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(Metafilter)   Q & A with Roger Ebert regarding commercials in movie theatres   ( divider line
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17041 clicks; posted to Main » on 09 Feb 2003 at 9:19 PM (19 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook

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2003-02-09 4:05:20 PM  
When I was a projectionist at the local mega-plex, I used to cut the ads out and throw them in the farking garbage. The only ones I had to keep, were the locally sponsored ones. Got away with it for 2 years. I kept the trailers, 'cause they can be kind of useful in deciding whether you want to see a picture or not, but the ketsup, Pepsi, and popcorn ads, were terminated with extreme prejudice. Sometimes I would trim 25 minutes of junk footage.
2003-02-09 5:43:07 PM  
Tommy you're a farking Hero. Here's my solution. As a moviegoer, go without seeing movies in the theater. Bite the bullet and wait for the DVD. You can rent it for a fraction of the price and watch it at home commercial free. I'd say maybe that'll send them a message but they'll just blame declining attendance on video piracy. Oh to hell with it, just pirate the damned things anyway and cut to the chase.
2003-02-09 8:30:31 PM  
So not only are you paying to see a movie, you are also being sold by the movie theaters as a commodity to advertisers. You are a product while viewing a product.

Personally, I think the movie experience at home is much better than in a theater (at least where I live, and the home theater I have). You can go the bathroom when you want, rewind if you miss something, and not have to deal with a44holes that ANSWER THEIR GODDAM CELL PHONES!!!
The less people that see a movie in the theater, the faster it comes out on DVD. If everyone boycotted the theaters, the movies would all go straight to DVD. You could get what you want way quicker, and own it permanently for the price of two tickets.
2003-02-09 9:23:51 PM  
Bah I hate the current slew of shiatty movies coming out

I saw Donnie Darko yesterday, now that was a quality movie
2003-02-09 9:24:32 PM  
Ack! the last movie I went to see (LOTR2) had so many commercials, I was actually unstoned by the time the movie started. I'm wondering how soon commercials on DVDs will be out.
2003-02-09 9:25:05 PM  
nothing to do with this but this should be the farking trailer -

sorry no hard link - had to put it the DANCING KITTENS
2003-02-09 9:25:35 PM  
There needs to be a website that has a list of playing commercials and Rocky Horror, MST3K type comments we can yell at the screens- ONLY durring the commercials, don't talk during the movie, Thank You.
2003-02-09 9:26:59 PM  
and not have to deal with a44holes that ANSWER THEIR GODDAM CELL PHONES!!!

or the ones that bring their crying babies with them. and i gotta wonder about the parenting skills of those who bring their kids who are under 10 years old to R-rated movies..
2003-02-09 9:27:41 PM  
For the full Movie Answer Man column that this excerpt was from, look at Ebert's page here:
2003-02-09 9:27:58 PM  
Anti_Freak_Machine: Don't you hate that? You get really high beforehand to prepare for some quality entertainment and you have to sit through 40 minutes of shiat

previews are good though
2003-02-09 9:28:10 PM  
TommyymmoT=hero. I like haveing movie trailers but the commercials and the $9 tickets are what keeps me out of the theatre, unless it is a movie that "needs" the big screen. All others can wait for DVD or cable...
2003-02-09 9:29:59 PM  
I'm wondering how soon commercials on DVDs will be out.

that'll be happening soon enough. and they'll make the commercials like the anti-piracy warning where you won't be able to fast forward through them.
2003-02-09 9:31:45 PM  
the Q & A i have regarding this subject is how the heck did ebert outlive siskel?
2003-02-09 9:32:50 PM  
Tommy deserves the farking Nobel Prize and the Congressional Medal of Honor for cutting that stuff out.

