I’ve reached the end of my 5 part response to a letter I received from a movie theater owner asking why I do not come to his establishment anymore (not actually, but that is how I’ve treated this series as I write it). I know that my wish list is a tough sell, but changes can take place. After all, most change has rarely happened when the people sat silent. It’s when a few have pointed out what changes ought to take place that we’ve seen reform happen.
At the end of the day, I’m a movie lover, just like many of you reading this blog. Some have said if theater owners did what I’ve posed here, they would go out of business. To that I simply say, if I (along with the throngs of people who share my thoughts on this matter) stay home and enjoy our Blu-ray Special Features laden films on our 60” High Definition Plasma TV’s with 7.1 Surround Sound instead of visiting your business, you WILL go out of business. I do not think many would like to see that happen.
Unfortunately, planning a trip to the theater takes more than I’ve even addressed in this blog. For one, factor in finding and paying babysitters, and the costs to see a movie just went up twofold. It is this factor that affects the next two reasons in this blog on Why I’ll Never Pay for a Movie in a Movie Theater Again.
I know that filling seats is the number one priority. I completely understand that shuttling us in and out of the theater like cattle is the business model that most megaplexes adhere to. However, there ought to be a moratorium placed on the allowance of young children into the movie theater for a rated R film, as well as for any film that begins after 8pm (although I’m tempted to say 6pm).
A friend and I went to see a film that, 10 minutes in, had me cringing in my seat. The language of the film, coupled with the gratuitous other vices portrayed on the screen, were enough to make the hardest of sailors blush. To my astonishment, seated directly in front of us was a family of 6. The family in question was composed of two adults, and, I’m guessing, a 5 year old, a 7 year old, a 10 year old, and a 12 year old. Had this been a unique occurrence, I would refrain from mentioning it here. However, it seems to been the norm.
That are certain films that I will likely not attend on my own because I am positive that there will be an audience full of children, all that have parents that seem to be lacking in reason #10. A rated R film is not one of them. I would expect that a child would be too young emotionally to handle the content that has given the particular film its rating. I would suggest that if the MPAA intended for a child to see the film, they would have given it a G, or PG rating.
Even in the event that I long to see “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs” in all its 3D glory, I would likely choose to go to that film after 8pm with the expectation that most children, such as my own, are tucked into their beds for a long nights sleep. How I would be wrong. Children talking, kicking the back of seats, crying, and, as the young mother and her newborn baby seated next to me at a recent evening performance would verify, messy diapers are all all things that I’d rather attempt to avoid, if at all possible.
I have children of my own. I love children. In fact, I work with children occasionally due to the fact that I think they are God’s gift to us to keep us humble and remind us of how simple life ought to be. I also, however, realize that dragging my child to a movie theater when they ought to be in bed in irresponsible, and selfish at best.
I do everything that I can to ensure that I do not hinder the positive experience of those around me in the cinema. It is because of the fact that I have these 12 reasons that I’m sure others do as well that I do my part to walk the talk. Sometimes, there simply isn’t a babysitter option, and a family may want to get out to the theater to see a family friendly film at a decent hour. Which leads me to…
Reason #12 – Lack of a Nursery
I don’t mean a day care center. I don’t mean a giant room for the kids to run around in. I mean a section of the theater that is separated from the rest by a glass window. I’ve been to dozens of churches in my day, and all of them have something similar. It is a family room. It is a room off to the side, or in the back of the sanctuary, that has the pews/seats just like the main section. However, it is behind a glass window.
There essentially is no difference between the section here, and the section on the other side. The seats are the same. The sound is the same. The view is the same (with the exception that it is though a window!). The only difference is that a family can sit here with their crying baby so as not to disturb those in the main section. They can come with their toddlers who need to be fed, changed, and entertained with a coloring book while the parents enjoy the sermon with them. It is not cramped. It is not stuffy. I’ve never felt like I was closed off to the rest of the crowds, as their regularly has been a handful of families in there with us, both when I was a child and now as a parent.
So, in your redesigns of the seating areas, include this small section for families. After all, it is no different than an establishment in most other cities outside of CA and NY having a smoking and a non-smoking section, without the cancer causing, life shortening, yellow staining, repulsively pungent effects!
Thank you for paying attention to my concerns. I originally thought of including here some comments pertaining to theaters that I enjoy for addressing some of the reasons mentioned here. However, I instead intend to write another blog post that will list some of the positive things that I think theaters are doing to attempt to bring back the audiences. So check back soon to see what I think are a handful of theaters worth giving your business to.
In closing, I hope that someone that is in charge will pay attention to my blog. I simply ask that you make it enjoyable for those of us who love film to come back to the theater. Especially in this tough economic time we all are suffering through. If the studios are the reason for many of the problems I see, then refuse to show their films unless they cede to your desires. Don’t allow them to dictate the percentages opening weekend. After all, they need you more than you need them. Stand up to them and show them that you refuse to stand down. After all, as you can see…
…I’m doing it to you.