Movie-Going Experiences: Who Makes Up the Audience and Where You See It
by Alex Billington
December 26, 2007
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.