The Weekly Moviegoer - What Do You Do When the Movie is Over?

November 10, 2009

Angelika Film Center Cafe

What do you do when the movie is over? The last scene has played, the credits have begun, the lights have come up, maybe you clapped, maybe you read the credit scroll to the end, you exit the auditorium and then… Because you are reading a movie blog, I presume you like to discuss movies, but where do you go for the discussion, and how long does it last?

Despite the fact that I write about movies, I feel like I don't talk enough about a movie -- immediately and with real people -- after seeing it in the theater. Sometimes a friend and I will exchange a few words about what we liked and disliked before going our separate ways, but this hardly counts as real discussion. Yet once we've been pushed through the theater's exit doors with/by the wave of departing moviegoers, and the security guard has told us we can't loiter outside, it's just easier to head home than find a nearby bar or café in which to continue the conversation.

In recent years it has been common for new cinemas to include bars and cafés inside the theater, though it's my understanding that people typically take advantage of these spaces only prior to their viewing of the movie.

One particular non-new arthouse theater in New York City comes to mind whenever I think of the missed opportunity with cinema cafés. Partially functioning as the theater's lobby, this café is situated so patrons make their way through the space on their way to the auditoriums, but after the show people are directed out of the cinema without easy or encouraged access back into the café.

I understand that it's in a theater's best interest to get moviegoers in and out as quickly as possible, ushered like cattle, in order to avoid crowdedness and loitering (the latter especially an issue for suburban multiplexes where kids might hang out), but it could also be beneficial to keep some patrons at the theater following the movie, especially if there is more money to be made.

I would love to see more new cinemas built with a bar or café that sits off to the side of the rest of the theater, something that is more accessible -- though not exclusive -- to the post-screening crowd. One thing, however, must be understood: prices for drinks and other items can't be of the exorbitant sort charged at the concession stand. Otherwise there's much more incentive to just head out to another bar or café or to head home.

The idea would be favorable to couples on dates and groups of friends, but there would also be the appeal to single moviegoers to potentially meet new people. See someone interesting at the bar who just came out of the same movie as you? What an easy icebreaker!

Also, theaters could weekly devote a night to special discussion events in which a host leads a discussion in the bar or café following screenings of a particular new release. Kind of like what goes on with post-screening Q&As, only without the interview portion. Of course, people these days are less social, at least in public forums, and it may be difficult to get many moviegoers talking about what they think of a movie right away with and in front of strangers.

Perhaps this explains the apparent failure of another NYC arthouse, which used to have a bar off to the side of the cinema partly for the purpose of post-screening discussions. Closed down over a year ago, the space where the bar used to be is now being renovated into two new auditoriums.

The city is different, though, because there are so many other places to go when you exit the theater, and that cinema's bar never felt too inviting of communal discussions, anyway. Maybe a similar model would work better in a less urban area, where people are more interested in interacting with their fellow moviegoers.

If your local cinema had a place available for and devoted to post-movie conversation, would you take advantage of the space? Or, are you more apt to get out of and away from the cinema as quickly as possible?

Angelika Film Center photo courtesy of Arancia Project on Flickr.

Find more posts: Discuss, Editorial, Opinions



I usually go when the credits have ended. Then talk about the movie and go home (while talking about it).

Robbie on Nov 10, 2009


Most of the time I finish watching the ending credits, to avoid people rushing their way out of the theater (never understood this) right at the beginning of the list of cast. I used to discuss movies with my ex at the end but since eh, you know, we broke up it's usually just going home. But I kind of find the lack of discussable movies in the theater to be the blame too. I mean yeah, look at this; Star Trek, cool cgi eh? Yeah, I liked the 30 rockets fired at once...... yeah man.....what did you think of Spock? ....Pointy-eared? So maybe this is a little of an exaggaration but come on, most movies aren't worth discussing. At home I can watch 12 Angry Men or Vertigo with a friend and we drink some beers and talk all night about movies and James Stewart. But that's not the point here, since this takes place at home, and not a post-movie cafe. I'd use it after Inglourious Basterds, but we were ushered out of the theater too. So we carried the conversation on the way to the bus and in the bus.

