Tuesday, November 13, 2007

a pitch for matinees and morning shows

David Bordwell's latest post begins with a paean to the matinee and its merits, chief of which would be cost:

It's cheaper, and the auditorium is depopulated. Sometimes I'm the only person there. I know, movies are supposed to be seen with a big audience; but I've seldom liked the experience of a packed house. Does the humble worshipper in the temple need a congregation to confirm his faith? Isn't it best to commune with the deity alone? More to the point: Even before the advent of cellphones, somebody always coughs or talks at the wrong time.

If there are any other people around during my matinees, they are likely to be elderly folks, misfits, losers, idlers, and troublemakers. This makes me feel superior. But then I realize that to an objective observer, I could fit into any of those categories.

When faced with a choice, I've preferred a Regal multiplex to an AMC haunt. Regal sports larger halls and better sound. With rising ticket prices, a matinee or morning show at a Regal multiplex offered the best value. Ticket prices have gone all the way to $10 ($9 for students and senior citizens) for a regular evening show while matinee prices have risen to $8 (no discounts here; one price to fleece them all). Enter AMC with a new programme called, fittingly in a punny way, AM Cinema (it's over a year old now). This knocks down the price of a ticket for a show before noon on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays to as low as $4, $5 or $6 depending on where you are. This makes for the most lucrative movie deal around as far as I can tell. If you can find a large AMC multiplex (24 screens wouldn't hurt), you can strike a compromise between the viewing experience and the withering wallet.

That page sports an example of the abuse of the either/or construct: A.M.Cinema invites moviegoers to visit their local AMC theatre before noon on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays to enjoy first-run movies for either $4.00, $5.00 or $6.00 depending on theatre and market.

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