Saturday, November 15, 2008

Infants and Small Kids at the Movies

Hubby and I took our children, along with a couple of teen friends to see The Dark Knight at the discount theatre today. I was rather surprised at the size of the crowd and fascinated by some of the other viewers. As our eyes adjusted to the gloom in the theatre, I noticed a young woman guiding a toddler toward one of the front rows, with a small baby in a carrier. As soon as the carrier touched the floor, the baby let loose with some serious "I'm hungry" crying. The mom pulled out a baby blanket, picked up the kid, and I think there was some breastfeeding going on. The previews rolled and a few more patrons entered, many of whom were accompanied by small children. A couple sat right behind us, and talked all too often, making me wonder if they normally take in movies at home. Or maybe they were just rude.

Having seen this movie previously, I was really taken aback by the number of young, impressionable minds in that theatre. As many have noted, The Dark Knight really is dark, with violence which is not the bloodless, comic book variety. Heath Ledger is brilliant and scary as the Joker, and Christian Bale's Batman is also rather menacing. The script, which is better than most comic book based fare, is far too sophisticated for a younger audience. My own children watched animated DC comics, especially The Justice League on television, and those are okay for the younger set. I kept wondering why the parents brought but those little ones who did not need to be in the audience. Anyone who read the rating or any reviews should have known take the kidlets next door and watch WALL-E.

Daughter said to me, "What are these babies doing at this movie?" As we waited for our party to get back together, I realized that we were both thinking along the same lines. Perhaps it was a matter of clientele, because there was a couple with an infant and a toddler too young to walk out of the theatre on his own. Most of the patrons didn't even have a drink cup or popcorn bag to toss. I suppose if you can't afford a snack, then a babysitter is also beyond your means. Maybe some of these parents didn't know, but I suspect that several of the adults went to see a film for themselves.

The mall next to the discount theatre did not have much of a crowd for mid-November, another sign of the times. Even Santa's workshop had no customers, and this on Saturday afternoon. The prediction for a weak holiday for retailers does seem to be certain, but it will be a good one for discount movies. Just watch out for the infants and toddlers who are along for the ride.

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