2003-02-09 9:33:57 PM  
As someone who does not subscribe to pop culture and does not watch television at home or away (save for movies) it pisses me off to no end that I have this drek pressed upon me. Pop music sucks, pop culture sucks, advertising sucks and I am tired of being pandered to by the Marketing Weasels. MAKE IT STOP!
2003-02-09 9:35:03 PM  
Can anyone say Kazaa? I saw The Recruit last night. What a piece of crap, even with DiNero. Save your money for the blockbusters that really need a theater to enjoy.
2003-02-09 9:35:42 PM  
In the future, all we'll see are advertisements everywhere. No more movies, tv shows, radio, music, clothes, food, etc. Just advertisements. That, and cats will talk.
2003-02-09 9:37:51 PM  
The people that saw LOTR2 at like 12:30 AM will know what I'm talking about. The damned movie was bloated with thirty minutes of comercials and previews (some previews I found ok). But still, Instead of getting out at 3AM, we got out at around 3:45AM. And joy to me, I had a Spanish AP exam the next morning. I didn't care much since I'm fluent in the freaking language. Thank you for hearing my rant. And now to your feature presentation.
2003-02-09 9:39:33 PM  
cry me a river, then build a bridge and GET OVER IT. WAA I HAVE TO WATCH 5 MINS OF COMMERCIALS! start comming FIVE MINS LATER
2003-02-09 9:40:39 PM  
Personally I'm getting sick of the previews also.....watching a bunch of inbreeds guffaw at the antics of a rapping computer animated Kangaroo Jack on a preview makes my testes draw back into my stomach...

I'm really starting to wish for the day where we start to sterilize alot of the population (god knows that audience reaction to garbage film is a good indication of who deserves the knife).
2003-02-09 9:43:17 PM  
I was wondering when the first hard-core capitalist would show up and start calling people babies for complaining when they get reamed by the corpos.
2003-02-09 9:43:21 PM  
YouDriveAnIROC: She was executive producer so I guess she put herself in

Yeah I liked it because I enjoy those kinds of movies that at least try to make you think about some stuff

Like Mulholland Drive
2003-02-09 9:43:36 PM  
I haven't been to a first-run Megaplex type theatre in years. May not ever go back since I bought this yesterday:

[image from too old to be available]

16:9 HDTV! I can wait for anything on DVD.
2003-02-09 9:44:10 PM  
JohnHolmesStuntDouble: Siskel caught cancer from a dorm room he had in his college days.

Well, probably not, but both he and Tim Weigel (he was a sportscaster for WLS-7 and WBBM-2 in Chicago for many years, most famous for blazers that made jet engines seem rather quiet in comparison and Weigel's Wieners (blooper reel)) shared a dorm room their freshman year at Yale, and both came down with brain tumors and died within two years of each other.

2003-02-09 9:46:05 PM  
If one person in every city would paint-balloon the screen during the commercials, the "message" woud get through very quickly to the theatre owners.
2003-02-09 9:47:30 PM  

ah, yes... i forgot about the brain tumor. didn't know about the dorm room story. that is freaky. also didn't know siskel went to yale. props to that accomplishment.
2003-02-09 9:48:22 PM  
Out of the past two or three movies I've seen in theaters, I don't think I've shown up on time for a single one, but I have not missed any of the actual footage. Between the Pontiac commercials, "Bod" ads, and other B.S. that Regal Cinemas puts before the movies showing locally, I've been able to get there before the movie started. It's frustrating, but it makes it possible for me to leave my house later AND I am unaffected by any marketing that they try to throw at me (since I don't see it).

I don't mind the still ads that they show before a movie, especially when they are interspersed with movie trivia, but I hate ads that start when the movie should be playing.

Shh1234, yeah, but then you couldn't see the movie.

