Sunday, March 19, 2006

Jamming Cell Phones

Theaters may ask to jam cell phones.

Silly. There are a lot of things that theaters could do to get me to like going to the movies again. While jamming cell phones is on the list, it's far from the highest point.

Here's what the movie industry could do to get me to come back and watch movies at their house:

1) Clean. No more sticky floors and gunk on the chairs. Mop the floors, instead of just having a couple of ushers run through with garbage bags between showings.

2) Have an usher. If other movie-goers are being truly rude, they should be thrown out, and it shouldn't be up to other customers to leave the theater and hunt down a manager. There should be an employee stationed either IN the theater or just outside ready to remove disruptive people so everyone else can enjoy the movie.

3) Stadium seating. I really don't want to go to a theater if I can't see the movie. If the seats are built such that the person in front of me can block the screen by shifting in their seat, the seats aren't built right.

4) Comfortable seats. Most theater seats seem like cloth over boards to me. Make them just a little more comfortable if you expect me to sit in them for a two hour plus movie.

5) Speaking of "plus", reduce the crap before the movie. I don't mind a couple of trailers. Heck, I'll even tolerate a couple of ads. But the last movie I went to had a half-hour of ads and trailers before the movie started, and then there was a short film about how evil I am for wanting to illegally tape their film (which I didn't want to do before the short ranting film started). By the end, I wished I had downloaded the film, so I wouldn't have to deal with all the garbage.

6) Lower the volume a bit. I know some people like having their eardrums destroyed. I don't. Lower the volume just a little. We can hear it. We don't have to feel it in our bones and still be shaking from it two hours after the film is over. And I'm not saying "make it quiet" - I'm saying put the volume at a level that won't damage your customers permanently.

7) Lower the price. Yeah, it's counter-intuitive, but tickets are TOO MUCH for most people, especially when they have to put up with ads, sticky seats, and inconsiderate idiots talking during the movie. They'd fill theaters if the price was semi-reasonable.

8) Make sure the movie plays. I've been to movies where there was nobody in the projection booth, and when the film broke, nobody was around to fix it. Make sure that somebody in the theater is watching for problems and knows how to fix them. (As an aside, if there was an usher in the theater, they could report problems like broken film).

9) Don't allow people to enter during the movie. Once the movie has started, only let people who were already in the theater to come back in. Don't have people come in during the opening credits looking for seats and asking people to move down a seat or two so they can sit together. Once the movie has started, LET PEOPLE WATCH IT.

10) Don't put the toilets upstairs/far away. To many theaters put the toilets so far away that you miss half the movie hunting for them and using them. Have them in a reasonable spot on the ground floor and keep them clean.

11) Price the concessions reasonably, and have enough people staffing the concessions stand that folks don't have to miss most of the movie to just get popcorn. Heck, I might even buy popcorn at theaters again if it didn't cost more than the movie to get some.

12) Parking. Have enough parking for the people who are coming to the movie. If I have to roam around the parking lot six times before finding a place to park, I'm not inclined to come see a movie at your theater again.

I haven't really enjoyed going to the movies in years. I'm always uncomfortable in seats that were made for people with steel butts, sticky floors that make it nearly impossible to walk, ads that are half the length of the movie, and people who talk throughout the movie (whether to their seat-mate or on a phone, doesn't matter). We can't really afford to go to a regular showing, so when we go to a movie we have to find a matinee and not buy any popcorn or treats.

So, there's my list. You got a list? I hate going to the theater (can you tell?). What about you?