by Adam Riske
10. Why do movie theaters play a movie to an empty auditorium? I’ve heard before that it’s due to some sort of contractual obligation between the theater and the studios but, seriously theaters, who is going to tell on you? Save the planet.
9. Why is 70mm a big deal? I recently attended a screening of Vertigo at the Music Box Theatre during their 70mm festival. I was unimpressed. Is this just a case of me being jaded? Do I need to see something in 80mm to “get it?” Was the picture quality special? Yes and no. It looked good BUT the theater was uncomfortably full (making for a claustrophobic “sitting on an airplane” atmosphere) and all I could think about at the screening was how I would rather be at home watching the movie on Blu-ray and stretching out. The option of watching a movie in my boxers trumps any presentation option for me these days. This has become my new barometer for going to a movie: “is it worth putting my pants on?” What is wrong with me?
Zootopia in IMAX 3D. The movie starts and the 3D was not working so I watched the movie without the 3D glasses on and it was perfectly fine – not blurry or anything. When you would watch the movie through the 3D glasses, one lens was clear and the other one was so dark you couldn’t see through it. When I was walking out of the theater, the manager gave me and my guest a coupon so we could come back for free next time. It was a nice gesture but her explanation confused me. She said “this is because the IMAX didn’t work.” Um, wait, what? That sentence makes so little sense that it almost goes back around its axis and makes sense. The IMAX is a screen. Zootopia filled the IMAX screen so the IMAX did work. The 3D didn’t work. But how is that possible? Isn’t the film print/DCP transfer in some way 3D? What the fuck is going on??!!
6. Who picks what trailers go before a movie? Is it the studios or the movie theaters? Who decided that seven trailers before a movie is a good idea? It used to be five, but now it seems that seven is the standard. And why is it not consistent? For example, I could go see 10 Cloverfield Lane at 1:00 at one theater and then go back to the same theater at 7:00 and see a completely different set of trailers. Whose job is this to be the trailer picker?
5. Why do movies play for a single screening at a movie theater? Why not just kick it the hell out? What difference is that one screening going to make? I understand it from the standpoint that you might play Kung Fu Panda 3 all day in an auditorium but not want to show it at 9:00 because no kids will go see it at 9:00 so instead you play How to be Single at 9:00 (when adults are more likely to show up) but other than that I just don’t get it. Who decides “ok, Hail, Caesar, you are on thin ice but we’ll give you one screening a day for a week and then we’re done, ok?” Just break up with it! I especially don’t get it when that single screening is at, like, 5:25pm. What kind of passive aggressive bullshit is that? If you don’t like it, then don’t put a ring on it.
4. Speaking of 5:25pm, who decides what times movies play at? I know it has something to do with maximizing the number of shows you can have per day based on the movie’s run time but still…why 5:25pm or 3:05pm? Round that shit, son! Every movie should play on the half hour. Otherwise, it’s a world predicated on chaos.
3. Who decides how many days it takes for a movie to go from first-run to second-run? Why do some second-run theaters get movies before other second-run theaters? How do I get this job? Is it the studio that just gives up on the movie and dumps it? Are the second-run theaters just at the mercy of the first-run theaters on when they are done with a movie? Who picks how many days before it goes on digital or Blu-ray? Why were some movies at Blockbuster $4.99 PVT and others $9.99?
Spotlight in a first-run theater? Don’t get me wrong, I love Spotlight and want everyone to see it, but why is it still in theaters? It has been out on digital and Blu-ray for over a month! Who is still paying full price to see it in a theater? Do they just not know it’s available at home for less money? I want to go into a theater playing Spotlight and just pass out Blu-rays of the movie to these people and say “it’s ok.” And it’s not like it’s just a few people either. Spotlight made almost $1M this weekend in theaters. It had a $1,130 per screen average. Say at four showtimes a day for three days (Friday through Sunday) and at $10 for an average ticket…that’s like 10 people per screening that are still doing this. That shit’s crazy!