Date Night

How much?” I looked at the screen, incredulous.

“$68.80.”

“So how much is the combo?” We had asked for two movie tickets and the Two-Drink Combo (2 drinks, a popcorn, and a bag of M&Ms). There were lots of boards advertising it, but no prices on any of them.

“$30.80.”

“Uh… yeah… let’s not worry about that.”

The young man at the front counter continued to diligently fill our drinks.

“Yeah, no, sorry. We don’t want the combo,” I repeated.

He shrugged and tipped the drinks down the drain. Obviously unconcerned about their massive value.

Keep in mind that $68 was significantly more than we had just paid for dinner. For two of us. At a restaurant. All I could do was look at my husband and whisper, “Is it special popcorn? Does it produce some kind of dizzying high?”

 

We were going to watch Star Trek Beyond. We don’t go out to the movies much – maybe twice a year – and I’m not going to assume that anyone wants to me to write a full review. I shall summarize.

It was good. I’d buy it on Blu-Ray and watch it a few more times. But then, I’ve liked all of these new Star Trek reboot films… and many of the original films (at least Star Trek I-IV, because after the fourth one they went a bit silly). I will happily wade in the shallows of nerdom, and I consider myself a nerd, just don’t try to get into an argument with me about frivolous nonsense because I’ll simply walk away thinking that you’re an idiot. Who cares that Spock’s uniform was a reference to the series Enterprise? And no, I don’t care that you didn’t like any of the new reboots. I stopped liking the new James Bond when he stopped being an aggressive psycho and Skyfall went all silly and James Bond-y again, but no one cares about my opinion on that either.

However, after two hours in a busy mall, both Rob and I were fatigued and on edge. We’ve come to the conclusion that crowds and big, echoey spaces feel quite oppressive now. Nobody walking around a mall seems to look happy – they just look overwhelmed and a bit dulled to their own mortality, like people who just survived a plane crash. It’s hard to get anyone’s attention. The sales clerk in the store made eye contact but ignored me. The barman at the restaurant did the same. So it’s no wonder that the counter jockey at the cinema kept filling our drinks. We are ghost people by this point – just cardboard shapes in the scenery. The cacophony of noise is the only thing filling their consciousness, and it’s slowly making them insane.

Rob couldn’t get over the price of the popcorn, but I understand it. Many years back, I ran a venue that had movie projectors. On certain occasions (school holidays, festivals, etc) we ran films. I therefore know from practice that the film companies price their movies so that the cinema has to pay them a certain percentage of the ticket takings, or a flat fee per screening, whichever is the greater. The fee and percentage go down with each subsequent week, but for the first week it can be 100% or several thousand dollars per screening. What that means is that for the first few weeks that a film runs, the cinema may be losing money with every screening. So they charge $30 for popcorn. That not only helps pay for the film, but it pays for everything else as well (staff, rent, electricity, etc). If you don’t like it, blame the film companies for being greedy, thieving bastards. The fact that cinemas are going bankrupt isn’t directly caused by the rise in streaming services, but by the fact that film companies keep jacking up their screening prices to compensate. The cinemas are simply caught in the middle.

Still, if it had been $20 we probably would have swallowed our pride and bought it. So would quite a few other people, I reckon. There’s such a thing as cutting off sales by pricing items too high.

Movie was good though. There were some spectacular scenes that justify a big screen, but probably not near $70 worth of big screen. Buy it when it becomes available outside of the cinemas.

Pay less than $20.

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