by Adam Riske
For years, movie theater chains have been trying to figure out how to please their customer base. With an addition here and an addition there, theaters have become almost unrecognizable compared to just ten years ago. It’s my opinion that they’ve gotten much worse, and not for reasons like rising ticket prices or chatty moviegoers. It’s gotten to the point where it takes actual effort to seek out and find a “missionary” (i.e. normal) presentation of a movie. And that sucks.
Last week I went to my neighborhood theater to see Ouija: Origin of Evil. I hadn’t been to that theater in two months and I had heard they went through some refurbishments. I was curious, so I walked over for a movie. The theater has been one of those dine-in places for years, and while I was not a fan of it initially, I’ve grown used to it over time. As I headed into the auditorium, I noticed a sign near the door that said that to purchase food I should now go to the concession stand. No big deal, so I did. They had a dinner menu in addition to concessions, so I ordered a burger. Keep in mind I came about 20 minutes before my movie started. They gave me my drink when I paid, but for my burger I got a pager that would go off when my food was ready. They instructed me that when my pager went off I should go to the lobby and someone would walk over and bring me my food. I thought that was weird, but ok. My pager then goes off five minutes after the actual movie starts (not the previews) and I had to miss part of my movie as a result. Plus, the pager lit up like a Lite Brite and started audibly buzzing while in the darkened theater. I felt terrible. That’s so distracting for anyone around me.
One more story, and this is more a personal gripe than anything. Have you noticed that every AMC Theaters location is beginning to look the exact same way? There used to be some variance, but now it’s become this mass homogenization. Everything’s red and the theaters are in these weird cube looking things that only seat a few dozen people instead of hundreds like before when it was stadium seating. It’s not the end of the world, but it doesn’t feel like a movie theater anymore. It’s more like being in a gumball machine. This all seemed to start when AMC introduced those talking AMC Amazing dots during their pre-show. I’m now realizing that was when they stormed the beach. Now they’ve won the war. We’re full dot.
Am I crazy or has going to the movies gotten a lot worse?