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August 13, 2003

Thinking about starting a boycott

— Posted by John Campea

Thinking about starting a boycott
It should really come as no surprise that I love movies. I love just about everything about them. I love going to the theater with friends, I love popcorn (although I don’t love paying $5 bag a bag for it), I love the atmosphere and the chatter just before the lights go down, I love watching trailers for movies that are “coming soon” and of course I love the films themselves.

Unfortunately the price tag for this experience goes up almost every time I pick up the paper to check showtimes. For instance, yesterday I went to see a matinee of S.W.A.T. and paid $8.75 a person to get in… for a matinee. You’d naturally think that with such a high admission price the operators would be going that extra mile to make sure your theatrical experience would be a positive one. Everything seems to be going fine, UNTIL…

COMMERCIALS! More commercials, then bloody more commercials! I sat through 12, yes 12 minutes of painful annoying commercials. I’m not talking about trailers, oh no no no, those I enjoy. I’m talking about pure product marketing of everything from cars to feminine hygiene products. I was forced to endure a gum commercial, then a fruit juice commercial, then a dating service commercial, then a “buying your movie tickets online” commercial and a car commercial. I sat in my humble little seat feeling myself slipping into a murderous rage as my fingers dug deeply into the arm rests of my chair, all the while a haunting question ringing through my mind: “I paid for this?!?!”.

Hey, I understand the need for commercials in general. Look at television. Aside from paying your cable bill, you basically get to watch all the shows for free (aside from pay-per-view) and the programmers need to make their money some way, so we sit through some commercials. No problem. But when I come to your theater on a Friday night and plop down $14 for a frigging ticket, I expect that included in that price is the freedom to not have to sit through a bunch of ads before seeing the film I PAID to watch.

Let’s jump back to television for a moment. When I watch a movie on basic TV for free, I understand I need to watch some ads with it. No problem. BUT, when I fork out a few bucks on pay-per-view to see a flick, THEY understand they shouldn’t subject me to 10 minutes of advertising before showing me the film. After all, I paid. Why is this concept so difficult for theaters to understand?

Perhaps I wouldn’t mind the commercials so much if theaters hadn’t nearly doubled the price of admission in the last 6 years. Perhaps I wouldn’t mind the commercials so much if 2 small bags of candy and a small bottle of water didn’t cost me $11.35

Theaters have raised prices faster than inflation and have a profit margin on their concession stands that would any business major reason for singing. These commercials are not “helping to keep prices down for our consumers”, they are extra revenues for the corporation pure and simple. And hey, who would knock any business for finding new ways to make money? That’s fine, except when you’re getting that extra revenue at my expense without giving me anything in return for my time. That bothers me.

You make me pay $14 to get in. At least I get to see the movie. You make me pay $10 for a popcorn and a Coke. At least I get to eat and drink them. You take up my personal time and make me sit through 10-12 minutes of commercials. I got NOTHING out of that.

With all this in mind I got the idea to start a boycott of any company or product that advertises before movies. So, if “Chewy Fruit” gum puts an Ad up before the movie starts, then I’m just not going to buy it. Who’s with me? Let’s us rise up and bear our consumer arms against our corporate oppressors! Ok, maybe I’m getting carried away, but the idea sounded really good while I was watching the commercial.

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  • Kitten

    I’m with you…even rental videos come with 5-20 minutes of commercials. At least they are for movies.

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