"911, where's your emergency?"
Last weekend I saw the movie "The Call". Very good movie. Not great, but pretty good and an entertaining time. That is just about all you can ask for. I wish I could say the same for the rest of the experience, but I can't.
At times, I think the Movie Theater Owners need a call. A wakeup call. The moviegoers like me feel like we want to call 911 and give them the 411. We don't like ads. Except that they know this anyway and keep heaping more and more of them on us.
If you have been to a movie in the last three or four years you understand what is involved. Ads. Then more ads. Then maybe some trivia. Then more ads. Then maybe more ads. Now, they have added an interactive movie game that gets your phone to add the App they have so you can possibly win some pizza and they can find out who you are so they can upsell you more of their stuff. Then, more ads. Then finally, the thing we are all used to. The previews. Coming attractions. But instead of the 3 or 4 we used to get, now we get 5 or 6. Then more ads. And of course, now the previews are sponsored by some big corp. In my area that is a big bank. So again, more ads.
All of that was bad enough. But now they have gone over the edge. They have added ads in between the previews. Oh my fucking gawd! That alone will probably put me over the top. Apparently my time is now completely insignificant to them. I actually checked and the time from the first ad to the start of the actual movie I paid for was 30 minutes or more.
I guess I know why they think they can get away with this. The two people to my left never shut up over the whole movie and their "phones" were on. That was even though there was a statement before the movie not to do so. And why would they?
The two women in front of me had their phones on and off the whole movie. I guess they figured that turning it on for 10 seconds every 3 or 4 minutes didn't mean they had their phones on. True, they did have them off. On and off. And back on. And then off. It was like watching disco, with the strobe light feature.
And of course they all weren't alone. I would say that at least half the theater was doing this to some degree over the course of the whole movie. So why would any of them care if an ad was added into the previews? They wouldn't. They weren't even watching the previews anyway. They were texting someone or updating their Twitter account.
So, what frontier of invasion is next. For me, the countdown is on. One of these days when we are deep into the heart of the movie, the movie is going to pause and there will be an ad. At first, one ad. And then if no one complains, two. And who knows how far this will go. The likelihood is that the movie will become shorter so the time you spend remains the same and more ads can be inserted.
For me, one time will be enough. If it happens, I will never go back. That is the line I draw in the sand.
It will take a lot of guts to even attempt it. I wonder who will be the first to do that. Just like raising service fees for using your debit cards or using credit cards, you have to be pretty bold to even attempt it. People have a limit. A point where they will just say,
There is only one way you can get away with it. If you have something no one else has and people know that, they may whine about it, but they will still come. Do theaters have that? Not in this day and age they don't. I am perfectly capable of setting up shop in my house and watching that movie. And that is what I will do if I ever see a commercial in the middle of the movie in a theater. I paid 13 bucks for the privilege of not having to see that. I have even put up with commercials and excessive advertising before it, which treats my time as invaluable. But there is a point where I say No, and that point is already near the edge of the cliff. A commercial within the movie would easily push me over that cliff. Is that a risk that the money hungry big movie corps want to risk? I think not. If I were them, I would insist that movie theater not be able to do this, and make it a condition of getting the rights to show the movie in their place of business.
But I know that wont happen. How do I know this? Because the vast majority of moviegoers these days would welcome it. Why? Because it gives them a chance to turn on their phones and play with them.
The countdown is now on to see how long until I never go back to a movie. If the above video was in a theater it would have had a commercial break already inserted.
And lets not even start to think about when they put banner ads at the bottom of the screen. That is coming too. Except they will make some interactive thing where people get to vote on the scenes and people will love it.
God help us all.