Neal on Nov 10, 2009


Also discussions never go about one movie in particular with me. I always stray off the beaten path with itand branch out using the actor I saw in the movie and compare it with works of other actors and then continue with the director and the screenplay writer and I always end up with either Alien or Taxi Driver, the best movies ever made. From there on I can talk hours about Robert the Niro. They should have a cafe where only movie discussion is alowed in general, divided into different sections. Like 1950's-1960's, 1970's-1980's etc etc. That would be grand.

Neal on Nov 10, 2009


It would be more successful at art house theaters. But the typical moviegoer is all about time. They don't want to stand in line. They don't want to hang around the theater. They want to watch their film and go home. Most discuss the film on the car ride home. I do like the idea of a designated area that those who want to discuss the film could utilize but it would probably be overrun with annoying teenagers who use the theater as a place to hang out. Hosting some form of weekly discussion is an interesting idea. But once again, would probably only be utilized at smaller art house theaters. Anymore, the big theater chains want you in and out. It is all about making as much money as possible. Good article though. For those of us who appreciate film it would be an added bonus to the movie going experience.

Jeff on Nov 10, 2009


I do a movie group every month, we watch a movie, go out afterwards, discuss and rate it. Our journal of movie opinions will live on throughout time....:)

Korm on Nov 10, 2009


Go to IHOP and just talk about te movie and have fun with friends!!!

Jimmy on Nov 10, 2009


I sit and watch the credits, listen to the music playing, stretch and think about the film, whether or not I liked it, If I'll see it again, will I buy it, or just rent it later when its released on DVD. Then I walk out, and drive home thinking about it.

Xerxex on Nov 10, 2009


last time i saw a film. - " what do u think ?" - " FKING SHIT " - " yeah man, too short, those bastards milking the cash cow, deff Saw 175 in couple of years " - " fuck it, lets get cab home " my experience about saw 6

PinkSushi on Nov 10, 2009


I hop into the next available, unattended theatre.

Adam on Nov 10, 2009


Wait until everyone else is gone and the credits have ended and then go to Denny's to smoke and eat while discussing what we saw. Hell yeah.

Angry Chief on Nov 10, 2009


#9 that's tight. I think post screening ideas fail for a few reasons. 1. It's gay. I have no stats or proof for this, but I rarely go to movies with a bunch of my guy friends. Maybe I'll go with 2 or 3, but guys that hang out in a movie to talk about it is really, really hetero. Even if people wouldn't look at it like that, I bet guys would feel like that. 2. You're already sitting for 2+ hours, why would you still continue to sit longer? I usually go to a club/bar, walk around the mall or strip centers after I see movies. 3. You would have to spend more $$ buying an overpriced drink at a cafe. 4. Like many people already said, a lot of movies aren't worth discussing for more than 15 minutes. Yes, these are all my opinions, but they are valid points. I don't ever see movie cafes being a big deal. Maybe in Hollywood, NYC, or something like where you can only find them there and they're really well done and trendy, but other than that...naw

branden on Nov 10, 2009


Out of respect to all the amazing craftsman ,techs and crew it takes to make a feature film....it is the least one could do to view the credits till house lights are brought up.

Clover on Nov 10, 2009


Almost every movie can be talked about for much longer than you think, so long as you talk about its content and whether it's relative to actual life. Let's have lunch, kids. We'll talk about The Nanny Diaries and I Know Who Killed Me." Also, I find that the weaker a film is, the easier it is to talk about.

Matt Larner on Nov 10, 2009


I like watchin movies that you know are totally retarded, with a friend anyway just to make fun of them.

Cody on Nov 10, 2009


#9 Adam, you said it man! With the cost to go to a movie I feel the need to get my money's worth. Usually it's I pay for one and sneak into another. And if it's a good weekend I sneak into a third. With a crowded hallway after a movie all you have to do is slip into one and it's so easy.

Marius on Nov 10, 2009


Almost all films these days are created to be consumed not digested. Unfortunately, most moviegoers only want to consume a film and forget it. It's simply a way to spend time without thought or activity. If that's what the masses want, that's what the studios will continue to make. Alas, the internet will remain the best place to discuss film in any depth.

Swann on Nov 10, 2009


I usually zip up and go grab a Jumbo Jack.

