December 1 2016

Theaters need to stop stealing my time

I know I am far from the first to complain about this, but the commercials and trailers prior to a film have reached the level of insanity.

I headed to the downtown Odeon in Edinburgh, Scotland today to see Doctor Strange. The film was scheduled for 12:00pm. At 12:23pm I was finally treated to the opening of the film. I was subjected to 23 minutes of my life being stolen from me for advertising.

Let me be very clear here, I know we’re all in the same boat, but for ease I am only referring to myself. My time is worth far too much to me to be wasted in such a way. Trailers have been a part of the movie going experience for years, but less than half of that time was spent showing them, the vast majority of it was TV-style commercials. Four trailers were shown, and with them averaging out to two-and-a-half minutes that places them at 10 minutes of the 23.

This is not acceptable. The only reason to show up early any more is to make sure you get a good seat, but a mid-day showing during the week for a film that has been out for weeks… I was alone in the theater. Yes, I was the only person in this showing and it got to a point where I felt like I was being held prisoner.

It’s time for the exhibitors to start listening to the movie going public. Attendance is down despite what the box office receipts say. You are facing growing competition from streaming services and home video sales. If you continue down this road there will simply be zero reasons left to go the theater. I paid to see a movie, not 23 minutes of advertisements. Plopping down $14 to $20 for a new release on iTunes is looking a lot more appealing to me.

Odeon isn’t alone in this by a long shot, but you’re the latest so you get my wrath.

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