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Movie Going Experiences

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I think my best moviegoing experience was going to see Superman IV with a good buddy. The movie was pure crap and everyone knew it, so the audience started treating it like a Rocky Horror showing and interacting with the screen. At the end when they showed Superman flying off in space I yelled "Finally, a decent effects shot!" and my friend shot back "Yeah, because they stole the clip from the first movie!"

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My two favorite experiences were 1) My first IMAX show at Navy Pier in Chicago.  It was "Flight" or some such.  Just gorgeous and thrilling.  2) The original Star Wars.  

 

I was mightily pissed that I was stuck in the front row, but given that everything was basically sold out for the first few days, It was either put up with it, or miss out.  So, the story scroll begins.  Awesome effect, made better by the fact I was looking straight up.  Then...that menacing low hum and the massive Imperial destroyer is slowly revealed.  Bigger.  And bigger.  And BIGGER.  Holy crap!  Again, the moment was actually enhanced by being in the front.   What irony.  Yes, it is the only time I've sat up front and enjoyed it.

 

The best overall experiences I had were definitely at the Arclight in Sherman Oaks, on the site of the late, lamented, Galleria.  They always had a display of actual costuming and/or set designs for various contemporary films to look at.  I also loved looking out at the 405 Freeway as it meets the 101 (the famed Ventura highway).  I always thought of the final shot in "Valley Girl" (helicopter positioned just to the North and West of my perspective at the Arclight).   Having guaranteed seats was a yooge upgrade, and I enjoyed the loyalty program benefits, too.  Oh, there is a Cheesecake Factory restaurant within a few yards of that theater, one level below.  Yuuuuuum.

Edited by Lonesome Rhodes

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I'm one of those that likes to watch in silence, so I wouldn't be happy at the "shout at the screen" showings. I've only caught part of Rocky Horror Picture Show on TV, which I know isn't the way to enjoy it, but I'm not sure I'd seek it out in theaters either. I've generally been lucky at avoiding the squirmy kids and texters, but not so much with the running commentators. This past summer I turned around and shushed someone who seemed as though she was going to talk through the movie. Fortunately she shut up without an argument. As much as I agree with the gripes about Kids Today And Their Phones, I find it's usually the older people who are the gabbiest. I don't mean the "What did she say?" people who can't hear, but those who have a comment about every scene. I'm wondering if this has been others' experience.

 

Conversely, there have been times I've been the only one in the theater. It was pleasant in a way to avoid the talkers, texters, eaters, etc. but also kind of eerie.

 

Despite the annoyances, I still enjoy moviegoing. I wouldn't have liked Avatar or Gravity if I'd tried to watch them at home. Now I want to find a theater still playing Interstellar. I haven't had time to go to a first run movie since September, and I'm hoping to get caught up before Oscar night.

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The theater I go to has a large marquee above the ticket booths which shows the movies and the times.  Yesterday when I went, half of the marquee was blanked out, so I told the lady when I bought my ticket.  She told me, "Thank you, I'll have to tell them that.  That comes from Texas."

 

They transmit the movies and times from Texas to a theater in Northern California?

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Is the theatre part of a chain?  If so, maybe all locations are handled from one central place.  In which case, in this day and age, I'm amazed it's done from someplace in the US.

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I saw Kick-Ass at a large theater in downtown Toronto.  The movie was shot in Toronto and in one scene, the characters go see a movie.  We watch them on-screen, walking in the front doors of the same theater we were all in.  The giggle in the crowd was really nice.  Only lasted a second, but everyone was looking around in a "Did you catch that?" way.

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I went to the six, seventh and eight midnight releases of HP. It was definitely worth the experience, especially the last one. A lot of people were in costumes and they handed out 3D Harry Potter glasses. It was nice to watch it with a group that had  out loud reactions. Like when Molly Weasley said her famous line "not my daughter you bitch!" the whole room cheered. We also all booed for Twilight when a preview was shown.

 

One thing I was suprised though, was a lot of people brought there young kids (who were like seven). While they behaved, I couldn't imagine that the parents knew how dark Deathly Hollows was as a book. Plus it wasn't going to let out until at least 3am.