I was intrigued by the last question on that page, about the uncut films. I suppose that makes it difficult for the MPAA to justify censoring, since that would kind of defeat the gimmick, or (more likely) it forces the director to hold back or at least reconsider scenes (if they are borderline controversial). I guess that's why there are only three movies like that, because of the difficulty.
2003-02-09 9:49:22 PM  

But when the movie starts, shut the hell up. :)
2003-02-09 9:50:38 PM  

The Recruit had Pacino in it and you should have got it off IRC. You get movies sooner and better that way, ;)
2003-02-09 9:52:14 PM  
"I haven't been to a first-run Megaplex type theatre in years. May not ever go back since I bought this yesterday:"

same with me. the only movie i have seen since i got me a tv and DVD player in my room was Two Towers. i have basically become a hermit, never leaving my room and DVD collection anymore. i have since quit my job and just yesterday spent my last money on Fantastic Planet.

and they say tv is bad for you.
2003-02-09 9:53:52 PM  
You know, showing up late is a great idea for those late night movies that aren't popular (if that's even an option where you are.)

What about those opening week, during the early evening ones?

Plus there is that niggling fact that I PAID for the "privlige" of seeing the movie, not the ads.
2003-02-09 9:55:55 PM  
The backlash against the movie commercials has already started, obviously.

Otherwise Ebert wouldn't have an article about it.

I used to, up to last year, spend 20 some bucks a week on seeing a movie, and buying popcorn and soda. Now, I will only go see a movie if it's a must-see like lotr or harry potter. And even those are becoming a stretch for me to put up with the commercials.

At some point, I hope these idiotic companies wake up to the fact that they are ticking off their customers. When that happens, goodbye customers. Even the RIAA is starting to wake up to how they are alienating the paying public.
2003-02-09 9:58:37 PM  
If I do go see another movie at a theater, I'm tempted to try to get everyone to yell something like "boo the ad!" during the commercial. Maybe the theater will wise up.
2003-02-09 10:02:55 PM  
i gotta wonder about the parenting skills of those who bring their kids who are under 10 years old to R-rated movies

I worked at a theatre for ~2 years, and I had a conversation with the theatre's general manager one day about this. Parental irresponsibility was his #1 complaint about his job. One common practice of parents was to buy tickets for themselves and their kids, take the kids into the movies, and then go and return their ticket, just because they didn't want to stay and watch the movie. One story I always remember is a dad coming up with his son who was probably about 5 years old. The movie he wanted to see was "Hollow Man," which for those who haven't seen it, has little to no redeeming value in it, just a stupid horror film. I asked the father if he was sure, mentioning that the stuff in the film might be as bad as the stuff in, say, "Boogie Nights." His reply? "Oh, don't worry about it, he's already seen that one."
2003-02-09 10:03:14 PM  
Last movie I saw, not on DVD, was Spider-Man at "The Eruption" theatre. No, it's not what you think.. It's at Mt. St. Helens in Washington State. They show a 45 minute feature about the eruption during the day, and a second-run flick at night. No commercials, kick-ass surround sound with butt rattling subwoofers under stadium style seating in front of a nearly Imax sized screen.

Other than that, nada. Skipped AOTC, LOTR (both), and Nemesis.
2003-02-09 10:03:55 PM  
One thing you could try at the theaters is buy some of those bright green laser pointers and shine them on the screen. Just get a whole bunch of them.
2003-02-09 10:03:56 PM  

I went to a 12:01 showing of Two Towers. What time did I get out? 4:30. Seems kinda late, eh? Well the movie didn't start on time, tons of commercials, it's a long ass movie, AND with 7 minutes left, right when Gandalf arrives out of the east at the battle of helm's deep and they come charging down the hill, the film literally caught fire. Burning smoking not good. It did it to all 3 screens that were showing it at this theater. An hour later or so it finally got going again and we got to see the end, minus the finish of the battle of helm's deep.

