Why I’m Not Going to the Movies Today

It’s a national holiday with an impending weekend to follow. Deb says, “Let’s go to the movies” and I open the paper this morning and scan the options in Bridgeport, Fairfield, Norwalk, Milford, and Stamford. All these towns have one or more multiplexes so we figured there would be options aplenty. Our hope was to finally catch Men in Black 3. Ha.

Everything that opened in May, with the exception of The Avengers, is gone. We’re left with almost identical choices in five nearby communities, most of which we’re uninterested in and what’s left, Deb only wants to see one or two of them…at home.

It used to be we’d go several times a month and catch many of our desired choices during their initial runs. I’d insist we be there in plenty of time not only for choice seats but the trailers. During the 10-20 minutes of trailers, we’d watch and then immediate rate the forthcoming feature as “must see”, “pass”, or “cable”. Lately, “cable” has become “rental” but there was always something we felt deserved our money and watching on the big screen.

Having written about the business of movies, I have long known that the wide release pattern means movies make their biggest splash in just a few weeks, but the length of time these features play in first run has dramatically shrunk. Now, it’s see it within the first two weeks of release or it becomes a crap shoot.

Our local Community Theater, a haven for independent films or second run features, closed its doors last fall, robbing us of a treasure but also a chance to catch what we missed elsewhere.

As we have shifted from frequent to more casual moviegoers, this is now forcing us to reconsider our viewing patterns. As I scanned today’s options, it became increasingly likely we’d not be spending our money at the cinema, instead choosing to catch up with recorded material on the DVR or one of our unwatched Blu-ray discs.

The big, larger-than-life extravaganzas like MIB3 will work best on the silver screen but studios and theater owners have seen to it that will not happen. It’s their loss and it could be why recent polls have shown that frequent moviegoing has been reduced to something like 3% of the population. Everyone loses this way and that’s a real shame.

3 comments

  • Mike Flynn

    Well, Bob, we’re old. We aren’t the consumers the studios are aiming for. I guess I was lucky to catch MIB3 in theater a couple of days ago (and I DO recommend it). As proof that you and I no longer matter — TED.

  • Bob

    Amen, Brother Greenberger…
    Julie and I still are fortunate to havea second-run multiplex near home, but even there, le list of crap is overwhelming…”Battleship”? Please…
    “Hunger Games” finally showed there, which I thought was okay, but the women did not altogether enjoy. Saw “Prometheus” twice in regular theater, and will probably go again whn the discount theater gets it. But, you’re right. There are certain movies you just don’t get the same spectacle out of on a small screen, so waiting for home video really isn’t an option. I found this to be true with “War Horse”. Spielberg painted such wonderful story and images on a tremendous canvas, but it seems so muted, even on a 40 inch screen. It’s why I’ll still fight to see certain films in a theatre. Next up will likely be “Dark Knight Rises”.

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