Edited by blueray

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So in the theater today they ran an add for a phone app called "Run Pee".  This app apparently lets you know when a down point occurs in the move you're watching so you can run to the bathroom.

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Learn how to dehydrate. I usually go a day or two on minimal water, sip lightly while I'm there, then rehydrate afterwards. That seems more convenient not just to me but to everyone else whose legs I don't have to scramble past.

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So in the theater today they ran an add for a phone app called "Run Pee".  This app apparently lets you know when a down point occurs in the move you're watching so you can run to the bathroom.

I must have this!  I feel like I could not take a drink for hours before start time and still end up having to go so bad I couldn't possibly hold it till the end of the movie.

 

 

That seems more convenient not just to me but to everyone else whose legs I don't have to scramble past.

I always pick an end seat if its available because I know that I'll be leaving the theater at least once during a movie. I hate having to shuffle past everyone.

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I saw Kick-Ass at a large theater in downtown Toronto.  The movie was shot in Toronto and in one scene, the characters go see a movie.  We watch them on-screen, walking in the front doors of the same theater we were all in.  The giggle in the crowd was really nice.  Only lasted a second, but everyone was looking around in a "Did you catch that?" way.

 

Something similar happened to me when I saw Final Fantasy:Spirits Within. The movie starts with a bunch of space marines landing in a post-apocalyptic Times Square. It's a search mission, and as they worked their way down the block, we realized that the burnt out shell of a building they were in was the theater we were watching the movie in.

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Learn how to dehydrate. I usually go a day or two on minimal water, sip lightly while I'm there, then rehydrate afterwards. That seems more convenient not just to me but to everyone else whose legs I don't have to scramble past.

 

You have the process down to a science! I usually try to go before I leave home, and I rarely, if ever, buy anything to drink while I'm at the theater unless it's a cinebistro.  But I also go for end seats whenever possible.  In addition, I usually like to get there early enough to catch previews. Although these days, depending on the movie, the collection of previews is about as long as a feature film.  Feels like it, anyway.   

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Although these days, depending on the movie, the collection of previews is about as long as a feature film.  Feels like it, anyway.

It does!  I happen to love previews, though, so it doesn't bother me too much.  I like snacking while I'm watching movies, so I get the kids' pack with the really small drinks.  Then, I rush out really quick to go one last time between the last preview and the opening credits.

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To be honest, there are very few films I feel I need the full theatre experience for anymore. The only exception being that after I saw MockingJay at a near empty matinee I heard about others experience in a full theatre. One reported being in a theatre when the final scene of Peeta and Katniss confront each other and the results(you know, when that happened), someone in the center of the theatre got up and shouted "What the fuck!" Now I do wish I had been there.

Edited by raezen
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It does!  I happen to love previews, though, so it doesn't bother me too much.  I like snacking while I'm watching movies, so I get the kids' pack with the really small drinks.  Then, I rush out really quick to go one last time between the last preview and the opening credits.

 

I like them too. It just increases the possibility of a bathroom break, if not timed properly, ha!

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So in the theater today they ran an add for a phone app called "Run Pee".  This app apparently lets you know when a down point occurs in the move you're watching so you can run to the bathroom.

 

That's a good way to try to keep people from skipping out on refreshments, since theaters make most of their money through concessions.

 

I think I posted on TWoP about the time I left The Great Gatsby and overheard a guy complain to his date that he thought it was going to be about a magician. Apparently, he'd mixed it up with The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.

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Can cozy recliners save America’s movie theaters?

 

 

In the age of instant-streaming from Netflix and massive flatscreen TVs, America’s second-largest movie theater chain is betting on a more low-tech solution to boost business: crimson-colored reclining seats.

 

My local theater has had these seats for a couple of years, and they are awesome!

 

amc-recliner.jpeg?w=940

Edited by xaxat
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Can cozy recliners save America’s movie theaters?

 

 

My local theater has had these seats for a couple of years, and they are awesome!

