercials) but looking at the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes even though it’s at 80% most reviewers thought the action scenes were B-movie schlocky.

The only Movie theater available to My Wife and I is a 45 minute drive away. We usually have an early lunch and then see a matinee. Maybe 6 times a year. Because we always give ourselves plenty of time, and we like very specific seats in this particular theater we will often arrive a half hour early.

But we have our seats. We will visit, read the paper or whatever. I absolutely hate standing in lines.

What blew me away about the other thread is this line –

Wow. That’s a lot of movies.

Aside from the midnight premier of Attack of the Clones, the only time I’ve had to wait in line for a movie is maybe 10 minutes at the crappy local theater with only one ticket stand. If there was a line more than 10 minutes, I’d probably leave.

On the other hand, I am perfectly willing to spend two+ hours in line for some of the roller coasters at Cedar Point.

For a regular screening, earliest I’ll show up is 15-20 minutes from showtime - plenty of time to breeze in, find a seat and settle down, but not so long that I’ll be bored stupid.

However, when it’s Film Festival time here in Toronto, it’s an entirely different story. The Boy and I order advance tickets, wait in line to pick them up (usually an hour or two), and then show up at least 1 hour in advance of each movie so we could be sure to get seats together. A couple of times, we’ve also spent 2+ hours waiting in rush lines to see movies we couldn’t get advance tix for, since they sometimes will only let in a handful of people from rush (if any).

I’ve seen some people wait 3+ hours in some cases, especially for the cult films in the Midnight Madness series or some of the more controversial/anticipated picks (in fact, lineups for evening screening of Borat at last year’s festival started in the morning!)