Sunday, August 19, 2007

Pre-Show Commercials in Movie Theatres

Captive Audience is an organization devoted to ending the barrage of commericals and ads that audiences are subjected to at most movie theatres.

They have a lot of interesting resources and information, including this amusing sign.

Print a copy and leave it on your seat while you go outside, where you can carry on a conversation with your friends without being bombarded by annoying commericals.

They recommend you print extra copies to give to anyone who complains when they see you reserving seats this way

Captive Audience also has all the latest news about ads in movie theatres, a petition, and other information about how to get theaters to stop running ads before movies.

If using that sign is a bit much for you, consider printing this card, from one of Captive Audience's links. Leave it discreetly on the concession stand, and hit them where it hurts.

Here at Movie Theatre Reviews, we oppose ads before films for several reasons.

  1. Many cinema screens are vandalized with thrown food or drink when left exposed between shows. During bright scenes, you'll often see stains or marks on the lower portion of the screen. Cinema screens should be protected by a curtain between shows.

  2. As Captive Audience argues, a loud barrage of advertising makes it impossible to carry on a conversation and cheapens the movie-going experience.

  3. Sound comes from speakers behind the screen, and if you look closely, you'll see that there are millions of tiny holes in the screen. Again, a curtain should be used between showings to protect the screen from a slow accumulation of dust, which can deaden the sound.

  4. Finally, there is a magical moment when the lights go down and the curtains open to reveal a wide window into a fantasy world. Theaters that show ads for twenty minutes before the film lack this elegant showmanship.


David Jones said...

These people should spend their time lobbying for something more important than the ads before movies like:

The quality of the picture
The quality of the sound
The respectfulness of the patrons

Yes, the ads are annoying, but the don't detract from the movie itself.

(I don't buy the arguments about the dusty / dirty screen. A screen can be kept clean even if ads are shown, and screens won't likely become clean if ads aren't shown.)

(With the exception of some outlier cases) The two factors that keep me from wanting to go the the theatre are tiny auditoriums and shitty movies. For $10, I want a huge experience and a movie worth experiencing. Otherwise, I'll catch it on Netflix.

ChristianZ said...

I've got great theaters around where I live. If I don't want to see the ads I go in when they're over.

Anonymous said...

There are so many external factors that detract from the theater-going experience these days - noisy patrons, cell phones, debris everywhere. Do owners really need to add another annoyance? We pay enough for to see the movie without inane advertising. That's why some of us prefer to watch movies on home video.

Jonesy said...

Christianz, how about some reviews of those theatres?

Anonymous, I feel your pain. Check out our article "How to deal with Disruptive Moviegoers" on the right.

I have a terrific home theatre myself, but no home theater can compete with seeing a film in a quality theater.

Anonymous said...

I lived in Frankfurt, Germany for two years back in the 80s and the theatre I frequented would show a solid half hour of ads (not previews) before every show, something theatres in America didn't start doing until the 90s. However, what they did was drop the lights, run the ads and then bring the lights up for a 10 minute intermission before previews and the feature presentation. This allowed people to skip the ads if they wanted (although most of the ads were pretty well-done and entertaining, so it wasn't a chore to sit through them) and also provided an additional boost to the theatre's concession sales. I'd like to see theatres here start doing something similar but they already cram the showtimes together so tightly that auditoriums don't get cleaned properly as it is.

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