Greedo on Nov 10, 2009


Give me (affordable) (oh, and delicious) food and wine and I'll stick around afterward. I, too, don't tend to discuss the film much after the credits have rolled, but much of this is because I'm immediately on the crowded New York streets at night - not the most convenient venue in which to have intelligent conversation. Usher me into a cafe immediately and I'll stick around, and most likely spend more money than I would have at a concession stand beforehand.

JBD on Nov 10, 2009


Usually if see movie early on Friday nights we all just leave the theaters discuss some cool parts of the film and go to a party. I find that i discuss a movie with people on forums and such because most friends arent movie fanatics like i am. I also find myself discussing movies with friends when we watch them in the dorm rooms or at home, that way we can just sit back relax and talk freely.

Nikhil Hariharan on Nov 10, 2009


If I see it with a friend, he/she and I will talk about it afterward. Where we do that depends on when and where I see the movie. When I was going to school at Ohio State (which has a lovely indie theater across the street), my friend Zak and I would then go to Burrito Noche and talk it over. Back in Youngstown, my other friends and I will sometime hang around the theater and talk or, if it's earlier in the day, head to the nearest restaurant (usually O'Charley's). If I decide to blog about it, usually on JoBlo, I wait a day or two to digest the film so my review is the best it can be.

Corran Horn on Nov 10, 2009


Usually, I stay at the credits.

Ahmed on Nov 10, 2009


usually head straight out, and if theres time grab pop into another movie. just saw boondock saints 2 last night, and didnt have much to say about it. wasnt great but wasnt crap, some funny parts but nothing worth talking about

harrison on Nov 10, 2009


Usually people my age (21-30) go out for movies at night, and by the time it's over it's usually pretty late. But on our way out the theater we'll briefly discuss the movie, just nothing too in depth. And if we meet up again later during the week, the discussion will probably just continue. Now a weekly film discussion meet-up would be nice, but I also agree that they're probably better suited for art house theaters than big multiplexes. As for discussing movies, I think you can do that with any kind, regardless of quality. For one, there's always going to be at least one person who will like Transformers 2 and a heated debate will almost surely follow.

Golgo 13 on Nov 10, 2009


I can never understand people that are racing to get up out of the seats and bolt for the doors as the credits roll. Firstly I can't see the point in shuffling along for 5 minutes, staring at the back of someone's head and hitting the car park exodus at it's worse. Secondly I don't understand how people don't want to let the film 'sink in' a little or as someone else said, pay respects to the film and it's makers. If a film is poor, I won't bother but like when playing a game, I think the least I can do is watch the credits of a film that has in some way affected me. As #16 correctly (and brilliantly) identified, too many people want to consume rather than digest. I enjoy (if I've liked the film) basking in it's afterglow as it resonates with me and I remind myself of key scenes. I normally then head off with friends dicussing the film as we walk and then standing next to our cars, depending on how good or how charged the film made me feel. I remember for Rambo, Warrior King and District 9 chatting about it for some time in the car park! Personally I despair of those that can come out from seeing a film, even if it was lame, and when asked what they thought respond with a brain dead "it was okay" and then not have any other thoughts. How can you sit with flashing lights and sound infront of your eyes and not form a cohesive opinion? Good post Alex.

Payne by name on Nov 11, 2009


Go pee I guess?

David Banner on Nov 11, 2009


Golgo 13: a discussion of why Transformers is bad might be worthy of a film group, too. Or just to discuss its significance, the special effects, etc. I feel like most people here are both loners and doubting of others' (and in some regards their own) intelligence. Would it be more interesting or easier if there was a moderator for discussion afterwards, the way there is with a panel or Q&A? Also, many of you say that most movies these days aren't worth discussing. But you are going to those kinds of movies over the ones worthy of discussion. Are you saying that you prefer them or that you wish Hollywood was making more interesting movies?

