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Do you own a movie theatre?

December 10, 2005

I have a small television, don’t have cable, and occasionally watch movies on DVD. So it’s a mystery to me what drives sales of the giant televisions and multi-speaker home theatre systems you see in stores.  Or at least, it was a mystery until I read this comment on a thread about the Narnia movie, over on SEB:

Ulfrekr writes: “So I am sitting here at 10:48, having just gone to a 9:45 showing of “Narnia”. How, you may ask, do I find myself at home a mere hour after the movie started? Well, it’s a sad story. See, some brain trust decided it would be a good idea to bring their 2-year-old kid to a late show on opening night. As a further display of their parental prowess, they decided to sit in the front row of the theater and give their child indulgent looks as he repeatedly tried to jump onto the front railing, giving a little yelp each time. Before long, even the obnoxious teenagers who had started the movie clearly intent on talking through it had shut up and started glaring at this kid. But it gets better. Not content with merely irritating 150 people five times his size, the little prodigy decided…”

It gets worse; MUCH worse as the parents strive to be more obnoxious than their kid.  If you own a movie theater, you should read the whole thing to see why people are willing to spend so much on hardware so they don’t have to put up with this kind of crap.  (There’s quite a bit of well-deserved profanity in the comment)

Every time I see a movie, I have to deal with lesser examples of the kind of behavior Ulfrekr describes.  I also see, on screen, announcements that say; “Please be considerate of other patrons”.  What does that even mean, anyway?  Apparently you have to spell it out.  I suggest a series of live-action PSA’s to be shown right before each movie.  They should be produced by big-name movie-producers, who after all, have an interest in the movie theater industry:

(Tough-looking guy in leather jacket shoves noisy patron out the emergency exit of a theater.  They are now standing in the alley, with urban noises in the background.  Tough guy has Brooklyn accent)
TG:“Hey, what the hell is wrong with you?”  (shoves patron, who trips over garbage)  “Everybody else in there paid for their ticket same as you.  They weren’t payin’ to hear your sorry voice!”
NP: (looking around for help – there is none)  “I – I – hey, I…”
TG:  “Not so talkative now, are you?  You’re pathetic!  If you want people to pay to hear your voice in a movie theater, take acting lessons and suck up to movie producers.  Otherwise, SHUT… UP!!”
(Cut to TG extracting NP’s cell phone and stomping it as NP wets his pants)

There should be a number of rotating scripts so it isn’t the same PSA every time.  They could do ones about kids, talking, cell-phones, and so on.  They could even use famous movie characters: superheroes, Hannibal Lechter, Happy Gilmore, The Punisher, each trying to enjoy a movie and straightening out noisy patrons.  If you make them entertaining enough, people would email them around on the web and the valuable message of “Shut your pie hole when you’re in the theater!” would spread.

In a Halloween PSA, Freddy Kreuger is trying to enjoy a movie when someone in the row in front of him is talking on a cell phone.  He messily dispatches them and goes back to watching the movie.  As blood runs down the sloping floor, someone several rows below whispers to his date; “I hate how the floor is always sticky in movie theaters!”

Categories: Stupidity
  1. Brock
    December 10, 2005 at 10:54 | #1

    Brilliant idea, DOF! These Public Service Announcements would work so well that audiences would police themselves.

    “Hey Jerk! Didn’t you see that kid on the screen talking on his cell phone and ruining the movie for everybody else? Take a break in the lobby with that crap or take a break from me. Which do you prefer, an arm or a leg break?”

    Okay, maybe responses wouldn’t be this dramatic but PSA’s would certainly inform movie viewers of their rights in imminent fashion.

    Now if we could only allow those college boys to sit side by side instead of putting a seat between them, we wouldn’t have to listen to them remarking to each other: “Kick ass movie dude. I worship Van Dame!”

  2. Ulfrekr
    December 10, 2005 at 16:50 | #2

    This is seriously a great idea, you should figure out who to pitch it to. “I hate how the floor is always sticky in movie theaters!” ROTFL!

    But Brock, if the college boys sit together, people might think they’re DATING! Dun dun DUNNNNNNN

  3. December 12, 2005 at 06:27 | #3

    One good thing (of many) about living in a small city like ours is that we all know each other.  If I don’t know you directly, I know someone who knows you.  So public humiliation is still practiced.  If you act up during a movie in our theater, one of the ushers will tap you on the shoulder and ask you to please leave.  No warning, no second chances.  I’ve seen it happen only a few times; we behave because we know what will happen if we don’t.  And if we get kicked out of a movie, the whole town will know, too.

  4. December 12, 2005 at 16:58 | #4

    Great idea.  I especially like the one with Freddy LOL.

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