I did get a free movie pass, though.
2003-02-09 10:04:48 PM  
Roger Ebert wrote many scripts for Russ Meyer's films.
2003-02-09 10:05:48 PM  
The link that was rejected in the previous comment:

(Try it twice.)
2003-02-09 10:05:56 PM  
Two weeks ago, we cashed in some AirMiles for a night at the movies for two. Includes admission, 2 drinks and a medium popcorn. Hubby decides he wants an extra small popcorn and one box of Glosettes raisins. That came to EIGHT BUCKS! (Canadian -- $5.25 U.S.) No more movie nights, it's worth it to rent the DVD.
2003-02-09 10:08:36 PM  
I didn't see an answer. I saw two [long] questions, and two really glib bursts of noise that told me nothing. Guess I need to have a commercial before that so that I get something from it.
2003-02-09 10:11:07 PM  
the film literally caught fire. Burning smoking not good

That's actually not too uncommon, especially with older projectors. When the film catches at any point along the line (usually in what's called the "brain," which controls the speed of the spin of the platter the film is sitting on, so it's called a "brain wrap"), the motor shuts down, and therefore a frame of film is stuck in front of, say, a 4,000-watt bulb. It vaporizes in usually around a half second, if not less. I did that once by accident, so I cut out the frame and stuck it in my wallet as a battle trophy for a period of time.
2003-02-09 10:12:11 PM  
MichaelJackson, it's more like 20 minutes. And I'm paying to see a movie, not commercials, dumbass.
2003-02-09 10:12:32 PM  
Commercials make it east for someone to get in 20 minutes late. I promote everyone start showing up late for movies and tell those commercial bastards to piss off!
2003-02-09 10:13:47 PM  
it's very AOLish. you pay for something, and get to sit through adds. reason #376 not to use AOL.
2003-02-09 10:17:20 PM  
The backlash against the movie commercials has already started, obviously.

sadly it hasn't. the year 2002 was a record year for movie revenues which broke the previous record set just the year before that (yes, i know the ads weren't there in 2001). people will complain on one hand while they're buying movie tickets with the other hand. people have been dumbed down when it comes to moviews and will see just about anything just to see something. with "kangaroo jack" and "scooby dooby do" each hitting no. 1 when they opened, i rest my case.
2003-02-09 10:18:12 PM  
I'm glad to hear Ebert weigh in on the issue. It is truly a shame that ads are in the actual theater. Here in SF you get ads all over the place in the theaters on these newly installed Plasma/LCD displays. They are in the halls, behind the snack counter, and I'm sure they will soon be in the restrooms too. Then, you actually walk into the theater and sit down to watch more advertisements. Trailers are a tradition, but other advertisements should be removed from the theater itself. These mega entertainment corporations opened countless movie gigaplexes, put the smaller theaters out of business and now want to charge huge amounts of money for the admission and snacks AND show commercials to pay for their conquest. It sucks! I try to patronize the smaller Chabot Cinema or the Grand Lake which are in my general area. The Chabot is exceptional, but they are both great places with excellent prices and fantastic projection and sound. If you live in the SF Bay Area you should check them out if you haven't. Anyway, that's my two pennies. Which is what a movie cost back in my day dammit! :)
2003-02-09 10:21:45 PM  
The people who put commercials in front of movies are going to be the first ones against the wall when the revolution comes
2003-02-09 10:22:27 PM  
man the guy complaining about century theaters and going to the wrong side of the law sneaking in a soda...well their policy must be different from the century in portland because they have no rules against outside food and drink. I blatently carry in bottles of soda or something all the time. And I see tons of people with fast food bags.

anyway down with ads before movies.
2003-02-09 10:22:53 PM  
A different thought: If it's a choice between aggravating ads (which, if you make the mistake of seeing two movies in the same month, are the same ads) and the Will Rogers "hit you up for money" thing, which would you take?

I'll put up with the ads, at least a few, if there really is a choice (I doubt there really is...we're coming into Will Rogers season soon, I think). I always wondered what the theater pockets out of the donations (they don't do anything else for free)...anyone know?

For those that suggest coming late...please kindly burn in hell. I normally show up at least a little early so that I can choose a good seat. 9/10 times the ads or trailers run and some jackass will mosey in and sit in front of me or behind me, even if there are plenty of other empty seats away from me. Please be courteous.
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