Monday, May 29, 2006

Miscreants at the Mall


I went with three teenagers (my daughter and a couple of her friends) to the opening day of X-Men III at the Mall of Georgia, which is located a bit south of my home, on I-85 . When I went into the already darkened theatre, I noticed that there were a number of lights, not flashlights, but the screens of cellphones, being waved about by the young audience. I sat with the crew, at their request, although I often sit elsewhere to give my teen a semblance of being on her own, even though she doesn’t yet drive herself around.

The movie started, with some cheers from around the theatre, and I smiled. Not only would this be an enthusiastic crowd, but maybe my Marvel stock will go up. (In the stock market, I believe in buying what you know, so I own Marvel. I also own Electronic Arts, which makes video games, and my all-time winner was Pixar, the pioneer of modern animation, which recently morphed into quite a few shares of Disney.) Buying movie tickets isn’t exactly cheap anymore, so knowing that I might profit from a big opening for this Marvel flick eased the pain a bit.

Then the miscreants behind us began misbehaving. These overdressed, under-cultured teens were jumping around, sometimes running up and down the aisle, then falling into their seats. Also, they talked loudly and incessantly, and continued waving their electronic devices around during the whole movie. Although I had wanted to see the film, which has gotten decent reviews, I couldn’t say whether or not it is worth seeing. The zoo behind us was rather interesting, however.

Statistically, movies are making more and more of their total sales when they hit pay-per-view and DVD, rather than at the theatre, which is why you have to pay $9.00 to get a diet coke and popcorn from that surly acne scarred teenager behind the concession counter. The miscreant show is free, however.

Increasingly, many of those who study the movie industry believe that all films should be released to theatres, to pay per view on satellite and cable, and to DVD simultaneously, so that all selling venues would benefit from prerelease publicity efforts. The only reason for the delay is to keep theatre owners happy, and it is time for them to face reality. Too many miscreants haven’t been taught civil behavior by their parental units, thus showing movies to a mass audience is becoming a thing of the past.

Now, let’s see what is on PPV this week....

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