EDITORIALS

Movie-Going Experiences: Who Makes Up the Audience and Where You See It

by
December 26, 2007

Movie-Going Experiences

I have a Christmas tradition to always see a movie with a good friend of mine on Christmas Day. Last night it was Sweeney Todd, which I followed up with Aliens vs Predator: Requiem. Despite yesterday was a national holiday, the AVP:R showing I saw at 10:30 at night was completely sold out, as were the rest of the shows during the day. There's something I love about seeing movies on opening day with sold out crowds: it's who makes up the audience and where you're watching it. It's an unmatched experience that you can only find in theaters and only happens in specific areas, but it's something that always enhances the movie-going experience.

If you aren't already aware, Aliens vs Predator: Requiem takes place in Gunnison, Colorado, a little town in the south west corner of Colorado. I was at a theater in Colorado Springs, a very military city considering the Air Force Academy and Fort Carson army base are all located on the outskirts. Not only does everyone in Colorado know where Gunnison is, but the theater was half full of Air Force cadets and soldiers from the Army, on top of the regular crowd. And nothing beats including the military in some fashion in a movie when you've got the military in the audience.

There's a scene in AVP:R where they call in the National Guard, and the first fun moment begins when they exclaim "we need to call the National Guard in Colorado Springs!" Not only is there a bit of commotion (and cheering) for our home city, but then you hear the Army guys behind us start heckling, saying, "oh yea, the National Guard, who would call on them." Typically this would be annoying, but everyone in the theater laughs, because everyone knows its true and we're all having a fun time. Obviously this happens again when the National Guard gets their ass kicked by the aliens and you hear them say "nice job, guys" again.

Even Ken mentions in his review of P.S. I Love You earlier today that he wouldn't have liked it as much if he didn't see it with his wife at his side. His entire opinion was changed by watching a movie with someone in particular (who loved it). I just love that experience and that feeling you get only when seeing movies in theaters with sold out crowds and hearing how the audience reacts. At showings like AVP:R last night, everyone is having a good time and they've become a "crowd" together, meaning everyone enjoys experiences like the aforementioned instead of condeming them and getting angry at the guys who started talking.

Without these occurrences at the theater, the movie-going experience certainly wouldn't be the same, and if anything it would lose that "magic" that makes opening day showings so great. These minor things are what make up the very positive side of the theatrical experience. If only I could tell you all the stories of everything during the summer at the midnight shows for all the big movies - it's just as entertaining. For now, relish these minor experiences whenever you find them - it will make going to the movies that much better in the end.

Photo couresy of frankie two thumbs on Flickr.

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  • PG
    I agree. Seeing an opening day movie with a certain crowd def makes the movie even better. Plus, usually on opening day is when you get the fan boys and movie buffs that actually care about what they're watching in front of them. There won't be obnoxious talkers or cell phone ringers in the audience as well. Unless of course it's talking and cheering like in your case when seeing AVP. Then the best comes when the audience cheers at the end of the movie. This is why I always try to see blockbuster movies like Spider-Man, Batman, Transformers, etc. on opening day.
  • xCloudbox
    I, too, love seeing movies on opening day. First day, first showing. But I do not like seeing it with a packed theater. I'd rather have an empty theater or maybe just a few people spread out. But I don't enjoy hearing people whisper to each other, crunching on their popcorn, slurping their drinks, making their own lil commentary for the movie, checking their phone, walking in front of me, squeezing by me in the middle of the movie.. and some people have really annoying laughter. So I can't agree with you on this one. Sorry.
  • avoidz
    Being a quieter sort of person, I personally can't stand noise and chattering and mobile phones, etc. in the cinema. I don't pay to be annoyed. I can understand the "shared group experience" thing, but I much prefer to watch movies at home in front of the TV :)
  • PG and Cloudbox - What I guess I forgot to really mention, was that the experience I had in AVP:R was vastly different and actually enjoyable in comparison to the noise and disturbances you both mentioned (talking, cell phones, loudly eating, etc.) That's the thing, it's not annoying chatter like that. It somehow is actually fun, rather than annoying. If you get into he right crowd that allows for the crowd mentality, no one gets pissed because it's not like they're talking quietly or making simple disturbances. They're doing it quickly and just "right at that perfect moment." It hits dead on and just makes it fun... Maybe it's a rare thing but I found it that night and it was fun.
  • I saw Star Wars Episode III at the midnight premiere and it was full of NERDS! Best fucking night at the movies ever, someone took a picture of the screen when it said "A Long Time ago blah blah blah" with a disposable and everyone saw the flash and started cracking up. Can't wait for Star Trek, gonna see it with even more nerds!

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