Christopher Campbell on Nov 11, 2009


I generally leave. But if they had movie theaters with a restaurant in them, or a cafe or something, I would stick around and hang out there...then probably head back into another movie (I would pay again. *wink*) ...and then I would leave. 😉

Bry from Chi on Nov 11, 2009


My ritual used to be to exit the theatre walk to my car and light up a smoke and sit by my car and chat about the movie and whatever else with whomever I was seeing the movie with. Well, 5 years ago I quit smoking and 2 years ago, I stopped going to movies on a regular basis. I've only seen two in the theatre since (Dark Knight, Star Trek). I didn't discuss Dark Knight because I was just left absolutely breathless and speechless (a first on both counts) Star Trek was the topic of conversation for the ride home. Now, the short answer to that question is turn off the DVD, switch over to regular TV and see what else is on. Although, I have to agree the worse a movie is, the more I'm going to talk about it. What they could have done, what they should have done, etc. I'm such an armchair director. But I also have high expectations. I'm usually disappointed, but rarely impressed. Plus now being online as much as I am and getting my movie-hype months in advance, I'm often left cold by the time I see the thing. I won't name names *cough* Trick 'r Treat *cough* but yeah, that's pretty typical of most stuff these days. I'd much rather utter the words, wow that movie blew me away! I throughly enjoyed that! What an awesome flick, let's watch it again. Instead, what I usually wind up saying is "there's 100 minutes of my life I'll be begging for on my deathbed".

DLM Entertainment on Nov 11, 2009


I usually will discuss the movie on the way home with whoever I saw it with or call a friend who I know saw it and go over what we thought. I think the post screening opportunity is being wasted by the theater owners and also all the movie companies and distributors themselves!!!!!! This is a pefect moment for these companies to award the audience while getting valuable feedback!! people have the strongest opinions right at that moment and why not give them something, to eat, a drink or a beer and engage them for a few moments while letting them vent what they just experienced. I also feel like it would be cool to know that there would be a weekly talk of sorts or Q&A or even interview!! My Friend saw a special screening of Inland Empire with a webcast of David Lynch to the theater before hand and I believe it may have had a Q&A, that sort of thing is awesome and a feature YOU CANT GET ON DVD!!!! that is what they need to offer, something that I cant get at home!!!!! and on a similar note, WHY IN THE WORLD dont theater chains get smart and start screening CLASSIC MOVIES on select nights??? SHIT, even once a month would guarantee my ass in one of their seats!!! NO, you wont get me to sit and have a beer and discuss TRANSFORMERS, but you better believe I would sit to listen to some background or talk by Tarantino after Inglorius, you better believe I would pay to sit and listen about any classic movie...I paid to see "The Wizard of Oz" on the screen and it rocked!! sure, I can see it on tv or rent it anytime..but the Opportunity to see something like that on the big screen was undeniable! I would love to go out to one place, have dinner, have a drink, enjoy a movie, talk with adults or listen to what others felt about the movie..and feel like I had an enjoyable evening regardless of how good or bad the movie was! theater owners need to remind us about the EXPERIENCE of movie watching!!!!

Lando on Nov 11, 2009


HEY!! I had a hell of a lot to say after transformers both one and two!!! and I would have loved to have had a drink and go off on that thing!!! ID like to see a return to special goodies on opening night like limited edition programs and exclusive collectable stuff like that...I got a program for Alien on the opening night..how come they dont do that anymore? I see a movie trailer nowadays and unless it REALLLLLY HOOKS ME, I wait to see it onDemand or rental or even a few months unitl it hits free cable..there is nothing offered at the theater except a bigger screen and most of these new movies dont matter wether or not its seen on a big screen...

rachel replicant on Nov 11, 2009


After a film I usually have a walk outside trying to come back to reality. I am mostly able to talk about it with a bit of distance. I need time for reflexion. On the next day is for me the best moment to have a proper talk about a film. I also like not to read anything about the movie before, in order to read these having seen the movie myself, to be able to stay critical towards what newspapers/blog/mag say. First emotions are still good to share with real people though. Remembering the good part of a film, replaying sketches with a few friends is fun too. I really enjoy when people act like actors 🙂 right after the screening!

Digital photo on canvas on Nov 12, 2009


Usually people my age (21-30) go out for movies at night, and by the time it's over it's usually pretty late. But on our way out the theater we'll briefly discuss the movie, just nothing too in depth. And if we meet up again later during the week, the discussion will probably just continue. Now a weekly film discussion meet-up would be nice, but I also agree that they're probably better suited for art house theaters than big multiplexes. Nice comment.

Gift Box on Apr 25, 2010

New comments are no longer allowed on this post.



Subscribe to our feed -or- daily newsletter:
Follow Alex's main account on twitter:
For the latest posts only - follow this one:

Add our updates to your Feedly - click here

Get the latest posts sent in Telegram Telegram