 

amc-recliner.jpeg?w=940

 

My local AMC theater recently got these seats as well as they started putting up a sort of privacy wall on each row (so you can't see what is going on in the seats below you) its amazing!!

Edited by funkopop

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AMC and Regal are the major chains in my area, and this is exactly why I ALWAYS prefer AMC.   

 

So true. I wrote "my local theater" even though there are actually several in the area. But the others are not an option.

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So true. I wrote "my local theater" even though there are actually several in the area. But the others are not an option.

 

For the longest my family had always gone to the Cinemark Tinseltown in our neighborhood because the AMC was a little rundown.  I went to AMC a couple months ago after they made the upgrades and was raving to my mother about it practically begging her to give it a try.  She finally went and she says she may never go back to Tinseltown again.

Edited by funkopop

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Can cozy recliners save America’s movie theaters?

 

 

My local theater has had these seats for a couple of years, and they are awesome!

 

amc-recliner.jpeg?w=940

 

I'll be going there on Saturday to hopefully have a double feature of Minions and Inside Out. Being able to reserve a specific seat (so all seven of us can sit together) and it's super comfortable? Completely worth the 30 to 45 minute drive. It's the only theater we go to. 

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I did go to an IMAX movie at my AMC theater and the seats had not been changed.  I overheard two different sets of people discussing that it was in IMAX's contract with the theater to not have the seats changed.  Has anyone heard about this?

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All time best movie going experience was going to see The Exorcist with my GF at The Cinema Dome in Los Angeles. It was the day after Christmas, 1973 and the line was wrapped around the block. As someone said earlier, going to a horror movie with a packed audience was a great communal experience. The icing on the cake though was with the people in line with us, we had as much fun waiting to get in as we did in the theater.

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On Friday, I saw a movie at a VIP lounge Cineplex Odeon. It's the reclining seats mentioned above (black instead of red) with food and drinks service. I use to go to movies a lot, but in the last ten years, I just wait until the DVD release for most of my movies. I rarely go to movies anymore. I really liked the lounge. The seats are very comfortable and as someone who is not too tall, I can tuck my feet under. It feels more like watching a movie at home, but with the bigger screen and better sound. I liked that my friend and I could make comments during the movie; we were in the back and the sound was still loud enough to not disturb our neighbours. The food was not bad and not over inflated in price for the quality. I did like being served. I would totally do it again. On Tuesdays, the price is about the same as a regular movie. Maybe I will for big releases like Star Wars this Christmas. 

 

I like that movie theaters have upgraded for this kind of experience because movies face more competition with TV and streaming services. As someone who had fallen out of going to the cinema, this has changed my mind about going back a bit more.

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On Friday, I saw a movie at a VIP lounge Cineplex Odeon. It's the reclining seats mentioned above (black instead of red) with food and drinks service. I use to go to movies a lot, but in the last ten years, I just wait until the DVD release for most of my movies. I rarely go to movies anymore. I really liked the lounge. The seats are very comfortable and as someone who is not too tall, I can tuck my feet under. It feels more like watching a movie at home, but with the bigger screen and better sound. I liked that my friend and I could make comments during the movie; we were in the back and the sound was still loud enough to not disturb our neighbours. The food was not bad and not over inflated in price for the quality. I did like being served. I would totally do it again. On Tuesdays, the price is about the same as a regular movie. Maybe I will for big releases like Star Wars this Christmas. 

 

I like that movie theaters have upgraded for this kind of experience because movies face more competition with TV and streaming services. As someone who had fallen out of going to the cinema, this has changed my mind about going back a bit more.

 

Same here.  

 

My go-to theater has been a small, old place that used to be a porn theater about 30 years ago but now shows more independent-type releases. The seats are uncomfortable, but the movies are good (and if you do snacks, they make real popcorn and offer real butter if you want it, and sell cookies, Rice Krispie treats, gelato, etc. - but I digress.)  

 

When I went to see JAWS, it was in a newer theater (Cinemark,  I think) with stadium seating and plush, but not as cushy as pictured, seats that reclined a little.  So now I'm a little more willing to think about mainstream movies while they're in the theater.  They offer advance purchase ticketing too, which is a real convenience. 

