40 Comments

Totally agree about "Jumanji". Becoming a parent, and becoming an adult who has lost their parents, completely changes that movie. The ending brings tears to my eyes every time.

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Does anyone remember the Popcorn Channel from the late 80's early 90's? It was nothing but movie trailers, and I loved it.

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I watched Jumanji while we were waiting for our first grandchild to be born in the hospital. I don't think I could watch it again. It would make me too weepy.

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Assigned seating has also eliminated the buzz and anticipation of a buzz-worthy new film. Standing in line for a movie (e.g. every other Seinfeld episode) used to be an essential part of the experience.

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I was just coming to say this! I do love buying my assigned seats through the app days before a show but I feel bad my kids will never know the camaraderie of standing in line for the next showing and the excitement when the usher dropped the rope and we all rushed in to grab a seat. Sometimes it sucked but when there were several queues in the mall hallway or down the block it definitely felt more like an event. Theaters also miss out on ticket sales to people who would get to the theater, find out the next three shows were sold out and then go see something else they might not otherwise have watched.

Another thing they have done with the “Coming Attractions” that turns me off is in addition to new movie promos it seems there often commercials too. Not just go to the snack bar stuff but actual ads.

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What about the experience of studying the facial expressions of the previous sold-out showing viewers as they exited? When you are waiting in the "ticket holders" line, there's not much else to do. Or vice versa...noticing the next show studying you as you leave some future Oscar winner film....

Some of us may have read a newspaper review. Others may have tried to dissect and analyze Siskel & Ebert's simplified "thumbs up/down" review. Most of us flew blind, going by word of mouth. This was long before Rotten Tomatoes turned reviews into a commodity.

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Or being part of the herd! I went to see the opening of Indiana Jones IV in high school. I can only imagine what people thought when hundreds of enraged fedora and pleather adorned moviegoers emerged shouting "what the hell happened?" at 2:30 AM.

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I'm glad I'm not the only one. My family didn't go to the movies very often when I was a kid, but the anticipation was part of the experience. We did have to get there 30 minutes early to get a decent block of seats. I'd chatter with my siblings or friends about what we thought would happen in the upcoming movie. People would quietly (usually) comment on the trailers and then there was sort of that hush when movie actually started. A third of the popcorn would be gone by the time the movie started. It was all part of the "event", and now I guess everyone just considers it an inconvenience :(

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Yup. I even remember drive in theaters when I was a child. We had to wear pajamas in the car, and most of us would pile into the back of a Chevy Kingswood Estate station wagon. My mother once panicked, and quickly spooled out a roll of paper towels across the windshield during an "inappropriate" scene in Easy Rider. I guess she deemed us to young for "that."

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The length of coming attractions is one of the reasons I’ve stopped going to the theater. When I was young, they showed 2 or 3, now it’s 8 or 10. Add in a couple of commercials and a few promotions for the theater chain (hold your next party here!) and it becomes obnoxious. And “this trailer has been approved for all audiences” basically guarantees that two thirds of trailers are non-stop violence.

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Totally agree with the number of coming attractions has gotten out of control.

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Can’t stand it….30-40 minutes of commercials/ trailers followed by 150 minute movie.

The transcendental, in theater experience is ruined. Ruined by Full volume Chevy commercials

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May 31·edited May 31

My husband the introvert loves being able to book seats ahead of time. And we love trailers because we’d probably never know what was out otherwise. It definitely does encourage us to go more often.

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My thoughts exactly!

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"Coming attractions" used to be what they were called. Now they're called "trailers," which would make sense if they came on AFTER the movie ("the main attraction, right?), but they don't; they come on BEFORE the movie , right after the encouragement ad to go out to the lobby before the movie starts and load up on popcorn, raisonnettes, sno-caps, and diet coke. Maybe a kit-kat bar and some jujubes, too, and to throw at the girls in front. Coming attractions would always start with an velvet-voiced narrator intoning, "In a world where ...." and end with something like, "...and NOTHING will prepare you for the spectacle you will see as violent men take what they want, while the women who love them....!"

They were great.

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I find lots of trailers (more than four, maybe five) and especially product ads, which are really just TV commercials on a bigger screen, to be abusive and taking advantage of the captive audience more than helpful. And this has actually caused me to go to the theater less often.

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As someone who hates the uncertainty of seating (which is why airlines like Southwest are my last choice for flying), I LOVE assigned seating at the movies. I also really enjoy the trailers. Accordingly, notwithstanding my assured seat, we always arrive just before the scheduled start time for a film. While we miss the ads for Fred's Plumbing and theater rental, we do get to see all of the trailers in our angst-free seats.

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I always go in early even with assigned seats as I am terrified of trying to find my seat in the dark. Movie trailers are great, but they need to limit to five or fewer.

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Who ever just showed up at a theater and picked some movie that started soon? Was this really a thing people did?

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I never knew....

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Yes, this millennial did this up until the pandemic.

