Take My Idea, Please!

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I love films. Always have. Always will.

Unfortunately, I may never step foot inside a movie theatre again.

For the last few years, every single time I have gone to see a film in a theatre the overall experience has been really frustrating.

Last weekend was sadly typical. My wife and I went to see Casino Royale at our local movie theatre. We should have stayed at home. Not because of the film, which is quite good, but because of all the other crap we had to put up with.

(Be patient, there’s an Internet angle to this…)

First of all, we had to contend with a bunch of people who showed up late and expected to get good seats, leading to lots of us who got there on time having to move over in our seats, ushers waving flashlights around, toes getting stepped on, etc.

Then, of course, there’s the folks sitting next to us who insist on saying asinine things out loud during the course of the film. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind people thinking stupid things – that’s their prerogative – I just don’t want to hear those stupid things while I’m trying to watch a film. Save it for the living room, folks.

What really ruined the evening for me was the fact that the entire film was projected out of focus. Not once during the course of the film did the projectionist (yes, there was one) even bother to check the projection. Since I was sandwiched in the middle of a long row, I didn’t want to have to clamber over (and disrupt) dozens of people in order to notify the theatre staff of the problem. And, quite frankly, I shouldn’t have needed to do that in the first place if the projectionist and the theatre staff were doing their jobs.

I should mention that I studied filmmaking and worked in the feature film industry, so I know how hard everyone who works on a film tries to make their films look and sound as good as possible. I’ve also been a projectionist in a movie theatre and, to be perfectly blunt, it’s not a difficult job to do well – especially now that most of the job has been automated.

After the film was over, my wife and I did what we seem to do every time. We asked to speak to the manager, and we let him know about the focus problem. The manager did what managers do every time; he apologized and gave us two movie passes to "use next time."

Two movie passes. Just like the last time we complained, and the time before that, and the time before that.

Which is where the Internet angle comes in.

There’s already a gazillion Websites where consumers rate movies. What’s missing is a Website where consumers rate movie theatres. Think TripAdvisor or Epinions, but for movie theatres. Theatres could be rated on their cleanliness, quality of their projection and sound system, projection quality, friendliness of staff, variety and quality of refreshments… you get the idea. Very Web 2.0 if you’re into that.

I’d love to see a Website like this, (by the way, the domains rateyourtheatre.com and rateyourtheater.com are still available as I write this) and I’d be the first to contribute my ratings of the theatres I’ve been to. The thing is, I don’t see much of a business model behind such a venture, and I’ve got plenty of other things keeping me busy, so I’m not going to create this Website.

But you can. Someone can. Help give a voice to those of us who still give a crap about the movie theatre experience. Before it’s too late.

Take my idea, please!

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5 thoughts on “Take My Idea, Please!

  1. Duane Brown

    I must say, that I love this idea. I went to see Casino Royale this past weekend and had some of the same issues. People coming in late and just those who are loud and rude.

  2. Michael

    I’ll add to Bill’s frustration by also noting that the industry’s demise may be hastened by allowing itself to be caught in the same vicious revenue cycle as television. Per unit revenue is going down so you increase the amount of advertising that you force people to sit through, only further frustrating the customers who you are depending on to fill the seats and buy more soda pop. There is nothing more aggrevating than being forced to sit through the 20 mins of advertising for a film you paid $15 to see. This is why I personally show up late – which then only makes customers like Bill angry. It’s a downward cycle that just gets worse and worse. Here comes the digital home!

  3. Rehan

    It looks like someone else must’ve had the same thoughts as you. 🙂
    Registered through: GoDaddy.com, Inc. (http://www.godaddy.com)
    Domain Name: RATEYOURTHEATRE.COM
    Created on: 04-Dec-06
    Expires on: 04-Dec-11
    Domain Name: RATEYOURTHEATER.COM
    Registrar: GO DADDY SOFTWARE, INC.
    Updated Date: 04-Dec-2006
    Creation Date: 04-Dec-2006
    Box Office Mojo also recently introduced theatre ratings, but you have to create an account and log in even to read them…and there aren’t very many for Canadian cities yet.

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