Edited by harrie
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All time best movie going experience was going to see The Exorcist with my GF at The Cinema Dome in Los Angeles. It was the day after Christmas, 1973

 

I'd heard that the FX for that movie caused audience members to get violently ill (apparently puking up pea soup had never been done on screen before) and induced vomiting in auditoriums.  Did anything like that happen when you were there?  Or in area theatres?

 

Not long after I'd moved here, I used to enjoy going to the Gold Coast Hotel & Casino.  They had their own movie theatre which was subsidized by the gambling (this was before the casinos got bigger and started installing theatres in them).  Since they were independent, they showed all kinds of films (my favorite was seeing the re-release of "Spartacus" which had been restored with new footage) and best of all the snack bar was more than reasonable.  Only a buck for a giant container of popcorn!   Now, they're not independent anymore and most stand alone theatres disappeared with them.

 

We still have the old drive in theatre here - and I went there for years with friends and family.  To this day you get a double feature with every screen.  When I first started going, they still had the original speakers from the 50s/60s!  They've gone digital now, and the radio is needed to tune into your films, but the experience is still a fun one.

Edited by magicdog

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I've worked concessions at a movie theater for the past three months, and if I have to hear one more customer complain about paying 11 dollars for a small drink and small popcorn, I'm going to scream.

Edited by methodwriter85

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Not to induce said screaming, but why are concessions so expensive? Is that the primary way movie theaters generate profit now? I rarely buy concessions - I eat/drink before or after the film.  If I eat on site, it's because of in-theater dining.  If I'm paying a huge mark-up to eat, might as well have an actual meal in a super-comfy recliner.   

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Not to induce said screaming, but why are concessions so expensive? Is that the primary way movie theaters generate profit now? I rarely buy concessions - I eat/drink before or after the film.  If I eat on site, it's because of in-theater dining.  If I'm paying a huge mark-up to eat, might as well have an actual meal in a super-comfy recliner.

My local theatre is stationed right next to a dollar store. I would be very surprised to hear if they made any money from food at all.

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I'd heard that the FX for that movie caused audience members to get violently ill (apparently puking up pea soup had never been done on screen before) and induced vomiting in auditoriums.  Did anything like that happen when you were there?  Or in area theatres?

I went to see The Exorcist with my husband in 1973.  A lady sitting directly behind him puked on the back of his neck, and then jumped up and ran away.  Her husband/BF apologized and then left, too.   I heard puking going on elsewhere in the theater, too.

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Security increases at movie theaters. Are metal detectors next?

 

While these efforts are well intentioned, I think this is security theater. So no, no metal detectors. 

 

It also brings up an interesting business calculation. Theaters have found themselves competing against a constantly improving home experience, so how much more would they lose as people get fed up with being asked "Do you have any keys in your pocket? Please got back into the line. Any loose change?"

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A smallish chain of theaters where I live has started to ban backpacks and check purses; and from what I've heard, customers have been pretty understanding - maybe even supportive -- about it.  The theater policy has always prohibited outside food and drink, but I don't know whether or not they'll bust you for having snacks, since purportedly the staff is looking for weapons, not Milk Duds.  I live in an area heavily populated by very special (and litigious) snowflakes, so I imagine any attempt to confiscate snacks will make the news.  

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I was recently turned away from a movie theater for having too large a purse. The crazy thing is, though, that I had been to the same theater with the same purse the day before and gotten in after the ticket clerk did a bit of poking around inside the purse with a flashlight.

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I live in an area heavily populated by very special (and litigious) snowflakes, so I imagine any attempt to confiscate snacks will make the news.  

 

Ha! Where is this special place?

 

 

It also brings up an interesting business calculation. Theaters have found themselves competing against a constantly improving home experience, so how much more would they lose as people get fed up with being asked "Do you have any keys in your pocket? Please got back into the line. Any loose change?"

 

Good question.  I don't go the movies as much as I used to anyway, so if my nearby theaters implemented security measures, I might further reduce my visits.  But I don't know if that holds true for frequent moviegoers.  I also don't know if the media coverage of the theater shootings had any impact on movie ticket sales nationwide. There are thousands of movie theaters in the US - if the major chains start implementing wide-scale security measures, surely that cost will be passed along to the customer in the form of higher ticket prices. I can see that turning away customers.  