The best was when I went with on a date on Valentines day, and found out that the hot tickets where Paddington Bear and 50 Shades of Grey.

No brainer, went to Paddington! I wept. I laughed. I left a changed woman. This is the magic of the "random movie". I never would have gone out of my way to watch Paddington Bear, but I'm glad I did.

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At least once a week when I was in high school in small town in the mid 80s…

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People who didn't know how 'Moviephone' worked.

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When I was a bored teenager or college student, we did this a lot.

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Actually, yes and it happened a lot.

"You wanna go to the movies tonight?"

"Yeah! What do you want to see?"

"Dunno. Let's decide when we get there."

Also, in the way, way before times people would just show up in the middle of the film and stay through the next showing until they came to the part at which they entered to begin with.

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In my projectionist days in the 90s, getting new trailers in was a big deal. They usually arrived on Thursday so we could include them when we built the prints. Most of the time, we were free to program trailers as we wanted within these rules: Generally no more than four and never more than five; no red bands, ever; thematically similar to the feature; and, policy trailer last.

Sometimes movies would come with required trailers from the studio. That was for big deal releases. Most of the time we programmed them ourselves to our tastes.

I cannot fathom that the job of projectionist is the same anymore. But those folks were influencers before there were influencers because they helped get your movie hyped.

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Cheers from a fellow 90's era projectionist! Those were def the days. I worked for Carmike and I remember those late nights when a new movie would come in on reels and need to be built on the platter then previewed. I had free reign on adding trailers, but there were never more than 5 or maybe 6 if a couple of them were teasers. Now everything is totally digital which has it's ups and downs for sure, but my love for attending a movie in a theater of any size has never faded.

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The same. I became addicted to the popcorn. Between that and my appreciation for the kids needing to hit per cap (if that's still the margin of success), I get a big corn and drink every movie regardless.

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May 31·edited May 31

The popcorn...I would get a small clear garbage bag, in the summer when there were matinee's, and fill it w/ popcorn. I would fill up my trusty cup w/ a caffeinated cold beverage, then sit on the ledge of the projectors and watch all day. I can still point out where many of the reel breaks are in certain movies from that era after seeing them so many times in the booth. Nowadays I have to have my large popcorn and either a water or an ICEE...lol

I still have a few trailer reels from that era. So much fun. Easily my most fun job by a mile.

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I think both you and the Alamo Drafthouse* are on to something with trailers. Namely, keep them shorter. My theory is that trailers used to have more of an impact when you saw three or four of them. Often I can't quite remember which trailers I even saw. Also, make sure the trailers fit the audience for the feature presentation. There was a funny moment when I saw John Wick 4 when everybody laughed, maybe too hard, at a gag in the Reinfeld trailer. We had walked into the auditorium ready for John Wick but were fed dour trailer after dour trailer for horror films. Reinfeld matched the energy the audience wanted for John Wick 4.

The pre-show for Alamo Drafthouse films are so good and worth showing up early. Had I not gone to the Alamo to see Hit Man I would never have known Ronald Reagan was in a Hit Man movie. I learned something!

*We FINALLY got an Alamo Drafthouse in Chicago but it is in Wrigleyville. Which was a real monkey paw situation for me. Parking is horrible there and if it's Cubs game day it's a mess. Still, worth it just to have one.

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Counterpoint, I have legitimately almost left a theater and asked for a refund after a 1/2 hour of ads on a nearly empty showing of a movie on a Monday afternoon, and that experience has made me significantly less likely to return to that theater. I understand a couple of minutes for last minute arrivals and popcorn, but it seems like some theaters have decided pre-shows are how their going to return to profitability and poorly executing that has the potential to push consumers even farther away.

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When there are prescription drug ads, I am out.

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I mean this is kind of my point!

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re assigned seats - they are convenient; but people who show up while the trailers are playing and need to get to their seats are bloody annoying. We need new rules - yes, 30 min of trailers are too much but - get to your seat before they start. It's the polite thing to do. I'm someone who LIKES trailers. But I don't like people trying to get to their seats when they've started.

caveat: the only movie I've been to in the theater recently is Dune 2; we picked our seats when we got there (not being used to this) so we were there early; saw all the ad junk; and then had to sit through all the trailers. Can't remember if there were ads. Like I said, I like trailers but after the long ad stuff before them it was a bit much.

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One of the things the Drafthouse does is bar people from showing up after the trailers end. They literally rope off the door so you can’t get in after the movie starts. I would not be opposed to something like this for the listed showtime.

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A friend and I were 5 minutes late to the MET for

Die Walkure. We had to sit and watch on a cheap 18 inch TV with crap speakers for the entire length of the first act. It's a long opera.

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This sounds like a Seinfeld episode. I can picture Eileen losing her mind in an evening gown as George makes Bugs Bunny jokes.

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Same opera different location (Orange County, CA), the people were nice about it, BUT late arrivals are only seated at a break, no exceptions. It's almost a like a Frasier episode. :)

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The Draft house's preroll is much better, too.

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nice!

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