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I thought Regal Cinemas just said they were going to be checking purses and backpacks.  Are they really going to ask me to turn out my pockets?

 

I can see these barely-literate teenagers running security lines.

 

And I will reiterate what I've said elsewhere - it's all designed to keep people from bringing in outside food.

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As much as I love comfy, attractive theaters, I am very much price driven.  The theater I go to most often is old, run-down, dingy and in desperate need of renovation.  But all shows before 6pm are considered matinees and are $6, as opposed to the $9.50 matinees at the closest Googleplexes (and only for shows before 2pm).  So if I can see it for $3.50 cheaper, I will.

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Not sure if this was a Canadian only thing, but does any one remember that they used to show little like 30 second (or shorter) cartoons before R rated movies that would remind you that you were in an R rated movie (and that anyone under 18 had to be with an adult). I remember seeing a few of these as a kid when my dad would take me to R rated movies. The only I specifically remember was in Terminator 2 when I was 13. 

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And I will reiterate what I've said elsewhere - it's all designed to keep people from bringing in outside food.

 

I see your point.  Still, I wonder why they've not implemented something like that before. 

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I see your point.  Still, I wonder why they've not implemented something like that before. 

 

Probably because they figured people wouldn't put up with it until they garbed in the "security" drama.

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Not to induce said screaming, but why are concessions so expensive? Is that the primary way movie theaters generate profit now? I rarely buy concessions - I eat/drink before or after the film.  If I eat on site, it's because of in-theater dining.  If I'm paying a huge mark-up to eat, might as well have an actual meal in a super-comfy recliner.   

 

I work in a cinema, and the concessions are how we get most of our money. The studios take up to 75% / 80% of the money made from ticket sales.

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I went to a Regal theater on Saturday and the nice young man who checked my purse looked somewhat embarrassed that he had to do it, barely looked in there, and overlooked the box of Mike & Mikes I clearly had.  He just let it go.

 

As far as purchasing food in the theater, it's clearly not for a single person.  Huge boxes of popcorn and huge cups of soda.  I refuse to buy something that big and that expensive.

Edited by Ohwell
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I work in a cinema, and the concessions are how we get most of our money. The studios take up to 75% / 80% of the money made from ticket sales.

 

Ah, thanks for explanation.  Makes sense. 

 

As far as purchasing food in the theater, it's clearly not for a single person.  Huge boxes of popcorn and huge cups of soda.  I refuse to buy something that big and that expensive.

 

I'm always amused at how some theaters offer "free" refills for the largest size.  It's like 84 ounces (hyperbole alert) - who the hell plans to get a refill during a 2-hour film?   

Edited by ribboninthesky1

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I'm always amused at how some theaters offer "free" refills for the largest size.  It's like 84 ounces (hyperbole alert) - who the hell plans to get a refill during a 2-hour film?

Oh that's great if you've got, like, six people in the group.  I usually go to movies alone and I'm just so disgusted with the food and drinks.  Which is why I take my box of Mike & Mikes and drink a little water at the fountain.    

Edited by Ohwell

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As far as purchasing food in the theater, it's clearly not for a single person.  Huge boxes of popcorn and huge cups of soda.  I refuse to buy something that big and that expensive.

AMC has a kid's pack for $6.50 (it might have gone up a little).  It's a perfect size popcorn and soda (smaller than the regular smalls) and a fruit snack. 

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I work in a cinema, and the concessions are how we get most of our money. The studios take up to 75% / 80% of the money made from ticket sales.

Pretty much. It's rather crazy how sometimes people will react. Sometimes, when a group comes in and they wrack up something over 40 or 50 dollars, I just cringe.

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AMC has a kid's pack for $6.50 (it might have gone up a little).  It's a perfect size popcorn and soda (smaller than the regular smalls) and a fruit snack. 

Do you need to buy it for an actual kid, like children's meals in restaurants?

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